Structural changes in the 2003–2009 global hyperlink network


Department of Communication, State University of New York at Buffalo, New York, USA


In this study, we examined the structure of the international hyperlink network as a global communication system at two different points in time (2003 and 2009). Research was carried out on the web-based network linking country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) that represent countries, using hyperlink connectivity by the means of network analysis. The results indicate that the 2009 international hyperlink network was completely interconnected. G7 countries and Spain were at the centre of the network. At the periphery were poorer countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America. In addition, several regional clusters based on geography, language and culture emerged. A comparison of the 2003 and 2009 results showed that the level of centralization and diversification among semi-peripheral countries increased. We discuss the results from the perspective of world-systems theory. We propose methodological procedures to overcome potential bias in international hyperlink data.