Community structure in e-Government hyperlink networks

Henman, Paul, Ackland, Rob and Graham, Tim (2014). Community structure in e-Government hyperlink networks. In: Alexandru Ionas, Proceedings of the 14th European Conference on eGovernment. ECEG 2014: 14th European Conference on eGovernment, Braşov, Romania, (135-143). 12-13 June, 2014.

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Author Henman, Paul
Ackland, Rob
Graham, Tim
Title of paper Community structure in e-Government hyperlink networks
Conference name ECEG 2014: 14th European Conference on eGovernment
Conference location Braşov, Romania
Conference dates 12-13 June, 2014
Proceedings title Proceedings of the 14th European Conference on eGovernment
Journal name Proceedings of the European Conference on e-Government
Place of Publication Reading, UK
Publisher Academic Conferences and Publishing International
Publication Year 2014
Sub-type Fully published paper
Open Access Status File (Author Post-print)
ISBN 9781909507326
ISSN 2049-1026
Editor Alexandru Ionas
Start page 135
End page 143
Total pages 9
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Formatted Abstract/Summary
Over the past decade the World Wide Web has become a core platform for the electronic operation of government. Yet the shape and nature of government presence on the Web and the online community in which it resides remains poorly understood and relatively under-theorised. This paper is part of a larger project that utilises large-scale web crawling to map the hyperlink network structure between government websites and the broader Web ecology in the UK and Australia. In this paper we utilise Infomap–a state-of-the-art community detection algorithm–to discover 'communities' of websites within a hyperlink network of over 100,000 websites and over 280,000 hyperlinks derived from 88 key UK government seed sites at national, regional (i.e. Scotland and Wales) and local government levels. The principle underpinning the Infomap approach is that flows of information in complex networks reveals community structure. The purposes of analysing online communities in which government websites reside is to identify the different communities operating in this larger network and understand the shared basis for these communities. It is hypothesized that online 'communities' can occur around different policy topics (such as health, education or policing), or along institutional or jurisdictional boundaries (such as England, Scotland and Wales). This paper addresses three main research inquiries. Firstly, what is the nature of the different communities identified in the UK network by the Infomap algorithm, including what types of websites are dominant in each community? Secondly, what role do government websites play in each community and what types of sites are dominant in them? Finally, to what extent are government websites included in the most important communities. Using this novel approach we examine the extent to which government websites are embedded within the most important flows of information on the Web. This research provides foundational knowledge about the role of government websites in the World Wide Web, and the associations that have emerged, and the changing dynamic of state information in the twenty-first century. The research may also lead to new strategies for developing government presence on the Web. Preliminary findings suggest that the social media and government seed sites and portals are key players in the network, though there is considerable diversity in their significance and presence based on policy domain and tier of government.
Keyword Social network analysis
Community detection
Hyperlink networks
Web social science
Q-Index Code E1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

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Created: Fri, 30 May 2014, 10:26:07 EST by Dr Paul Henman on behalf of School of Social Work and Human Services