eyePlorer – graphical knowledge engine

eyePlorer is an interesting alternative to the usual approach taken by many when looking for information. Instead of using a search engine to produce a series of unrelated links; eyePlorer is a ‘knowledge engine’ designed to use semantic associations and provide a richer experience of interconnected knowledge. This would seem to have useful applications for education throughout the subject disciplines. And as a student it is useful when studying a topic, or writing an essay, to check that you have covered relevant and related areas to demonstrate a fuller understanding; eyePlorer would therefore seem to be a useful way to explore a topic.

The returned content from a topic search is displayed in an elegant graphical interface. There are plenty of features to get your head around with the eyePlorer interface, most or which are quite intuitive, and I’m pretty sure I won’t cover them all, but it’s worth taking a look at this video:

The circular graphic display is segmented into separate topic areas, with information falling into each of the categories. Alongside each information term or phrase is a dot, and the size of these dots indicates whether the information is well known (larger dots) or more obscure information (smaller dots). You can hover over each term/phrase and after a couple of seconds a knowledge box opens providing you with sourced information. Click on the information in the knowledge box and the page with the source of the information opens up within eyePlorer. Note: to get back to your eyePlorer graph, click the Back button at the top centre of the eyePlorer screen.

Across the top of the knowledge box are four tabs. The tab you’re currently in is the eyePlorer facts. The other three are Websearch (powered by Bing), Images (also powered by Bing), and Twitter.

If you want to investigate any of the items (terms/phrases) in your existing eyePlorer graph, you simply drag the item into a blank search term box or onto the plus (+) below the search term. This creates a new graph associating the two terms, to eliminate the original term from this joint search, click the close down x next to the term. You can move between your graphs using the back < and forward > links just at the bottom left and right (respectively) of your graph.

Here is a video giving more detail. Note: some of the interface shown on the video is different to what you might see, I think there must have been software updates to the interface since the video was produced.

On the right of the + is a globe-like icon; dragging a term/phrase onto this performs a Google search for the term. Note: you have to be quite quick doing the dragging or the knowledge box opens before you get there, if this happens just click the globe icon at the bottom of the knowledge box.

When you register for a free account you get to fully use the second element of eyePlorer, the notepad. Whilst you can use the notepad without having an account, you can’t save any of this information, so it is worth registering. To add things to the notepad you simply drag them across from the graphical display.

Why should the use of eyePlorer knowledge engine be significant to you as an end user?

Well, quoting from the Vionto (the designers of the underlying software) site:

What’s in for our users:

  • Associate and aggregate information from different web sites or other content sources
  • Work with a user-friendly, interactive graphical interface
  • Generate content overviews
  • Find, process and store knowledge within a single user interface
  • Gain interesting and unexpected stimuli
  • Retrieve facts and text results (rather than just lists of links)

Vionto Knowledge Machines

http://www.vionto.com/lang/en/2009/01/10/knowledgemachines/

There are some quirks to using eyePlorer, and the available information resources might be a little limited for some users currently, but additional sites and resources will I believe continue to be added. I also believe the interface will continue to be improved. I think the concept is a good one and very useful, tapping into a more visual approach for knowledge retrieval, and the interlinking of knowledge – more a search for something and other related and associated content.

Another plus with eyePlorer is that you can add a spot of html into your website to include a dynamic link to eyePlorer.com for a particular search term.

Example term : Web search engine


eyePlorer.com

I think eyePlorer is very much worth trying. And if it doesn’t quite meet your requirements now, possibly try it again in a few months.

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