Self-organizing maps: a browsing tool for digital libraries

Shukla, P., Cunningham, S. J. (2004) Proc 2004 International Research Conference on Innovations in Information Technology (IIT2004), Dubai, United Arab Emirates, 494-501. UAE University, United Arab Emirates.

This paper presents an interface design for a usable, visual browsing aid for digital libraries. The interface is based on document groupings created by a self-organizing map (SOM)u2014an unsupervised learning algorithm to cluster and visualize high-dimensional data sets. The interface allows users to move easily between searching and browsing over a set of documentsu2014addressing a significant flaw in current digital library software, which typically provide less support for browsing than searching, and make it difficult to combine searching and browsing strategies in information seeking. A usability study of the interface suggests that the map interface is easy to learn to use, and that it provides a good overview of the documents in the collection.