© Copyright 2004-2006, Andrew J. Kurtz & Susan Herring


VisualDTA is an application that can be used to assist Dynamic Topic Analysis (DTA) by providing a way to visualize the structure of the topic flow within a conversation.

This visualization research is being conducted by Andrew Kurtz and Susan Herring and is based on Dr. Herring's DTA visualization described in her Dynamic Topic Analysis of Synchronous Chat paper. DTA research is a component of Computer-Mediated Discourse Analysis (CMDA). Dr. Herring performs research using CMDA techniques and the techniques in various courses.

The VisualDTA application may be used for any noncommercial purposes.


VisualDTA Application: Andrew J. Kurtz <>

DTA & CMDA Research: Susan Herring <>


The application requires Java 1.4 or better and should run on any system that has Java installed. It has been test on Mac OS X and Windows XP.


This is a quick-start guide. For more detailed instructions see then help within the application.

  1. Download the application ZIP file below.
  2. Uncompress the downloaded file.
  3. Move the resulting folder to your applications directory (or somewhere else if you want).
  4. Start the application by double-clicking on the VisualDTA.jar file. If the program does not start, you probably do not have the latest version of Java installed.
  5. Load a DTA coding file (see the help within the application for the format). Example coding files and an Excel spreadsheet template are provided with the application.
  6. The visualization will be displayed and the interface controls may be used to alter the display of the information.


If you are running Windows and you do not have Java 1.4 installed (it does not come pre-installed), you should download the latest Java and install it. If you are running Mac OS X make sure you have installed the latest Java updated through Software Update. [~ 4MB]