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Small-world connectors across academic web spaces Lennart Björneborn Royal School of Library and Information Science Copenhagen AoIR-ASIST Workshop.

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Presentation on theme: "Small-world connectors across academic web spaces Lennart Björneborn Royal School of Library and Information Science Copenhagen AoIR-ASIST Workshop."— Presentation transcript:

1 Small-world connectors across academic web spaces Lennart Björneborn Royal School of Library and Information Science Copenhagen AoIR-ASIST Workshop on Web Science Research Methods Association of Internet Researchers Conference, Brighton, UK 19 September 2004 M.C. Escher: House of Stairs, 1951

2 WWW = document network = collaborative weaving Wood et al. (1995)

3 3 web characteristics www = new type of document system = no central control / coordination = bottom-up construction www = distributed knowledge organisation = ’3D’ = distributed + diversified + dynamic www = individual input in collective medium = collaborative weaving www = self-organized macro-level aggregations (clusters) of micro-level interactions www = local actions  global consequences (e.g. small-world phenomena)

4 small-world networks small-world = highly clustered + short paths –short distances through shortcuts between nodes in network –small-world = short local + short global distances –efficient diffusion of signals, contacts, ideas, viruses, etc. in networks social network analysis in 1960s: ’six degrees of separation’ –today: ‘small worlds’ in biological, chemical, technical, social networks –brains, ecological food webs, scientific collaboration networks, etc. Watts & Strogatz 1998

5 scale-free link distribution power law = # in-neighbors / subsite

6 6 research motivation distributed knowledge organization  small world structures  exploratory capabilities (accessibility + navigability) –core issues in LIS (library and information science) –short link paths  human web surfers + digital web crawlers can reach and retrieve web pages what micro-level web activities contribute to small-world link structures? –how do academic link creators actually connect documents, topics, genres, and sites across the Web?

7 7 main research question what types of web links, web pages and web sites function as cross-topic connectors in small-world link structures across an academic web space?

8 webometrics the study of quantitative aspects of the construction and use of info. resources, structures and technologies on the Web, drawing on bibliometric and informetric approaches informetrics bibliometrics scientometrics webometrics cybermetrics © Björneborn 2004

9 basic link terminology B has an inlink from A : ~ citation B has an outlink to C : ~ reference B has a selflink : ~ self-citation E and F are reciprocally linked H is reachable from A by a link path A has a transversal link to G : shortcut C and D have co-inlinks from B : ~ co-citation B and E have co-outlinks to D : ~ bibliographic coupling co-links © Björneborn 2004 A B D EG F H C

10 UK link data 2001 109 UK universities 7669 subsites – – –... 3.4 million web pages 39.3 mill. page outlinks –34.4 million site selflinks –4.9 million site outlinks delimited data set –105 817 web pages –207 865 links between 7669 subsites

11 5-step methodology A.Graph model of 7669 UK academic subsites; B.189 random subsites in SCC (Strongest Connected Component); C.10 path nets with all shortest paths between five pairs of topically dissimilar SCC subsites; D.Source and target pages along shortest link paths in 10 path nets; E.Links, pages and subsites providing transversal (cross-topic) connections in 10 path nets. A C B D E

12 corona model 1893 SCC Strongest Connected Component 96 IN-Tendrils connected from IN 2660 OUT reachable from SCC 626 IN traversable to SCC 55 OUT-Tendrils connected to OUT 7 Tube connecting IN to OUT 2332 Dis- connected © Björneborn 2004 bow-tie model Broder et al. 2000

13 shortest link path © Björneborn 2004

14 path net = ‘mini’ small world transversal link path net = all shortest link paths between two given nodes (subsites) © Björneborn 2004

15 15 10 path nets Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Portsmouth Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, economics.soton. Economics Dept, Southampton Chemistry Dept, Psychology Dept, Manchester Mathematics Dept, Glasgow Speech Research Group, Linguistics Dept, Essex Palaeontology Research Group, Earth Sciences Dept, Geography Dept, Plymouth Ophthalmology Dept, [eye research] 5 pairs of topically dissimilar subsites + both directions = 10 path nets with all shortest paths

16 16 indicative findings no generalizable findings – indicative only –national + sectoral + institutional delimitation = UK academic subsites –temporal delimitation = 2001 snapshot : do not cover dynamic changes –small stratified sample of 10 path nets may however be fruitful for future large-scale investigations –computer-science sites may be important transversal (cross-topic) connectors across academic web spaces –personal link creators may be important connectors across sites and topics in academic web spaces – especially personal link lists –over 80% of transversal links may be academic (research, teaching) –close relation: hubs / authorities and betweenness centrality

17 web of genres & genre drift © Björneborn 2004

18 18 possible small-world implications/applications library and information science –also focus on distributed knowledge organization (www) –also focus on exploratory capabilities in distributed  convergent (goal-directed) and divergent (serendipitous) info.behavior web sociology / cyberscience –small-world links > cross-social / cross-domain weak ties –counteract balkanization into disconnected / unreachable insularities –small-world ‘gate-keepers’ with betweenness centrality in networks –tracking interdisciplinary boundary crossings –web mining of fertile areas for cross-disciplinary exploration and cross-pollination search engines –better coverage in web traversal + harvesting –zoomable maps of web clusters + small-world shortcuts

19 19 Five ’laws’ of web connectivity – Links are for use – the very essence of hypertext; – Every surfer his or her link – the rich diversity of links across topics and genres; – Every link its surfer – ditto; – Save the time of the surfer – by visualizing web clusters and small-world shortcuts; – The Web is a growing organism. Inspired by Ranganathan (1931). The five laws of library science: “Books are for use. Every reader his or her book. Every book its reader. Save the time of the reader. The Library is a growing organism.” © Björneborn 2004

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