UKOLN Briefing Sheet
The WebWatch Project
After a phase which has seen the Web become a ubiquitous and simple
medium for information searching and dissemination we are beginning to see
the emergence of a range of tools, services and formats to support a more
mature information space.
Although this rapid growth in enhancing the functionality of the Web,
the variety of tools, services and architectures available to providers of
Web services is increasing the costs of providing the service. In addition
the subsequent diversity may result in additional complications and
expenses. This complication makes it critical to have better information
about what is in use, what the trends are and what commonality exists.
WebWatch is a one year project funded by BLRIC. The WebWatch project
aims to help institutions, funding bodies and policy makers by developing
automated tools to analyse use of web technologies and to work closely
with relevant communities in interpreting the findings.
The aims of WebWatch are:
- To develop robot software to retrieve web resources.
- To develop software to analyse the web technologies used.
- To produce reports on the communities surveyed.
- To make recommendations to the communities.
How WebWatch Can Help The Community
WebWatch can help national policy makers and funding bodies by:
- Providing information on the uptake of new technologies (such as XML
and Dublin Core).
- Spotting trends.
- Providing support for national initiatives and services.
WebWatch can help institutional policy makers by:
- Informing institutions on national trends.
WebWatch can help website administrators by:
- Providing advice on best practices in website configuration.
- Providing automated error detecting.
WebWatch can help the wider web community by:
- Providing advice to robot software developers.
- Providing feedback to the web development community on website
The WebWatch project has analysed a number of communities including:
- UK Public Library Websites:
- A survey was carried out in October 1997, on the day of the launch of
the report on New Library: The Peoples Network. The survey
analysed the sizes of public library websites. A report on the survey
was published in LA Record, December 1997 Vol. 99(12).
- UK Universities and Colleges Institutional Entry Pages:
- A survey was carried out in November 1997. The survey analysed the
main entry page for UK Universities and Colleges. A report on the survey
was published in the web version of Ariadne, issue 12.
- eLib Project Websites:
- A survey was carried out in November 1997. The survey analysed eLib
Plans for the WebWatch project include:
- Providing a WebWatch analysis service for institutions:
- Institutions who would like WebWatch to analyse their institutions
website should complete the accompanying form.
- Providing access to WebWatch data:
- We intend to store the data collected by WebWatch trawls in a
database and to provide restricted access to the data using a number of
standard queries and a query language.
- Making the WebWatch robot and analysis software:
- We are considering providing access to the robot software for
institutions who wish to use the software to analyse their own website.
- Providing advice and support for robot developers:
- Providing pointers to resources for robot developers. Writing reports
on the development of the WebWatch robot.
Further information about the WebWatch project is available on the World
Wide Web at <URL:http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/webwatch/>
This resource includes:
- Background information about the project
- Technical information about the project
- Articles and reports
The WebWatch Officer is Ian Peacock (email firstname.lastname@example.org). The
WebWatch project is managed by Brian Kelly (email email@example.com).
The WebWatch project is funded by BLRIC (British Library Research and
Innovation Centre). UKOLN is funded by the Joint Information Systems
Committee (JISC) of the Higher Education Funding Councils and, as well as
by project funding from the JISCs Electronic Libraries Programme and
the European Union. UKOLN also receives support from the University of
Bath where it is based.
WebWatch Contact Form
Please complete this form if you wish to collaborate with the WebWatch
project or if you have any comments on the project.
Involvement with web activities
Purpose of your website.
Estimated size (number of pages)
I have the following comments on the WebWatch project.