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Usability of Visual Information Retrieval Metaphors for Object-Oriented Databases

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Presented on the On The Move Federated Conferences and Workshops (DOA, ODBASE, CoopIS, PhD Symposium), Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS 3292), pp. 822-833, October 25-29, 2004, Larnaca, Cyprus.

Abstract
We present visual metaphors of Mavigator, a visual information retrieval system for Web-oriented database applications. The metaphors allow the naive users (computer non-professionals) to retrieve information from object-oriented databases in an easy and intuitive form. Novel features of Mavigator include coherent combination of a few paradigms: intentional navigation, extensional navigation, baskets for recording retrieval results and active extensions. The latter are programmed in a programming language thus allow a programmer to extend functionalities available to end users with no limitations. Due to the flexible architecture Mavigator is able to work not only with a proprietary object-oriented database but also with any information source. The objective of the corresponding PhD thesis is investigation into usability of different visual retrieval metaphors in realistic Web applications. In this paper we present some of the metaphors and discuss their potential for users.