RISM: Reversing the Information Seeking Mantra for Comparative Crime and Incident Case Analysis

Theoretical (Analytical):

Practical (Implementation):

Literature Work:


The Visual Information-Seeking Mantra [Overview first, zoom and filter, then details-on-demand.] of Ben Shneiderman summarizes many visual design guidelines and provides an excellent framework for designing Information visualization applications. However, when analyzing crimes and incident series, domain experts may follow a different approach. They start examining a concrete case or incident, which is later, often manually, compared with other cases to identify connections between crimes. 

Problem Statement

  • How can we support experts analyzing crimes and incidents, if their modus operandi is opposite to the established information seeking mantra?
  • Which interactions and visualizations can we use to help the user find relevant crimes and incidents, based on the one they’re currently examining.


  • Think about ways to find relevant crime cases. Which methods are currently employed by experts and/or are used in the state-of-the-art?
  • Create meaningful visualizations to help the user find relevant crimes and incidents. Exemplary questions are:
    • How can we visually support the user in finding out whether a crime or incident is relevant?
    • Which interactions should be employed to help the user to achieve his goal, when starting from concrete crime or incident?
    • How can we provide the user with a meaningful visualization, which shows his analysis process?
  • Design a prototypical framework to get intuitions about these questions.


  • Basic knowledge about information visualization
  • Good programming skills in Java


  • Scope: Bachelor/Master
  • 6 Month Project, 3 Month Thesis (Bachelor) / 6 Month Thesis (Master)
  • Start: immediately



  • Shneiderman, Ben. "The eyes have it: A task by data type taxonomy for information visualizations." Visual Languages, 1996. Proceedings., IEEE Symposium on. IEEE, 1996.