Hyperlinks: How Well Do They
Represent the Intellectual Content of Digital Collections?

Heting Chu
Palmer School of Library & Information Science, Long Island University, New York


Links in hypertext and hypermedia are guides for users to browse, navigate and locate digital information. They function, in many ways, as index terms for collections of digital objects. The quality of such links usually determines how well hypertext and hypermedia information can be represented intellectually. Since users of the World Wide Web, an excellent tool for organizing and presenting hypertext and hypermedia information, have realized that it is hard to locate precise information from the Internet even with the help of various search engines, it would be interesting to look at the origin of the problem. That is, how much information on the Web contains quality links within the hyper-networked structure? The present author explored this research question by surveying documents selected from the Web sites of the Alexandria Project, CNET, the Library of Congress and the National Information Standards Organization. The quality of hyperlinks were measured by two widely used indexing parameters: exhaustivity and specificity. The study also offers advice and suggestions for people to create quality hyperlinks for their digital collections.