Oregon State University

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MS Final Oral Examination – Seyed Soroush Ghorashi


Wednesday, December 7, 2011 1:00 PM - 3:00 PM

Leyline: A Provenance-based Desktop Search System Using a Graphical Sketchpad Interface
While there are powerful keyword search systems that index all kinds of resources including emails and web pages, people have trouble recalling semantic facts such as the name, location, edit dates and keywords that uniquely identifies resources in their personal repositories. Reusing information exasperates this problem. A rarely used approach is to leverage episodic memory of file provenance. Provenance is traditionally defined as “the history of ownership of a valued object”. In terms of documents, we consider not only the ownership, but also the operations performed on the document, especially those that related it to other people, events, or resources. This thesis investigates the potential advantages of using provenance data in desktop search, and consists of two manuscripts. First, a numerical analysis using field data from a longitudinal study shows that provenance information can effectively be used to identify files and resources in realistic repositories. We introduce the Leyline, the first provenance-based search system that supports dynamic relations between files and resources such as copy/paste, save as, file rename. The Leyline allows users to search by drawing search queries as graphs in a sketchpad. The Leyline overlays provenance information that may help users identify targets or explore information flow. A limited controlled experiment showed that this approach is feasible in terms of time and effort. Second, we explore the design of Leyline, compare it to previous provenance-based desktop search systems, including their underlying assumptions and focus, search coverage and flexibility, and features and limitations.

Major Advisor: Carlos Jensen
Committee: Margaret Burnett
Committee: Christopher Scaffidi
Committee: Ronald Metoyer
GCR: John Nairn


Kelley Engineering Center (campus map)
3114
Ferne Simendinger
1 541 737 2889
ferne at eecs.oregonstate.edu
Sch Elect Engr/Comp Sci
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