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Link awareness is defined as the ability to discover, view, search and update global hyperlink information about any resource with a URL on the World Wide Web. This global link information is a shared information resource.
Implementing link awareness is difficult. In practice, an implementation only approximates link awareness. There are at least two qualitative axes on which we can classify these implementations.
- Breadth of Coverage: The number and type of interlinked documents covered.
- Liveness: The ability (or lack thereof) to update the link information on the fly.
- Most WikiWiki implementations support link awareness within the scope of the documents that they host. Their breadth of coverage (insofar as link information is concerned) is narrow. A wiki, however, is very live (and indeed, liveness, is its raison d'etre).
- Google supports link awareness through its web interface. (You type in a query of the form
link:<URL>.) Google's breadth is impressive (it covers a lot of interlinked documents), but it is a far cry from live (it can take months before Google indexes a newly created document).