The purpose of this study was to examine the web volatility rate among quality health web sites. It was hypothesized that quality health Internet sites will have a rate of web volatility lower than that found in the OCLC Web Characterization Project (44%). Quality was defined in this study as web sites being selected for and included in one of two publications, Medicine on the Net or Health Care on the Internet. Member Patricia Gallagher loaned her copies of Health Care on the Internet for this study.
The $500 grant funding was used to hire a student employee to do data entry of all the URLs in the Health Care on the Internet issues and to do the initial link checks for all sites. A total of 3,640 links from 1998-1999 were compiled in a spreadsheet for easy counting of the types of links and types of web error messages received. The rate of web volatility including all the links (not just unique links) in the spreadsheet was 29.4%, which is lower than the OCLC observed rate for all general web sites.
An article based on this research will be submitted to Journal of Medical Internet Research (http://www.jmir.org/) this fall. I thank the chapter for the funding to undertake this research and I look forward to sharing further details with the chapter members after the results have been published.