Honors College Thesis

Exploration and Analysis of Information Visualization Techniques Applied to the TeachEngineering Digital Library

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  • The rapid development of computing technologies in recent decades has allowed for data to be generated at unprecedented rates. As a result, users are challenged with the task of finding the precise information that they are looking for. Visualization techniques provide the ability to view and analyze data in different ways, helping users to find what they are looking for and gain additional insights. TeachEngineering is a digital library system where K-12 educators can search for high-quality lesson plans that meet national and state-specific educational standards. Users have several different types of criteria to search by, including: grade level, cost, time required, group size, keywords, source state, and educational standards. Being able to see how individual documents compare to specific variables can help identify additional results that are worthy of user consideration. Surveying visualization techniques, specific methods (scatterplots, parallel coordinates, star glyphs and hyperbolic trees) are qualitatively analyzed with regards to how they could be applied to TeachEngineering search query results. Each visualization type has advantages and limitations, and no single technique can be considered the definitive solution. Recommendations on conducting future experiments and research are included.
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