Mandala

Mandala Mandala allows the importing of “textual” files to perform analysis on the frequency and linkage of terms. For example, importing a play would allow the user to find the linkage and frequency between a term and its speaker.

Getting Started

Once you’ve launched Mandala, the interface should be blank. On the top left corner of Mandala, you have a few options for how to proceed with loading a file. You may click Open File to proceed to open a file of your choosing (preferably .xml, .txt, or .zip), or you may choose any file listed in the dropdown menu. Dots Represent allows you to choose which tags in your file you would like to visualize. More often than not, Mandala will choose the option that will produce the most useful visualization. Finally, once you’ve made your selection, click Load to load the file into view. Additionally, you may load a new file into the current visualization with Merge.

File palette

If you’ve loaded RomeoJuliet.xml, Mandala should look similar to this:

Example visualization

For this example, Mandala automatically visualizes the most frequent element in the represented tag (in this case, the most frequent speaker of a speech is Romeo.) It will then visualize one of the most frequent words within all of the speeches, and also visualize the matches between the speaker and the word. In this case, love is visualized and we see the matches between love and Romeo visualized with a blue/green magnet. Magnets are Mandala’s method of grouping differing elements on screen. If you click on any of the dots surrounding a magnet, you will see a speech displayed in the right-hand display called the reader panel. You can also double-click on a magnet for all of its speeches, or even click-and-hold to lasso dots and display their speeches.

If you’d like to add a new search term, navigate to the Search palette and click Add New Magnet. Then, type in your new search criteria in the text box. Then click Go to add this new search term to our visualization:

Search palette

If you click on the dance magnet, you can see that you are unable to see who is actually speaking. If you’d like to see whose speaking, you need to click on the Display palette and on the Fields always displayed dropdown, click speech—speaker. If you return to the dance magnet, you will now be able to see who is speaking.

Display palette

You can also add new magnets representing speakers. Click Add New Magnet and under Field, select speech—speaker. You may type in Juliet’s name, or whichever character you would like to visualize. Click Go. You now can see the subsets of where Juliet says the words love and dance:

New speaker magnet

If you would like to see the finer details of your Mandala visualization, you may zoom in / out and adjust the screen with the Display palette. Click on the Display palette and you may zoom in / out with the ‘+’ and ‘-‘ signs. Another way to zoom is with a mousewheel / two-finger scroll. You may also navigate the screen with the ←, →, ↓, ↑ arrows. If you’d like more control, you can click on the hand tool to drag the screen around. You may also export your Mandala visualization by clicking Export on the bottom-right side of the window. If you choose Text, you can save a copy of the text displayed in the reader panel. If you choose Screenshot, you can save a visual copy of the Mandala visualization.

Export panel

Advanced Features

Mandala allows you to perform specific queries pertaining to certain dots. You may, as mentioned earlier click-and-drag to select many dots, or you can use custom lasso tools that may assist you in highlighting certain dots:

Tools palette

To reset any selected dots, just choose Reset selection state from the Tools palette. Mandala also includes something called the Microtext Panel which allows you to walk sequentially through the magnets. If you click on any of the gray bars, you will see the specified dots displayed in the right-hand panel. The Microtext Panel divides the number of dots evenly. You may also navigate this panel by clicking Prev Page or Next Page on the bottom-right of the screen.

Microtext panel

If you would like to establish your Mandala window with every speaker in RomeoJuliet.xml, under Search set Field to speech-speaker, then click on the text field and choose [All terms] from the top of the dropdown. This will then warn you about creating a multitude of magnets, click Yes to continue. You will then see a bunch of new magnets representing speakers in the play. You may double-click on them to preview their speeches.

Search palette (again)

It should also be noted that clicking Randomize in the Display palette will generate random magnets. This could potentially reveal some interesting trends within the text.

In addition to the sample files, you may load your own XML / text files as well. Again, Mandala will choose the most suitable tags to use as fields, but you may specify your own when you are loading the file. (This can be done by either clicking on the Dots represent field or you may choose Custom and define your own XPath.) If you choose to load a text file, sections will be divided by paragraph. Also, if you have multiple files with similar structures that you’d like to analyse, you may import them all as a .zip file.

When you import your own files to be analyzed, Mandala may not automatically display magnets. In the Search palette click Add new magnet and you may customize what kind of Field and Match type that the magnet should represent.

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