Sunday, April 11, 2010

Rich interfaces for reading news on the web

Earl J. Wagner Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
Jiahui Liu Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
Larry Birnbaum Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA
Kenneth D. Forbus Northwestern University, Evanston, IL, USA

paper link:

In this paper, Wagner et al. created the "Brussell" system which is an interface that compiles summary information on a news article.
Brussell also gathers background information from on the article from related articles and links and can construct a kind of summary of information leading to the main article. It does this by searching for related links and cross referencing the information against other articles to remove extraneous and possible erroneous information.

By giving a summary of an article, at a quick glance users can quickly assimilate news, background information, and current information on certain events.
Even more important is the fact that the system can work off a knowledge base construct a net of references to older material when looking at a current article.

To test the system the team created templates for several kinds of articles and defined a set of information that the system looks to fill in for the template.
The team also used a database of older articles that gave the system a knowledge base for the Brussell system. Then the system was run over 100 different news stories to measure the number of references found by the system. The system found an average of 4.1 references per article.

My Spill:

The Brussell system creates an interesting addition to the data mining community by allowing casual users to weave a web of references and background information for news articles. I think the idea for the system is great. Allowing people to have a summarized view of current events could make the general populace more informed on current issues if the system is strong enough.

But that makes me think that the average user might not be motivated enough to use the system to become more educated on current issues, even though the given implementation may be easy enough to use. If the system could provide a means of rewarding the user for taking advantage of the system and reviewing material, then I think this kind of thing could be revolutionary.

I really wonder how "smart" the system really is...

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