UKOLN Academic and Public library web sites

The WebWatch project has analysed both academic library web sites and public library web sites in the UK earlier this year. The reports on these web crawls can be found at the WebWatch web-area, <URL:>. This column looks at some comparisons between the two analyses.

Academic library sites contain a lot more content. There are more resources (primarily HTML documents and images) within academic library sites than public library sites resulting in an overall larger site size in Kb for academic libraries. The average size of a page (HTML plus inline images) is roughly the same for both kinds of site, so it takes no more time to download a page from either site. The academic libraries do however show a greater use of technologies such as JavaScript and CGI.

We found the structure of academic library sites more suited to robot traversal (apart from their dynamic content) than the public library sites, primarily because there is greater structuring of directories within academic library sites.

Since academic libraries are part of institutions which have been networked for some time, it is not surprising to find their web sites more developed than public libraries. It will be interesting to continue comparing the two communities as public libraries gain experience in providing information via the web.