SEAS Hierarchical Viewer/Editor: Multi-dimensional Argument

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Introduction: About Getting Started How To
Topics: Concepts Template Style Guide Frequently Asked Questions
Viewers: Manager Publication Information Situation Information
Multi. Arg. Uni. Arg. Derivative Question Uni. Arg. Primitive Question
Multi. Tmp. Uni. Tmp. Derivative Question Uni. Tmp. Primitive Question
Table Viewer Summary Viewer Memos
Collection Manager Collection Viewers Merging Tool
Glossary: Buttons Symbols Terms

Hierarchical Viewer/Editor: Multi-dimensional Argument

TIP: Click on the buttons and symbols in the images to view the corresponding glossary entries.

Here the Hierarchical Viewer/Editor depicts a multi-dimensional argument (i.e., IRAQ-99). The symbol(s) that appears in the upper right corner depicts aspects of the associated situation descriptor (here the dates indicate the bounds on the time period analyzed, the flag depicts the associated region, the crate represents a trade event that gave rise to this analysis, and the page of text indicates that there are additional free text annotations included in the situation descriptor). The Unpublished Template symbol (immediately below the situation descriptor symbols) indicates that neither this argument nor its underlying template are published. The absence of a "READ ONLY" symbol indicates that you can modify this argument and the absence of a Collaboration Warning symbol indicates that no coauthors are simultaneously accessing this argument (see Publishing).


The three buttons that appear at the far left in the toolbar invoke the Hierarchical Viewer (i.e., this viewer), the Summary Viewer, and the Table Viewer. The button that appears immediately below these invokes the Parameters Editor (see below). The Template (i.e., "T") button, that appears near the middle of the toolbar, switches this viewer/editor to the template that underlies this argument. The buttons centered on the toolbar are used to print this display and to close it. The first button at the right end of the toolbar invokes any auto-populating discovery tools associated with this argument (see Using Discovery Tools for details). The remaining buttons at the right end of the toolbar bring up the Memo Manager, the Publication Information Viewer/Editor, the Situation Description Viewer/Editor, the SEAS Object Manager, and this Help system, respectively, moving from left to right. If the memo button has several dark lines across its yellow field, this indicates that there are memos attached to this argument that are not currently being displayed in this window (more on this below).

Auxiliary Toolbar

Immediately below the buttons on the left is a small rightward pointing triangle with "Auxiliary Toolbar" adjacent to it. When clicked, this reveals an auxiliary toolbar like the one below. A similar triangle, pointing downward, reconceals this toolbar when clicked.

The first three buttons at the left in this toolbar perform the same operations as those in the SEAS Object Manager, only on the argument that is the focus of this viewer/editor. The export button brings up the following dialog. Pushing the save button, after having selected the type of file the export is to be Saved As, performs the export (see Exporting and Importing for details on the different types of exports); pushing cancel before save exits the dialog without performing an export.

Pushing the critique button will bring up the following dialog where you select the specific Checks and sets the associated Criteria that the Argument Critic is to apply to this argument, and specifies whether or not to Discard Previous Critic Memos. Upon pushing the ok button, the Critic will perform the specified checks, posting a memo of type critique wherever the criteria is not met; pushing the print button will print this dialog; pushing the cancel button before the ok button will exit this dialog without performing a critique of this argument; the Help button invokes this Help system.

If this argument has not been versioned before, then pushing the version button will bring up the first dialog below, otherwise the second dialog below will be brought up. In this first dialog, you are asked to select the New Collection Type to be used to record versions of this argument (see Using Collections for an explanation of the differences among these types). Push the new button, after having selected a type, to create a new collection containing both this argument and a copy. Future modifications to this argument will not impact the copy. Push the cancel button to exit this dialog without creating anything new.

If this argument has been versioned before, then pushing the version button will result in a dialog similar to the following. Pushing the Inspect button adjacent to a collection in the Collections to Use will cause the contents of that collection, being used to record versions of this argument, to be displayed. After having specified the collection to use if more than one is present, the Previous Item Name (if present), whether or not the item should be published, and whether or not the Collection to Use should be placed in your home collection, pushing the new button will add a copy of the argument as a new item to the collection and, if so indicated, publish that copy and add that collection to your home collection (if not already there). Pushing the cancel button before the new button will exit without creating a copy of this argument. See Using Collections for a detailed explanation of versioning and sequencing collections.

Clicking on the button at the right will bring up the Information window (see below) that provides additional information about this template. Unless the you are limited to "READ ONLY" access (see Publishing), the top part of the window will appear as below, allowing you to select a New Template to use as the basis for this argument. You push the Discovery button to find a new multi-dimensional template.. Upon pushing the ok button, if that multi-dimensional template exists, then it is substituted for the original template underlying the multi-dimensional argument. [High SEAS Only: The Information window also displays the collections that are supported by this argument (i.e., collections for which this argument is an item). Clicking on an Inspect button adjacent to a supported collection will open that collection. ] The cancel/close button dismisses the Information window and the Help button, on the far right, invokes this Help system.


If visible memos are attached to this template or its underlying template, viewable by you, they will appear immediately below the toolbar, either in the form of a short synopsis (as shown below) or in its full form. Positioning the cursor over the subject of a memo will cause its contents to be displayed in a pop-up; clicking on the subject will open that memo in the Memo Viewer/Editor. For more about managing memos, see Memo.

Starburst and Constellation Graphical Depictions

A Starburst, immediately below the toolbar, depicts this multi-dimensional argument. In this graphic, the answers to this argument's component arguments are organized in a pattern that resembles spokes on a wheel. Each "spoke" corresponds to one answer; answers are displayed as "traffic lights" at the ends of the spokes; answers are also plotted as points along the spokes with the "hub" of the wheel typically corresponding to the green end of the linear scale and the "rim" typically to the red end; the points plotted on neighboring spokes are connected by lines and the resulting polygon is filled. The result is a plot that visually conveys the argument, with the severity of the situation being proportional to the area of the plot. This technique invites rapid comprehension and comparison when multiple arguments are simultaneously displayed. When you click on the text that labels the component arguments, the Hierarchical Viewer/Editor displays the corresponding uni-dimensional argument.

The Starburst can be customized in a number of ways. You can specify whether each segment of the starburst should be depicted as a Ray, beginning at the origin and extending out to the appropriate position, according to which lights are lit, or as Sectors, only having those areas filled whose corresponding lights are lit. You also can specify how different parts of the Starburst should be colored: blue, maximum - with the color corresponding to the light closest to red, minimum - with the color corresponding to the light closest to green, own - with the color that corresponds to that portion on the starburst (i.e., green at the center, yellow in the middle, and red at the perimeter). Some examples of these appear below. Note how some capture that multiple lights are on while others don't.

A Constellation is another way of graphically depicting a multi-dimensional argument. Using the same radial layout as for the Starburst, it depicts the trees of lights corresponding to each component argument within the corresponding wedge, placing the root node/light nearest the origin and growing out from there. Larger nodes/lights are used nearer the origin. Although this can result in a cluttered display, it has the advantage of depicting every question/answer of a multi-dimensional argument within a single compact display. This is further enhanced by pop-ups, which appear when the cursor is positioned over any light, which display the corresponding question topic and question text A further refinement allows you to filter out lights based upon their corresponding color. Thus, for example, you might elect to show only the red, orange, and yellow lights, or just the red lights. Examples of this display appear above.

Yet another effect can be achieved by overlaying Constellations on Starbursts. This allows the user to quickly grasp the overall argument through the Starburst and the details through the Constellation. Some examples follow.

Pushing the Hierarchical Viewer Parameters button, brings up the following dialog. Parameters can be individually modified or you can choose a Preset Configuration of parameter settings, keyed off of the level of detail you wish to see i.e., minimal, moderate, or full. The Wedges as and Color Fill parameter settings for Starburst Graphic determine whether a Starburst is displayed and its appearance. The Show Colors parameters for Answers consist of the lights selected for inclusion in constellations; if no lights are selected, then no constellation will be depicted. By mixing and matching these parameter settings, you can select from a wide range of graphical depictions that best suite your preferences and purpose. The Types parameters for Memos are discussed below. The All and None options are shortcuts for selecting and deselecting all of the elements for the associated parameter. The Content parameter causes either the Full memos to be included or a shorter and more compact Synopsis to be included within displays that include the objects to which the memos are attached.

Signal Flags and Memos in Graphical Depictions

Red signal flags may appear in the starburst graphical depiction. If they do, it indicates that the adjacent component argument has exhibits or evidence that require attention. These flags allow you to rapidly navigate to those questions that require attention.

Similarly, yellow rectangles may appear in the starburst graphical depiction. If they do, it indicates that the adjacent component argument has a memo displayed of one of the selected Memo Types in the Hierarchical Viewer Parameters.

Component Arguments

The Component Arguments are listed immediately below the starburst. Each listing includes the name of the Component Argument and its underlying argument Template. Unless the you are limited to "READ ONLY" access (see Publishing), pushing the Edit button, adjacent to a component listing, brings up the Component Editor (see below), and allows you to substitute a different argument (with the same underlying argument template) for the one associated with that button. You can directly type in the name of a Component argument or use the Discovery button to find one. The trash button is used to clear the selected Component. Upon pushing the ok button, if that argument exists and is based upon the template indicated, then it is substituted for the original component in the multi-dimensional argument; if the component does not exist, but the Creation Policy option has been selected, then a new argument is created. The cancel button dismisses the Component Editor without making any modifications and the Help button, on the far right, invokes this Help system.

SEAS and High SEAS 7.1 - Patent Pending and Unpublished Copyright © 1998-2007, SRI International