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Jigsaw: Visual Analytics for Exploring and Understanding Document Collections

Team Members: John Stasko, Carsten Görg, Zhicheng Liu, Sakshi Pratap, Anand Sainath
Alumni: Meekal Bajaj, Alex Humesky, Mohit Jain, Youn-ah Kang, Jaeyeon Kihm, Vasili Pantazopoulos, Neel Parekh, Roger Pincombe, Kanupriya Singhal, Gennadiy Stepanov, Chad Stolper, Xin Sun, Sarah Williams

- New -
WebJigsaw is here!
Try out the web-based version of Jigsaw that runs in a web browser
April 24, 2023
Desktop (java-based) Jigsaw
Download Now
0.54 Release
March 4, 2016
ListView on the web
The stand-alone web-based List View for your csv, tsv, and json data

    Tutorial Videos - Instructional videos for learning how to use the system
    Talk slides - Slides from talk about Jigsaw's combination of text mining and visualization (2.9 MB pdf)
    9/11 Report Video (2013) - Browsing the report (100 MB mp4)
    InfoVis/VAST Papers Video (2012) - Academic papers exploration (51 MB mp4)
    Car Reviews Video (2012) - Reviews of Hyundai Genesis (5 MB mp4)
    Wine Reviews Video (2011) - R. Parker reviews of Tuscan wines (16 MB mp4)
    CHI Papers Video (2010) - CHI conf papers scenario (Flash, 46 MB mp4)
    BioJigsaw Video (2010) - Genomics application (Flash, 53 MB avi)
    Tutorial Video (2009) - More details about views (11 MB mov)
    Overview Video (2007) - Introduction to system (20 MB wmv, 32 MB mov)

Full papers:
     Reflections on the Evolution of the Jigsaw Visual Analytics System - Information Visualization 2014
     Combining Computational Analyses and Interactive Visualization for Document Exploration and Sensemaking in Jigsaw - TVCG 2013
     Visual Analytics Support for Intelligence Analysis - Computer 2013
     Informing design of visual analytics systems for intelligence analysis: understanding users, user tasks, and tool usage - Kang PhD thesis 2012
     Examining the Use of a Visual Analytics System for Sensemaking Tasks: Case Studies with Domain Experts" - TVCG 2012
     How Can Visual Analytics Assist Investigative Analysis? Design Implications from an Evaluation - TVCG 2011
     Visualization and Language Processing for Supporting Analysis Across the Biomedical Literature - KES 2010
     Combining Computational Analyses and Interactive Visualization to Enhance Information Retrieval - HCIR 2010
     Evaluating Visual Analytics Systems for Investigative Analysis: Deriving Design Principles from a Case Study - VAST 2009
     Jigsaw: Supporting Investigative Analysis through Interactive Visualization - Information Visualization 2008
     Evaluating Visual Analytics at the 2007 VAST Symposium Contest - IEEE CG&A 2008
     Jigsaw: Supporting Investigative Analysis through Interactive Visualization - VAST 2007
     Jigsaw: Visualization for Investigative Analysis VacViews article
     Jigsaw to Save Vastopolis - VAST 2011 Mini Challenge 3 Award: 'Good Use of the Analytic Process' (Invited Challenge Paper) - VAST 2011
     Data Ingestion and Evidence Marshalling in Jigsaw VAST 2010 Mini Challenge 1 Award: Good Support for Data Ingest (Invited Challenge Paper) - VAST 2010
     Jigsaw meets Blue Iguanodon - The VAST 2007 Contest (Invited Contest Paper) - VAST 2007
     Visual Analytics with Jigsaw (Invited Poster Paper) - VAST 2007
  Using Jigsaw, we won the university division of the VAST 2007 Contest

Investigative analysts and researchers acquire clues and connect small bits of evidence to uncover larger plans, stories, or narratives, and to simply gain a better understanding of the information. Often, the individual bits of evidence are short text documents or spreadsheets, and analysts must examine large collections of such documents in order to "put the pieces together" and formulate a well-supported hypothesis about actions that may occur in the future. As the number of documents to examine rises, it becomes more and more challenging for analysts to understand the data and make judgments about it.

We have created Jigsaw, a visual analytics system to help analysts and researchers better explore, analyze, and make sense of such document collections. Our specific objective is to help analysts reach more timely and accurate understandings of the larger stories and important concepts embedded throughout textual reports. Jigsaw provides a collection of visualizations that each portray different aspects of the documents. We particularly focus on presenting the identifiable important entities (people, places, organizations, etc.) and their direct or indirect connections. Textual processing extracts the important entities from the documents and then the visualizations help an analyst to explore the relationships and connections among the entities. The system includes a variety of visualizations such as list, graph, temproal and connection-based views, as well as views of individual document's text and the document collection as a whole. Jigsaw essentially acts as a visual index onto the document collection, helping analysts identify particular documents to read and examine next.

We have used Jigsaw to explore a wide variety of domains and document collections including academic papers, grants, product reviews, business press releases, news articles, intelligence and police reports, statutes, and even books such as the Bible. Jigsaw is available for you to try and use on your own documents and data.

For a good, short (2-page) overview of Jigsaw's goals and methods, please see the Spring 2008 VacViews article about the system. We have written and presented a number of academic papers about Jigsaw. To gain a good understanding of Jigsaw, please read the introductory 2008 Information Visualization journal article and the more recent 2013 IEEE TVCG journal article about how we combine computational analysis of document text with interactive visualization in the system. To learn more about the system's details and its different visualizations, please examine the Jigsaw views page. And to see the system in action, explore the scenario videos listed up above on this webpage or examine the video tutorial page.

Using Jigsaw as an analytic aid, we entered and won the university division of the VAST 2007 Contest. To learn more about our contest entry, visit the Contest Summary page.

The picture below shows Jigsaw being used on a computer with four monitors presenting the different system views. The multitude of views in the system makes a mutliple monitor computer like this desirable for analysis.

If four monitors aren't enough, Jigsaw can really hum on a display wall. The picture below shows Carsten demonstrating Jigsaw running on the PowerWall at Konstanz University (Germany) in Daniel Keim's lab.

Below is a picture of John demonstrating Jigsaw to Tim Collins of Purdue at the 2009 NVAC Consortium meeting at PNNL.


This research is supported in part by the VACCINE DHS Center of Excellence and NSF Awards IIS-0915788 and CCF-0808863 (FODAVA Lead). Past support for the project came from a grant from the Dept. of Homeland Security's NVAC Program and NSF Award IIS-0414667.




Last modified: January 20, 2014