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Branch-explore-merge: facilitating real-time revision control in collaborative visual exploration

Collaborative work is characterized by participants seamlessly transitioning from working together (coupled) to working alone (decoupled). Groupware should therefore facilitate smoothly varying coupling throughout the entire collaborative session. Towards achieving such transitions for collaborative exploration and search, we propose a protocol based on managing revisions for each collaborator exploring a dataset. The protocol allows participants to diverge from the shared analysis path (branch), study the data independently (explore), and then contribute back their findings onto the shared display (merge). We apply this concept to collaborative search in multidimensional data, and propose an implementation where the public view is a tabletop display and the private views are embedded in handheld tablets. We then use this implementation to perform a qualitative user study involving a real estate dataset. Results show that participants leverage the BEM protocol, spend \ significant time using their private views (40% to 80% of total task time), and apply public view changes for consultation with collaborators.

https://doi.org/10.1145/2396636.2396673

Will McGrath, Brian Bowman, David McCallum, Juan David Hincapié-Ramos, Niklas Elmqvist, and Pourang Irani. 2012. Branch-explore-merge: facilitating real-time revision control in collaborative visual exploration. In Proceedings of the 2012 ACM international conference on Interactive tabletops and surfaces (ITS '12). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, 235–244. DOI:https://doi.org/10.1145/2396636.2396673

Bibtext Entry

@inproceedings{10.1145/2396636.2396673,
author = {McGrath, Will and Bowman, Brian and McCallum, David and Hincapi\'{e}-Ramos, Juan David and Elmqvist, Niklas and Irani, Pourang},
title = {Branch-Explore-Merge: Facilitating Real-Time Revision Control in Collaborative Visual Exploration},
year = {2012},
isbn = {9781450312097},
publisher = {Association for Computing Machinery},
address = {New York, NY, USA},
url = {https://doi.org/10.1145/2396636.2396673},
doi = {10.1145/2396636.2396673},
abstract = {Collaborative work is characterized by participants seamlessly transitioning from working together (coupled) to working alone (decoupled). Groupware should therefore facilitate smoothly varying coupling throughout the entire collaborative session. Towards achieving such transitions for collaborative exploration and search, we propose a protocol based on managing revisions for each collaborator exploring a dataset. The protocol allows participants to diverge from the shared analysis path (branch), study the data independently (explore), and then contribute back their findings onto the shared display (merge). We apply this concept to collaborative search in multidimensional data, and propose an implementation where the public view is a tabletop display and the private views are embedded in handheld tablets. We then use this implementation to perform a qualitative user study involving a real estate dataset. Results show that participants leverage the BEM protocol, spend  significant time using their private views (40% to 80% of total task time), and apply public view changes for consultation with collaborators.},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 2012 ACM International Conference on Interactive Tabletops and Surfaces},
pages = {235–244},
numpages = {10},
keywords = {private views, coupling, public views, collaborative visualization, computer-supported collaborative work},
location = {Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA},
series = {ITS '12}
}

Authors

Pourang Irani

Pourang Irani

Professor
Canada Research Chair