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Dfhuynh Thesis | Semantic Web | World Wide Web

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User Interfaces Supporting Casual Data-Centric Interactions on the Web by David F. Huynh S.M. Computer Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2003) B.A.Sc. Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo (2001) Submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering at the MASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY August 2007 © Massachusetts
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  User Interfaces Supporting Casual Data-Centric Interactions on the Web by David F. Huynh S.M. Computer Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2003)B.A.Sc. Computer Engineering, University of Waterloo (2001)Submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science in partial fulllment of the requirements for the degree of  Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering at theMASSACHUSETTS INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY August 2007© Massachusetts Institute of Technology 2007. All rights reserved. Author ...............................................................................Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer ScienceAugust 27, 2007 Certied by ...........................................................................David R. KargerProfessor of Computer Science and Engineering Thesis Supervisor Certied by ...........................................................................Robert C. MillerProfessor of Computer Science and Engineering Thesis Supervisor Accepted by ...........................................................................Authur C. SmithChairman, Department Committee on Graduate Students  2  3 User Interfaces Supporting Casual Data-Centric Interactions on the Web by David F. Huynh Submitted to the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science on August 31, 2007, in partial fulllment of the requirements for the degree of  Doctor of Philosophy in Computer Science and Engineering   Abstract  Today’s Web is full of structured data, but much of it is transmitted in natural languagetext or binary images that are not conducive to further machine processing by the time it reaches the user’s web browser. Consequently, casual users—those without programming skills—are limited to whatever features that web sites offer. Encountering a few dozens of addresses of public schools listed in a table on one web site and a few dozens of private schools on another web site, a casual user would have to painstakingly copy and pasteeach and every address into an online map service, copy and paste the schools’ names, to get a unied view of where the schools are relative to her home. Any more sophisticated operations on data encountered on the Web—such as re-plotting the results of a scienticexperiment found online just because the user wants to test a different theory—would betremendously difcult. Conversely, to publish structured data to the Web, a casual user settles for static data les or HTML pages that offer none of the features provided by commercial sites such assearching, ltering, maps, timelines, etc., or even as basic a feature as sorting. To offer a rich experience on her site, the casual user must single-handedly build a three-tier web applica-tion that normally takes a team of engineers several months. This thesis explores user interfaces for casual users—those without programming skills—to extract and reuse data from today’s Web as well as publish data into the Web in richly browsable and reusable form. By assuming that casual users most often deal with small and simple data sets, declarative syntaxes and direct manipulation techniques can be supported for tasks previously done only with programming in experts’ tools.User studies indicated that tools built with such declarative syntaxes and direct ma- nipulation techniques could be used by casual users. Moreover, the data publishing tool built from this research has been used by actual users on the Web for many purposes, frompresenting educational materials in classroom to listing products for very small businesses.Thesis Supervisors: David R. Karger and Robert C. MillerTitles: Professors of Computer Science and Engineering   4
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