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The Texttiles browser: an experiment in rich-prospect browsing for text collections Open Access


Other title
experimental interface
rich-prospect browsing
humanities visualization
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Giacometti, Alejandro
Supervisor and department
Ruecker, Stan (English and Film Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Ruecker, Stan (English and Film Studies)
Brown, Susan (English and Theatre Studies, University of Guelph)
Rockwell, Geoffrey (Philosophy)
Humanities Computing

Date accepted
Graduation date
Master of Arts
Degree level
Rich-prospect browsers aid research tasks by providing a meaningful representation of every item in a collection and tools to manipulate the display (Ruecker 2003). A number of rich-prospect browsers have been developed for exploring collections of items that can be represented visually. Several disciplines have recently shown interest in interfaces that attempt to leverage metadata in order to offer superior browsing environments. This thesis examines the potential of applying rich-prospect browsing principles to the exploration of text collections by taking advantage of the metadata-rich text collections that are available through the World Wide Web. It also introduces and assesses the Texttiles browser, an implementation of rich-prospect browsing designed specifically for exploring text collections. Fourteen students participated in a qualitative usability study that evaluated the browser through two different testing approaches in a variety of research tasks: Human-Computer Pragmatics (Anvik 2007) and Affordance Strength Model (Ruecker 2006b). Participants found the Texttiles browser to be a useful tool to explore text collections, understood how rich prospect browsing principles help explore collection, and were satisfied with the browser’s implementation of those principles. Participants also suggested some improvements to the browsers. The results of this study uncovered two new ideas regarding the importance of order and direct manipulation of the data. This thesis reinforces the rich-prospect browsing principles of meaningful representation, display manipulation, and prospect, and provides directions for future research.
License granted by Alejandro Giacometti ( on 2009-06-19T17:23:49Z (GMT): Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of the above terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis, and except as herein provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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File title: Giacometti Texttiles Study_v015
File author: Alejandro Giacometti
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