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History Flow Shows How Wiki Articles Evolve

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Bookmark and Share IBM has released a preliminary alpha version of its History Flow Visualization Application that shows how collaboratively created do*****ents evolve. The tool is written in Java and it's available for download. The application includes online help, as well as a plug-in for retrieving the history of a given page from any MoinMoin "wiki." ("Wikis" are Web sites that are freely editable by anyone who visits them.)

How does it work?

History Flow Visualization Application represents each document as a vertical line whose length corresponds to the length of the document. The technology then applies a standard "diff" algorithm to successive versions of a document, using periods and angle brackets to indicate changes. This level of detail is effective for free-form prose. After matching passages of successive versions have been identified, the matches are represented onscreen by a parallelogram connecting the appropriate sections of the document segments. Both segments and parallelograms are colored to indicate authorship.

History Flow Visualization Application has four main visualization modes that display the contents of the document being analyzed as it changes over different versions. Each one of these modes highlights different aspects of authorship and content changes as these evolve over time.

  • Community view: This is the default mode and it shows all contributions from different authors, color-coding the text to indicate the author of each sentence.
  • Individual author view: This mode highlights the contributions of a single author and it depicts the persistence of these contributions over time.
  • Recent Changes View: This mode highlights the new content in each version of the Wiki page, independent of authorship. This view allow us to see what portions of the text have been edited the most over time.
  • Age View: This mode has no colors representing authorship; instead, the focus is on the persistence of different contributions. A gray scale gradient goes from white (brand-new contribution) to dark gray (very old contribution).

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