Conversation Map: An Interface for Very Large-Scale Conversations

Warren Sack
MIT Media Lab

Seminar on People, Computers, and Design
Stanford University January 21, 2000

Conversation Map is a newsgroup browser that is designed to make it easier for participants to understand and reflect on very large-scale conversations like large, electronic-mail lists or busy, Usenet newsgroups.

In principle the Conversation Map system can be used just like a usual electronic news or mail program (e.g., Eudora, RN, or Netscape Messenger). The main difference is that the Conversation Map system analyzes the content and the relationships between messages and then uses the results of the analysis to create a graphical interface. With the graphical interface, a participant can see the social and semantic relationships that have emerged over the course of the discussion. The Conversation Map system computes and then graphs out who is "talking" to whom, what they are "talking" about, and the central terms and possible metaphors of the conversation.

Warren Sack is a Ph.D. student and research assistant at the MIT Media Laboratory in the Machine Understanding Group and a collaborator at the MIT Center for Advanced Visual Studies in the Interrogative Design Group


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