Automated Visual Access (AVA) is a computer program that effectively makes a large collection of information visible in a manner that enables a user to quickly and efficiently locate information resources, with minimal need for conventional keyword searches and perusal of complex hierarchical directory systems.

AVA includes three key components: (1) a taxonomy that comprises a collection of words and phrases, clustered according to meaning, that are used to classify information resources; (2) a statistical indexing and scoring engine; and (3) a component that generates a graphical user interface that uses the scoring data to generate a visual map of resources and topics. The top level of an AVA display is a pictorial representation of an information archive. The user enters the depicted archive by either clicking on a depiction of subject area cluster, selecting a topic from a list, or entering a query into a text box. The resulting display enables the user to view candidate information entities at various levels of detail. Resources are grouped spatially by topic with greatest generality at the top layer and increasing detail with depth. The user can zoom in or out of specific sites or into greater or lesser content detail.

This program was written by Robert O. Shelton of Johnson Space Center, Stephanie L. Smith of LinCom, and Dat Truong and Terry R. Hodgson of Science Applications International Corp.

The code is copyrighted and is available for licensing. For further information, contact the Johnson Technology Transfer Office at (281) 483-3809. MSC-23542

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the September, 2005 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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