, Volume 63, Issue 3, pp 443-462

The anthrax scare and the Web: A content analysis of Web pages linking to resources on anthrax

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Summary

The purpose of this study was to develop a method for characterizing the page and linking patterns related to dramatic events on the Web. As a specific case, we characterized Web pages linking to the set of pages on anthrax indexed by the Yahoo directory (generally acknowledged as a high quality directory). The sample of Web pages was collected shortly after anthrax became a matter of widespread concern (November 2001). The findings show that at that time the “typical' source page was either a news item or a page with a list of links. Most of the examined links were not navigational but linked to the target page in order to provide additional content. Many Web sites added hyperlinks to pages providing presumably authoritative and high quality information on anthrax rather than supplying the information themselves. The results show that Web authors link extensively to presumably “high quality' pages. The methods presented here can be utilized in order to characterize pages and linking patterns of Web pages linking to a set of predefined pages, and the findings of this specific study can serve as a basis for comparison.