DocuBurst: Visualizing Document Content using Language Structure


Christopher Collins, Gerald Penn, Sheelagh Carpendale, Brittany Kondo, Bradley Chicoine


DocuBurst is the first visualization of document content which takes advantage of the human-created structure in lexical databases. We use an accepted design paradigm to generate visualizations which improve the usability and utility of WordNet as the backbone for document content visualization. A radial, space-filling layout of hyponymy (IS-A relation) is presented with interactive techniques of zoom, filter, and details-on-demand for the task of document visualization. The techniques can be generalized to multiple documents.

Live Demo



  • C. Collins, S. Carpendale, and G. Penn, “DocuBurst: Visualizing Document Content Using Language Structure,” Computer Graphics Forum (Proc. of the Eurographics/IEEE-VGTC Symposium on Visualization (EuroVis)), vol. 28, iss. 3, pp. 1039-1046, 2009.
    [Bibtex] [PDF] [DOI]
      key =     {COL2009a},
      author =   {Christopher Collins and Sheelagh Carpendale and Gerald Penn},
      title =   {DocuBurst: Visualizing Document Content Using Language Structure},
      journal =   {Computer Graphics Forum (Proc. of the Eurographics/IEEE-VGTC Symposium on Visualization (EuroVis))},
      year =   2009,
      volume =   28,
      number =   3,
      pages =   {1039 - 1046},
      doi = {10.1111/j.1467-8659.2009.01439.x}

Eurovis presentation PDF slides.


[DocuBurst featured in Marti Hearst’s wonderful book, Search User Interfaces]

[DocuBurst featured in the Toronto Star!]

[DocuBurst on ‘information aesthetics’ blog]

Interview with Margaux Watt of CBC Radio One Manitoba’s “Up To Speed“, 21 Feb, 2008: ¬†Up to Speed

A feature story on DocuBurst aired on FairChild TV “Media Focus” (cable 36 in Toronto), Friday, March 14, 2008!


The code for displaying and interacting with radial, space filling trees in prefuse is open source, and is available for download. The code is distributed as a zip file and can be imported into Eclipse. It is dependent on the prefuse information visualization toolkit and, unfortunately, is minimally documented at this time:
Radial Space Filling Trees in prefuse [.zip] (requires separate prefuse download)


Mavenized code, including pom, courtesy¬†Brian O’Neill


Executable Jar with prefuse embedded [.jar]




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