A Graphical Query Interface Based on Aggregation/Generalization Hierarchies
Weiland, William J.
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In order for automated information systems to be used effectively, they must be made easily accessible to a wide range of users and with short training periods. This work proposes a method of organizing documents based on the concepts of aggregation and generalization hierarchies. We propose a graphical user interface to provide a more intuitive form of Boolean query. This design is based on mapping the nodes of the aggregation hierarchy to Boolean intersection operations, mapping the nodes of the generalization hierarchy to Boolean union operations, and providing a concrete, graphical, manipulable representation of both of these node types. Finally, a working prototype interface was constructed and evaluated experimentally against a classical command-line Boolean query interface. In this formative evaluation with sixteen subjects, the graphical interface produced less than one-tenth the errors of the textual interface, on average. Significant differences in time spent specifying queries were not found. Observations and comments provide guidance for designers. (Also cross-referenced as CAR-TR-562)