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The science of webometrics (also cybermetrics) tries to measure the World Wide Web to get knowledge about the number and types of hyperlinks, structure of the World Wide Web and usage patterns. According to Björneborn and Ingwersen (2004), the definition of webometrics is "the study of the quantitative aspects of the construction and use of information resources, structures and technologies on the Web drawing on bibliometric and informetric approaches." The term webometrics was first coined by Almind and Ingwersen (1997). A second definition of webometrics has also been introduced, "the study of web-based content with primarily quantitative methods for social science research goals using techniques that are not specific to one field of study" (Thelwall, 2009), which emphasises a small subset of relatively applied methods for use in the wider social sciences. The purpose of this alternative definition was to help publicise appropriate methods outside of the information science discipline rather than to replace the original definition within information science.
Since 2004 the Webometrics ranking of world universities is offering information about more than 6,000 universities ranked according to indicators measuring Web presence and impact (link visibility). There are also Rankings Web devoted to Research Centers, Hospitals, Repositories and Business Schools.
One relatively straightforward measure is the "Web Impact Factor" (WIF) introduced by Ingwersen (1998). The WIF measure may be defined as the number of web pages in a web site receiving links from other web sites, divided by the number of web pages published in the site that are accessible to the crawler. However the use of WIF has been disregarded due to the mathematical artifacts derived from power law distributions of these variables. Other similar indicators using size of the institution instead of number of webpages have been proved more useful.
There is one electronic journal devoted entirely to this discipline called Cybermetrics, that is published since 1997 by the Spanish Research Council (Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas, CSIC).
- Impact factor
- Graph theory
- Network mapping
- Search engine
- World Wide Web
- Webometrics Ranking of World Universities
- Tomas C. Almind and Peter Ingwersen (1997). "Informetric analyses on the World Wide Web: Methodological approaches to 'webometrics'". Journal of Documentation 53 (4): 404–426. doi:10.1108/EUM0000000007205.
- Lennart Björneborn and Peter Ingwersen (2004). "Toward a basic framework for webometrics". Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology 55 (14): 1216–1227. doi:10.1002/asi.20077. http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/abstract/109594194/ABSTRACT.
- Peter Ingwersen (1998). "The calculation of web impact factors". Journal of Documentation 54 (2): 236–243. doi:10.1108/EUM0000000007167.
- Mike Thelwall, Liwen Vaughan, Lennart Björneborn (2005). "Webometrics". Annual Review of Information Science and Technology 39: 81–135. doi:10.1002/aris.1440390110.
- Francisco M. Couto, Catia Pesquita, Tiago Grego, and Paulo Veríssimo (2009). "Handling self-citations using Google Scholar". Cybermetrics 13 (1). http://www.cindoc.csic.es/cybermetrics/articles/v13i1p2.html.
- Mike Thelwall (2009). Introduction to Webometrics: Quantitative Web Research for the Social Sciences. Morgan & Claypool. ISBN 978-1-59829-993-9. http://www.morganclaypool.com/doi/abs/10.2200/S00176ED1V01Y200903ICR004.
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