Mike Chen, Marti Hearst, Jason Hong, and James Lin


USENIX Symposium on Internet Technologies and Systems (USITS)


January 1999


Although search over World Wide Web pages has recently received much academic and commercial attention, surprisingly little research has been done on how to search the web pages within large, diverse intranets. Intranets contain the information associated with the internal workings of an organization. A standard search engine retrieves web pages that fall within a widely diverse range of information contexts, but presents these results uniformly, in a ranked list. As an alternative, the Cha-Cha system organizes web search results in such a way as to reflect the underlying structure of the intranet. In our approach, an “outline ” or “table of contents ” is created by first recording the shortest paths in hyperlinks from root pages to every page within the web intranet. After the user issues a query, these shortest paths are dynamically combined to form a hierarchical outline of the context in which the search results occur. The system is designed to be helpful for users with a wide range of computer skills. Preliminary user study and survey results suggest that some users find the resulting structure more helpful than the standard retrieval results display for intranet search.

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