A means for prefetching linked document objects in a document workspace. A document object may be a document or a document collection. Such document objects have links to other document objects. The prefetching process of the present invention enables a user to obtain document objects linked to a document that they are interacting with before they are needed. Typically, such linked document objects are related so it is likely that they would be needed. The retrieved document objects are displayed so that their linking is indicated using a cone tree visualization. Various controls are provided which enable the user to stop and start the retrieval process, specify the scope and depth of retrieval, and to specify documents for which linked documents should not be retrieved. A history stack area is provided in the document workspace to place prior instances of cone tree visualizations of retrieved document objects.