Faceted email reading: Seek extension, from MIT's Simile group

As a sinner but devout follower of the Church of Tufte and general fan of information display and the like, I’ve been following the work of the Simile group at MIT for a while. Their Exhibit and Timeline projects are really interesting takes on complex visualization problems, well done.

Meet the latest work product from that group, Seek. Seek is a Thunderbird 2 extension (doesn’t work without modification on trunk nightlies yet) from David Fran├žois Huynh to do faceted email browsing. It even includes a timeline visualization component. Check out the screencast, or just install the extension to give it a shot and play with it. This is experimental, early stage work, but I think it’s superb — it should I think spark all kinds of great discussions as to new ways of mining this incredibly rich data store we call email archives.



  1. Doesn’t benefit me in any way but I still think its a great utility. Good job MIT’s Simile Group. Keep it up.

  2. That’s pretty sweet. going to give it a shot and see how it is over the next week!

  3. 1st impression f/u: this would make tags a lot more useful; it would be VERY much more useful for me (several accounts + several folders in inbox) if it remembered the indexing it does, so when I click on a different folder, I don’t have to have it re-index.[i.e. index all folders once, and re-index on message change or new message received). But it makes the email sorting process much more useful.

  4. Nice finding. Tried it and it is very effective! It reminded of Zoe: http://zoe.sourceforge.net/ (main website is now down.) I hold great hope for the future of thunderbird, there is so much potential!

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