Re: Web trends

Richard Wiggins <>
Message-id: <>
Date:         Tue, 07 Sep 93 13:03:01 EDT
From: Richard  Wiggins <>
Subject:      Re: Web trends
In-reply-to: Your message of Mon, 06 Sep 1993 23:06:36 -0500
Status: RO
>I've noticed that a lot of documents have zero or one hypertext link in
>them and then we have "navigation" nodes that tie everything together.
>While I'm not surprised at this trend I think that if we don't do something
>to change it the Web will not scale well and we will end up with islands
>of information instead of a web.  If we are to have true hypertext then
>we need some way to have users augment this structure leaving behind "snail
>trails" for future users to follow.
>I think it should be possible to analyze server logs (once browers support
>``Referer: URL'' that is) and extract some of this information.  LINK
>commands could then be used to extend the structure beyond the local
>server.  This could fit in very nicely with Web robots.
>Hope this is some food for thought.

Devil's advocate: maybe terminal documents are a good thing.  In
the Gopher community, virtually everyone feels a need to build
links to other Gopher servers.  The result is several hundred
different ways of setting up paths to each other -- both to
root Gophers, and to interesting documents within various servers.

A few months ago, the Merit Network mounted a Gopher for the
Chronicle of Higher Ed, a US publication that's followed closely
in academe.  This Gopher server is the first I've found with zero
outside links.  It stands on its own.

I find this very appealing.  If other single-topic servers followed
the same model, we could end up with a division of labor, where some
servers have a goal of providing unique documents, and others have
the goal of organizing Gopher documents within a subject area, and
others have the goal of organizing the subject Gophers.

If, instead, everybody tries to organize every relevant resource
on the net, then it seems to me that's what won't scale.  I realize
the notion of the Web emphasizes interconnectedness, but clients do
offer easy ways to leap to well-known documents with links elsewhere.

/Rich Wiggins, Gopher Coordinator, Michigan State U