Topical Locality in the Web

Brian D. Davison

Conference Paper (8 pages)
Official ACM published version:
Author's copy: Postscript (643KB) PDF (80KB)
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Most web pages are linked to others with related content. This idea, combined with another that says that text in, and possibly around, HTML anchors describe the pages to which they point, is the foundation for a usable World-Wide Web. In this paper, we examine to what extent these ideas hold by empirically testing whether topical locality mirrors spatial locality of pages on the Web. In particular, we find that the likelihood of linked pages having similar textual content to be high; the similarity of sibling pages increases when the links from the parent are close together; titles, descriptions, and anchor text represent at least part of the target page; and that anchor text may be a useful discriminator among unseen child pages. These results show the foundations necessary for the success of many web systems, including search engines, focused crawlers, linkage analyzers, and intelligent web agents.

In the Proceedings of the 23rd Annual International Conference on Research and Development in Information Retrieval (SIGIR 2000), Athens, Greece, July 24-28, pages 272-279.

A longer version of this paper is available as a technical report.

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Last modified: 7 July 2011
Brian D. Davison