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Links and Power: The Political Economy of Linking on the Web

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Title: Links and Power: The Political Economy of Linking on the Web
Author(s): Walker, Jill
Subject(s): Commercialization Internet Libraries and the World Wide Web World Wide Web
Abstract: Search engines like Google interpret links to a Web page as objective, peer-endorsed, and machine-readable signs of value. Links have become the currency of the Web. With this economic value they also have power, affecting accessibility and knowledge on the Web. Links have always been fundamental to the Web. In the last few years their value has become regulated as search engines and other systems that find and define the structures of the Web increasingly index links and anchor text in addition to keywords and page content. In these projects, links are seen as objective, democratic, and machine-readable signs of value. There has been little or no critical discussion about this aspect of links, though link data is heavily used. This article discusses the implications and the power structures inherent in this relatively undocumented but influential change in the structuring of the World Wide Web and is an attempt to scan the field from a critical, humanist perspective.
Issue Date: 2005
Publisher: Graduate School of Library and Information Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Citation Info: In Library Trends 53(4) Spring 2005: 524-529.
Genre: Article
Type: Text
Language: English
ISSN: 0024-2594
Publication Status: published or submitted for publication
Rights Information: Copyright owned by Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois. 2005.
Date Available in IDEALS: 2007-07-25

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