This study examines the structure of websites from the point of view of biological food webs using an accepted biological mode in an attempt to find a parallel between the two types of networks. The five laws of the Cascade Food Web model were used to determine if websites rarely have self-links, if website link chains average four and a half links, if the types of links and pages are proportional no matter the size of a website, and if the number of pages in a site is half the number of links in a site (Cohen, Briand, & Newman, 1990). This exploration follows other research in the area of information ecology which describes the comparison of ecology to information technology as both a metaphor and also as common structures that exist in both disciplines. This study sought to determine if it was simply a metaphor or if there was truly a common structure. For this study ninety six of the 2009 Fortune 500 companies were selected for study. The results of the study found that website chain links do have an average length of 4.6449 which fits into the Cascade Models expectation of between four and five (Cohen, et al., 1990). The results for the other four laws of the model did not appear to apply to the websites tested for the study. While the Cascade Model does not show significant fit with the structure of websites, future research using other biological models may benefit business users looking for a better understanding of how information is structured.
|Commitee:||Kavli, Suzanne, Pirolli, Peter|
|Department:||School of Business|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-B 71/11, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Information Technology, Web Studies, Information science|
|Keywords:||Information foodweb, Network parallel, Structure of websites, Website chain links|
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