Monroe, M., Lan, R., Morales del Olmo, J., Shneiderman, B., Plaisant, C., Millstein, J.
Published in Proc. Of ACM Conference on Human-Computer Interaction (CHI 2013), 2349-2358. [Published Version]
In our burgeoning world of ubiquitous sensors and affordable
data storage, records of timestamped events are being
produced across nearly every domain of personal and professional
computing. This data ranges from government-funded
medical databases, to the meticulously tabulated comings and
goings of obsessive self-trackers. Across all domains, however,
is the need to search these records for meaningful patterns
of events. This paper reports on a two-part user study,
as well as a series of early tests and interviews with clinical
researchers, that informed the development of two temporal
query interfaces: a basic, menu-based interface and an advanced,
graphic-based interface. While the scope of temporal
query is very broad, this work focuses on two particularly
complex and critical facets of temporal event sequences: intervals
(events with both a start time and an end time), and
the absence of an event. We describe how uses encounter a
common set of difficulties when expressing such queries, and
propose solutions to help overcome them. Finally, we report
on 2 case studies with epidemiologists at the US Army Pharmacovigilance
Center, illustrating how both query interfaces
were used to study patterns of drug use.
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