UCT CS Research Document Archive

Optimising Information Retrieval from the Web in Low-bandwidth Environments

Balluck, Ashwinkoomarsing (2007) Optimising Information Retrieval from the Web in Low-bandwidth Environments. MPhil, Department of Computer Science, University of Cape Town.

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The Internet has potential to deliver information to Web users that have no other way of getting to those resources. However, information on the Web is scattered without any proper semantics for classifying them and thus this makes information discovery difficult. Thus, to ease the querying of this huge bin of information, developers have built tools amongst which are the search engines and Web directories. However, for these tools to give optimal results, two factors need to be given due importance: the users’ ability to use these tools and the bandwidth that is present in these environments.

Unfortunately, after an initial study, none of these two factors were present in Mauritius where low bandwidth prevails. Hence, this study helps us get a better idea of how users use the search tools. To achieve this, we designed a survey where Web users were asked about their skills in using search tools. Then, a jump page using the search boxes of different search engines was developed to provide directed guidance for effective searching in low bandwidth environments. We then conducted a further evaluation, using a sample of users to see if there were any changes in the way users access the search tools.

The results from this study were then examined. We noticed that the users were initially unaware about the specificities of the different search tools thus preventing efficient use. However, during the survey, they were educated on how to use those tools and this was fruitful when a further evaluation was performed. Hence the efficient use of the search tools helped in reducing the traffic flow in low bandwidth environments.

EPrint Type:Electronic Thesis or Dissertation
Keywords:bandwidth, developing country, optimisation, search engine
C Computer Systems Organization: C.2 COMPUTER-COMMUNICATION NETWORKS
ID Code:397
Deposited By:Suleman, Hussein
Deposited On:30 May 2007