oa South African Journal of Information Management - Empirical evaluation of one of the relationships between the user, search engines, metadata and Web sites in three-letter .com Web sites

Volume 6 Number 3
  • ISSN : 2078-1865
  • E-ISSN: 1560-683X



Internet users often rely on search engines in an attempt to find relevant data on Web pages. Some Web pages contain metadata to enable search engines to categorize their contents more easily. As a result, a set of relationships exists between users, search engines, Web pages and metadata. One of these is the relationship between descriptionptive metadata on a Web page and the Web page itself. It was assumed that Web page authors make full use of metadata to increase the electronic visibility of their Web pages to Internet search engines. An empirical experiment has shown that the actual usage of a variety of metadata elements in a subset of randomly selected Web sites is surprisingly low. The overall average score for Web page visibility for this sample is 3, 75 out of 6. Not one of the selected Web pages contained any Dublin Core elements. One of the reasons for this low usage of metadata could be reluctance amongst search engine designers in recognizing metadata. Future research in this area could concentrate on some of the other relationships, as well as the implementation of the Dublin Core metadata elements.

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