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Browsing Hierarchical Data with Multi-Level Dynamic Queries and Pruning

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Technical Report

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University of Maryland College Park United States

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Users often must browse hierarchies with thousands of nodes in search of those that best match their information needs. The Tree-browser visualization tool was specified, designed and developed for this purpose. This tool presents trees in two tightly-coupled views, one a detailed view and the other an overview. Userscan use dynamic queries, a method for rapidly filtering data, to filter nodes ateach level of the tree. The dynamic query panels are user-customizable. Sub trees of unselected nodes are pruned out, leading to compact views of relevant nodes.The software architecture, data structures and algorithms used to achieve this behavior are specified. Usability testing of the Tree-browser, done with 8 subjects, helped assess strengths and identify possible improvements. TheTree-browser was applied to the Network Management 600 nodes and UniversityFinder 1100 nodes applications. Future research directions are suggested.

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