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Collection Understanding. Michelle Chang, John J. Leggett, Richard Furuta, Andruid Kerne Texas A&M University. J. Patrick Williams, Samuel A. Burns, Randolph G. Bias University of Texas at Austin. Introduction. Large collection of digital artifacts Actual contents difficult to perceive

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Collection Understanding

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Collection understanding

Collection Understanding

Michelle Chang, John J. Leggett, Richard Furuta, Andruid Kerne

Texas A&M University

J. Patrick Williams, Samuel A. Burns, Randolph G. Bias

University of Texas at Austin



  • Large collection of digital artifacts

  • Actual contents difficult to perceive

  • Image retrieval methods are insufficient

Collection understanding1

Collection Understanding

  • Understand the essence of the collection by focusing on the artifacts

  • Comprehensive view

  • Not locating specific artifacts

Collection understanding cu vs information retrieval ir

Collection Understanding (CU) vs. Information Retrieval (IR)

  • Find specific artifacts

  • Prior knowledge of metadata

  • Define queries

Related work

Related Work

  • Collages

  • Photo Browsers

  • Image Browsers

  • Ambient Displays



  • combinFormation

  • Collaborage

  • Notification Collage

  • Aesthetic Information Collages

  • Video Collage

Photo browsers

Photo Browsers

  • Calendar Browser

  • Hierarchical Browser

  • FotoFile

  • PhotoFinder

  • PhotoMesa

Image browsers

Image Browsers

  • Zoomable Image Browser

  • Strip-Browser

  • Flamenco Image Browser

Ambient displays

Ambient Displays

  • Dangling String

  • Tangible Bits

  • Informative Art

Problems with querying by metadata

Problems with Querying by Metadata

  • Currently the most used method

  • Two levels: collection, artifact

  • Creator/maintainer/collector defines metadata

  • Time-consuming

  • Vague

Problems with browsing

Problems with Browsing

  • Pre-defined and fixed structure

  • Requires large amount of navigation (pointing and clicking)

  • Narrows a collection

Problems with scrolling

Problems with Scrolling

  • Limited screen space

  • Entire result set not visible

  • Requires large amount of pointing and clicking



  • Streaming Collage

  • Ambient Slideshow

  • Variably Gridded Thumbnails

Streaming collage

Streaming Collage

  • Collage is “an assembly of diverse fragments”

  • Streaming – constructed dynamically in time

Metadata filtering

Metadata Filtering

  • Modifying metadata fields and values

  • Expand result set

  • Constrain result set

Connecting streaming collage with metadata filtering

Connecting Streaming Collage with Metadata Filtering

  • Continuous Process of:

    Interactively filtering metadata

    Generating dynamic collage

  • Temporal and Spatial

Demonstration metadata filtering

Demonstration: Metadata Filtering

Demonstration streaming collage

Demonstration: Streaming Collage

Demonstration subcollections

Demonstration: Subcollections

Demonstration subcollections1

Demonstration: Subcollections

Demonstration subcollections2

Demonstration: Subcollections

Ambient slideshow

Ambient Slideshow

  • Peripheral Display

  • Chance encounters

  • Slowly reveals artifacts in the collection

Demonstration ambient picasso

Demonstration: Ambient Picasso

Demonstration variably gridded thumbnails

Demonstration: Variably Gridded Thumbnails

Variably gridded thumbnails

Variably Gridded Thumbnails

  • Relevance measure

  • Full-text search

  • Grid of thumbnails

  • Grid element’s background color varies



  • Independent evaluation

  • Usability study gauged intuitiveness of interface

  • 15 graduate students: UT at Austin

No directed tasks

No Directed Tasks

  • Users “queried the database”

  • Didn’t right-click on any images

  • Didn’t use metadata filtering

Directed tasks

Directed Tasks

  • Successfully created collages

  • Right-clicked on images

  • Used metadata filtering

Conclusions from study

Conclusions from study

  • Improvements for intuitive interface

    • Initial engagement

    • Metadata Filtering form & controls

    • Help menu

    • Hint for no results



  • Collection understanding shifts the traditional focus of image retrieval

  • Inspire users to derive their own relationships by focusing on artifacts

  • Collection insight increases



  • Dr. Enrique Mallen, The On-Line Picasso Project

  • The Humanities Informatics Initiative, Telecommunications and Informatics Task Force, Texas A&M University.

Collection understanding

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