Sajjadur Rahman, Peter Griggs, Çağatay Demiralp
With the increase in scale and availability of digital text generated on the web, enterprises such as online retailers and aggregators often use text analytics to mine and analyze the data to improve their services and products alike. Text data analysis is an iterative, non-linear process with diverse workflows spanning multiple stages, from data cleaning to visualization. Existing text analytics systems usually accommodate a subset of these stages and often fail to address challenges related to data heterogeneity, provenance, workflow reusability and reproducibility, and compatibility with established practices. Based on a set of design considerations we derive from these challenges, we propose Leam, a system that treats the text analysis process as a single continuum by combining advantages of computational notebooks, spreadsheets, and visualization tools. Leam features an interactive user interface for running text analysis workflows, a new data model for managing multiple atomic and composite data types, and an expressive algebra that captures diverse sets of operations representing various stages of text analysis and enables coordination among different components of the system, including data, code, and visualizations. We report our current progress in Leam development while demonstrating its usefulness with usage examples. Finally, we outline a number of enhancements to Leam and identify several research directions for developing an interactive visual text analysis system.