Queries? Links? Is There a Difference?

Abstract

Hypertext interfaces are considered appropriate for information exploration tasks. The prohibitively expensive link creation effort, however, prevents traditional hypertext interfaces from being used with large coherent collections of text. Such collections typically require query-based interfaces. This paper examines a hybrid approach: the system described here creates anchors dynamically based on users’ queries, and uses anchor selection as a query expansion mechanism. An experiment was conducted to compare browsing behavior in query- and link-based interfaces. Results suggest that query-mediated links are as effective as explicit queries, and that strategies adopted by users affect performance. This work has implications for the design of information exploration interfaces; the dynamic link algorithms described here are being incorporated into a Web server.