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Wayfinder: Building and interface for a Web archive


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This paper describes Wayfinder, a personalizable interface for
Web archives through which users interpret and understand
archived Web artifacts through their individual exploration. The
interface was designed, developed, and implemented to enable
readers of Web archives to explore, annotate, and discuss archived
Web artifacts. Through this interface, users discuss and digest
their own and others' experiences of Web culture within the
boundaries of an expertly curated Web archive. Wayfinder is an
exhibit aid, a teaching tool, and a research tool that provides
access to an expertly annotated collection of archived Web
objects, and opens the collection up to non-expert interpretation.
Wayfinder can be found at http://wayfinder.webarchivist.org.

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  • Wayfinder
  • Users log in with a personal account
  • And can begin developing their own loosely tied collection of items of interest in the archive.
  • Users can browse the archive, artifact by artifact (BROWSE)
  • Or they can search the archive (ADVANCED SEARCH) for particular artifact titles, specific artifact producers, or for general topics – users can search tags that other users have entered to label items they’ve encountered as they explore the archive.
  • Once a user finds an artifact of interest in the archive (MY COLLECTION click Stanley, item #1),
  • she can view the object with different accompanying information
  • 1. The artifact via its original archivalurl to see when it was captured and where it is held, or as a more stable jpeg capture of the artifact,
  • 2. They can view the artifact’s catalog information (which is specific to the scholarly knowledge produced from this archive),
  • 3. She can view its tags, or the keywords all users have added to label this artifact,
  • 4. She can view notes that other users have entered to annotate this artifact, or
  • 5. A list of other WF users that have viewed this artifact.
  • Users can scroll down and view other artifacts that share similar tags, and view the artifacts they viewed previously in this session.
  • A user can collect a subset of artifacts from the collection by writing a note for an artifact (MY COLLECTION) – so, by adding a note, the user creates a personal collection of artifacts that are of interest to her, and can keep track of her ideas related to those artifacts. By adding a tag, users can create a different kind of subset that can always be retrieved from the larger collection by searching WF tags.
  • Users can also collect other users in WF. They can create loose connections between their own ideas and others’ by adding other users to a contact list so they may refer back to another person’s recent annotations (LOG OUT).
  • Wayfinder
  • Wayfinder: Building and interface for a Web archive