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:
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
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)
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
scale-free link distribution power law = # in-neighbors / subsite
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 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?
UK link data UK universities 7669 subsites –www.hum.port.ac.uk –www.atm.ox.ac.uk – million web pages 39.3 mill. page outlinks –34.4 million site selflinks –4.9 million site outlinks delimited data set – web pages – links between 7669 subsites
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
15 10 path nets hum.port.ac.uk Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, Portsmouth Atmospheric, Oceanic and Planetary Physics, Oxfordatm.ox.ac.uk economics.soton. ac.uk Economics Dept, Southampton Chemistry Dept, Glasgowchem.gla.ac.uk psy.man.ac.uk Psychology Dept, Manchester Mathematics Dept, Glasgow Caledonianmaths.gcal.ac.uk speech.essex.ac.uk Speech Research Group, Linguistics Dept, Essex Palaeontology Research Group, Earth Sciences Dept, Bristolpalaeo.gly.bris.ac.uk geog.plym.ac.uk Geography Dept, Plymouth Ophthalmology Dept, [eye research] Oxfordeye.ox.ac.uk 5 pairs of topically dissimilar subsites + both directions = 10 path nets with all shortest paths
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
18 possible small-world implications/applications library and information science –also focus on distributed knowledge organization (www) –also focus on exploratory capabilities in distributed info.systems 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