Potluck: Data Mash-Up Tool for Casual Users

author: David Huynh, Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
published: Jan. 31, 2008,   recorded: November 2007,   views: 263
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Description

As more and more reusable structured data appears on the Web, casual users will want to take into their own hands the task of mashing up data rather than wait for mash-up sites to be built that address exactly their individually unique needs. In this paper, we present Potluck, a Web user interface that lets casual users— those without programming skills and data modeling expertise—mash up data themselves. Potluck is novel in its use of drag and drop for merging fields, its integration and extension of the faceted browsing paradigm for focusing on subsets of data to align, and its application of simultaneous editing for cleaning up data syntactically. Potluck also lets the user construct rich visualizations of data in-place as the user aligns and cleans up the data. This iterative process of integrating the data while constructing useful visualizations is desirable when the user is unfamiliar with the data at the beginning—a common case—and wishes to get immediate value out of the data without having to spend the overhead of completely and perfectly integrating the data first. A user study on Potluck indicated that it was usable and learnable, and elicited excitement from programmers who, even with their programming skills, previously had great difficulties performing data integration.

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