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Applying Social Network Analysis to Analyze a Web-Based Community

Author(s): Mohammed Al-Taie | Mohammed Al-Taie

Journal: International Journal of Advanced Computer Sciences and Applications
ISSN 2156-5570

Volume: 3;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 29;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: Affiliation Networks | Book-Crossing | Centrality Measures | Ego-Network | M-Slice Analysis | Pajek | Social Network Analysis | Social Networks.

this paper deals with a very renowned website (that is Book-Crossing) from two angles: The first angle focuses on the direct relations between users and books. Many things can be inferred from this part of analysis such as who is more interested in book reading than others and why? Which books are most popular and which users are most active and why? The task requires the use of certain social network analysis measures (e.g. degree centrality). What does it mean when two users like the same book? Is it the same when other two users have one thousand books in common? Who is more likely to be a friend of whom and why? Are there specific people in the community who are more qualified to establish large circles of social relations? These questions (and of course others) were answered through the other part of the analysis, which will take us to probe the potential social relations between users in this community. Although these relationships do not exist explicitly, they can be inferred with the help of affiliation network analysis and techniques such as m-slice. Book-Crossing dataset, which covered four weeks of users' activities during 2004, has always been the focus of investigation for researchers interested in discovering patterns of users' preferences in order to offer the most possible accurate recommendations. However; the implicit social relationships among users that emerge (when putting users in groups based on similarity in book preferences) did not gain the same amount of attention. This could be due to the importance recommender systems attain these days (as compared to other research fields) as a result to the rapid spread of e-commerce websites that seek to market their products online. Certain social network analysis software, namely Pajek, was used to explore different structural aspects of this community such as brokerage roles, triadic constraints and levels of cohesion. Some overall statistics were also obtained such as network density, average geodesic distance and average degree.
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