NetLens: Iterative Exploration of Content-Actor Network Data

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Project description

Most visualization research on understanding relationships in large datasets implicitly assumes that a node link diagram is appropriate. However, we believe that while node-link diagrams have their place, they don't scale up well and too often produce cluttered overviews with few readable labels, and often have difficulties supporting even the simplest tasks such as reviewing the papers that cite a selected paper. In this research, we took a completely different approach in designing NetLens by using multiple simple coordinated views of ordered lists and histogram overviews to represent a Content-Actor model of information. Examples of Content-Actor pairs of interest to the visual analytics community include scientific publications and authors, emails and people, legal cases and courts, intelligence reports and countries, etc. In all those examples, both the content and actors consist of networked data such as reports citing other reports, authors having advisors or co-authors. NetLens shows paired networks of content and actors in coordinated views and allows users to refine their queries by transferring filtered data in one entity window to the other iteratively


Hyunmo Kang, Research Associate, HCIL, UMIACS
Catherine Plaisant, Associate Research Scientist, HCIL, UMIACS
Bongshin Lee, Graduate Student, Computer Science
Ben Bederson, Associate Professor, Computer Science/UMIACS


    NetLens: Iterative Exploration of Content-Actor Network Data
        Hyunmo Kang, Catherine Plaisant, Bongshin Lee, Benjamin B. Bederson
        Proceeding of IEEE Symposium on Visual Analytics Science and Technology 2006 (VAST2006), 91-98.
   NetLens: Iterative Exploration of Content-Actor Network Data
       Kang, H., Plaisant, C., Lee B., Bederson, B.
       Information Visualization, 6 (2007) 18-31

    Exploring Content-Actor Paired Network Data Using Iterative Query Refinement with NetLens
        Hyunmo Kang, Catherine Plaisant, Bongshin Lee, Benjamin B. Bederson
        Demo at ACM & IEEE Joint Conference on Digital Libraries JCDL 2006 (June 2006)
        NetLens screenshots examples


Downloadable MPG (55 MB)

Video Demonstration 1280x1024 (AVI)

Netlens and Enron Email Collection:
NetLens has also been used for exploring email collections (e.g. the Enron emails). See this set of SLIDES that briefly describe this effort.

Source Code: The code of NetLens is open source but not packaged in a way that allow us to make it available directly from this webpage. So if you are seriously interested in using or continuing the development of Netlens, please contact Catherine Plaisant (see above)

Related HCIL pages

Graph Visualization


This material is based upon work supported by Booz Allen Hamilton. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the sponsors.

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