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The proliferation of the Internet has created a social revolution. Like the printing press, radio and television before it, the Internet is forcing community organizations to rethink the manner in which their services are provided. Although the Internet provides many opportunities for community outreach, there are also some shortcomings. One of the most compelling shortcomings of the Internet is the increasing number of web sites that are posted daily. This plethora of Web pages has led to information overload. As a result, there are several problems that users and organizations may encounter while interacting with the Web. These problems include: finding relevant information; learning about individual users; creating new knowledge from existing Web data; and personalizing the information (Lempel & Moran, 2000).
Unlike the previous forms of media, users must be aware of the "Salinger Syndrome," which is the tendency for online users, particularly new users, to assume that all information published on the Internet is accurate. Providing some kind of authority for the content is the first step to addressing the accuracy of the information.
The Web is decentralized and there is no formal standard for any logical organization. To further complicate matters, millions-soon to be billions-of people are creating and annotating Web documents (Kleinberg, Kumar, Raghavanm, Rajagopalan, & Tomkins, 1999). This anarchic growth process leads to the chaotic structure of the Web.
In order for community organizations to provide information on the Web, methods for inferring the relevancy and validity of the information to Web site visitors are required. To address these issues, the link topology of the Web is analyzed in the context of a cyber-community. The central theme is to explore the connection between the link topology and conferral of authority.
Although one cannot control individuals' behavior, one can design Web communities that offer links to wholesome and credible material. This can only be accomplished by exploring the architecture of the Web and designing models that can be used by community organizations.
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