A Bookpile applet

Omar Alonso and Ricardo Baeza-Yates



We assume that the search engine returns the answer as a set of documents (HTML pages), each document with its location and size, plus the positions where the query was found. If each document has other attributes as date of creation, logical identifiers, etc; they can also be used as shown later.

We use a library or bookpile metaphor to visualize documents depending if the tool is used horizontally or vertically. The pile metaphor has been used before, but as an icon for documents. Each document (seen like a book) is represented as a rectangle with a particular color, height, width and position into the set. Each one of this graphical attributes, including the order of the list, can be mapped to a document attribute (occurrence density, size, date, etc). In the example, the order is mapped to ranking, number of hits to color, width to size and height to the age of a document. These user selected mappings allow to study different correlations of attributes on the document set, helping the user to select the desired documents.