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Information und Knowledge Visualization for Fostering Resource-Based Learning

Multimodal Interaction


November 2004 - October 2007


Budget resources of KMRC


Visualizations have proven to be helpful in fostering cognitive processes. Information visualizations may help to visualize the inherent structure of large amounts of abstract non-physically data, for example in a hypermedia learning environment, a digital database or in the Word Wide Web, in order to foster information search processes (Card, Mackinlay & Sneiderman, 1999). Knowledge Visualizations may foster cognitive functions of the brain in the organization and mental representation of knowledge. Thereby, knowledge acquisition and problem solving may be fostered and knowledge may be localized, reconstructed, diagnosed and communicated more easily (Holley & Dansereau, 1984). Digital concept maps open up possibilities to capitalize on synergies of both kinds of visualizations (Keller & Tergan, 2005; Tergan, 2005, Tergan, Keller & Burkhard, 2006).
In this project the potentials of digital concept maps for a knowledge-based communication of information resources were studied empirically. In the “AG Wissenserwerb mit Hypermedien” the focus of interest was on using digital concept maps as interfaces for fostering information search. Existing empirical results were contradictory (Rouet, Potelle & Goumi, 2005). It was expected that a digital concept map used as interface as compared with a digital concept list (similar to a hierarchical bookmark list of URLs) is more advantageous in searching for task-relevant information resources, because in a concept map semantic relations (category and functional relations) between resources may be visualized and verbalized whereas in a concept list only a visualization of category relations is possible. In a decision experiment evidence was yielded that concept maps may not foster information search in any cases. The results show that a digital concept map may be used effectively as an interface for information search, (1) if knowledge about the semantic relations between task-relevant information resources is of importance for deciding about the task-relevance of a resource and (2) if the map is clearly designed and comprehensible for the user. In the case that only category relations between topics of information resources were relevant for deciding about the task-relevance of a resource the study showed no significant differences in information search performance between subjects using the concept map and the concept list interface.


  • Card, S. K., Mackinlay, J. D. & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Information Visualization. In S. K. Card, J. D. Mackinlay & B. Shneiderman (Eds.), Information visualization. Using vision to think (pp. 1-34). San Francisco: Morgan Kaufmann.
  • Keller, T., & Tergan, S. -O. (2005). Toward synergistic approaches to knowledge and information visualization. In K. Tochtermann & H. Maurer (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Knowledge Management (I-KNOW "05): Special Track on Knowledge and Information Visualization (pp. 510-517). New York: Springer.
  • Rouet, J.-F., Potelle, H., & Goumi, A. (2005). The role of content representations in hypermedia learning: Effects of task and learner variables. In S.-O. Tergan & T. Keller (Eds.), Knowledge and information visualization: Searching for synergies. LNCS 3426, pp.343-354. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.
  • Tergan, S.-O. (2005). Digital Concept Maps for Managing Knowledge and Knowledge Resources. In S.-O. Tergan & T. Keller (Eds.), Knowledge and information visualization: Searching for synergies. LNCS 3426, pp.185–204. Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag.
  • Tergan, S.-O., Keller, T., & Burkhard, R.A. (2006). Integrating knowledge and information: digital concept maps as a bridging technology. In S.-O. Tergan, T. Keller, & R.A. Burkhard, R. (Eds.). Concept Maps. A Special Issue of Information Visualization 5(3), 167-174.