14.0426 measuring the WWW

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Date: 10/27/00

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                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 14, No. 426.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
             Date: Fri, 27 Oct 2000 09:06:50 +0100
             From: NINCH-ANNOUNCE <david@ninch.org>
             Subject: OCLC Researchers Measure the World Wide Web
    News on Networking Cultural Heritage Resources
    from across the Community
    October 26, 2000
                OCLC's Web Characterization Project finds 7.1 million sites
                                Rate of Growth Slowing
     >>list             <DIGLIB@INFOSERV.NLC-BNC.CA>
     >From: Terry Kuny <terry.kuny@xist.com>
    OCLC Researchers Measure the World Wide Web
    DUBLIN, Ohio, Oct. 16, 2000--
    In their annual review of the World Wide Web, researchers at
    OCLC have determined that the Web now contains about 7 million
    unique sites; that the public Web-sites that offer content
    that is freely accessible by the general public-constitutes about 40
    percent of the total Web; and that the Web continues to expand
    at a rapid pace, but its rate of growth is diminishing over time.
    According to the group's latest estimates, there were 7.1
    million unique web sites, a 50 percent increase over the previous
    year's total of 4.7 million. Although the number of web sites has
    nearly tripled in size in the last two years, year-to-year growth
    rates are declining, falling from almost 80 percent between 1998
    and 1999, to only about 50 percent between 1999 and 2000.
    Public web sites constitute 41 percent of the Web, or about 2.9
    million sites. Private sites- whose content is subject to explicit
    access restrictions (e.g., Internet Protocol filters or password
    authentication), or is not intended for public use (e.g., web
    interfaces to privately owned hardware devices such as printers or
    routers)-comprise 21 percent of the Web, or 1.5 million sites.
    The remaining 2.7 million sites-or about 38 percent of the Web-
    are provisional sites: their content is in an unfinished or
    transitory state (e.g., server default pages or "Site under
    construction" notices).
    Adult sites-those offering sexually explicit content-now
    constitute about 2 percent of the public Web, or 70,000 sites.
    The proportion of the public Web occupied by adult sites has
    remained unchanged since 1998.
    "The Web continues to grow at a substantial rate," said Ed O'Neill,
    manager of the OCLC Web Characterization Project. "But a comparison
    of the year-to-year growth rates suggests that the Web's expansion
    is slowing. This trend is even more pronounced in the public Web,
    which grew by about 80 percent between 1997 and 1998 but only by
    about a third between 1999 and 2000. Even in absolute terms, growth
    seems to be slowing: the public Web increased by 713,000 sites in
    the past year, compared to 772,000 sites between 1998 and 1999."
    Brian Lavoie, a research scientist working on the Web Characterization
    Project, notes the increasing incidence of non-public web content.
    "For most people, the Web is the public Web-that's where most web
    browsing takes place. But there's a lot of content out there that
    you would probably never encounter in the course of casual browsing;
    in other words, the private and provisional sites. Private sites
    in particular have exhibited steady growth relative to public sites
    in the past few years, accounting for about 12 percent of the Web
    two years ago, compared to over 20 percent today."
    The Web Characterization Project, conducted by the OCLC Office
    of Research, has collected a random sample of web sites annually
    since 1997. Current results are based on analysis of the June 2000
    sample. For analytical purposes, a web site is defined as content
    accessible through the HTTP protocol at a given location on the
    More information on the Web Characterization Project is on
    the project web site
    Sun Microsystems, Inc. has published the second edition of its
    popular "Digital Library Toolkit", a valuable resource for anyone
    planning a digital collection. To download a free copy, go to:
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