Spatial hypertext and the practice of information triage
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Information triage is the process of sorting through relevant materials, and organizing them to meet the needs of the task at hand. It is a practice that has become increasingly common with the advent of `at your fingertips' information resources. To explore the characteristics of information triage and its interaction with spatial hypertext, a medium we claim supports the process, we have studied subjects engaged in a time-constrained decision-making task using a large set of relevant documents. We use the study task to investigate information triage under three different conditions: one in which the participants used paper documents, and two others in which the participants used variants of VIKI, a spatial hypertext system. Our findings suggest that during information triage attentional resources are devoted to evaluating materials and organizing them, so they can be read and reread as they return to mind. Accordingly, hypertext tools to support the practice should facilitate the rapid assimilation and assessment of new material, aid in the creation and management of a fluid category structure, allow readers to track their own progress through the information, and use minimum-effort methods to promote the intelligibility of results.
author list (cited authors)
Marshall, C. C., & Shipman, F. M.