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Hypertext Augmenting Intelligent Knowledge Use (HAIKU)

H.A.I.K.U. is all about harnessing the potential of hypertext to help individuals find and use information.  Some of the projects are about fundamental issues but others are about doing something soon since technology and people co-develop so rapidly if you don't do something early you cannot have any influence, and there are many bad influences already.

One project about fundamental principles which has reached an important point is about the basis of people's use of hypertext.  Many researchers have noted that people who score highly on certain tests of spatial reasoning tend to use hypertext successfully (that is quickly and accurately) and vice versa.  However when hypertext interfaces are redesigned to the benefit of people with lower scores on spatial ability tests, there is an inversion in success. It is not clear if the two groups completely swap positions however.

H.A.I.K.U.'s research in this area has been to explore the role of domain expertise in comprehending hypertext versions of scholarly publications.  The particular importance of this work is that it could lead to new interfaces for presenting the WWW and to new ways of teaching people to use the WWW.

One of the other project within H.A.I.K.U. which is being conducted as time and research assistants are available, is an automated tool to check colours on webpages to ensure they meet some profile (e.g. suitable for red-green colour blind readers or not a problem for people with ADD) and suggest changes to the author of the webpage.  The work has progressed a lot in the past two years.  Some of thetool's features are unmatched.  Combining it with another teams' work could have a big impact on the WWW.

A major project within H.A.I.K.U. is the development of tools for scholars (including students) to use electronic texts. Work continues on note-taking, sense-making and annotation.  Stay tuned for future developments.

Research Areas and

Hypertext Augmenting Intelligent Knowledge Use

  • Hypertext
  • Tools for scholarly reading (annotation, marginalia, glossaries, etc.)
  • The WWW
  • Digital Libraries
  • Human-computer interaction, Human factors
  • Accessibility Tools for the WWW
  • Information-seeking behaviour
Faculty Members:
Graduate Students and
Research Assistants:
  • Adel Al-Hejaili
  • Maha AL-Johani
  • Sohail Ali
  • Hari Gudigundla
  • Megha Jyoti
  • Prosunjit Biswas
  • Varinder Singh
Previous Students and Alumni:
  • David Rowe
  • Yeming Hu
  • Allan Lavell
  • Ishtiaq Ahmed
  • Jared Hope
  • Huan Gao
  • Teng Hui
  • Mona Noor
  • Haris Parvaiz
  • Caixia Wang
  • Alexander 'Sandy' Chapman
  • Harman Clair
  • Joanna Farmer
  • Ching-Lung 'Jacky' Fu
  • Brad Macphee
  • Eileen McIllwraith
  • Scott Mercer
Academic Collaborators: Ann-Barbara Graff, Nipissing University
Industry Partners:

Investigations of breadcrumbs to aid in navigating and understanding websites is collaborative with Keith Instone of IBM.

Some of the documentation-based work was with Thor Systems.

Selected Publications

Scholarly Publications in Hypertext Format

Personal Glossaries on the WWW: An Exploratory Study (Hypertext).
James Blustein and Mona Noor.
ACM Symposium on Document Engineering 2004.

Accessibility Tools for the WWW

There are no formal publications in this sub-topic

Tools for Scholarly Readers

Making Sense in the Margins: A Field Study of Annotation.
James Blustein, David Rowe, and Ann-Barbara Graff.
International Conference on Theory and Practice of Digital Libraries (TPDL) 2011.
Personal Glossaries on the WWW: An Exploratory Study (Hypertext).
James Blustein and Mona Noor.
ACM Symposium on Document Engineering 2004.

Navigating the WWW

An Evaluation of Menu Breadcrumbs for the WWW.
James Blustein, Ishtiaq Ahmed, and Keith Instone.
ACM Hypertext Conference 2005.  pp. 202 – 204.

Interaction of Individual Differences and Hypertext

Impact of Spatial Vizualization Aptitude on WWW Navigation.
James Blustein, Ishtiaq Ahmed, Haris Parvaiz, Ching-Lung Fu, Caixia Wang, Alexander (Sandy) Chapman, and Yeming Hu.
The Ergonomics Open Journal Vol. 2 pp. 80-87 (2009).
DOI: 10.2174/1875934300902020080.
Influence of Spatial Ability in Navigation.
Ishtiaq Ahmed and James Blustein.
International Journal Of Web Based Communities Vol. 2, Issue 2, pp. 183-196 (2006)
DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2006.010309.

Further Publications