l o o m 2
w  o  r  k   i  n   p  r  o  g  r  e  s  s

professor judith donath . danah boyd . hyun-yeul lee . ethan perry
[smg contributors] karrie karahalios   [w/ support from] scott golder
[past supporters] dan ramage . ming-en cho

Although constructed for researchers to share news and information, Usenet quickly developed into a social environment with varied styles of interactions. Unfortunately, the browsers developed to view the shared messages fail to effectively convey the rich social features of a newsgroup, let alone all of Usenet. The goal of our research is to use the salient features of social interaction to build a "legible" interactive visual representation of Usenet.

We started by exploring the Usenet environment, constructing a series of relevant questions. From the questions, we have started to explore how this information can be derived from the textual data available online. Simultaneously, we have started designing segments of a visualization, under the assumption that the desired characteristics were ascertainable. To build our designs, we drew on a wide variety of theoretical and practical concepts from a range of fields, including graphic and interactive design, architecture, sociology, and computer animation.

The design exercises, computational explorations and some brief data analysis are available at this website to give the reader an understanding of the conceptual processes we have been undergoing in order to develop a more legible social visualization. These different processes play off one another to help us break down the different problems involved in such visualizations. All of this work represents a work in progress; the progress will continue to accumulate at this website.

Additionally, our conceptual framework, questions to determine the socially salient features of Usenet, and a review of our designs is laid out in an upcoming IEEE publication for HICSS-2002, available now in PDF form. This paper conveys the thought process involved in this ongoing work, helping the reader get a sense of the concepts behind each design. Alongside the more detailed designs on this website, this paper will help the visitor navigate our work.

Loom2 is a continuation of the work that began in Karrie Karahalios' Loom.