View the PDF document Navigating the virtual library: a 3D browsing interface for information retrieval

Rogers, B., Holmes, G., Cunningham, S. J. (1996) Australian Journal of Intelligent Information Processing Systems 3(4), pp 43-49.

An interface is described for graphically navigating a large collection of documents, as in a library. Its design is based on the metaphor of traversing a landscape. Documents are depicted as buildings, clustered to form ’towns’. A network of ’roads’ connects these towns according to the classification hierarchy of the document set. A three-dimensional scene rendering technique allows the user to view this landscape from different perspectives, and at different levels of detail. At one level, the appearance of the buildings provides information like document size and age, at a glance. At higher levels, we provide the user with a visualisation of the structure and extent of the document set that is impossible with a traditional ’shelf’ presentation. At all levels, a sense of physical context is maintained, encouraging and supporting browsing.