WEB PRESENCE AND STRUCTURE EVALUATION OF THE EUROPEAN NATIONAL LIBRARIES' WEBSITES: A STUDY.

Author:Gupta, Monika
Position:Report
 
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Introduction

National Libraries are the symbol of an elegant society. A national library is not only viewed as a source of national pride but also act as an icon of nationhood. It is the place where all the published information of a nation can be located. Development of World Wide Web offers opportunities to access information from anywhere by anyone at any time. It reformed the information seeking behavior of users at a great level. Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in libraries were started from library catalogue and now reaches to the each small and big activity of the library. Libraries are designing their websites to communicate with users through online mode. Use of ICT in libraries is preferred by both, library professionals as well as users as it save lots of time, money and efforts. A website is the electronic face of a library and it is considered as an electronic front door to a library because users first want to visit a website before making their physical visit to a library.

Review of Literature

With increasing users' demands and changing information seeking behavior of the users, libraries have faced a challenge to develop a website which is more users' friendly and users' oriented. The responsibility to develop a website which is more informative as well as users' friendly is not an easy task. For this regular evaluation of a website is very important. Abdul and Ismail (2013) evaluated public universities' websites in Malaysia and used Google search engine and Majestic SEO for collection of data. The study reveals that websites of the public universities in Malaysia did not have sound presence on the web. Author also line up reasons for low web presence which includes traditional method of publishing, use of low standard information resources by the faculty members and limited access to the institutional repository of the institution. Jalal, Biswas, and Mukhopadhyay (2010) examined web visibility of Asian countries. For collection of data, they used Altavista, Google and MSN search engine. In this study, ranking was based on two methods, first was the web impact factor and another one was WISER method. The study found that the Japan had higher visibility on the web in comparison to other Asian countries. Another study examined the web visibility of selected national libraries' websites. For collection of data, Zeinolabedini, Maktabifard, and Osareh (2006) used Alta Vista. The authors applied cluster and multidimensional scaling map to show collaboration among the selected websites of national libraries. The study shows that the websites of national libraries of African Continent have less collaboration with others national libraries' websites of the world. Onuancha (2012) showed status of the national libraries' websites on the web pertaining to their visibility, impact and linkages. For data collection Alexa and Alta Vista was used. The study highlighted that almost half of the national libraries of the World did not have their own websites. The national libraries which do have their own websites recorded low web impact on the web. Majority of the in-links on the selected national libraries' websites were reported from wikis as well as websites which belong to the library and related institutions.

During the evaluation of the uploaded content and designs of the websites of the European national libraries, Pisanski and Zumer (2005) revealed that European national libraries' websites had uploaded a common core of content and followed available design guidelines while designing the structure of their websites. The authors also found that the European National libraries of the economically better and developed countries had greater websites in terms of the following available guidelines, whereas national libraries of the Eastern and Southern European countries fare slightly worse. Booth and Napier (2003) investigated uploaded content and navigation features on the website of the National Library of New Zealand. During the evaluation, it was found that the users gradually expected to be interacting with organisations through online mode to access its services over the internet. Mohamadesmaeil and Kohbanani (2012) examined Iran National Library's website with the help of checklist which was based on review of literature. The study highlights that the design of the website of a National Library of Iran was totally based on functions that support the national library's major aims, especially in information retrieving as well as rendering public information services.

Objectives of the Study

i. to conduct the webometrics analysis of selected European national libraries' websites.

ii. to find out ranking of selected European national libraries' websites based on WISER.

iii. to examine the structure of European national libraries' websites of the World covered under study.

Scope of the Study

The present study examines the web appearance of the European national libraries which are general in nature. The national libraries of specific subject were exempted. There are forty three European countries which are the members of United Nations. After exploring the available literature, directories and doing a bottle neck search on the internet, it was found that all the nations have a designated national library (Appendix). After data analysis, it was found that among the forty-three European national libraries; only forty-two European national libraries had a website. It was the National Library of Monaco which did not have a website among the European nations. The present study selected all the European national libraries' websites which were available in English and having a comprehensive English version of the website. Out of forty-two European national libraries' websites, the study selected only eleven websites as ten websites used other than English language, twenty websites did not have a comprehensive English version and one national library did not have a separate website.

Research Methodology

For the webometrics analysis of European national libraries' websites, data regarding the following web indicators have been collected and analyzed:

* Number of webpages: it shows the size (S) of the website. Data concerning the number of webpages was collected through advance search enquiry in Google Search Engine using their required search expression. The search expression was "site:library.com"

* Number of in-links: it represent the visibility (V) of the website. In-links data were collected using the PageRank Checker (checkpagerank.net) tool.

* Number of rich content files: in this study data regarding the following Rich Files (R) doc.,docx., ppt., pptx, xls., xlsx., pdf. were collected with the help of Google search engine by following search expression: "site:library.comfiletype:pdf

* Number of documents/citations in Google Scholar (Sc.): it provides number of papers and citation of each domain of national library website.

The data for each web indicator was collected twice, first in the month of July 2014 and again in the month of March 2015. Data was collected twice to view changes on the selected European national libraries' websites during the period of study.

To examine the structure of the European national libraries' websites, a checklist was drafted which is based on published literature. The relevant data was collected in the month of July and August 2014.

Data Analysis

In this study, data analysis have been done in two major parts:

i) Webometrics analysis: it is a quantitative study of web and its resources. Table 2 shows the data regarding following web indicators:

a. Number of webpages

b. Number of in-links

c. Number of rich content files

d. Number of citations in Google Scholars

Number of webpage shows the size of a website. All the European national libraries had sound web presence with a ample number of webpages uploaded on their websites. The British Library which is the National Library of UK hold the top most position with 64,75,000 webpages (average) followed by National Library of Czech Republic with 36,35,000 webpages (average). The website of National Library of Macedonia came on the bottom rank in the European Continent with 987 webpages followed by the website of Cyprus Library with 1,635 webpages.

Number of in-links represents recognition of a website in their users' community. Analysis shows that all the European national libraries' websites were highly recognized by the external World. Maximum number of in-links were received by the website of National Library of Czech Republic (24,72,337) followed by the National Library of Denmark (6,42,566) and Ukraine (4,93,881.5). Least number of in-links was received by the website of National Library of Switzerland (8.5) though it had very informative website followed by the National Library of Cyprus (5,796.5) and UK (96,890).

Above Table depicts that all the European national libraries uploaded less information in the form of rich content files. Maximum number of rich content files was noticed on the website of National Library of Ukraine followed by the website of National Library of Denmark and Latvia. Least number of rich content files was found on the website of National Library of Macedonia followed by National Library of Cyprus and Ireland.

Most of the domain of European national libraries' websites received hits in the Google Scholar. Maximum number of citations was received by the website of National Library of UK, followed by the National Library of Ukraine.

Ranking...

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