The INVENT framework: Examining the role of information visualization in the reconceptualization of digital libraries
The objective of this paper is to show how information visualization can play an important and catalytic role in the reconceptualization of digital libraries as interactive knowledge environments. Information visualization has long been described as a beneficial and promising technology for digital libraries. Today, however, few digital libraries rely on information visualization concepts and techniques. This is because the research agenda has been dominated by first-generation challenges, such as digitization, organization, preservation, and facilitating access through conventional search and browse interfaces. As a result, digital libraries are still conceptualized as curated, networked, and searchable document repositories. But new research directions are reconceptualizing them as interactive knowledge environments. This paper re-examines the role of information visualization in this reconceptualization. It introduces a new conceptual framework for digital libraries called INVENT: INteractive Visual ENironmenTs. The INVENT framework emphasizes the importance of rich interaction with representations of information, especially visual representations, for supporting cognitive and knowledge work activities. There are six elements in the framework: digital objects, representations, activities, interactions, actors, and ecologies. This paper suggests that these elements should be conceptual cornerstones in the knowledge environment conceptualization of digital libraries.