BigDIVA Help

The Basics

BigDIVA (Big Data Infrastructure Visualization Application) is a dynamic environment for browsing, searching, and interacting with the ARC (Advanced Research Consortium) catalog.This interface allows users to view all their search results at once rather than paging through endless lists of returns and hoping the search engine has put the most relevant items towards the top.

BigDIVA is a force directed graph that uses color and node (or circle) size to provide information about the items being visualized. Colors represent different facets within the ARC catalog such as Genre and Resource. Most nodes are sized according to the relative number of items each represents.

To move any node, click (left-click for PC users) and drag it to the desired portion of the screen.

Whenever a node is moved, it is automatically pinned. However, any node may be pinned to its present location by clicking on that node and selecting "Pin" in the Node Menu.

To unpin a node, click on it and select "Unpin" in the Node Menu.

To search for specific phrases or words within the ARC catalog, enter your search term in the box at the top-righthand portion of the window. The BigDIVA search interface treats spaces between words as the boolean AND. Therefore, if you wish to find a particular phrase, you should place it in quotes. Boolean operators also work to help create more complex searches.

To reset the visualization or to search for another term, refresh the browser, enter a different term in the search field and click "Visualize By", or click the "Reset" button.


Narrowing your search
To help you narrow searches, BigDIVA acts as a visualized, faceted search. To narrow search results by facets, click on the desired node and select one of the facets from the Node Menu. Currently BigDIVA allows users to filter according to Resource, Genre, Discipline, and Format.

At any point and at any level, a different facet may be selected. Simply click on the parent node to open its Node Menu and select a different facet.

Viewing Individual Results
At any point, individual results may be viewed and browsed. Click on a desired node and select "Individual Results" from the Node Menu. Click on the "Next..." or "Prev..." icons or in the Node Menu to browse through the results.

Individual results may be collected by pining them like nodes. Once pinned, that item will remain even when browsing through the individual results.

To view more details about an individual item, click on it. That will open a Node Menu that provides information about the item along with a link to view it.

Trace Research Path
BigDIVA allows users to follow multiple simultaneous lines of enquiry. To trace the path used to arrive at an individual item or node, select "Trace Path" in the Node Menu.

Collapse and Expand
The collapse function allows users to hide the children of a particular node, allowing them to simplify and organize their visualizations without losing their place in their explorations. To collapse a node, click on it and select "Collapse" from the Node Menu. Selecting "Expand" will show its children once again.

Visualize By

By default, BigDIVA organizes the ARC catalog according to Resource. Users can choose to organize the catalog by another facet by clicking on that facet in the "Visualize By:" section at the top lefthand portion of the window.


BigDIVA boasts a timeline feature that allows results to be filtered according to date. To view and use the timeline feature, wait until the timeline has been loaded and click "Show Timeline" at the lower lefthand part of the screen. As the daterange in the timeline is modified, the visualization will update in real-time.

There are five views of the timeline that are designed to ensure maximum accuracy of the visualization.

First Publication Year
This timeline view visualizes every item according to its earliest production date. While this is helpful for pinpointing items that have a single publication year, it is not necessarily helpful for viewing items that may have been produced over a number of years or for which a date is otherwise uncertain.

Decade, Quarter Century, Half Century, Century
These timelines are helpful for viewing items that may not have been produced in a single year or for which a production date is uncertain.

Citing BigDIVA

To cite the BigDIVA project in any published work, we recommend the following format:

BigDIVA. Advanced Research Consortium at Texas A&M U, 2015,

The BigDIVA team is working towards citation recommendations for citing individual searches. This information is coming soon.