Visualisation Proposal

In this post I’ll be explaining a proposal I’ve worked out. This proposal contains a visualisation of the online impact of a paper. I’ll start of with explaining what and why I’m making this visualisation. Next I’ll show some drawings of the concepts of the visualisation I want to make.


On the figure above is an example of a page showing information about a paper. You immediately notice that this page only contains information stored in this open repository. There is no link with other online services scientist use like Delicious, Twitter, … A user might have added the same paper to his library in Mendeley or bookmarked it using CiteULike. Showing information of the impact of the paper in other services would offer the user a better insight in the importance or activity surrounding this paper. I’d like to create a visualisation to solve this problem so that this visualisation could be added as a widget to an open repository like Lirias.

Requirements of the visualisation

Before creating a visualisation it should be clear what I would like to visualise so I made a list of requirements.

  • The user should be offered an overview of the impact of the publication he’s consulting. This overview should be adjustable to the user needs from superficial like number of references or tags to a more detailed view of the most used tags.
  • Next to impact the user should also be able to discover new trends or related papers. There are several ways to discover new interesting material like for example using tags, twitter messages, … The user should be offered the choice between these possibilities.


I’ve made some drawing on paper of what I’d like to visualise, I’ve created a visualisation that consists 3 separate visualisation. The first visualisation is a timeline showing all the activities related to a paper. Another visualisation offers the user an overview of all the papers having one or more of the tags used with the current paper. The last visualisation shows a graph with related Mendeley libraries which a user can explore using a treemap. I’ll explain these visualisation in more depth in the next paragraphs


To give an overview of the impact of a paper a user might be interested if there are any activities on other services related to the paper. An example could be that another user bookmarked the paper. To visualise this I used a timeline, showing a time based overview of all the activities. As can be seen in the above figure an activity is shown by a round icon, the icon should identify the service. Important in this visualisation is to let the user filter the shown information this is done in several ways. First the user is able to select either year or month view of the timeline, this is simply done by clicking a year or month at the bottom of the timeline. Next an other filter option is  a double slider allowing to select the time span. The user is shown information about the activity by clicking the icon or looking at the result list beneath the timeline.


Knowing which tags people use when bookmarking a paper is a can be help to discover new papers. This visualisation is a graph showing both papers and tags. In the middle is the paper the user starts from surrounded by tags used with this paper. These tags are connected to papers that have also been bookmarked with this tag. The size of the circles and tag icons show the popularity of the tag or paper. Again the user is enabled to filter which tags are shown, the depth of the related papers, … Beneath this visualisation a list of papers is shown that are on the visualisation. This list can be filtered for example by clicking on a tag node only papers with that tag are shown.

Mendeley libraries

In this next visualisation I’m trying to take advantage of Mendeley user data, it would be interesting to know which libraries of user are of high interest for a user. Knowing which library has similar or related content would enable a user to discover new papers. In the figure above the visualisation is a graph showing related libraries that have characteristics in common to a paper. These characteristics could be:

  • Has current paper in the library
  • Same author, co-author in library
  • The library has papers with the same tags

These are just a couple of characteristics that come in to my mind. Again a user will be allowed to filter on these characteristics, making the user in control of the data. By clicking on a library icon a user can choose between a treemap or tag based view on the library. The treemap is based upon the characteristic mentioned above and these determine the size of the squares which represent papers. Beneath the treemap a list of papers present in the library is shown, clicking on a square in the library or list shows a detailed view of the paper. The tag based view shows a list of tags in rectangles, rectangles increase in size by the relevance or use of the tags. The tags can be clicked to filter the list of resulting papers beneath the tags.


The proposal of this visualisation is of course in progress meaning that I will be looking to get feedback on it and also still need to look at the technical possibilities of these visualisation. In the next blog posts I’ll show some more detailed screens of the visualisation and check whether it is technically possible.  Any comments on this post are welcome.


2 Responses to “Visualisation Proposal”

  1. Bram Says:

    A general comment: visualizing timeline, tags would be awesome, if you can get useful data to visualize.

    More specifically, what are these tags and how can you find them ? I recently read a comment that IR software like DSpace, Eprints and OPUS are not fit for the semantic web, because of lacking authority control.
    However, DSpace 1.6 will contain new functionality for authoritity control lists, which could be useful, assuming that a keyword selected from a controlled vocabulary would qualify as a tag.

    Or will you be checking incoming links from something like delicious, and identify the tags that were added to that link ?

    Another comment, a somewhat indirect one:

    If you are really entering the realm of “measuring impact” or assessing online impact, it will be very useful, in the end, to compare the way you assess impact, and the way it’s currently being done in research evaluation standards. In this realm, there are journal impact factors (which is, for some usecases, being considered an out dated approach), and more recently the h-index.

    Ultimately, doing a comparison where you would quantify impact according to another mechanism, and comparing it with more “traditional” impact, for a large sample size of papers, would be extremely interesting. Not sure whether it fits your scope at this moment.

  2. Bram Says:

    die semantic web reference kwam via een spreker uit:

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