Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

LiquidText Software Supports Active Reading through Fingertip Manipulation of Text

29.06.2011
Many reading tasks require individuals to not only read a document, but also to understand, learn from and retain the information in it. For this type of reading, experts recommend a process called active reading, which involves highlighting, outlining and taking notes on the text.

Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed software that facilitates an innovative approach to active reading. Taking advantage of touch-screen tablet computers, the LiquidText software enables active readers to interact with documents using finger motions. LiquidText can significantly enhance the experiences of active readers, a group that includes students, lawyers, managers, corporate strategists and researchers.

“Most computer-based active reading software seeks to replicate the experience of paper, but paper has limitations, being in many ways inflexible,” said Georgia Tech graduate student Craig Tashman. “LiquidText offers readers a fluid-like representation of text so that users can restructure, revisualize and rearrange content to suit their needs.”

LiquidText was developed by Tashman and Keith Edwards, an associate professor in the Georgia Tech School of Interactive Computing. The software can run on any Windows 7 touchscreen computer.

Details on LiquidText were presented last month at the Association for Computing Machinery’s annual Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI) in Vancouver, Canada. Development of LiquidText was supported by the National Science Foundation, Steelcase, Samsung and Dell.

Active reading demands more of the reading medium than simply advancing pages, Edwards noted. Active readers may need to create and find a variety of highlights and comments, and move rapidly among multiple sections of a document.

“With paper, it can be difficult to view disconnected parts of a document in parallel, annotation can be constraining, and its linear nature gives readers little flexibility for creating their own navigational structures,” said Edwards.

LiquidText provides flexible control of the visual arrangement of content, including both original text and annotations. To do this, the software uses a number of common fingertip gestures on the touchscreen and introduces several novel gestures. For example, to view two areas of a document at once, the user can pinch an area of text and collapse it.

Active reading involves annotation, content extraction and fast, fluid navigation among multiple portions of a document. To accomplish these tasks, LiquidText integrates a traditional document reading space with a dedicated workspace area where the user can organize excerpts and annotations of a text -- without losing the links back to their sources. In these spaces, the user can perform many actions, including:
• Highlight text
• Comment about text
• Extract text
• Collapse text
• Bookmark text
• Magnify text
For commenting, LiquidText breaks away from the traditional one-to-one mapping between content and comments. Comment objects can refer to any number of pieces of content across a document, or even multiple documents. Comments can be pulled off, rearranged and grouped with other items while maintaining a persistent link back to the content they refer to. To add a comment, users simply select the desired text and begin typing.

Content can also be copied and extracted using LiquidText. Once a section of text has been selected, the user creates an excerpt simply by dragging the selection into the workspace until it “snaps off” of the document. The original content remains in the document, although it is tinted slightly to indicate that an excerpt has been made from it. Excerpts can be freely laid out in the workspace area or be attached to one another or to documents to form groups, while each excerpt can also be traced back to its source.

“The problem with paper and some software programs is that the comments must generally fit in the space of a small margin and can only be linked to a single page of text at a time,” said Tashman. “LiquidText’s more flexible notion of comments and large workspace area provide space for organizing and manipulating any comments or document excerpts the user may have created.”

In addition to traditional zooming and panning, the user can create a magnifying glass in the workspace by tapping with three fingers. The magnifying glass zooms in on select areas while allowing the user to maintain an awareness of the workspace as a whole. Users can manipulate the magnifying glass with simple multi-touch gestures, such as pinching or stretching to resize the lens, or rotating to change the zoom level -- like the zoom lens of a camera. Users can position, resize and control the zoom level of the magnifying glasses in a continuous motion by movements of the hand alone.

The ability to move within a document, search for text, turn a page, or flip between locations to compare parts of a text is also important for active reading. To complete these actions, LiquidText allows users to collapse text, dog-ear text and create magnified views of text.

“In contrast to traditional document viewing software, in which users must create separate panes and scroll them individually, LiquidText’s functionality lets a user view two or more document areas with just one action, parallelizing an otherwise serial task,” explained Edwards.

Since developing their initial prototype, the researchers have refined the software based on feedback from designers and human factors professionals, and active readers that included managers, lawyers, students and strategists.

Tashman is currently working with Georgia Tech’s Enterprise Innovation Institute to form a startup company to commercialize the technology. The $15,000 Georgia Tech Edison Prize he won, along with $43,000 in grants from the Georgia Research Alliance, will help launch the new company that plans to introduce LiquidText to the public later this year.

The Georgia Tech Edison Prize was established to encourage formation of startup companies based on technology developed at Georgia Tech, and was made possible by a multi-year grant from the Charles A. Edison Fund, named for the inventor’s son. Presentation of the prize, the second to be awarded from the Fund, was part of the Georgia Tech Graduate Research and Innovation Conference held Feb. 8, 2011.

This project is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (Award No. IIS-0705569). The content is solely the responsibility of the principal investigator and does not necessarily represent the official views of the NSF.

Research News & Publications Office
Georgia Institute of Technology
75 Fifth Street, N.W., Suite 314
Atlanta, Georgia 30308 USA
Media Relations Contacts: Abby Robinson (abby@innovate.gatech.edu; 404-385-3364) or John Toon (jtoon@gatech.edu; 404-894-6986)

Writer: Abby Robinson

Abby Robinson | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.gatech.edu

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano
20.10.2017 | Brown University

nachricht New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Salmonella as a tumour medication

HZI researchers developed a bacterial strain that can be used in cancer therapy

Salmonellae are dangerous pathogens that enter the body via contaminated food and can cause severe infections. But these bacteria are also known to target...

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microfluidics probe 'cholesterol' of the oil industry

23.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Gamma rays will reach beyond the limits of light

23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

The end of pneumonia? New vaccine offers hope

23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>