FIMS Publications


European political trends viewed through patterns of Web linking

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Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology

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This study explored the feasibility of using Web hyperlink data to study European politicalWeb sites. Ninety-six European Union (EU) political parties belonging to a wide range of ideological, historical, and linguistic backgrounds were included in the study.Various types of data onWeb links to partyWeb sites were collected. The Web colink data were visualized using multidimensional scaling (MDS), while the inlink data were analyzed with a 2-way analysis of variance test. The results showed that Web hyperlink data did reflect some political patterns in the EU. The MDS maps showed clusters of political parties along ideological, historical, linguistic, and social lines. Statistical analysis based on inlink counts further confirmed that there was a significant difference along the line of the political history of a country, such that leftwing parties in the former communist countries received considerably fewer in links to their Web sites than leftwing parties in countries without a history ofcommunism did.The study demonstrated the possibility of using Web hyperlink data to gain insights into political situations in the EU. This suggests the richness of Web hyperlink data and its potential in studying social-political phenomena. © 2010 ASIS&T.

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