ble through other means such asanother Web page or a search engine.In addition, users tend to bookmarkfor wildly different reasons, rangingfrom genuine interest to a transientneed to return to a page. Finally,bookmarks either exist, or they don’t.There is no partial bookmark thatwould indicate marginal interest, andthere is no way that bookmarks can beused to indicate a lack of preference,which an explicit feedback system canrequest.Siteseer uses the findings of oneuser as implicit recommendations foranother based on the bookmarkeddiscoveries of a pool of reviewersqualified as trusted recommenders.The criteria for a reviewer being arecommender for another is straight-forward. Fundamentally, Siteseerlooks at each user’s folders and book-marks, and measures the degree of overlap (such as common URLs) of each folder with other people’s folders,giving additional weight to URLsthat are more obscure, (that is, lessprevalent in user folders).
The systemdoes not derive any semantic valuefrom the contents of the URLs, northe title of the folders; it uses the URLas a unique identifier and completelyignores the title. By using overlap of contents to determine folder similar-ity, Siteseer establishes concept simi-larity without relying on the titlesgiven to the folders.Using this method, Siteseer formsdynamically defined virtual communi-ties of interest, particular to each userand specific to each of the user’s cate-gories of interest. In our example, Johnhas a “Vacation Spots” folder which,like any other folder, is the basis for theformation of a virtual community. Inthis case, Mary’s “Tropical Getaways”folder has the highest overlap with John’s “Vacation Spots,” making herthe most qualified recommender.
Islas AdjacentesTropical Getaways
Exotic LocationsVacation Spots
http://www.cuba.org http://www.puertorico.org http://www.pctravel.com
This figure shows fourqualified folders, selected froma larger pool, which are partof the virtual neighborhoodsurrounding John’s“Vacation Spots.” Mary’s“Tropical Getaways” is themost qualified recommendingfolder, if computed by simpleoverlap. Also, note that“http://www.vtourist.com”would be the highestconfidence recommendation,given that it is coming fromMary’s “Tropical Getaways,”and also because it iscontained in anotherqualified recommender’sfolder, Christine’s“Caribbean Paradise.”
This explanation is significantly simplified but con-veys the main point; the mechanism for determin-ing folder similarity is more complex and involvesadditional factors not mentioned.
March 1997/Vol. 40, No. 3
COMMUNICATIONSOF THE ACM