From overview to facets and pivoting for interactive exploration of semantic web data
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The proliferation of Linked Open Data on the Web has increased the amount of data available for analysis and reuse. However, casual users find it difficult to explore and use Semantic Web Data due to the prevalence of specialised browsers that require complex queries to be formed and intimate knowledge on the structure of datasets. The authors address this problem in the Rhizomer tool by applying the data analysis mantra of overview, zoom and filter. These interaction patterns are implemented using information architecture components users are already familiar with but that are automatically generated from data and ontologies. This approach makes it possible to obtain an overview of the dataset being explored using techniques, such as navigation menus, treemaps or sitemaps, which are usually not available in text-based semantic web browsers. From there, users can interactively explore the data using facets. Moreover, facets also feature a pivoting operation, motivated during tests with lay users, that removes the main constraint of most faceted browsers, i.e. the inability to combine filters for differently faceted views to build complex queries.