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New Interaction Techniques for the Digital Library: 3D Focus+Context Interactive Visualization
Authors: Shiaw, H.
Date:August 2003
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In this thesis, we present a new set of interaction techniques for the digital library as a solution to the focus versus context problem where a small focus (a page of information) competes for limited screen space with a large context (the collection of information). Our solution provides for 3D focus+context (F+C) interactive visualization in virtual reality (VR). We have designed information-rich 3D worlds enhanced by lightweight interactions where users can navigate and interact with a specific datum (focus) in relation to the complete data set (context). To demonstrate feasibility and functionality, we have built three high-fidelity prototypes in desktopVR, expandable to portable immersive VR, populated with 3D data artifacts extrapolated from actual image collections in the Perseus Digital Library at Tufts University (Perseus). The first prototype is an interactive London walkthrough constructed from an overlay of several building, plot and street maps. The second prototype is an interactive Greek coin catalog in the orientation of a 3D scatter plot. The third prototype is an interactive Greek vase museum where a bird's-eye view shows a 2D scatter plot of the vase placement in the room. To evaluate our approach and measure the benefits of our techniques, we compared the vase museum with its source collection in Perseus. The results of the experiment showed that users who used our prototype learned more about the same set of information nearly three times faster and with significant improvement in accuracy.

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