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HCIL-95-16

Doan, K., Plaisant, C., Shneiderman, B. (September 1995)
Query Previews in Networked Information Systems
Proc. of the Third Forum on Research and Technology Advances in Digital Libraries, ADL '96 (Washington, DC, May 13-15, 1996) IEEE CS Press, 120-129. Also abstract appears as Architecture of dynamic query user interface for networked information systems in on-line Proc. of NASA Science Information Systems Interoperability Conference (College Park, MD, Nov. 6-9, 1995)
HCIL-95-16, CS-TR-3524, CAR-TR-788, ISR-TR-95-90

In a networked information system, there are three major obstacles facing users in a querying process: slow network performance, large data volume and data complexity. In order to overcome these obstacles, we propose a two-phase approach to query formulation: Query Preview and Query Refinement. In the Query Preview phase, users formulate an initial query by selecting desired attribute values. The volume of matching data sets is shown graphically on preview bars which aid users to rapidly eliminate undesired data sets, and focus on a manageable number of relevant data sets. Query previews also prevent wasted steps by eliminating zero-hit queries. When the estimated number of data sets is low enough, users submit the initial query to the network, which returns the metadata of the data sets for the Query Refinement phase. Using this approach, we developed dynamic query user interfaces allowing users to formulate their queries using direct manipulation in an exploratory manner across a networked enviroment.


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