Evaluating and Improving Navigability of Wikipedia: A Comparative Study of Eight Language Editions

Title: Evaluating and Improving Navigability of Wikipedia: A Comparative Study of Eight Language Editions

Authors: Daniel Lamprecht (KTI, Graz University of Technology), Dimitar Dimitrov (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences), Denis Helic (KTI, Graz University of Technology) and Markus Strohmaier (GESIS – Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences and University of Koblenz-Landau)

Abstract: Wikipedia supports its users to reach a wide variety of goals: looking up facts, researching a topic, making an edit or simply browsing to pass time. Some of these goals, such as the lookup of facts, can be effectively supported by search functions. However, for other use cases such as researching an unfamiliar topic, users need to rely on the links to connect articles. In this paper, we investigate the state of navigability in the article networks of eight language versions of Wikipedia. We find that, when taking all links of articles into account, all language versions enable mutual reachability for almost all articles. However, previous research has shown that visitors of Wikipedia focus most of their attention on the areas located close to the top. We therefore investigate different restricted navigational views that users could have when looking at articles. We find that restricting the view of articles strongly limits the navigability of the resulting networks and impedes navigation. Based on this analysis we then propose a link recommendation method to augment the link network to improve navigability in the network. Our approach selects links from a less restricted view of the article and proposes to move these links into more visible sections. The recommended links are therefore relevant for the article. Our results are relevant for researchers interested in the navigability of Wikipedia and open up new avenues for link recommendations in Wikipedia editing.

This contribution to OpenSym 2016 will be made available as part of the OpenSym 2016 proceedings on or after August 17, 2016.

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