Generalized Query Previews

Related HCIL pages:      Summary of Dynamic Queries : Predecessor of Query Previews
Related HCIL pages:      Census Project : For some recent examples of Query Previews
Related HCIL pages:      NASA Project : For the first examples of Query Previews

In 1995, we started to work on NASA’s large online data collections. These collections are stored in vast distributed data archives and contain various types of data. The attempt to apply dynamic queries to these collections required us to look for solutions to make dynamic queries work with large online data. Using overviews and previews we made dynamic queries applicable to large online data and allowed users to efficiently prune irrelevant data. The project led to the idea of query previews. Query previews form a simple and effective method to eliminate most of the zero-hit and mega-hit queries and help users prune data efficiently. Unfortunately, query previews work only on a few selected attributes of the data as a separate phase in a querying session. This limits their applicability. Many data sets are formed of numerous attributes. The designer of the preview panel can select the most frequently desired attributes of the data to form the preview panel. Yet, selecting only a few frequently used attributes may not be a possible option for many of the data sets. Hence, a generalization to relax this restriction is needed. Generalized query previews form a user interface architecture for efficient browsing of large online data. Generalized query previews supply distribution information to the users on "multiple" attributes of the data and they give continuous feedback about the size of the results as the query is being formed. Hence, with this project the idea of query previews reaches to another level.

Participated in this project:

Ben Shneiderman, Professor Computer Science
Egemen Tanin, Graduate Research Assistant

Papers:

Tanin, E. and Shneiderman, B., (new draft Feb. 2002)
Browsing Large Online Data Tables Using Generalized Query Previews (Video)
(Tech. Rep. HCIL-2001-13)

Sponsored by:

National Science Foundation (NSF) Digital Government Initiative: Citizens Access to Government Statistical Data