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Book review: Darwinia
Reviewed: Friday, August 11, 2006

Summer reading: Spin
Reviewed: Saturday, August 5, 2006

Runner
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tinderbox

Time as Essence for Photo Browsing Through Personal Digital Libraries
Adrian Graham and Hector Garcia-Molina and Andreas Paepcke and Terry Winograd, 2002 , (Paper URL)
Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Digital cameras lead to lots of pictures and hierarchical file systems aren't up to the task of managing them especially if the photographer doesn't have the time to invest in labeling, captioning and organizing. The authors of Time as Essence realized that most pictures are taken in batches - a birthday, a trip, another birthday, a holiday, a party - and that the pictures taken at these events often come in sub-batches - the arrival, the opening of the presents, the eating of the cake. From here, it's a relatively simple matter to cluster the stream of pictures hierarchically and present an interface that uses this structure to help user's find the photos for which they look. This paper lays out the problem, provides two photo browser solutions and then compares these with a commercial offering in a series of experiments. Perhaps not surprisingly, the time-clustering browsers bested the simple linear one for photo finding. More interestingly, the simpler of the two browser bested it's cousin (which revealed more structure in its interface which led me to think it would score more highly). The great thing about this work is the understanding that people don't want and often aren't able to organize the masses of data they swim in. Systems that the can find structure automatically are a big win. The other great thing is the reaffirmation that user's want simple interfaces (go Apple go).


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