Thursday, August 23, 2007

bungee view

I have been playing with a very, very cool image collection visualization and browse application called Bungee View from Carnegie Mellon University.

It was developed for the Historic Pittsburgh image collection, but I found it through a link to American Memory through code4lib. They have American Memory image collections available as a test set. I was particularly impressed by their browse of their music collections.

When I first started the app I thought that something was wrong with my system -- what I thought were search boxes were filled with a myriad of vertical lines. Then I came to understand the UI -- they aren't search boxes, they're visualizations of the distribution of terms in each category. Mousing over them shows links to the various terms and number of times used. You can expand each category to see multiple forms of the visualization -- the distribution of terms in the bar, a simple list of terms, or a detailed color-coded graph. You can drill deep into the collections by combining browse categories. As you browse, color-coding provides clues in the correlation between categories that will provide results or that are negatively associated. You see the results as a set of thumbnails on the right of the screen. You can select a thumbnail and see its full metadata.

Bungee View was implemented using Piccolo, a C# graphics framework that I am not familiar with. The source seems to be available, but the link didn't seem to be working when I tried it. I want to explore this more.

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