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Hardcover | $9.75 Short | £8.95 | 116 pp. | 5 x 7.625 in | 10 illus. | September 2001 | ISBN: 9780262083034
Paperback | Out of Print | 116 pp. | 5 x 7.625 in | 10 illus. | February 2003 | ISBN: 9780262582254
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The Laws of the Web

Patterns in the Ecology of Information


Despite its haphazard growth, the Web hides powerful underlying regularities—from the organization of its links to the patterns found in its use by millions of users. Many of these regularities have been predicted on the basis of theoretical models based on a field of physics—statistical mechanics—that few would have thought applicable to the social domain.

In this book, Bernardo Huberman explains in accessible language the laws of the Web. One of the foremost researchers in the field, Huberman has established, for example, that the surfing patterns of individuals are describable by a precise law. Such findings can lead to more efficient Web design and use. They also shed light on social mechanisms whose significance goes beyond the Web. In this sense, the Web is a gigantic informational ecosystem that can be used to quantify and test explanations of human behavior and social interaction.

About the Author

Bernardo A. Huberman is an HP Fellow at Hewlett-Packard Laboratories in Palo Alto, California.


“[A]n intriguing book...”—Technology & Society
“...The Laws of the Web has a great many insights to offer.”—Issues in Science and Technology Librarianship
“[T]he perfect companion on a cross-country flight or during a long quiet evening in a favorite reading chair.”—Artificial Life


“Huberman's The Laws of the Web lucidly explains the Internet's boom and bust. His research has long been useful to theorists of social coordination; now, business strategists can take advantage of his succinct and clear analysis. The growth of the Web, as well as the economic and social conventions that seem to be spawned in unpredictable and chaotic fashion, come into focus here.”
Paul Whitmore, User Interface Visionary, E*TRADE Group
“This short volume presents in non-technical language the surprising regularities and laws that show up in the behavior of people using the World Wide Web, from a scientist who is at the cutting edge of research into this emergent phenomenon. It should be required reading for anyone who wants real information, as opposed to breathless speculation, about the nature of the Internet.”
Francis Fukuyama, Dean of Faculty and Bernard Schwartz Professor of International Political Economy, The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University
“Until now, information technology's most profound accomplishment, the Web, has been its least understood. Huberman changes this with a highly accessible yet analytical work that will no doubt become a foundational reference for both researchers and web technology developers.”
Greg Papadopoulos, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer, Sun Microsystems