There has been much recent interest in extracting information from collections of Web links. One tool that has been used is Ingwersen’s Web impact factor. It has been demonstrated that several versions of this metric can produce results that correlate with research ratings of British universities showing that, despite being a measure of a purely Internet phenomenon, the results are susceptible to a wider interpretation. This paper addresses the question of which is the best possible domain to count backlinks from, if research is the focus of interest. WIFs for British universities calculated from several different source domains are compared, primarily the .edu, .ac.uk and .uk domains, and the entire Web. The results show that all four areas produce WIFs that correlate strongly with research ratings, but that none produce incontestably superior figures. It was also found that the WIF was less able to differentiate in more homogeneous subsets of universities, although positive results are still possible.
Journal of Documentation – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 2002
Keywords: Internet; Information retrieval
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