Trains of thought: Generating information maps

Dafna Shahaf, Carlos Guestrin, Eric Horvitz

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


When information is abundant, it becomes increasingly dificult to fit nuggets of knowledge into a sigle coherent picture. Complex stories spaghetti into branches, side stories, and intertwining narratives. In order to explore these stories, one needs a map to navigate unfamiliar territory. We propose a methodology for creating structured summaries of information, which we call metro maps. Our proposed algorithm generates a concise structured set of documents which maximizes coverage of salient pieces of information. Most importantly, metro maps explicitly show the relations among retrieved pieces in a way that captures story development. We first formalize characteristics of good maps and formu- late their construction as an optimization problem. Then we provide eficient methods with theoretical guarantees for generating maps. Finally, we integrate user interaction into our framework, allowing users to alter the maps to better reect their interests. Pilot user studies with a real-world dataset demonstrate that the method is able to produce maps which help users acquire knowledge eficiently.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationWWW'12 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference on World Wide Web
Number of pages10
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes
Event21st Annual Conference on World Wide Web, WWW'12 - Lyon, France
Duration: 16 Apr 201220 Apr 2012

Publication series

NameWWW'12 - Proceedings of the 21st Annual Conference on World Wide Web


Conference21st Annual Conference on World Wide Web, WWW'12


  • Information
  • Metro maps
  • Summarization

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications


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