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Collaborative information visualizations: Augmenting, evaluating, and studying virtual worlds and their evolving communities

Dr. Katy Borner, Assistant Professor, Indiana University, Bloomington


hypatia: Welcome to the fourth Annual VLearn3D Conference in cyberspace. I want to welcome all of you, our speakers, and all of the other wonderful volunteers that are making today possible.

hypatia: Together we are entering a time in which global cooperation and collaboration is becoming ever more important.

hypatia: It is great to have a safe, virtual location to regularly share our lives, work and ideas with each other.

hypatia: Not to mention, pretty inexpensive :0). These worlds have become that for us.

hypatia: My name is Bonnie DeVarco, conference chair, and I am coming in from Santa Cruz, in Northern California.

hypatia: This year we have folks joining us from more than a dozen different countries

hypatia: including Italy, France, Australia, China, the Czech Republic, the U.K., Venezuela and many states across the United States

hypatia: I would like to introduce our Keynote speaker, Dr. Katy Borner from the University of Indiana.

hypatia: "Collaborative information visualizations: Augmenting, evaluating, and studying virtual worlds and their evolving communities"

hypatia: Welcome Katy

katy: Thank you so much Hypatia for the nice introduction!

martin sjardijn: hi queenbee nice to meet u here!

"brainstorm": thats too fast talking HYPATIA

martin sjardijn: birds are more usefull here :)

katy: Good afternoon ladies and gentlemen.

katy: Welcome to i-Garden - a world which aims to visualize user interaction data.

katy: A world in which flowers grow whenever you speak ;)

katy: Before I start my talk, I would like to thank the VLearn3D Advisory committee, AW, and all the many people which help convert this digital space into an exciting place - a place for teaching, research, and collaboration.

katy: I am VERY proud to be part of this community.

katy: Meow -- one of my students -- will help to compile questions. Please feel free to wisper to her at any time.

katy: **"Collaborative information visualizations: Augmenting, evaluating, and studying virtual worlds and their evolving communities"**

katy: We are being overwhelmed with the data of more than five thousand years and more history than any one person can absorb.

katy: Information Visualization (IV) techniques can be utilized to transform data and information that are not inherently spatial, into a visual form allowing the user to observe and understand the information.

queenbee: (to martin sjardijn) trying to keep a low profile :>) I have about 20 guests here and they are going to leaving dumb avs around in a bit while they go eat pizza .....

katy: In parallel, collaborative 3-D virtual worlds (VWs) are rapidly growing in size and number of simultaneous users.

katy: Look at this crowd today!!!

katy: These 3-D worlds can be (and are used) to create shared knowledge spaces also called information landscapes that exploit human spatial perception and memory.

katy: However, new techniques are needed to augment virtual worlds, to evaluate and optimize them, and to study their evolving virtual communities.

katy: **i-Palace and i-Garden**

katy: At Indiana University, my research lab focusses on the design of collaborative information visualizations.

katy: In particular, we are interested in creating a shared resource space of online documents for faculty and students at our School of Library and Information Science (SLIS) (left image).

katy: iPalace will provide access to about 8,000 online documents (text, images, video, software demonstrations, etc.) for faculty, staff, and students at SLIS.

katy: About 300 people will be able to contribute new documents and to annotate documents converting iPalace into a truly collaborative 'Memory Palace'.

katy: A second world - called Mirror Palace - will be used to visualize user interaction data such as navigation, manipulation, chatting, and Web access (right image).

katy: For more information see http://vw.indiana.edu/.

katy: **Twin Worlds**

katy: This 'Twin-World' combination aims to guide users, to augment the design and evaluation of virtual worlds, and to provide a tool to research virtual worlds and their evolving user communities.

katy: Twin worlds aim to **Guide users spatial and social navigation by providing:**

katy: Overview map with landmarks. What places to see, what to do? What are the most popular places? What is new? Who is online? Whom can I ask for which information? When is a specific user typically available and where? …

katy: **Help world builder and researchers to evaluate & study VWs and their communities by visualizing:**

katy: * General usage patterns

katy: Where do users login from? Who are they? How long do they stay? Do they login regularly or irregularly? How many people are in the world at which time? Are there general bursts of activity?

katy: * Navigation patterns

katy: Which general routes do users take? What are the most popular places? How do people move and place themselves in urban space?

katy: Are there well-traveled paths that may indicate a particular problem solving strategy?

katy: Which places are multi-way branching places, pass through places, or (final) destination areas?

katy: --

katy: * Manipulation patterns

katy: Who manipulates which objects, when?

katy: --

katy: * Conversation patterns

katy: Where do people talk?

katy: Which places in 3D are used for long, intricate, never-ending discussions and which are sites of quick exchanges? How long, about what, whom do people talk to? What is the size of conversational groups? How do conversational topics evolve? How does the environment influence conversational topics?

"brainstorm": Sorry, for interupting where is MEOW , I have a question

katy: Just ask Brainstorm

katy: And last but not least

katy: * Web access patterns

katy: Which web pages are accessed by whom, when, from where, and how often?

katy: Brainstorm - did you have a question?

"brainstorm": That is a lot of user data you can get from within a VW. Is there a use for social studies ?

katy: Yes, Brainstorm - we collect data for 3 reasons:

katy: To augment the virtual world with 'virtual footsteps', 'dog ears', etc. to support social navigation.

katy: To help world builder to optiize their world - make heavily used teleports easier to access, increase the number of frequently used resources, etc.

katy: and to give researchers a tool to study virtual communities.

katy: Let me show you some maps.

katy: Overview maps can be rendered based on the objects that make up a world (left).

katy: Chat log files can be analyzed based on how often particular individuals talked about specific topics (middle).

katy: Teleports and web links can be plotted on the map (right).

meow: I'm here to compile you questions. Please whisper to me...Thank you~

katy: However, all these visualizations are rather static.

katy: **Dynamic Visualizations**

katy: Utilizing the world.log file and AWs SDK one can create dynamic maps.

hypatia: katy, may the audience jump on stage for a moment to take a closer look at the maps first?

katy: How many of you are using bots or the SDK?

tinkerbell: bots?

tinkerbell: SDK?

Policy Guy: We are just beginning to explore bots

martin sjardijn: we do in UVA2,1 and 3 as well in GrMuseum

katy: http://www.activeworlds.com/sdk/

"Ola": (ro)bots and Software Development Kits

Mike Thomas: We've experimented with bots in Quest Atlantis.

"brainstorm": I am working on AGENT-BASED Streaming Media Applications

omar: we're trying to do what you've been talking about in a restricted sense..

katy: Very interesting.

jeffh: I'm using bots

katy: iPalace and iGarden are envisioned as 3-D dynamic ‘twin worlds’.

katy: In fact, both worlds are "Collaborative Information Visualization Environments" that facilitate (1) Collaborative information access & management.

katy: (2) Communication among users. (3) Visualization of user interactions.

katy: Both worlds will come with a 2-D web interface and a 3-D collaborative space.

katy: Both are automatically generated and updated based on user interaction data adapting to changing needs and user behavior.

Mike Thomas: The problem is making bots sound "personal."

katy: Mike, I remeber you try to create virtual pets for children.

katy: Are there any questions so far?

martin sjardijn: I wonder how you are going to collect these data

katy: We are using a combination of world.log and SDK programming and the chat.log file :)

"videonaut": me bot

"ECU OJ killer": how will the chats be used ??

Mike Thomas: The idea of the virtual pets is to give children something to "collect" and personalize. We were able to get children to click on objects in activeworlds and have a "pet" appear in our other online interface.

katy: We did run several controlled usability studies - people had to sign concent forms and agree that we can use their interaction data.

Nicodemus: Katy, I wonder if you could comment on the level of abstraction you've achieved in your mining process ? How dependant is the mining process on your world structure ?

katy: The goal was to find out how people collaborate on a 'information treasure hunt'.

katy: Space influences participants behavior - like the architecture of a house influences how people use/like it.

jeffh: Have you managed to develop any basic principles about the influence of space on behavior in AW?

katy: Ola, we semi-automatically categorized utterances into 'Hi/bye', 'Questions', 'Explanations', etc.

katy: jeffh - we are in the process of developing tools that enable us to see patterns of behavior.

ProfMD: does a 3D information structure have to obey "natural" laws like gravity, horizon etc to be intelligible? Or can it violate these "laws" in order to stress connections between data?

katy: Using these tools we hope to find out where people talk, where they prefer to meet, etc.

martin sjardijn: why are most worlds imitations of the real world?

katy: ProfMD - many information visualizations are highly complex. Some require experts to drive through the data space and to find patterns of interest.

vlearn6: katy - do you have any preliminary observations about the differences (in terms of "working" and "living") between 2D (groupware :-) and 3D virtual environments ?

"brainstorm": What kind of "social studies" are next ?

AL: Katy, what is the most fascinating behavioral in world pattern you have observed to date?

katy: ProfMD - 3-D navigation with 2-D interfaces is very difficult for most users. Keeping the ground plane eases navigation.

"Bruce Damer": hello

katy: We are able to use 2-D cartographic maps to find our way around the globe. Imagine we would map all knowledge onto a 2-D plane. We could visit math for an hour, go over to physics - to talk with experts there, stop by at social sciences ...

"remi": hi!

katy: The most successful groupware today (besides f2f) is e-mail.

katy: I believe that 3-D virtual spaces can be extended to support not just spatial but also semantic (topic based), and social navigation.

"brainstorm": What is social navigation in detail ?

hypatia: Katy, what are your thoughts on GIS to demonstrate some of that type of data in a spatial way?

katy: Let me continue my talk - Meow will be collecting all the questions.

hypatia: geographic info systems

katy: **iUni**

katy: In Summer 2001, Indiana University recently acquired an AW universe server - iUni - which will provide a 3D web-based collaboration mechanism for all Indiana University (IU) faculty, staff, and students on any of the eight IU campuses,

katy: located throughout the state of Indiana. \

katy: http://iuni.slis.indiana.edu/

katy: There is also a new address http://iuni.slis.indiana.edu/new

katy: Today, the universe hosts 12 worlds among them a virtual sculpture gallery, a space village for math and science for kids from the boys and girls

katy: club in Bloomington, as well as four worlds that aim to promote cultural understanding and collaboration among designers, teachers, and students from Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United States.

"OJ Sullivan": Mark Sullivan told me that this was a good place to meet chicks

Mike Thomas: Quest Atlantis!

katy: I believe some of you checked out the SoFA gallery which was transferred from our universe to AWEDU to minimize universe jumping.

admin: Go QA

katy: Mike is our collaborator in the Quest Atlantis project.

Mike Thomas: Hi folks!

"Sasha B": Go QA!!!

katy: We plan to use mirror worlds to augment, optimize, and study our brave new worlds in this universe.

katy: After testing them thoroughly they will be made available to the AW community.

katy: iUni is disconnected from AWEDU ;( but it provides a lot of space for experiments :)

katy: **AW Software Repository**

katy: We are in the process of building a software repository for AW related programs - bots, world mappers, etc.

katy: It is envisioned as a central repository for the AW community -- very similar to the Information Visualization Software Repository that I maintain at http://ella.slis.indiana.edu/~katy/L697/code/.

katy: Please feel free to contribute to the AW repository.

katy: --

katy: **Connecting Virtual and Real World**

katy: In the near future, every portable phone will be equipped with a miniature GPS system enabling people to leave and access information in space (imagine thousands of post-it notes) but also to be tracable by others.

katy: Again user interaction data can be used to augment virtual information spaces (which post-it notes are read most often, which ones are read by my friends)

katy: as well as to evaluate and optimize this technology, and to study its user community.

katy: The slides behind me show the 'twon-world' metaphor applied to handheld devices

katy: 'twin world'

katy: You dont need to have two :) but you will have different layers of information that you can access

katy: **Researching the Potential of 3-D VWs**

katy: I believe that 3-D virtual desktop worlds can be used to design highly usable and sociable systems that facilitate information access and collaboration. However, research is needed on how to ease spatial and social navigation in 3-D space.

katy: Privacy concerns need to be taken seriously as well.

katy: Please consider attending or submitting your research to

katy: International Symposium on Collaborative Information Visualization Environments at the 6th International Conference on Information Visualization, London, UK, July 2002. http://vw.indiana.edu/cive02/

katy: 2nd International Workshop on Visual Interfaces to Digital Libraries, proposed for the Joint Conference on Digital Libraries, Portland, Oregon, USA, July 14-18, 2002. http://vw.indiana.edu/visual02/

katy: to continue the discussion.

katy: Thank you for your attention. It is great to see such a crowd in i-Garden!!!!

katy: I will be happy to answer your questions.

jeffh: Thank you

hypatia: applause!!

"brainstorm": Thank you. Would you explain SOCIAL NAVIGATION, for me please ?

katy: Meow printed me one full page with questions ...

vetunimi: great!

Nicodemus: Great talk Katy

jitterbug: *clap* *clap* *clap*

padraic: whoohoo!

hypatia: incredible work Katy!

"Rowan": thanks Katy clap-clap-clap

martin sjardijn: *clap* *clap**clap* *clap*

Diane: Like the slides!

meow: clap clap clap...

"videonaut": clap clap

happy: *applause*

Policy Guy: Excellent Katy, many thanks!! clap clap

Jay: *clap* *clap*

Richie: clap clap clap

HenrikG: *applause*

queenbee: whooo hooooo

"lorex": clap clap

Xiu: applause

katy: Sorry for not dressing up - I tried all avatars available but they dont show up ;(

vlearn6: (:well done:)

"Vunon": Thanks, Katy, well done!

Diane: Katy, it's a Saturday. You can dress down. Grin.

AL: There can only be one who goes by the handle "Vunon"

hypatia: Thank you Katy, Perhaps we could set another session inworld for a lengthy q and a

hypatia: We are ready for the Panel 1 in vlearn to start in 2 minutes

Digigardener: well said

hypatia: "Humans in Cyberspace - Exploring the Humanities in Rich, Visual Contexts"

katy: Social Navigation = Using information about what others are doing to guide you in the decision making process.

AL: very good!

Adrienne: anyway, i'm at home.

hypatia: nice term!

hypatia: Our next session is ready to begin in vlearn Chair, Patrick McKercher, University of California, Santa Cruz

hypatia: Special Guest Speakers: James Burke, Connections & Bruce Damer, Contact Consortium

hypatia: therE are teleports to the pod right to the right and left of the pavilion

hypatia: or you can simply use your world menu

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