Books, Journals, New Media Section Editor: Harriet
S. Meyer, MD, Contributing Editor, JAMA; David H. Morse, MS, University
of Southern California, Norris Medical Library, Journal Review Editor.
RefViz is information visualization software;
it detects and displays related concepts from a large universe of published
scientific literature. Visualization automates the task of reading through
massive new text, assimilating its contents, and then manually detecting unifying
concepts. The history behind this development requires explanation.
Unsorted tonnage of information can be suffocating. Sifting and analysis
are necessary to reduce this cognitive overload. The bioinformatics field
came up with data-mining techniques for this purpose. Mining scans published
literature, detects repetitively recurring word patterns, and determines their
relationships. It then depicts iterative terms and themes in graphic form
using trees, clusters, or branching diagrams. Clustering of unique but related
text and data ease the tedium of individualized reading and cognitive analysis.
One example is the Visual Thesaurus (http://www.visualthesaurus.com/online/index.html).
Satya-Murti S. Reference Software. JAMA. 2004;291(7):887-888. doi:10.1001/jama.291.7.887-b