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Software > GRIDL Algorithm

Description | Pros and Cons | Applications | Details | Usage Hints | References | Acknowledgments


Visualization of a set of image descriptions retrieved from IU's Department of the History of Art Dido Image Bank.


GRIDL (GRaphical Interface for Digital Libraries) enables users to view several thousand of items, e.g. documents, at once. Utilizing a two-dimensional grid-like display it provides a meaningful overview so that patterns and distributions can be easily recognized. Users can navigate/filter data via categorical and hierarchical axes, called hieraxes. Drilling down into a hierarchy corresponds to categorical zooming. Each grid point of the display shows a cluster of color-coded dots or a bar chart. Clicking on a dot brings up details. GRIDL combines the power of a hierarchical browsing tool with two-dimensional visualization. It can be used to display 100 to 10,000 items.

Pros & Cons

Hierarchies reduce complexity by organizing related documents into hand coded, comprehensible, agreed upon structures. Chimera and Shneiderman (1994) have shown that browsing through a table of contents is preferable over more analytical methods such as query formulation.



In class, we use the GRIDL package developed at the HCIL, University of Maryland, dated July 19, 2000.

Usage Hints

The Fish Eye Table can be used as part of the IV Software repository. Simply open the repository and open the fisheye.xml file using the File menu. Then select Fish Eye from the Visualize menu.

The Fish Eye Table is also available as a separate standalone application. It can be implemented by running FishEyeTest.java, the file that contains the main method. FishEyeTest.java extends JFrame.



Ben Shneiderman and Harry Hochheiser made the GRIDL package available for the purpose of teaching the IV course at IU. Todd Holloway integrated the code into the XML Toolkit.

Information Visualization Cyberinfrastructure @ SLIS, Indiana University
Last Modified January 14, 2004