Advanced Online Research

The internet consists of approximately 4-5 billion websites. This guide is intended to help you navigate the visible internet in order to get the best of what it has to offer your research.

Digging Deep!

In any article on Wikipedia, you can click on “View History” next to the search bar at the top right of the page. On the Revision History page, above the content, you will find a number of links that will allow you to dig into the page and get greater insight into how the site is being used. There you will find links to discover user edits and page statistics. Pageviews, however, is a link of most interest.

Let's use the Wikipedia entry for Johns Hopkins University to get some insight into the type of information we might find. 

Within Pageviews you have a variety of options.

  • Pageviews: shows total pageviews for any topic over time
  • Langviews: gives a breakdown of page views based on the language of the article. This can be used to gage geographic or cultural interest in a topic, as well as to link you to resources used in other languages
  • Topviews: shows you the most popular articles on Wikipedia during a period of time.
  • Siteviews: shows the general traffic for the various sister projects of Wikipedia
  • Massviews: gives data based on the views of a specific page or category
  • Redirectviews: this option shows methods by which users are redirected to a certain article. Using this a researcher can map concepts and see relationships between concepts
  • Userviews: allows you to search the activity of a certain user.

Why might you use these?

These statistics might not benefit every researcher, but in the right hands, they would prove invaluable for measuring public awareness and interest throughout time and in correlation with events. They can provide insight into how interest has waxed or waned in regards to public figures, events, institutions, or ideas throughout time. Further, it gives researchers the ability to compare interest in such subjects. Further, it allows researchers to discover additional terms or ideas that relate to their field of research.