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Title: Self adapting websites: mining user access logs.
Authors: Bathumalai, Ganesan
Supervisors: Craw, Susan
Hermann, Frank
Keywords: Web mining
Wayposts
Adaptive websites
Issue Date: Jun-2008
Publisher: The Robert Gordon University
Abstract: The Web can be regarded as a large repository of diversified information in the form of millions of websites distributed across the globe. However, the ever increasing number of websites in the Web has made it extremely difficult for users to find the right informa- tion that satisfies their current needs. In order to address this problem, many researchers explored Web Mining as a way of developing intelligent websites, which could present the information available in a website in a more meaningful way by relating it to a user’s need. Web Mining applies data mining techniques on web usage, web content or web structure data to discover useful knowledge such as topical relations between documents, users’ access patterns and website usage statistics. This knowledge is then used to develop intelligent websites that can personalise the content of a website based on a user’s prefer- ence. However, existing intelligent websites are too focussed on filtering the information available in a website to match a user’s need, ignoring the true source of users’ problems in the Web. The majority of problems faced by users in the Web today, can be reduced to issues related to a website’s design. All too often, users’ needs change rapidly but the websites remain static and existing intelligent websites such as customisation, personalisa- tion and recommender systems only provide temporary solutions to this problem. An idea introduced to address this limitation is the development of adaptive websites. Adaptive websites are sites that automatically change their organisation and presentation based on users’ access patterns. Shortcutting is a sophisticated method used to change the organi- sation of a website. It involves connecting two documents that were previously unlinked in a website by adding a new hyperlink between them based on correlations in users’ visits. Existing methods tend to minimize the number of clicks required to find a target document by providing a shortcut between the initial and target documents in a user’s navigational path. This approach assumes the sequence of intermediate documents appearing in the path is insignificant to a user’s information need and bypasses them. In this work, we explore the idea of adaptive websites and present our approach to it using wayposts to address the above mentioned limitation. Wayposts are intermediate documents in a user’s path which may contain information significant to a user’s need that could lead him to his intended target document. Our work identifies such wayposts from frequently travelled users’ paths and suggests them as potential navigational shortcuts, which could be used to improve a website’s organisation.
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