Last summer, my colleague Vladimir Zelevinsky worked with two interns, Robin Stewart (MIT) and Greg Scott (Tufts), on a novel approach to information exploration. They call it “idea navigation”: the basic idea is to extract subject-verb-object triples from unstructured text, group them into hierarchies, and then expose them in a faceted search and browsing interface. I like to think of it as an exploratory search take on question answering.
We found out later that Powerset developed similar functionality that they called “Powermouse” in their private beta and now call “Factz”. While the idea navigation prototype is on a smaller scale (about 100k news articles from October 2000), it does some cool things that I haven’t seen on Powerset, like leveraging verb hypernyms from WordNet.
Click on the frame below to see the presentation they delivered at CHI ’08.