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    Interactive File Searching Using File Metadata and Visualization

    People and Computers XXIV Games are a Serious Business

    Proceedings of HCI 2010
    The 24th British HCI Group Annual Conference
    University of Abertay, Dundee, UK

    6 - 10 September 2010


    Pedro Teixeira, Daniel Gonçalves and Manuel Fonseca


    Navigation and browsing on a computer system are usually done using the file system hierarchy. However, this is not the most adequate method to search or locate a given file at a later time, unless we know exactly where it is. In this paper, we present a new approach for interactive file searching, which takes advantage of the (implicit) metadata associated to files. With this information we specify a semantic hierarchy that is both used for browsing and filtering the found files. We combine this with an interactive histogram, for overviewing and filtering according to specific metadata, and a dynamic view mechanism, which selects the most appropriate representation for the type of file being presented. Experimental tests with users revealed that they can find files faster than with a conventional browser or searching tool and that the semantic hierarchy and filtering mechanism were well understood by users.


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