Digital library keyword analysis for visualization education research

Sharon Bratt (Department of Computer Science, MacEwan University, Edmonton, Canada)

Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education

ISSN: 2050-7003

Publication date: 8 October 2018



The purpose of this paper is to assess the efficacy of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Xplore digital library search engine to return relevant materials on information visualization pedagogy literature and to recommend search strategies to assist the digital library academic readership improve the efficacy of their search tasks. Furthermore, the results are of interest to general readers using similar digital repositories.


An initial scoping review using EBSCO Discovery services returned the number and accessibility of sources and publications-based various Boolean searches. A revised search strategy focused the search to IEEE publications as the primary source of visualization research. A corpus of keywords were extracted from the 44 relevant articles and analyzed for relevance, keyword trends and contexts of use.


Keyword analysis results show visualization education research is confounded by several information retrieval issues: relevancy, incomplete taxonomy, non-standard lexicon, diverse disciplines and under-representation. Recommendations include: search strategies, alternative digital collections, a potential opportunity for research in information visualization pedagogy to address this gap in an emerging field and the need for more effective interactive tools to assist with keyword selection.

Research limitations/implications

The study focused on the IEEE publications as the primary source of visualization research.

Practical implications

A repository of visualization education research that is easily findable and relevant benefits both faculty using information visualization in their teaching and academics whose work must be disseminated to the broadest audience. Strategic keyword selection, interactive keyword tools or more robust thesaurus will enable IEEE Xplore digital library users to optimize their interaction with the system. Furthermore, results suggest a need for more research in information visualization pedagogy.


This is the only study to uniquely assess the efficacy of the IEEE Xplore digital library database system to retrieve relevant visualization education literature based on keyword search.



Bratt, S. (2018), "Digital library keyword analysis for visualization education research", Journal of Applied Research in Higher Education, Vol. 10 No. 4, pp. 595-611.

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