Information Structure and Hypertext Search Results June 2000


Information structure, Web-based search presentation, Peircean categories, Technical writing industry, Structuring search results


This paper proposes a framework for integrating a principled theory of information structure with traditional web-based search presentation techniques, and sketches the benefits of such an approach. It begins by reviewing research that has been done in the technical writing industry on on-line information structure, highlighting some of the difficulties and challenges faced by developers and users of hypertext-based documentation. It then introduces Peircean categories as a natural classification system for on-line information, with the hypothesis that such a classification can solve some of the fundamental problems faced by information researchers, and can unify several aspects of the eclectic research findings of the technical writing industry. A summary is given of an empirical investigation which gives support for the classification approach. A sketch of the proposed information typology is given, showing how the Peircean categories explain the otherwise confusing intricacies of technical information phenomena. Finally, possible applications to the issue of structuring search results in a consistent and useful manner are mentioned.

Original Publication Citation

Matt Carmack and Deryle Lonsdale (2000). Information Structure and Hypertext Search Results; Information Doors---Where Information Search and Hypertext Link: Proceedings of a workshopheld in conjunction with the ACM Hypertext and Digital Libraries conferences, pp. 5-10;Association for Computing Machinery; San Antonio; pp. 5-10.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Publication Date



Association for Computing Machinery






Linguistics and English Language

University Standing at Time of Publication

Associate Professor