InterBook Home Page

Adaptive educational hypermedia on the WWW


What is InterBook?

InterBook is a tool for authoring and delivering adaptive electronic textbooks on the World Wide Web. InterBook provides a technology for developing electronic textbooks from a plain text to a specially annotated HTML. InterBook also provides an HTTP server for adaptive delivery of these electronic textbooks over WWW. For each registered user, an InterBook server maintains an individual model of user's knowledge and applies this model to provide adaptive guidance, adaptive navigation support, and adaptive help.

InterBook applies some results of research in the area of Adaptive Hypertext and Hypermedia. These research demonstrate that adaptive navigation support can make hypermedia browsing more productive and protect users from "being lost" in hyperspace. to provide students with these guidance as well as providers of learning materials with standards and authoring tools for an efficient utilization of the WWW as an intelligent learning support media. Adaptive navigation support techniques applied in InterBook proved to be efficient for educational applications of hypertext and hypermedia.

InterBook is used to deliver several adaptive Web-based courses. In Carnegie Mellon University InterBook is used to serve course materials for courses on ACT-R theory of cognitive modeling.


InterBook is a result of cooperation between researchers of the School of Computer Science at the Carnegie Mellon University and the Department of Psychology at the University of Trier. Please contact the main developers Elmar Schwarz at the University of Karlsruhe and Peter Brusilovsky at University of Pittsburgh for any further questions and comments.

Conceptually, InterBook is based on a knowledge-based approach to creating adaptive and interactive electronic textbooks. This approach was originally applied in ELM-ART, a WWW-based Intelligent Tutoring System for learning the programming language LISP. InterBook itself is a trial to develop a domain independent tool for creating adaptive electronic textbooks based on the same approach and on the experience gained with ELM-ART.

Technically, InterBook is based on CL-HTTP, a Common Lisp Hypermedia Server developed in MIT AI Lab. CL-HTTP is a full-featured server for the Internet Hypertext Transfer Protocol. CL-HTTP is currently available for all major platforms.

Learn about InterBook

The following paper serves currently as main architectural reference:

Brusilovsky, P., Eklund, J., and Schwarz, E. (1998) Web-based education for all: A tool for developing adaptive courseware. Computer Networks and ISDN Systems (Proceedings of Seventh International World Wide Web Conference, 14-18 April 1998, 30 (1-7), 291-300. [PDF]

This is currently the most comprehensive paper about evaluation of InterBook in experimental settings:

Brusilovsky, P. & and Eklund, J. (1998) A Study of User Model Based Link Annotation in Educational Hypermedia. Journal of Universal Computer Science. 4 (4) p. 429-448. Springer Science Online.

Here are some research papers about more recent special features of InterBook like incremental adaptive interface and inter-application connectivity:

Brusilovsky, P. and Schwarz, E. (1997) User as student: Towards an adaptive interface for advanced Web-based applications. In: A. Jameson, C. Paris and C. Tasso (eds.) Proceedings of 6th International Conference on User Modeling, Chia Laguna, Sardinia, Italy, June 2-5, 1997 Wien: Springer-Verlag, pp. 177-188. [PDF]

Brusilovsky, P., Ritter, S., and Schwarz, E. (1997) Distributed intelligent tutoring on the Web. In: B. du Boulay and R. Mizoguchi (eds.) Proceedings of AI-ED'97, 8th World Conference on Artificial Intelligence in Education, 18-22 August 1997. Amsterdam: IOS, pp. 482-489.

Here are some less technical papers "around" InterBook. These papers use InterBook as an example of implementation of some more general ideas and principles such as adaptive navigation support or concept-based navigation:

Brusilovsky, P. (2001) Maximizing educational opportunity for every type of learner: adaptive hypermedia for Web-based education. In: C. Stephanidis (ed.) Universal Access in HCI: Towards and Information Society for All. Vol. 3, (Proceedings of 9th International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, HCI International'2001, New Orleans, LA, August 8-10, 2001) Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, pp. 68-72.

Brusilovsky, P. and Anderson, J. (1998) ACT-R electronic bookshelf: An adaptive system for learning cognitive psychology on the Web. In: Proceedings of The 3rd World Conference of the WWW, Internet, and Intranet, WebNet'98, Orlando, FL, November 7-12, 1998, AACE, pp. 92-97 (Top Paper Award).

Eklund, J., Brusilovsky, P., and Schwarz, E. (1997) Adaptive Textbooks on the WWW. In: H. Ashman, P. Thistewaite, R. Debreceny and A. Ellis (eds.) Proceedings of AUSWEB97, The Third Australian Conference on the World Wide Web, Queensland, Australia, July 5-9, 1997, Southern Cross University Press, pp. 186-192.

Brusilovsky, P. (1997) A knowledge-based approach to creating adaptive electronic textbooks. In: M. J. Smith, G. Salvendy and R. J. Koubek (eds.) Design of Computing Systems: Social and Ergonomic Considerations. Advances in Human Factors/Ergonomics, 21B, Vol. 2, (Proceedings of Seventh International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, HCI International '97, San Francisco, USA, August 24-29, 1997) Amsterdam: Elsevier, pp. 107-110.

Brusilovsky, P., Eklund, J., and Schwarz, E. (1997) Adaptive Navigation Support in Educational Hypermedia on the World Wide Web. In: S. Howard, J. Hammond and G. Lindgaard (eds.) Human-Computer Interaction. (Proceedings of INTERACT97, The 6th IFIP World Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, Sydney, Australia, 14-18 July, 1997) New York: Chapman & Hall, pp. 278-285.

Brusilovsky, P. and Schwarz, E. (1997) Concept-based navigation in educational hypermedia and its implementation on WWW. In: T. Müldner and T. C. Reeves (eds.) Proceedings of ED-MEDIA/ED-TELECOM'97 - World Conference on Educational Multimedia/Hypermedia and World Conference on Educational Telecommunications, Calgary, Canada, June 14-19, 1997, pp. 112-117.

The following papers describe earlier versions (1.1 and 1.2) of InterBook:

Brusilovsky, P., Schwarz, E., and Weber, G. (1996) A Tool for Developing Adaptive Electronic Textbooks on WWW. In Proceedings of WebNet'96 - World Conference of the Web Society, October 16-19, 1996. San Francisco, CA, AACE. - pp. 64-69.

Brusilovsky, P., Schwarz, E., and Weber, G. (1996) A Tool for Developing Hypermedia-Based ITS on WWW. Proceedings of Workshop on Architectures and Methods for Designing Cost-Effective and Reusable ITSs held at ITS'96, Third International Conference on Intelligent Tutoring Systems, Montreal, Canada, June 10, 1996.

Try InterBook

To try InterBook you could explore adaptive ACT-R tutorial, which was developed in 1996-1997 to support ACT-R courses at Carnegie Mellon University and the world ACT-R community. The version of ACT-R, which it presents is rather old now and as well as the InterBook system itself -- it as not been changed since 1998. However as an early and straightforward system, InterBook is still useful for understanding the ideas of adaptive hypermedia and adaptive navigation support. It is now kept online by the University of Pittsburgh PAWS Lab as a service to students who want to explore these ideas..

Here is the link to the InterBook Development Server, which delivers ACT-R bookshelf using InterBook version (1.47). Since this server is not used for delivering real courses anymore, it may not be available for some short period of time. The server is self-documented: among other electronic textbooks, each server hosts the InterBook Manual which is an adaptive electronic textbook itself. We recomend you to start with this Manual to check various features of InterBook-served electronic textbooks before proceeding to the ACT-R tutorial.

Download InterBook

InterBook is freely available for everybody who wants to use it non-commercially. Please click here to download InterBook 1.47. Note that current release is only available for Apple Macintosh computers.

Last updated Aug 12, 2007.