A multi-protocol network client in which a single, integrated user-interface is provided for accessing information according to a number of network access protocols. The accessed information is represented in a hierarchical graph which provides an intuitive and convenient navigation tool for both the experienced and the novice user. The user accesses information according to a particular network access protocol by merely selecting a graphical representation of an item the user wishes to access from the hierarchical graph. Information pertaining to the particular item whose representation is selected by the user is retrieved and used to determine the network access protocol according to which the item is accessed. As an item is retrieved from the network, links contained within the item are parsed from the item and added to the hierarchical graph. In particular, links which are embedded in the substantive information of an item, as is the case with HTML documents, are parsed from the item and added to the hierarchical graph. The user can thereafter retrieve an item referenced by a link parsed from a previously retrieved item by selecting from the hierarchical graph a representation of the parsed link. The hierarchical graph representing the retrieved links is simplified by excluding from the hierarchical graph representations of links which reference the item containing the link and which are redundant in view of other links represented in the hierarchical graph.