The Newspaper as an Information Exploration Metaphor

Abstract

The newspaper represents a mature information presentation medium that is well-suited to the presentation of relatively short, loosely related pieces of text. This work examines the implementation of the newspaper metaphor in an information exploration interface. Based on an analysis of differences between electronic books and electronic newspapers, we submit that the newspaper metaphor is an appropriate interface paradigm for large-scale full-text databases. Similarities between newspapers and hypertext databases lead us to suggest that this metaphor is appropriate for large automatically-generated hypertexts, independent of the nature of their content. We describe VOIR, a software prototype that we have used as an electronic newspaper workbench. The program constructs newspaper pages interactively, and allows users to specify their information-seeking intent in a variety of ways, including graphical Boolean queries, hypertext links, and typed-in queries. Finally, we discuss some implications that this work has for hypertext and information retrieval in general.