Scim: Intelligent Skimming Support for Scientific Papers

Raymond Fok, Hita Kambhamettu, Luca Soldaini, Jonathan Bragg, Kyle Lo, Marti Hearst, Andrew Head, and Daniel S Weld


Scholars need to keep up with an exponentially increasing flood of scientific papers. To aid this challenge, we introduce Scim, a novel intelligent interface that helps experienced researchers skim – or rapidly review – a paper to attain a cursory understanding of its contents. Scim supports the skimming process by highlighting salient paper contents in order to direct a reader’s attention. The system’s highlights are faceted by content type, evenly distributed across a paper, and have a density configurable by readers at both the global and local level. We evaluate Scim with both an in-lab usability study and a longitudinal diary study, revealing how its highlights facilitate the more efficient construction of a conceptualization of a paper. We conclude by discussing design considerations and tensions for the design of future intelligent skimming tools.