June 11th, 2007


This is an overview of the visualization and interaction experiments I produced for my Masters Thesis “Visual tools for the socio–semantic web” (.pdf, 12MB).

Elastic tag maps

› demo

Elastic tag maps visualize the complex relationships emerging between tags (free-form keywords used to describe digital resources). The layout algorithm puts tags that are frequently used together closer together on a 2D plane. Technically, this is accomplished by a combination of principle components analysis (PCA) and curvilinear component analysis (CCA). On rollover, tags that tend to co–occur with the selected tag are brought to the front. Clicking allows to lock tags and explore their semantic context further, without losing focus.

› blog post

Elastic tag lists

› demo

Elastic tag lists apply the same principle as the elastic tag maps, but only in one dimension. (Click the list tab in the demo)

Emerging topics

› demo

Classical tag clouds fail to show how topics appear and disappear over time. Based on a memory model, where tags “age” over time and are finally “forgotten”, if not used anymore, this visualization shows the evolution of users’ tagging vocabularies.

› blog post

Emerging topics (animation)

› demo

The temporal dynamics of tagging shown in an animated tag cloud.

Folding time

› demo

What is in between a list and a linear time plot? A comparison of approaches to visualizing temporal rhythms in web feeds.

› blog post

Lifestream mashup

› demo

Grounding time visualization in personal experience, and picking up the mash–up idea, a visualization of hourly webcam shots, along with his del.icio.us bookmarks and short twitter comments is combined in a unified documentation of digital activity.

› blog post

You say… we say…


(not web version (yet?), explanation here)

How do individuals use tags — compared to the community? Do you use private language or are you a mainstream tagger? When you tag with “design” — do the others think it is “art”?

› blog post

Elastic lists for facet browsers

› demo

A demonstration of the “elastic list” principle for browsing multi-facetted data structures. Click any number of list entries to query the database for a combination of the selected attributes. If you create an “impossible” configuration, your selection will be reduced until a match is possible.

Elastic lists enhance traditional facet browsing approaches by
• visualizing relative proportions (weights) of metadata values by size
• visualizing unusualness of a metadata weight by brightness
• and animated filtering transitions.

› blog post

Elastic lists and faceted browsing for tags

› demo

A tool for browsing tag structures based on facets is currently developed. At the moment, it is a semi–functional prototype. It is based on the observation, that some users create typed tags already, by using syntactic delimiters, such as colons or slashes (e.g. “for:tinax” or “by:Weinberger”).
Accordingly, the application imports existing tag collections (in the given example, del.icio.us bookmarks) and groups the tags according to these delimiters. Default facets are “all tags” and “top tags”, which selects the top used tags, since they represent important entry points to the sub–collections. The navigation principle follows the elastic list principle as introduced above.


› demo (taks a while to load!)

A novel feed reader combining the presented principles in a desktop application. Every metadata value (such as author, date, feed, tag) has an intrinsic temporal dimension and is activated or collapsed according to the current selection context. Conceptually, every metadata value or action in the application is treated as a feed (or tag, respectively), which are in turn grouped in facets.

Initial view
Hot links

Further aspects of the conceptual model, visualization and interaction principles are described in my thesis. (.pdf, 12MB).

36 Responses to 'Thesis'

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  1. struschie
    August 23rd, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    Herzlichen Glückwunsch – bestechende geniale Visualisierungen.

  2. Michael Koch
    October 12th, 2007 at 7:38 pm

    Echt klasse – sehr inspirierend und lesenswert. Ich habe erstens selten eine bessere (und Buzzword-freie) Einführung in das Thema Web 2.0 / Social Software gefunden als Ihr Kapitel 2 – und die Designs in Kapitel 4 gehen auch weit über das hinaus, das bisher Stand-der-Technik ist – da würde ich gern einiges von umsetzen.

  3. Stefan Apelt
    October 18th, 2007 at 10:05 am

    Sehr beeindruckend, deine Arbeit, gerade wenn man – wie ich – designtechnisch zwei linke Hände hat. Ich bin schon gespannt, womit du uns als Nächstes verblüffst. :)

  4. Daniele Galiffa
    October 26th, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    As always…inspiring and marvellous solutions.


  5. Moritz Stefaner
    January 29th, 2008 at 10:51 am

    I updated some of the links, added the blog references and especially: uploaded the Konduit demo and shots! Hopefully, I will find the time to blog about it soon…

  6. Well-formed data » Best Masters Thesis
    March 30th, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    […] thesis was awarded a price for the best Masters Thesis at our university. Although the competition was not […]

  7. Well-formed data » Linz talk
    April 12th, 2008 at 4:53 pm

    […] Thesis […]

  8. […] Visual Tools for the Socio–semantic Web by Moritz Stefaner, Potsdam University of Applied Sciences, Interface Design […]

  9. […] Behrens; – “Practical Tools for Exploring Data and Models” por Hadley Wickham; – “Visual Tools for the Socio-semantic Web” por Moritz Stefaner; – “Computational Information Design” por Ben […]

  10. […] Well-formed data – […]

  11. […] Well-formed data […]

  12. sumanpark's me2DAY
    June 14th, 2008 at 8:24 am

    만박의 생각…

    visual tools for socio-semantic web 중에 “emerging topic” 좋네….

  13. Andrew Kraftsow
    June 20th, 2008 at 11:20 pm

    Are you available for some freelance work?
    We are in the litigation support business and have new software that is all about tags. We see strong application for your work in giving users different sorts of relational insights into the very large data sets we host (10M+ pages each).

  14. scott romack
    July 1st, 2008 at 5:41 pm

    very nice! we are doing research in the same space as you. is your source code open source?


  15. […] http://portal.mace-project.eu/maeve/ http://info.mace-project.eu/ http://well-formed-data.net/thesis […]

  16. […] Manipuler les interfaces de l’incroyable site de Moritz Stefaner, Chercheur en “interface design” dont la thèse sur les générations de graphes sémantiques s’intitule “Visual tools for the socio–semantic web”. […]

  17. chiara
    December 1st, 2008 at 5:45 pm

    very interesting thesis

  18. Well-formed data » The scent of information
    February 15th, 2009 at 1:47 pm

    […] Thesis […]

  19. Tekmerion » Visualisations
    March 4th, 2009 at 2:11 pm

    […] Le “temps-plié” ou folding time. […]

  20. […] 标签云只是些基础,更多新颖可视化上的一些扩展和尝试,比如说在标签间建立联系的分层标签;在时间轴上显示趋势等。详细请点这里。 […]

  21. […] 标签云只是些基础,更多新颖可视化上的一些扩展和尝试,比如说在标签间建立联系的分层标签;在时间轴上显示趋势等。详细请点这里。 […]

  22. Amber Rose Kandarian
    April 12th, 2010 at 11:36 pm

    This is a great thesis. Please contact me if you would like to turn it into a short documentary we are accepting thesis project abstracts now.
    Thank you!
    ‘Changing the World One Frame at a Time’
    Documentary meets the Master’s Thesis!

  23. […] 多维数据的可视化:http://well-formed-data.net/thesis […]

  24. […] Blog von Moritz Stefaner dokumentiert die Arbeit an seiner Master Thesis mit dem Thema “Visual tools for the […]

  25. […] 多维数据的可视化:http://well-formed-data.net/thesis […]

  26. […] forma de acceder a la información.Se pueden consultar otros trabajos del autor en sus páginas, Well Formed Data. Os dejo una demo de éste trabajo con la que podeis interactuar seleccionando los términos con el […]

  27. R.C. de interes
    February 11th, 2011 at 3:14 am

    Belleza, una extraordinaria tesis, con herramientas que sin duda pueden sobresaltar datos y creatividad. Un fuerte abrazo

  28. […] 标签云只是些基础,更多新颖可视化上的一些扩展和尝试,比如说在标签间建立联系的分层标签;在时间轴上显示趋势等。详细请点这里。 […]

  29. […] 标签云只是些基础,更多新颖可视化上的一些扩展和尝试,比如说在标签间建立联系的分层标签;在时间轴上显示趋势等。详细请点这里。 […]

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