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Towards a Model of Information Scatter: Implications for Search and Design

Suresh K. Bhavnani and Frederick A. Peck

ASIS&T Annual Meeting - 2006 (ASIS&T 2006)
Austin, Texas, November 3-9, 2006


Abstract

Recent studies suggest that users often retrieve incomplete healthcare information because of the complex and skewed distribution of facts across relevant webpages. To understand the causes for such skewed distributions, this paper presents the results of two analyses: (1) A distribution analysis discusses how facts related to healthcare topics are scattered across high-quality healthcare pages. (2) A cluster analysis of the same data suggests that the skewed distribution can be explained by the existence of three page profiles that vary in information density, each of which play in important role in providing comprehensive information of a topic. The above analyses provide clues towards a model of information scatter which describes how the design decisions by individual webpage authors could collectively lead to the scatter of information as observed in the data. The analyses also suggest implications for the design of websites, search algorithms, and search interfaces to help users find comprehensive information about a topic.


  
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