Computers in Human Behavior

How is the Semantic Web evolving? A dynamic social network perspective

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Finding how the Semantic Web has evolved can help understand the status of Semantic Web community and predict the diffusion of the Semantic Web. One of the promising applications of the Semantic Web is the representation of personal profiles using Friend of a Friend (FOAF). A key characteristic of such social networks is their continual change. However, extant analyses of social networks on the Semantic Web are essentially static in that the information about the change of social networks is neglected. To address the limitations, we analyzed the dynamics of a large-scale real-world social network in this paper. Social network ties were extracted from both within and between FOAF documents. The former was based on knows relations between persons, and the latter was based on revision relations. We found that the social network evolves in a speckled fashion, which is highly distributed. The network went through rapid increase in size at an early stage and became stabilized later. By examining the changes of structural properties over time, we identified the evolution patterns of social networks on the Semantic Web and provided evidence for the growth and sustainability of the Semantic Web community.

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