Scribe Project
Effective Writing

Titles and Abstracts That Work

Writers want their work to be read. A good title and abstract is often the first and only opportunity to catch a potential reader’s attention. Therefore careful attention to the form and content of these two elements is critical to your success as a published author. This set of exercises leads you through several measured efforts to improve an existing title and abstract and then asks you to write these elements for your own project.

Abstract

We seek to gain improved insight into how Web search engines should cope with the evolving Web, in an attempt to provide users with the most up-to-date results possible. For this purpose we collected weekly snapshots of some 150 Web sites over the course of one year, and measured the evolution of content and link structure. Our measurements focus on aspects of potential interest to search engine designers: the evolution of link structure over time, the rate of creation of new pages and new distinct content on the Web, and the rate of change of the content of existing pages under search-centric measures of degree of change. Our findings indicate a rapid turnover rate of Web pages, i.e., high rates of birth and death, coupled with an even higher rate of turnover in the hyperlinks that connect them. For pages that persist over time we found that, perhaps surprisingly, the degree of content shift as measured using TF.IDF cosine distance does not appear to be consistently correlated with the frequency of content updating. Despite this apparent non-correlation, the rate of content shift of a given page is likely to remain consistent over time. That is, pages that change a great deal in one week will likely change by a similarly large degree in the following week. Conversely, pages that experience little change will continue to experience little change. We conclude the paper with a discussion of the potential implications ofour results for the design of effective Web search engines.

Exercises

  1. The title of this article is catchy but long. Develop one or two titles that retain your interest but are shorter.
  2. The above abstract has 249 words (can you guess the imposed limit?). Using the Koopman and van Leunen/Lipton articles as guides, do the following:
    • Identify the missing elements (according to Koopman).
    • Add these elements.
    • Find the word count and reduce it by 50 words, without losing significant meaning.
    • Reduce it by 50 more words, or even more if possible.
    • Note: Retain each version of the abstract as you perform your iterations.
  3. You have developed a new sorting algorithm for a general list of integers. Your algorithm is O(n)—Wow, you are good! The previous best algorithm is a bubble sort, O(?). Write a 100-word abstract for a technical article you will submit for publication.
  4. Write a 200-word-or-fewer abstract for your project. Keep for your final State-of-the-field paper.