EDUC : a visual database for supporting link chart analysis
Link Analysis (LA) is a visual data analysis technique originally developed for analysing
crime related data. The technique enables the user to gain a better understanding of the
connections between objects of interest in the problem domain by displaying the connections
in a form of network diagram referred to as a link chart. A link chart is often altered during
its lifetime, as part of the exploratory nature of the knowledge discovery process, to reflect
new information, and to increase the level of comprehensibility.
To provide the necessary flexibility for accessing and manipulating large volumes of data the
data collected in an investigation is often stored in a database. Permitting link charts to be
constructed from this data is of great value, as LA is not adequately supported by the database
query systems currently available. This is because the record-based data models they often
use are inappropriate for modelling connections between objects, the query languages they
typically provide can only retrieve connections between objects if the way connections may
be derived are specified in the query, and their data visualisation facilities generally do not
allow the results of a number of queries to be integrated and edited.
This thesis concerns the Exploratory Database View Constructor (EDVC), an experimental
visual database interface for supporting LA. The results obtained from a user evaluation of
EDVC indicate that the system may be used by individuals with no experience of interacting
directly with a database management system (DBMS). This is a consequence of the style of
interaction supported, which allows the data stored to be browsed without having to possess
explicit knowledge of the database schema. Such knowledge is typically a prerequisite for
using a database query language and can prevent productive use of such a language by an
inexperienced DBMS user.