Networks of communities and communities of networks in online government

Henman, Paul, Ackland, Rob and Graham, Tim (2014) Networks of communities and communities of networks in online government. Electronic Journal of e-Government, 12 2: 117-131.

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Author Henman, Paul
Ackland, Rob
Graham, Tim
Title Networks of communities and communities of networks in online government
Journal name Electronic Journal of e-Government   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1479-439X
Publication date 2014
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 12
Issue 2
Start page 117
End page 131
Total pages 15
Place of publication Reading, United Kingdom
Publisher Academic Conferences and Publishing Internatinal
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract 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 analyses large-scale web crawling data that map the hyperlink network structure between government websites and the broader Web ecology in the UK. In particular, it reports the ‘communities’ of websites within a hyperlink network of over 19,000 websites and over 135,000 hyperlinks derived from 75 key UK government seed sites at national, regional (i.e. Scotland and Wales) and local government levels. These website communities were derived by utilising Infomap, a state-of-the-art community detection algorithm that operate on the principle that flows of information in complex networks reveals community structure. Identifying and analysing online communities in which government websites reside provides insights in how hyperlink communities are arranged, that is, their emergent organizing principal and the importance of government in these online 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). Using this novel approach this paper demonstrates that communities emerge on both axes, and that social media and government portals are some of the most significant communities based on information flows. This research provides foundational knowledge about the role of government websites in the World Wide Web, the emergent online associations, and the changing dynamic of state information in the twenty-first century. It points to strategies for developing government Web presence in networks that matter.
Keyword Social network analysis
Community detection
Hyperlink networks
Web social science
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ
Additional Notes

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2015 Collection
School of Social Science Publications
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Created: Tue, 03 Mar 2015, 12:05:05 EST by Dr Paul Henman on behalf of School of Social Science