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Documents in rich text corpora often contain multiple facets of information. For example, an article from a medical document collection might consist of multifaceted information about symptoms, treatments, causes, diagnoses, prognoses, and preventions. Thus, documents in the collection may have different relations across each of these various facets. Topic analysis and exploration for such multi-relational corpora is a challenging visual analytic task. This paper presents Solar Map, a multifaceted visual analytic technique for visually exploring topics in multi-relational data. Solar Map simultaneously visualizes the topic distribution of the underlying entities from one facet together with keyword distributions that convey the semantic definition of each cluster along a secondary facet. Solar Map combines several visual techniques including 1) topic contour clusters and interactive multifaceted keyword topic rings, 2) a global layout optimization algorithm that aligns each topic cluster with its corresponding keywords, and 3) 2) an optimal temporal network segmentation and layout method that renders temporal evolution of clusters. Finally, the paper concludes with two case studies and quantitative user evaluation which show the power of the Solar Map technique.
Date of Conference: 11-14 Dec. 2011