Formulating queries on networked information systems is laden with problems: data diversity, data complexity, network growth, varied user base, and slow network access. This paper proposes a new approach to a network query user interface which consists of two phases: query preview and query refinement. This new approach is based on dynamic queries and tight coupling, guiding users to rapidly and dynamically eliminate undesired items, reduce the data volume to a manageable size, and refine queries locally before submission over a network. A two-phase dynamic query system for NASAüs Earth Observing Systems--Data Information Systems (EOSDIS) is presented. The prototype was well received by the team of scientists who evaluated the interface.
Keywords: User interface, direct manipulation, dynamic query, metadata, query preview, query refinement, EOSDIS.