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Informatik 5
Information Systems
Prof. Dr. M. Jarke
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Research field Information and Planning Systems
Status completed
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Visual Knowledge Management with Adaptable Document Maps

DocMINER LogoAn important technological aspect of knowledge management is to support companies in their efforts to analyze their text corpora, i.e. to structure, to condensate and to learn from documented knowledge assets. Information retrieval systems offer a content-based and query-driven (and therefore goal-directed) search in document collections. However, goal-directed search assumes that the user has a  pretty good understanding of what he is looking for. In contrast, for analyzing documented knowledge, explorative search plays an important role. Here, the focus of interest is rather blurred and may cover wide areas of a collection’s topics. The need for semantic search paths arises which provide insight into the semantic structure of a corpus of documents.

This work studies the concept of a graphical presentation of a text collection’s similarity structure: It presents an application-oriented design and evaluation of a document map approach for visually aiding analysis tasks which are relevant for managing the knowledge contained in specialized document collections. An open framework allows an application-specific adaptation of the method for generating such a graphical corpus overview. Based upon this framework the interactive document map system Doc­MINER comprises tools for analyzing specialized text collections. Industrial and scientific case studies help to better understand what analysis tasks document maps support, and whether they can be effectively applied to real-world problems. Moreover, a comparative empirical study in a laboratory setting evaluates the document map concept against query-driven retrieval interfaces.


The contributions of this work can be considered from two complementary points of view: From the perspective of the application field of knowledge management the thesis provides advanced tool support for the important and difficult problem of exploiting documented knowledge. Furthermore, the work shows meaningful and useful application scenarios for document maps, proposes methods for their fruitful use in these contexts, and presents experience reports from which other real-world projects concerned with structuring, condensing and exploiting documented knowledge can benefit. From the perspective of information visualization the work studies a visual metaphor for a clearly defined application domain and contributes to the understanding of the analysis tasks this metaphor supports. This work shows the strengths and weaknesses, the application potential and the limits of the visualization method and thus may help to improve existing and to develop new approaches for graphically displaying complex textual information.

See also the product flyer (in German).

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