In a very recent video Bram Vandeputte compares two design principles for navigating large data set on their multitouch table. The first design principles comes from Ben Shneiderman (2003) and is called “overview first”. The other one has been made known by Jeffrey Heer and danah boyd and is based on “start with what you know, then grow” (2005) the view from there. Here is the video and the according blog post.
Comparison of design principles for navigating large data sets