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Tag clouds with a twist: using tag clouds coloured by information's trustworthiness to support situational awareness

Jason R.C. Nurse‚ Ioannis Agrafiotis‚ Michael Goldsmith‚ Sadie Creese and Koen Lamberts


The amount and variety of information currently available online is astounding. Information can be found covering any subject and is accessible from any part of the globe. While this is beneficial for countless purposes, whether they be in understanding situations or for making decisions, the sheer amount of information has led to significant problems in information overload. As humans, we are simply unable to consume, reason about, and act on such a vast quantity of information in a timely manner. This is especially true in cases where gathering a quick understanding or awareness of a situation is desirable, or even required. In this article, therefore, we aim to investigate an approach to helping address this problem, which builds on our previous research in the area of assessing and presenting the trustworthiness of online information. Specifically, this article examines the capability of tag (or word) clouds, coloured according to the trustworthiness of the contexts in which they appear, in supporting an individual’s understanding of a situation. The novelty of this work is in the application of such tag clouds to a new decision-making context, and engaging in a critical, user-based assessment of their use. To comment briefly on our findings, we note that there is potentially a significant value to be gained in the application of this technique, in providing a quick, helpful and accurate overview of a situation. This could be exploited by the public at large, but possibly even in more official investigative or crisis-management scenarios.

Journal of Trust Management
2: 10