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Web Site And Web Page Persistence And Change: A Longitudinal Study

Author: 
Wallace Conrad Koehler, Jr.
Date: 
December 1997

Abstract: The World Wide Web is, by most accounts, growing and changing rapidly. This research addresses the Web entity issues of life and death, and change over time. This project is concerned with those elements associated with the Web site and Web page URLs and structures that provide insights into Web page and Web site constancy and persistence. It does not address nor analyze the content or meaning of Web pages and Web sites except to the degree that such information can be inferred from the URL. This analysis is necessarily a longitudinal study. Two data collection periods were established for harvesting the Web site data: December 1996 to February 1997 for the first data capture, and July and August 1997 for the second. Web page data were taken on a weekly basis beginning in early January 1997 and for the purposes of this thesis, ending in late August 1997. This research also addresses Web entity taxonomies or structures. There has been scant attention paid to Web page or Web site structures. It is suggested that different types of Web entities behave differently. Web pages and Web sites can be distinguished in several ways. This thesis focuses on Web entity attributes that can be determined from an analysis of the URL as well as by measures of Web object types and byte-weight. It is found that Web sites and Web pages undergo significant changes over time. These changes include the redistribution of object types within Web sites, additions and deletions to text and graphic objects, and additions and deletions of hypertext links to other Web pages. It is also demonstrated that Web site and Web page typologies can help predict constancy and permanence behaviors moderate somewhat. From one week to the next, approximately five percent will be intermittently comatose.

Separate But Equal? A System Comparison Study Of Medline’s Controlled Vocabulary Mesh

Author: 
Karin Schreier Hallett
Date: 
August 1997

Abstract: This study tests the effect of controlled vocabulary search feature implementation on retrieval rates in an online information systems environment. For unique controlled vocabulary search features (Explode, Major Descriptor, Descriptor, Subheadings) were applied to nine search queries obtained from a medical reference librarian. The same queries were searched in the complete Medline file on the Dialog and Ovid systems. The unique records, i.e. those records retrieved in only one of the two systems, were identified and analyzed. Overall, the discrepancies in retrieval rates were not great and controlled vocabulary is shown to be an important and efficient way to search online information retrieval systems. However, Dialog did produce more records for each of the queries. The study also demonstrates that the user needs to be aware of system-specific designs which may prompt differing input strategies across different systems for the same unique controlled vocabulary search features.

Libel In Cyberspace: Federal Judges & The Internet

Author: 
Teresa Louise Conaway
Date: 
December 1996

Abstract: This thesis has two primary purposes: First, to study the intersection of the American law of defamation with the new medium known as cyberspace. Specifically, what liability do providers of Internet access risk for specifically, what liability do providers of Internet access risk for defamatory content posted by others? In addition to examining the current law of defamation and how it has been applied to cases of online libel, this study also surveys the relevant professional literature.

Second, to study the familiarity of federal trial judges with the Internet and World Wide Web. The results of a survey administered to a sample of sitting federal trial judges are discussed and analyzed.

The study illustrates that the existing law of defamation is sufficiently flexible to apply to cases of online libel. However, law-makers may be well-advised to consider a new rule of liability for online service providers to ensure that the new medium flourishes. It also illustrates that younger and more experience using computers for online functions, but that generally, the federal trial bench knows little about cyberspace and its culture.

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