Modern Information Retrieval
Chapter 10: User Interfaces and Visualization
retrieval results!Superbook Superbook and related projects|(
The SuperBook system [#!landauer93!#,#!egan89a!#,#!egan89b!#] makes use of the structure of a large document to display query term hits in context. The table of contents (TOC) for a book or manual are shown in a hierarchy on the left-hand side of the display, and full text of a page or section is shown on the right-hand side. The user can manipulate the table of contents to expand or contract the view of sections and subsections. A focus-plus-context mechanism is used to expand the viewing area of the sections currently being looked at and compress the remaining sections. When the user moves the cursor to another part of the TOC, the display changes dynamically, making the new focus larger and shrinking down the previously observed sections.
After the user specifies a query on the book, the search results are shown in the context of the table of contents hierarchy. (See Figure .) Those sections that contain search hits are made larger and the others are compressed. The query terms that appear in chapter or section names are highlighted in reverse video. When the user selects a page from the table of contents view, the page itself is displayed on the right-hand side and the query terms within the page are highlighted in reverse video.
The SuperBook designers created innovative techniques for evaluating its special features. Subjects were compared using this system against using paper documentation and against a more standard online information access system. Subjects were also compared on different kinds of carefully selected tasks: browsing topics of interest, citation searching, searching to answer questions, and searching and browsing to write summary essays. For most of the tasks SuperBook subjects were faster and more accurate or equivalent in speed and accuracy to a standard system. When differences arose between SuperBook and the standard system, the investigators examined the logs carefully and hypothesized plausible explanations. After the initial studies, they modified SuperBook according to these hypotheses and usually saw improvements as a result [#!landauer93!#].
The user studies on the improved system showed that users were faster
and more accurate at answering questions in which some of the relevant
terms were within the section titles themselves, but they were also
faster and more accurate at answering questions in which the query
terms fell within the full text of the document only, as compared both
to a paper manual and to an interface that did not provide such
contextualizing information. SuperBook was not faster than paper when
the query terms did not appear in the document text or the table of
contents. This and other evidence from the SuperBook studies suggests
that query term highlighting is at least partially responsible for
improvements seen in the system.=-1