People are confronted with ever growing amounts of information. This makes it increasingly difficult to navigate vast information spaces in order to find appropriate information. Basing access to and retrieval of information on user trails would allow people not only to better manage their personal information spaces but also to ask questions such as "where do other people go from here", "what else should I read?" or "how did we come to that conclusion?". As a consequence, users could manage their individual information spaces more efficiently. Furthermore, the fact that trails are built with information about the users' browsing paths and activities makes them well suited for collaborative applications where users with similar interests are to be matched.
Trailist will build an open framework for supporting trail-based information access. Its name indicates that, similar to the way "Tour-ists" travel on tours, "Trail-ists" make their ways through vast information spaces.
Trailist proposes to build an open framework that will support the construction of trail-based applications. Besides building the framework, the primary goals of the project include addressing the issues of acquisition of trail data and processing of trail data. The usability of the framework and the concept of user trails will be evaluated by building two sample application prototypes and by an end-user evalutation.
User Trails, Collaborative Work, Social Navigation, Component-based Open Hypermedia Systems (CB-OHS), Software Agents