Visualisation and browsing of image databases

William Plant*, Gerald Schaefer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


In this chapter we provide a comprehensive overview of the emerging field of visualising and browsing image databases. We start with a brief introduction to content-based image retrieval and the traditional query-by-example search paradigm that many retrieval systems employ. We specify the problems associated with this type of interface, such as users not being able to formulate a query due to not having a target image or concept in mind. The idea of browsing systems is then introduced as a means to combat these issues, harnessing the cognitive power of the human mind in order to speed up image retrieval.We detail common methods in which the often high-dimensional feature data extracted from images can be used to visualise image databases in an intuitive way. Systems using dimensionality reduction techniques, such as multi-dimensional scaling, are reviewed along with those that cluster images using either divisive or agglomerative techniques as well as graph-based visualisations. While visualisation of an image collection is useful for providing an overview of the contained images, it forms only part of an image database navigation system. We therefore also present various methods provided by these systems to allow for interactive browsing of these datasets. A further area we explore are user studies of systems and visualisations where we look at the different evaluations undertaken in order to test usability and compare systems, and highlight the key findings from these studies. We conclude the chapter with several recommendations for future work in this area.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultimedia analysis, processing and communications
EditorsWeisi Lin, Dacheng Tao, Janusz Kacprzyk, et al
Place of PublicationBerlin (DE)
Number of pages55
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-642-19551-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-642-19550-1
Publication statusPublished - 9 May 2011

Publication series

NameStudies in Computational Intelligence
ISSN (Print)1860-949X


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