Looking for Genres on the World Wide Web: Content Analysis of American Author Web Sites

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Hackman, Timothy
Patterson, Karen
This project entails content analysis of 200 websites for authors commonly taught in university-level American literature survey courses. Using a faceted classification scheme to categorize site content, the researchers explore the extent to which consistency has developed in the scope and content of Web sites for authors in the canon of American literature. The goal is to identify both the full range of unique content on these Web sites and, within that range, the core content elements that comprise the “American Author Web Site” genre. The authors also gathered biographical details on each author, to consider the question of whether Web site content varies by an author’s gender or racial background. Ultimately, the goal is to identify a set of common and/or “best” practices for content and organization of author Web sites that will assist both undergraduate students and advanced researchers looking for author information on the Web, as well as site designers hoping to create quality resources for these users. In the choice of subject, size of the sample, and novelty of the approach, this promises to be a unique project that will interest librarians, web developers, and literature researchers alike.
Poster and handouts for presentation at American Library Association Annual Conference, Chicago, July 11, 2009.