LVis: A Smart Virtual Reality Interface to Digital Libraries

Katy Borner, Principal Investigator,
Andrew Dillon,
School of Library and Information Science, IUB

Margaret Dolinsky,
School of Fine Arts & University Information Technology Services, IUB

Executive Summary

Emerging digital libraries provide users with access to massive amounts of diverse types of digital information. To exploit these technologies users must be provided with more usable and powerful, human-computer interfaces for finding information.

The proposed project LVis (Digital Library Visualizer) aims at the support of the navigation of complex information spaces. We will develop and test a multi-model, virtual reality interface that maps data stored in digital libraries onto an "information landscape". This landscape can then be explored by human users in natural manner that will support efficient search through related articles. Starting with a particular article, the user will be able to access and search for related articles by navigating along their relations. In addition to this data mining algorithms will be applied to analyze traces of user behavior thus allowing to leverage knowledge from previous users.

We will use as an exemplar the Web of Science, provided by the Institute for Scientific Information® (ISI®). This is a Web interface providing access to several Citation Databases like the Science Citation Index Expanded (TM), Social Sciences Citation Index®, Arts & Humanities Citation Index®, and the new Web of Science Corporate Editions: BioSciences Citation Index (SM), Chem Sciences Citation Index (SM), and Clinical Medicine Citation Index (SM).

It is most comprehensive multidisciplinary bibliographic database of research information in the entire world. The Database covers over 16,000 International Journals, Books and Proceedings and is an indispensable tool for uncovering current research and tracking retrospective information.

ISI is the only information provider in the world that captures and indexes cited references (the footnotes or bibliographies) published with every article. This feature makes it possible to use cited reference searching in order to trace patterns of influence among scholars and scientists, locate references to historical text, and identify citations of your own published work. Individuals throughout the world connected to Abilene or affiliated networks can make requests for reference, study, classroom instruction, and research.

The project extends and enhances the Web of Science by providing a highly usable, smart interface which enables new approaches to scientific investigations that are otherwise not possible to conceive of and perform.

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