The World Wide Web has now become one of the main sources of information on academic and research activities and therefore it is an excellent platform to test new methods of evaluating webometric activities. Webometric studies have focused their analyses mainly in the performance of the academic web domains, because academic institutions like colleges and universities are stable and well-defined institutions on the Web since long time ago. Furthermore, this interest is due to the possibility of building web indicators which explain the academic activity and production (Scharnhorst and Wouters, 2006; Thelwall, 2001, 2002). This has produced several studies that compare the academic web development in different countries through web indicators (Ingwersen, 1998; Smith, 1999) or through visualization (Heimeriks and Van Den Besselaar, 2006; Polanco et. al., 2001).
Academic institutions, web sites, in many countries, are large multifaceted communication devices, and are increasingly used for a wide variety of purposes, from attracting new students to providing online library catalogues. In terms of research, academic institutions, web sites can announce the existence and promote the achievements of individuals, research groups, institutes and departments. They can also disseminate their findings, either by hosting online articles or by publishing summaries, data sets or tools. The pages themselves can be created centrally, by administrators or webmasters, or locally by individuals for themselves or their research team or projects. Potential benefits of an effective web presence include greater research impact, attracting students, media interest and commercial contacts. In this context, it is quite logical to investigate the measures of the effectiveness of web sites, both to study the communication activity that they represent and to build useful evaluation metrics (Vaughan and Thelwall, 2005).
Concept of Webometrics
The Online Dictionary of Library and Information Science defines a web page as "an electronic document written in HTML script, stored on a Web server and accessible using Web browser software at a unique Internet address (URL), usually one of a group of related, interlinked files that together comprise a Web site. A Web page may include formatted text, graphic material, audio and/or video elements, and links to other files on the Internet" (DLIS).
The term, 'webometric' was coined from two English words i.e. "web" & "metrics". The word 'web' is the short of World Wide Web and 'metrics' denotes the mathematical theory of measurement. The ODLIS defines webometrics as "description and evaluation of the impact of the Internet as a scholarly communication tool, primarily by means of quantitative analysis of web-based scholarly and scientific communications" (ODLIS). Sometimes it is used synonymously with 'cybermetrics'. Simply, Webometrics, therefore, is the study of the quantitative aspects of the construction and use of information resources, structures and technologies on the Web, drawing on bibliometric and informetric approaches.
Ramesh Babu, Jeyshankar and Nageswara Rao (2010) defined 'webometrics' as a quantitative study of web-related phenomena. The webometrics study could be applied to web with commercial search engines providing the raw data.
Bojorneborne (2004), on the other hand, defined webometrics as "the study of the quantitative aspects of the construction and use of information resources, structures and technologies on the web, drawing on bibliometric and informatic approaches. This definition covers both the construction and usage aspects of the web, which embrace the following four key domains of webometrics study:
* Web page content analysis.
* Weblink structure analysis (e.g. hyperlink, self link and external link).
* Web usage analysis (e.g. exploting log files for users searching and browsing behaviour). …