Adaptive Hypertext Application Areas

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Part of BrusilovskysReviews.

In 1996, Brusilovsky identified 6 kinds of adaptive hypermedia application areas:

  1. Educational hypermedia systems (most popular)

  2. On-line information systems (most popular)

  3. On-line help systems (5-6 systems)

  4. Information retrieval hypermedia (5-6 systems)

  5. Institutional hypermedia (1-2 pioneer systems)

  6. Systems for managing personalised views in information spaces (1-2 pioneer systems)

In 2001, educational hypermedia and on-line information systems were still the most popular systems, with information retrieval hypermedia close behind (the scope of IR hypermedia research had in fact extended to include systems for managing personalised views). On-line help and institutional hypermedia systems had received little attention since 1996.

Educational hypermedia systems

Small HyperSpace representing a course or learning material on a particular topic. Goal of user is to learn most or all of the material. Knowledge of different users can vary greatly, and grows at different rates - a page that is unclear for a novice may be trivial and boring for an advanced learner. Novices need navigational help to find their way through the HyperSpace, since the material is completely new to them.

Interests in providing distance education over the Web provide strong drive for research - Web becomes standard development platform by 2001.

On-line information systems

Provide reference access to information (e.g. on-line documentation or encyclopedias) for users with different knowledge levels of the subject. Each node of the HyperSpace (Which may range from small to very large) typically represents one concept of the subject. Users with different knowledge and background need different information about a concept at different levels of detail. Users may also need help in navigating and finding relevant pieces of information in order to achieve their goals (inferring the UserGoal is a non-trivial problem).

In 2001, Brusilovsky divides on-line information systems into several subgroups sharing the same general characteristics but which offer specialised enhancements:

Electronic encyclopedias and Information kiosks
can track user knowledge about different objects and provide adaptive comparisons.

Virtual museums and Handheld guides
can determine user's location and behaviour in the virtual/physical space.

E-Commerce systems and Performance support systems
support the user in carrying out specific tasks, and so have information about the context of the user's work and the structure of the user's goals.

On-line help systems

Small HyperSpace attached to an application which provides on-line information about applications (e.g. spreadsheet, programming environment, expert system) to help users. The context of work in the application can be used to determine the user's goal and offer the most relevant help items.

Little reported research after 1996.

Information retrieval (IR) hypermedia systems

InformationRetrieval systems which provide hypertext-like access from index terms to documents, and the possibility of browsing the HyperSpace using similarity links between documents. The HyperSpace is usually very large - links between documents are not created "by hand" but are calculated by the system. Users need help in navigating the HyperSpace.

By 2001, the Web has significantly influenced IR hypermedia, with many new systems attempting to support the user's retrieval activity in an unrestricted Web hyperspace. Brusilovsky divides new IR hypermedia systems into 4 major groups:

Search-oriented systems
create list of links to documents that satisfy the user's information requests (taking into account user profile).

Browsing-oriented systems
support users in the process of search-driven browsing.

Personalised view management systems
support organisation of retrieved information.

Information Services
collect information about pool of Web users and their documents.

Institutional information systems

Serve on-line all the information required to support the work of some institution - form the medium for everyday work for employees. According to their role in the institution, users may use only a specific area of the HyperSpace; in fact most users never need to access parts of the HyperSpace beyond their working areas. Users need assistance in organising more convenient personalised access to their working areas.

Little reported research after 1996.

Systems for managing personalised views in information spaces

Huge HyperSpace (e.g. the WorldWideWeb). Users need to access one or more subsets of the HyperSpace for their everyday work. HyperSpace is dynamic - documents appear, disappear, and evolve. Personalised views "protect" users from the complexity of the overall HyperSpace. Personalised views must be managed continuously - searching for new and relevant documents, identifying expired or changed documents.

Traditional scope of Information retrieval hypermedia systems expanded to include systems for managing personalised views in 2001.

-- Last edited December 3, 2002

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