Broadening Access to Large Online Databases by Generalizing Query Previews (2000)
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Companies, government agencies, and other types of organizations are making their large databases available to the world over the Internet. Current database front-ends do not give users information about the distribution of data. This leads many users to waste time and network resources posing queries that have either zero-hit or mega-hit result sets. Query previews form a novel visual approach for browsing large databases. Query previews supply data distribution information about the database that is being searched and give continuous feedback about the size of the result set for the query as it is being formed. On the other hand, query previews use only a few pre-selected attributes of the database. The distribution information is displayed only on these attributes. Unfortunately, many databases are formed of numerous relations and attributes. This paper introduces a generalization of query previews. We allow users to browse all of the relations and attributes of a database using a hierarchical browser. Any of the attributes can be used to display the distribution information, making query previews applicable to many public online databases.