Date of Original Version



Conference Proceeding

Abstract or Description

Web search engines have gained tremendous audiences for information retrieval from unstructured documents. The number of structured and semi-structured documents available on the web is also huge, and collections of these are more amenable to data mining. Yet there has been no similar explosion of interest in this kind of exploration. Finding patterns in databases of political contributions, pollution and environmental data, or hospital and school performance would surely interest many citizens. The Perspectives Browser is intended to support this kind of exploration for users with little or no training in statistics or programming. Given an “advanced search” type query, it visualizes dependencies on the query of up to 30 variables. In preliminary studies, participants found interesting three-variable dependencies in an art collection. We concentrate on image databases because the content can be concisely summarized, but the dependency visualization applies to any hierarchically organized nominal or ordinal variables.