BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

Computing the entropy of user navigation in the web

Levene, Mark and Loizou, George (2003) Computing the entropy of user navigation in the web. International Journal of Information Technology and Decision Making 2 (3), pp. 459-476. ISSN 0219-6220.


Download (226kB) | Preview
Official URL:


Navigation through the web, colloquially known as "surfing", is one of the main activities of users during web interaction. When users follow a navigation trail they often tend to get disoriented in terms of the goals of their original query and thus the discovery of typical user trails could be useful in providing navigation assistance. Herein, we give a theoretical underpinning of user navigation in terms of the entropy of an underlying Markov chain modelling the web topology. We present a novel method for online incremental computation of the entropy and a large deviation result regarding the length of a trail to realize the said entropy. We provide an error analysis for our estimation of the entropy in terms of the divergence between the empirical and actual probabilities. We then indicate applications of our algorithm in the area of web data mining. Finally, we present an extension of our technique to higher-order Markov chains by a suitable reduction of a higher-order Markov chain model to a first-order one.

Item Type: Article
Keyword(s) / Subject(s): Web user navigation, web data mining, navigation problem, Markov chain, entropy
School: Birkbeck Schools and Research Centres > School of Business, Economics & Informatics > Computer Science and Information Systems
Research Centre: Birkbeck Knowledge Lab
Depositing User: Administrator
Date Deposited: 23 Aug 2005
Last Modified: 02 Dec 2016 13:23

Archive Staff Only (login required)

Edit/View Item Edit/View Item