First International Symposium on Auditory Graphs


Note: Papers submitted to the Symposium were peer reviewed, and the papers that were accepted for inclusion in the Symposium are listed below. We are making the papers available in advance so that attendees may read the papers before arriving at the meeting. This should help jump start the meeting, and provide background to the discussion. You can download individual papers, or the whole bundel as a ZIP archive. The papers that were accepted for the Symposium and also selected for inclusion in the Symposium Proceedings will be included in the ICAD 2005 Conference Proceedings, in a special section for the Symposium.

>>> ZIP file of all accepted papers <<< (1.5 MB)

Authors and Title Download
Janet Anderson (University of Surrey)
"Creating an Empirical Framework for Sonification Design"
Sonification research and design is held back by a lack of empirical evidence on which to base design decisions. The purpose of this paper is to identify the crucial decisions that need to be made at each stage of the sonification design process and assess what research is required to fill the gaps in the empirical literature. Crucial research questions are identified with the aim of building a framework to guide the decision process.  
Terri L. Bonebright (DePauw University)
"A Suggested Agenda For Auditory Graph Research"
This paper presents one option for a research agenda for future work in auditory graphs. The main agenda items suggested are effectiveness of auditory graphs; sonification tools; role of memory and attention; real-world applications; longitudinal studies of learning; and neurophysiological research. A brief review of past research in each area is given to provide general information about relevant studies and is meant to serve as a starting point rather than as a comprehensive overview of the literature on auditory graph studies.  
Edward Childs (Accentus LLC)
"Auditory Graphs of Real-Time Data"
The advantages of auditory display for monitoring real-time data are discussed. Parallels between the structures of real-time data and music are emphasized as potentially fruitful areas of research. The Accentus LLC design philosophy is described, followed by several examples of auditory graphs. Areas of future research are recommended.  
John H. Flowers (University of Nebraska - Lincoln)
"Thirteen Years Of Reflection On Auditory Graphing: Promises, Pitfalls, And Potential New Directions"
While developments in sound production hardware now make the creation of auditory graphs possible for casual users of personal computers, some of the same pitfalls to effective auditory display development that arose in the early 1990's continue to impede effective applications of this promising technology. Most of these pitfalls stem from lack of adequate understanding about key properties of auditory perception and attention and from inappropriate generalizations of existing data visualization practices. At the same time, however, we now know about some strategies that appear to work and offer promise for making sonification a useful and accepted tool for data exploration and decision making. The present paper summarizes several selected examples in each of these categories, along some suggestions for future research directions.  
Stephen P. Frysinger (James Madison University)
"A Brief History of Auditory Data Representation to the 1980s"
The field of Auditory Data Representation, which addresses the representation of quantitative data through the use of auditory, rather than visual, displays, has seen considerable activity in the last twenty years. On the occasion of the first Symposium on Auditory Graphs it is well to consider the roots of this field. This paper presents a brief history of the field, leading up to the beginning of the 1980s, and accompanies a demonstration of a multivariate time series representation developed by the author and his colleagues in 1980.  
Lisa M. Mauney (Georgia Institute of Technology)
"Individual Differences In Interpreting Auditory Graphs"
Very little research has been done on the role of individual differences in the interpretation of auditory graphs. Research with the visually impaired, musicians, and college students point to interesting differences in the way sound is interpreted. However, in order for auditory graphs to be successful, a more thorough understanding of individual differences is needed. This paper proposes a series of experiments that look at cognitive abilities, musical abilities, and other demographics in college students and the visually impaired. The author, however, stresses the importance of collaborating with other researchers to obtain data on other groups of people.  
John G. Neuhoff (The College of Wooster) and Laurie M. Heller (Brown University)
"One Small Step: Sound Sources And Events As The Basis For Auditory Graphs"
An overwhelming majority of auditory graphs employ a representational design that maps changes in a variable to changes in a “low-level” acoustic dimension such as frequency, intensity, or spectrum. However, there are several potential drawbacks to this type of auditory graph design. First, the perceptual correlates of these dimensions (pitch, loudness, and timbre) have been shown to interact perceptually such that changes in one dimension can influence judgments about changes in the others. Second, abstract changes in acoustic dimensions typically fail to invoke any kind of mental model that might help the listener represent cognitively the changes that occur in the data. Finally, listeners often are much better at attending to acoustic sources (the objects producing the sound) and acoustic events (the actions of these sounding objects) than to the low-level acoustic dimensions themselves. In this paper we endorse an approach to mapping data to sound that ties acoustic parameters unambiguously to changes in sound source or event characteristics. This type of design might be achieved by changing complex acoustic features along one axis in a manner that corresponds with a basic physical feature of a sound source or event.  
Tony Stockman, Louise Valgerdur Nickerson, and Greg Hind (Queen Mary College, University of London)
"Auditory Graphs: A Summary Of Current Experience And Towards A Research Agenda"
In this paper we shall briefly review previous work we have found directly relevant to our own research on the use of auditory graphs. We will then summarise previous unpublished experiences of using auditory graphs in the domain of medical signal analysis, and further recent work on the use of auditory graphs for analysing spreadsheet data. We conclude by outlining issues we believe to be relevant in the formation of a research agenda for the design and evaluation of the technology.  
Frances Van Scoy, Don McLaughlin, and Angela Fullmer (West Virginia University)
"Auditory Augmentation Of Haptic Graphs: Developing A Graphic Tool For Teaching Precalculus Skill To Blind Students"
This paper discusses the development of a graphic tool to assist in the teaching of pre-calculus skills to blind students. More specifically, it reviews previous and ongoing efforts to develop an instrument that will facilitate or enable blind students to examine and explore data and abstract graphs, and other mathematic entities haptically. The paper also discusses current research plans to explore the combination of auditory and haptic stimuli to present mathematical information and concepts in a graphic, but non-visual form. In particular, much of this paper examines a number of research issues that, in the opinion of the research team, much studied, if not resolved in order to effectively employ haptic and sonification techniques to the presentation of graphic information. In the end, the purpose of these efforts is to provide a readily useable tool that will empower blind students to learn mathematical concept in a manner comparable to sighted students.
Note: This paper will not appear in the ICAD proceedings.
Paul Vickers (Northumbria University)
"Whither And Wherefore The Auditory Graph? Abstractions & Aesthetics In Auditory And Sonified Graphs"
A good deal of attention has been paid by the auditory display community to the sonification of graphical data and the term auditory graph has been used to describe this class of auditory mappings. We contend that definitions have become blurred leading to first-order sonifications of functions and data being treated as synonymous with the second- and higher-order mappings obtained when graphs of those functions and data are themselves sonified. This paper looks at the different types of sonifications currently known collectively as auditory graphs and, based on this analysis, proposes a purposeful distinction to be drawn between auditory graphs and sonified graphs. An example is taken from the domain of computer programming to further illustrate the argument.  
Bruce N. Walker and Michael A. Nees (Georgia Institute of Technology)
"An Agenda For Research And Development Of Multimodal Graphs"
Effective multimodal graphing tools can be beneficial to both sighted and visually impaired students and scientists. However, before this can become a reality, considerable research is required on the auditory graphing components. We suggest mappings, polarities, scaling, context, and training be studied in particular. We point to previous work in these areas and make suggestions for expanded research questions. We recommend that more complex and realistic data sets be used, and that visually impaired participants play a larger role in the research. The design of multimodal graphing software should be informed by empirical findings. Effective research and useful software tools will bring a broader perspective to data analysis for all who use graphs, regardless of visual ability.

Extra Late Papers  
The following papers were contributed too late for inclusion in the Symposium, but are relevant to the discussion, and are therefore posted here for reference.  
Robert Shelton (NASA Johnson Space Center)
"Influence Of Fundamental Waveform On Perceived Volume And Pitch In Audible Graphs "
Discusses sonification of equations for accessible math education.  
S. Camille Peres and Michael Byrne (Rice University)
"The Interactive Behavior Triad And Auditory Graphs: Suggestions For An Organizing Framework"
Presents a framework for thinking about sonification design in terms of cognition, the task, and the environment.  

>>> ZIP file of all accepted papers <<<


Bruce Walker, Georgia Institute of Technology, USA
Terri Bonebright, DePauw University, USA
S. Camille Peres, Rice University, USA