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German Competence Center for Speech Technology The other parts of the German Competence Center for Speech Technology:
Virtual Information Center LT-World
German Demonstration Center for LT-Systems

The COLLATE Project

Last modified: 2006-11-09

The DFKI Evaluation Center for Language Technology

 

Recent Work


 
 

SemIPort's Document Manager

 
 
Screenshot Document Manager with eye movements

The document manager, developed as part of the SemIPort Project, aims at supporting the user in managing and making sense of a personal document collection. To specify the requirements for this tool, one has to understand how people work with their documents. This is a well researched issue, and from the studies published in the literature and interviews with students and researchers at the DFKI, we derived the following main requirements for the document manager:

  • People use spatial organization to express relationships between (physical) documents, so the document manager should provide means to spatially organize document representations.
  • When collecting documents, users often cannot immediately decide where to file or how to classify these documents. The tool should facilitate easy creation of informal structures out of newly discovered documents.
  • People tend to organize their documents into hierarchical structures. The tool should support this activity.
  • People annotate documents so it is easier for them to remember what was important about the information at a later time. Hence, the tool should allow users to associated an annotation with each document.
  • Annotations are also used to express more specific relationships between documents (e.g., "Document A describes a user evaluation of the system presented in document B'"). The document manager should explicitly support the definition and browsing of these kinds of relationships.
  • The tool should support the user in finding documents in the personal collection.

These requirements led us to the adoption of a two-dimensional, zoomable plane as the central interface component of the document manager similar to system like, e.g., NaviQue. Representations of documents can be positioned and grouped freely on this plane, which facilitates spatial and informal organization.

In addition to allowing the user to associate with a document text files containing in-depth notes, there is also the possibility of defining detailed semantic relationships between documents. Defining relations is as simple as a drag-and-drop interaction. For example, if the user wants to express that document A describes an improved version of an algorithm originally described in document B, the user drags and drops the representation of A on top of B, which will not move A on the plane, but initiate a dialog in which the user can select the relationship she wants to define.

By creating group hierarchies and defining semantic relationships, the user will build up a semantic net of the documents in the personal collection. Thus, each document has a semantic context: The adjacent objects in the net and their relationships to the document. One immediate advantage of this net for the user is the ability to browse it, but it is also a valuable source of information about the user's current working context.

The study was performed with the ASL Model 504 remote eye tracker; see also the videos recorded during the study.