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Structure and Navigation for Electronic Publishing

Tillinghast, John; Beretta, Giordano

HPL-97-162

Keyword(s): publishing; Internet; World Wide Web; documents; structure; knowledge management; storytelling; ontology

Abstract: The sudden explosion of the World Wide Web as a new publication medium has given a dramatic boost to the electronic publishing industry, which previously was a limited market centered around CD-ROMs and on-line databases. While the phenomenon has parallels to the advent of the tabloid press in the middle of last century, the electronic nature of the medium brings with it the typical characteristic of 4th wave media, namely the acceleration in its propagation speed and the volume of information. Consequently, e- publications are even flatter than print media; Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet share the same computer screen with Adam's Dilbert and Dogbert. The most touted tool for locating useful information on the World Wide Web is the search engine. However, due to the medium's flatness, sought information is drowned in a sea of useless information. A better solution is to build tools that allow authors to structure information so that it can easily be navigated. We experimented with the use of ontologies as a tool to formulate structures for information about a specific topic, so that related concepts are placed in adjacent locations and can easily be navigated using simple and ergonomic user models. We describe our effort in building a World Wide Web based photo album that is shared among a small network of people.

12 Pages

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