Milestones in Time: The Value of Landmarks in Retrieving Information from Personal Stores

Proceedings of Interact 2003 |

We describe the design and analysis of timeline visualizations for displaying the results of queries on an index of personal content. The visualization was built on top of a personal search engine that provides a unified index of all the information a user has seen, including web pages, email, and documents. Results of searches are presented with an overview-plus-detail timeline visualization. A summary view shows the distribution of search hits over time, and a detailed view allows for inspection of individual search results. In a user study, we explore the value of extending a basic time view by adding public landmarks (holidays and important news events) and personal landmarks (photos and important calendar events).