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Finding information again using\ud an individual’s web history

By R.A. Ruddle


In a lifetime, an “average” person will visit approximately a million webpages. Sometimes a person finds they want to return to a given page at some future date but, having no recollection of where it was (URL, host, etc.) and so has to look for it again from scratch. This paper assesses how a person’s memory could be assisted by the presentation of a “map” of their web browsing activity. Three map organisation approaches were investigated: (i) time-based, (ii) place-based, and (iii) topic-based. Time-based organisation is the least suitable, because the temporal specificity of human memory is generally poor. Place-based approaches lack scalability, and are not helped by the fact that there is little repetition in the paths a person follows between places. Topic-based organisation is more promising, with topics derived from both the web content that is accessed and the search queries that are executed, which provide snapshots into a person’s cognitive processes by explicitly capturing the terminology of “what” they were looking for at that moment in time. In terms of presentation, a map that combines aspects of network connectivity with a space filling approach is likely to be most effective

Publisher: Web Science Research Initiative
Year: 2009
OAI identifier:

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