Time as essence for photo browsing through personal digital libraries

A. Graham, H. Garcia-Molina, A. Paepcke, and T. Winograd. Time as essence for photo browsing through personal digital libraries. In JCDL ’02: Proceedings of the 2nd ACM/IEEE-CS joint conference on Digital libraries, pages 326–335, New York, NY, USA, 2002. ACM. [PDF]


This paper decribes PhotoBrowser, a prototype system for personal digital pictures that organize the content using the timestamps of each photo. The authors’ main assumption is that text annotations are great because are accessible to a variety of search and processing algorithms. Many systems exploits this possibility requiring time-intensive manual annotations (e.g., FotoFile [Kang and Shneiderman, 2000] and PhotoFinder Kuchinsky et al., 1999]).

The authors’ proposal is that of exploiting the timestamps at which the pictures have been taken. They propose an organizational, and visual, clustering of the pictures which divide the photos using longer periods of inactivities between one picture and the next.

To verify their assumption, the authors tested the PhotoBrowser against other two applications. The first was a Hierarchical Browser, which organized the pictures at different levels corresponding to time at different granularity. The Scrollable Browser, organized the pictures into a single time-ordered list that could be scrolled.

The author asked 12 subjects to perform 6 retrieval tasks following different criteria. Their main result was that the browser that organized the pictures into temporal clusters enabled significantly faster completion times at an average of about 50 seconds.


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