Peter Bergström and Darren C. Atkinson, “Augmenting Digital Libraries with Web-Based Visualizations,” Journal of Digital Information Management, vol. 8, pp. 377–386, December 2010.
Digital libraries in their current form are bounded by their inefficient webpage-based user interface paradigm, and even the most knowledgeable researchers can get lost in the large amount of published material available. A paper and its immediate references are displayed on a single webpage. Unfortunately, it is not readily apparent where the paper belongs in the greater context of a research field. Our goal was to develop, test, and iteratively improve the effectiveness of a web-based application, PaperCube, designed to augment and enhance a researcher’s interaction with digital libraries through the use of interactive visualizations of bibliographic meta data. The visualizations set out to show different levels of detail and aspects of a paper’s citation network. A primary concern was to ensure that while switching visualizations, the viewed paper or author remained focused at all times. PaperCube was validated through a user study that showed that it helped users who are trying to explore a field of research. In particular, PaperCube was shown to reduce the “cognitive load” put on a researcher and aid the “discoverability” of new research material.