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KMDI Monthly Research Spotlight

Research is an important part of KMDI's mission. Monthly this site will reflect current groundbreaking research in which KMDI members are participating.

April 1997

David Abrams, Human Factors of Personal Web Information Spaces, M.Sc. thesis (Computer Science), University of Toronto (1997).
How do people use WWW bookmarks? This in-depth empirical study of WWW human factors describes a user's personal Web information space. It is based on interviews of 12 users, a general survey of 322 people, a mental maps survey of 27 users, and an analysis of the bookmark files of 56 users and the usage data of 23 users over 6 weeks.

The WWW is a complex information space with five defining properties: (1) users are overload with information, (2) the Web is polluted with redundant, erroneous and low quality information, (3) it progresses toward disorder according to the general principle of entropy, (4) it has no aggregate structure which organizes distinct Web localities, and (5) users have no global view of the entire WWW from which to forage for relevant Web pages.

As a user's bookmark archive grows, it can begin to exhibit the properties of a complex information space. Users are continually challenged with maintaining an effective personal Web information space.

An HTML version is available. It was converted from Word to HTML with Word97 so some of the graphics did not covert correctly. David is working on cleaning up the images; in the mean time, the postscript files have the original images. These Postscript files have been compressed with PKZIP.