May 16, 2022

University of Toronto Researchers Develop New Text Visualization System

From the U. of Toronto:

Nicole Sultanum says one of the fastest ways to understand information is by sight.

“We’re much faster at recognizing patterns,” says Sultanum, a University of Toronto PhD student in the department of computer science and its Dynamic Graphics Project lab.

“If it’s a table of numbers versus a chart, a chart is much faster for you to find how the data is distributed. When text is used, things get a little bit more complicated because somehow you have to translate text into something the computer can understand, which is one of the biggest challenges with text visualization.”

Sultanum, whose research examines text visualization for clinical use, recently presented “Doccurate: A Curation-Based Approach for Clinical Text Visualization” at the IEEE VIS conference in Berlin.


An overview of a complex patient with preset filters in Doccurate. Highlights on “alcohol”, “intoxication”, “alcohol withdrawal” and “delirium tremens” provide consistent hints of a significant and adverse history of alcohol abuse, with multiple episodes of withdrawal and related symptoms. Source: University of Toronto

Her co-authors include Dr. Devin Singh, an emergency room physician at Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids), and her graduate co-supervisors in computer science, Professor Michael Brudno and Assistant Professor Fanny Chevalier.

Brudno is an expert in computational medicine and Chevalier specializes in data visualization.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.