An Illuminated Path: The Impact of the Work of Jim Thomas

  • Chaomei Chen
  • Haiyan Hou
  • Zhigang Hu
  • Shengbo Liu


We provide a glimpse of the impact of the most influential work of Jim Thomas on the development of visual analytics. A quantitative visual analytic approach is applied to the analysis of three datasets of scholarly publications in order to highlight the nature and profoundness of the impact in terms of the structure and dynamics of the underlying intellectual landscape. We investigate and provide intriguing evidence of the impact of the groundbreaking book in visual analytics, Illuminating the Path, in terms of its role in shaping the scientific literature of relevant fields. Furthermore, we analyze the intellectual structure of visual analytics in a broader context in order to set the impact of the Illuminating the Path in perspective.


Jim Thomas Knowledge domain visualization Visual analytics 



Haiyan Hou is a visiting professor at Drexel University. Zhigang Hu and Shengbo Liu are visiting doctoral students at Drexel University.


  1. Chen, C. (2004). Searching for intellectual turning points: progressive knowledge domain visualization. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 101(suppl), 5303–5310. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Chen, C. (2006). CiteSpace II: Detecting and visualizing emerging trends and transient patterns in scientific literature. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 57(3), 359–377. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Chen, C., et al. (2009). Towards an explanatory and computational theory of scientific discovery. Journal of Informetrics, 3(3), 191–209. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Chen, C., Ibekwe-SanJuan, F., & Hou, J. (2010). The structure and dynamics of co-citation clusters: a multiple-perspective co-citation analysis. Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 61(7), 1386–1409. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Christopher Columbus Fellowship Foundation (2009). Homeland Security Award Columbus Scholar 2009.
  6. Ebert, D. S., Dill, J., & Kasik, D. J. (2010). In memoriam: illuminating our paths—James (Jim) Joseph Thomas. In IEEE symposium on visual analytics science and technology (VAST) (pp. xiv–xiv). Google Scholar
  7. Kasik, D., et al. (2010). Jim Thomas, 1946–2010. In memoriam. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 30(6), 10–13. CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Keim, D., et al. (2008). Visual analytics: scope and challenges (pp. 76–90). Visual Data Mining. Google Scholar
  9. Thomas, J. J., & Cook, K. (2005). Illuminating the path: the R&D agenda for visual analytics. IEEE. Google Scholar
  10. Wong, P. C. (2010). The four roads less traveled—a tribute to Jim Thomas (1946–2010).
  11. Wong, P., & Thomas, J. (2004). Visual analytics. IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications, 24(5), 20–21. CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chaomei Chen
    • 1
  • Haiyan Hou
    • 2
  • Zhigang Hu
    • 2
  • Shengbo Liu
    • 2
  1. 1.College of the Information Science and TechnologyDrexel UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.WISELabDalian University of TechnologyDalianChina

Personalised recommendations