A new tool for organizing and visualizing collections of e-mail messages has been developed by researchers at the University of Southern California.
Called "eArchivarius," the system uses sophisticated search software developed for Internet search engines like Google to detect important relationships between messages and people by taking advantage of inherent clues that exist in e-mail collections.
Anton Leuski of the USC School of Engineering's Information Sciences Institute (ISI) will demonstrate a system deisgned to speak to such problems July 30 at the Association for Computing Machinery Special Interest Group conference on Information Retrieval, in Toronto, Ontario.
eArchivarius shows the relationships between e-mails using spheres grouped in space to represent the relationships it discovers.
Here is a small example of eArchivarius's results.
These spheres can be configured according to message content showing "existing communities of people who converse on the same topic and the relationships among those communities."
"Similar messages" can be defined in terms of recipients, text keywords, or both, and in the display produced using this capability; the spheres are the messages themselves, closer to messages similar in (for example) audience. The spheres can also be colored to show other relationships. Topic similarity, for example -- the likelihood of a message to be about a particular topic can be shown by more or less intense color. Different colors indicate different topics creating a map of how the information is distributed among the messages.
The spheres also be color-coded to illustrate other relationships.
"For a historian trying to understand the process by which a decision was made over a course of months, this kind of access will be extremely valuable," said Leuski, a research associate at ISI.
These researchers think that elements of eArchivarius interface might someday be integrated in regular e-mail software.
Please read the full article for more details and examples.
Source: University of Southern California, June 10, 2003
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