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centers, tourist destinations, and high tech clusters. This chapter is an initial inquiry into
the amounts of information that are available about a specific category of cities, viz.,
capital cities of the world™s states, and using the references to Web sites in major
electronic search engines as a database.
There are a number of criteria one might utilize to describe, rank and classify a capital
city™s importance on a regional or global scale. These would include population size,
although in many countries, the capital is not the largest city, such as Brazil, Canada,
Australia, South Africa, India, Switzerland, Nigeria, Turkey, and Morocco. Capital cities
also include a number of embassies and consulates, offices of interregional and interna-
tional agencies, organizations and programs (United Nations or European Union). The
sizes of the international professional labor force (diplomats, diplomatic staff, students,
translators, program officers, bankers, consultants, lobbyists, health care and environ-
mental professionals) vary as do the number and variety of cultural (music and theater
performances, museum exhibitions, sporting events, and public lectures) events that take
place during a year, including international and regional conferences and conventions.
Capital cities are frequently also the sites of visits by international heads of states or
heads of various state programs (environment, trade and investment, education, chil-
dren, and health care). Transportation and communication linkages to and from the
capital cities are also important, including direct road and rail connections to other
capitals, airline connections as well as the volume of phone, mail (letters and packages),
and fax traffic, the exchanges of information among members of diplomatic staff and print
and visual journalists for various news organizations, and the volume of monies or credit
transferred for investment, developmental assistance, and personal use. (Many of these
information exchanges are already performed electronically.) Also we could use the
frequencies with which cities have appeared in major international newspapers or on
global TV networks (CNN, Skylab, etc.) and discuss their importance in a regional or

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An E-Classification of the World™s Capital Cities 203

global context. An additional data source we could use is the amount of information
provided in an electronic database. Search engines provide access to materials special-
ists and generalists use to learn about specific subjects, in this case, capital cities and
distinctive features of those cities, including their histories, economies, cultures, tourist
sites, restaurants, and weather. URL references or hyperlinks provide access to Web
addresses for the desired information. We could utilize this information from search
engines to measure the importance of a capital city in an electronic world. That is, a high
hyperlink per capita rating for a capital city will inform us of the quantity, not necessarily
the quality, of information available electronically. A low volume will inform us that there
is little electronic information available. The number of electronic references also
provides a useful measure with which to compare world capitals.
One might picture what a set or volume of network maps might look like for the capital
cities of the world™s nearly 200 political units. These could be maps of each city
individually or networks of other capitals. Whether one uses absolute data, such as the
number of diplomatic staff, or international conferences held each year, or network data
(airline connections), or the number of diplomatic visits per year from a neighboring state,
geographic variations would surface. That is, some capitals would rank high using these
or other criteria, others would rank very low.

Digital Technologies
To assess the position of the world™s capital cities on the current world political map, I
use the number or volume of URL references to Web sites for each capital city. Each URL
reference or hyperlink gives a reference to a web address. That address provides
electronically available information. This information may be about population numbers,
investment opportunities, health and social well-being data, tourist sites, hotels, or some
combination of the above. This information may be in the form of narratives, graphs,
tables, photos, or maps. A capital city with few URLs is one with little electronically
available information compared to another capital city with thousands or hundreds of
thousands of references available about a city™s economy, history, culture, entertain-
ment, and government.
When we examine data on the number of URL references or hyperlinks per capita, we
obtain an additional measure of that city™s regional and global importance, at least in an
electronic or wired world. Capital cities with low per capita ratings are cities where we
find little information available electronically. Values of 1.00 or higher are cities that have
more hyperlinks than number of residents, that is, there are many more references to web
pages than residents.
Below I address the following questions:
• What capital cities have the most URL references or hyperlinks, and which have
the fewest? How might we classify them?
• Are the most “wired” capital cities, or those with most electronic addresses, located
in the richest countries? And, correspondingly, are the least wired in the poorest

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204 Brunn

• What capital cities have the highest and lowest hyperlinks per capita? Are they
the same as those cities with the most URLs?
• Are there any commonalities among those capital cities with lowest and highest
hyperlinks per capita? Are they the poorest and the smallest in populations? Are
they new states on the world political map? Do they have specialized economies?
• Are there any differences in the content of the Web sites of the cities with the most
and fewest URL references?

In the following section I describe the database and methodology, followed by a
presentation and discussion of the results. The findings are examined in regards to the
total number of URLs for each capital city, hyperlinks (or URL references) per capita, and
subject content of selected capital cities™ information on Web pages. I also discuss these
findings within a regional context, as I am interested in discerning whether capital cities
in some regions have significantly more or fewer addresses than others. The presenta-
tion below is supported by several tables and graphics.

Data and Methodology
To ascertain the number of URLs or hyperlinks for each capital city, I used the Google
Search Engine. While there are other search engines one might use, including MetaCrawler,
Yahoo, DogPile, and AltaVista, I used Google because it has one of the largest and most
comprehensive electronic databases (more than 3 billion Web sites as of July 2003) and
because it contains international and multilingual entries. During several weeks in June
and July 2003, I collected information on the number of URL references for each capital
city. In the appropriate “box” on the screen, I typed in the name of the capital city and
the country, for example, Tegucigalpa+Honduras, Khartoum+Sudan, Rome+Italy, Wash-
ington, D.C. Within seconds I was given the total number of URL references or hyperlinks
for that city.
I used the above procedure to identify the number of URL references for 199 capital cities.
I included the capital cities of large countries, as well as small island states and political
units in the Caribbean (Dominica, Cura§ao, and Guadeloupe); South Indian Ocean
(Mauritius and Seychelles); and Pacific Basin (Nauru, Tonga, and New Caledonia). Data
on the population sizes of these cities are available from a number of sources, including
statistical abstracts, world almanacs and capital city Web sites. The analyses below are
discussed in three sections: first, absolute numbers of references, and second, the URL
references or hyperlinks per capita, and third, the content of the first Web pages for
selected cities.
There are three additional points regarding the data set that merit mention. First, most
of the entries in the Google Search Engine are in English. While English is the unofficial
language of the Internet, there are doubtless many additional information items available
about these capital cities, even electronically available, that are not listed in this search
engine. Thus any data count on electronic entries from a major search engine will be

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An E-Classification of the World™s Capital Cities 205

incomplete as someone has to place the information on the Web. Second, the number
of references for any given city is subject to change quickly, even within a 24-hour period
or from week to week. New entries appear and others disappear. This feature applies just
as much to very large capital cities as it does to small capitals. Third, the existence of a
given URL reference to a web address reveals nothing about the quality of that
information to the potential user, only that it is electronically available information. The
reference may be an official government document, an intergovernmental report, infor-
mation from an investment group, publicity by an indigenous or outside tourist bureau
or a private report or a webcam site prepared by a former resident, recent traveler, student
or exile. Sometimes brief descriptions accompany the URL. Thus examining in detail the
content of a single URL reference may result in the city only mentioned within a table or
a small section of a report or it could be devoted to an extensive discussion about that
city™s history, economy, and culture. In short, URL references contain a wide variety of
electronic information, and the quality and utility of that information will vary depending
on the source. That same generalization could be made about the printed materials
available in many public libraries.
To understand the kinds of information available on the WWW about capital cities, I
examined the sites listed on the first screen (“page”) listing URL references for a group
of individual capital cities. Google provides a PageLink for each site accessed. It
describes this metric as “an indicator of an individual page™s value” (www.google.com).
It looks at the links between each Web page and every other Web page. Thus the rank
is not based solely on volume of votes or links a page has, but at the pages that “vote”
or rank the page. This search engine, in describing this ranking, notes that “votes” cast
by pages that are themselves “important” weigh more heavily and help to make other
pages “important.” In the discussion below, I examined the first pages on the screen of
the 27 capital cities with the most URL references and those five capitals with the fewest.


Absolute Totals

The 199 capital cities had a combined total of nearly 120 million hyperlinks or URL
references (Table 1). There was very wide variation from 6.6 million URL references for
Singapore to 3,550 for Yaren (capital of Nauru). I divided the countries and their
respective capitals into 19 major regions, adopting those used in a university world
geography textbook (Pulsipher and Pulsipher, 2002). The capitals in Western Europe had
the most hyperlinks (16.6 million) followed by Southern Europe (13.2 million), and Central
America (12.2 million) (Table 1). These three regions had 13, 11, and 10% respectively
of the total. By contrast, the regions with capital cities having the fewest hyperlinks were
Southern Africa (603,000) and the Pacific Islands (only 470,000). Together these regions
had less than 1% of all capital city references.

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Table 1. Total number of URL references or hyperlinks for capital cities in major world
regions (number of capital cities in the region in parenthesis)

Region Number % of total

United States and Canada (2) 7,260,000 6.1

Europe “ North (10) 10,637,000 9.0

Europe “ South 13,241,700 11.1

Europe “ East (10) 6,875,000 5.8

Europe “ West (9) 15,230,000 13.0

South America (13) 5,783,900 4.9

Central America (8) 12,279.000 10.3

Caribbean (18) 6,664,000 5.6

Africa “ West (16) 2,891,000 2.4

Africa “ Central (9) 2,293,000 1.9

Africa “ Southern (5) 603,000 .5

Africa “ North (5) 1,229,000 1.0

Africa “ East (18) 3,275,000 2.7

Asia “ East (6) 5,769,000 4.9

Asia “ South & Central (14) 4,065,000 3.4

Asia “ Southeast (11) 11,182,000 9.4

Asia “ Southwest (17) 6,273,000 5.3

Pacific Islands (11) 410,000 .3

Australia and New Zealand (2) 2,840,000 2.4

TOTAL 118,799,000 100.0

Classifying the World™s Capitals

Fifteen capitals had more than 2 million hyperlinks, led by Singapore, a city-state that is
among the world™s leaders in ICT development and e-commerce (Corey, 2000). Washing-
ton, D.C. was a distant second (Table 2). Several with more than 2 million references each
are “global cities,” such as, London, Paris, and Tokyo. Others are major continental
cities, including Rome, Berlin, and Madrid in Europe, and Mexico City in Central America.

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An E-Classification of the World™s Capital Cities 207

Table 2. Leading capital cities in number of URL references or hyperlinks in thousands

City Country Hyperlinks

Singapore Singapore 6,640
Washington, D.C. U.S. 5,120
Mexico City Mexico 4,210
Luxembourg Luxembourg 3,400
Paris France 3,370
Panama Panama 3,170
Tokyo Japan 2,450
Monaco Monaco 2,410
Madrid Spain 2,310
Berlin Germany 2,250
Rome Italy 2,200
London United Kingdom 2,170
Ottawa Canada 2,140
San Salvador El Salvador 2,140
Guatemala City Guatemala 2,020
Dublin Ireland 1,970
Kuwait City Kuwait 1,890
Moscow Russia 1,890
San Marino San Marino 1,800
Vienna Austria 1,750
Beijing China 1,690
Buenos Aires Argentina 1,670
Stockholm Sweden 1,630
Auckland New Zealand 1,570
Athens Greece 1,550
Bangkok Thailand 1,540
Delhi India 1,510

The top 15 capitals, with 46 million references, had 31% of the all capital city references.
The top 27 capitals had 66 million or 56% of the total. Some of the cities with high rankings
are mentioned frequently in the international news as places with major military conflicts,
a natural disaster, or disease outbreak. Examples include Kabul, Baghdad, and Djibouti.
Cities with the most hyperlinks in a region are not always the largest political capital. For
example, Djibouti had the most in East Africa, Kingston in the Caribbean, and Bissau in
West Africa.

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Figure 1. Total number of URL references or hyperlinks of capital cities in the world™s
political states

Each of the 24 capitals in the second category had between 1.0-1.9 million references
(Figure 1). It included a mix of cities in different parts of the world, but especially in
Europe. Vienna, Brussels, Stockholm, and Dublin were included, as were Kuwait City,
Baghdad, and Djibouti. In this category were also Beijing, Moscow, Bangkok, and
Canberra, as well as Buenos Aires, Auckland, San Marino, the Vatican, and Bissau.
The third category included 22 capitals which had between 500,000-999,999 hyperlinks
each. Most of these cities were in the Caribbean, including Kingston, Santo Domingo,
Havana, Port au Prince, and Port of Spain. Another cluster was in eastern Europe: Prague,
Budapest, Warsaw, and Kiev. Lisbon was the only southern European city in this

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An E-Classification of the World™s Capital Cities 209

category and Cairo the only one in Africa. Seoul, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur were also
in this category.
Category four included 67 cities which had between 100,000-499,000 references. There
were capitals in most world regions, but most notably in Southwest Asia (Damascus,
Doha, Beirut, Tbilisi, and Dubai), South Central Asia (Kathmandu, Colombo, Tashkent,
and Karachi), and East Africa (Dar es Salaam, Nairobi, Addis Ababa, and Lusaka).
The fifth category included those 71 capitals, each with fewer than 100,000 hyperlinks.
There were cities in more than a dozen regions, with most being in West Africa (12), the
Pacific Islands (10), East Africa (10), and the Caribbean (eight). Examples of cities were:
Niamey, Freetown, Ouagadougou, Conarky, and Nouckehott in West Africa; Yaren,
Palikir, and Apia in the Pacific; Maputo (Mozambique), Asmara (Eritrea), Moroni
(Comoros), Lilongwe (Malawi), and Mogadishu (Somalia) in East Africa; and Castries (St.
Lucia), Willemstad (Cura§ao), St. George™s (Grenada), and Plymouth in the Caribbean.
Thirteen national capitals had fewer than 15,000 references. Five had fewer than 6,000
each: Thimpu (Bhutan) 5,290, Palikir (Micronesia) 4,110, Nuku™alofa (Tonga) 3,940, Port
Louis (Mauritius) 3,860, and Yaren (Nauru) 3,550.
Additional insights into the importance of capital cities in an electronic world are gained
by examining the absolute number of URL references of some cities compared to the
combined totals of other cities or entire regions. For example, Singapore, with more than
6.6 million hyperlinks, had a higher total than all capital cities in Western, Central, and
North Africa combined. The nine capital cities in Western Europe (15.2 million total
hyperlinks) had almost as many as the combined number of those 13 capitals in South
America and eight in Central America. The combined totals of Washington, D.C. and
Ottawa (7.2 million) were more than all capital cities in West, Central, Southern, and
Northern Africa. The combined total of all the 12 capital cities in the island Pacific (the
region with the fewest capital city references) was less than the total number of references
for Sofia, Nairobi, San Jos©, Hanoi, or Ankara. Moscow™s total was similar to that of
Kuwait City (about 1.9 million). Auckland, New Delhi, Athens, and Bangkok had about
the same number (1.5 million references).

Hyperlinks Per Capita

In regards to the number of hyperlinks per capita for the world™s capital city residents,
there was also wide variation. They ranged from 1,629 per capita for the Vatican City to
.012 for Abidjan, Côte d™Ivoire, .016 for Ulan Bator, Mongolia and .017 for Dhaka,
Bangladesh (Figure 2). There were 48 capital cities with more hyperlinks than residents,
including 18 with more than five hyperlinks per capita. The highest figures were for highly
specialized small city states with dominant economies including: finance (Vaduz,
Liechtenstein), telecommunications and communications (Singapore), religious head-
quarters (Vatican City), administration (Brussels, Belgium; Luxembourg, Luxembourg;
Washington, D.C., Canberra, and Ottawa), and tourism (Monaco; Yaren, Nauru; Valletta,
Malta; Plymouth, Montserrat, and Victoria, Seychelles).
The first category of 48 capitals includes those with .01 - .09 hyperlinks per capita (Figure
2). In the main, these were capitals in very poor countries and those with closed or

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210 Brunn

Figure 2. URL references per capita for the world™s capital cities

repressive (not open to heavy computer usage) regimes. The capitals in this group were
concentrated in South and Central Asia, West, East, and North Africa. These capitals
have the fewest number of electronic materials available per city. These six capitals had
.02 hyperlinks per capita: Yangon, Myanmur; Yaound©, Cameroon, N™Djamena, and
Sana™a. Also some very large cities had few electronic references per capita; these include
Tokyo, Seoul, Jakarta, Cairo, Rabat, Riyadh, and Lima. The second category includes 49
capital cities, mostly in Southwest Asia, East Europe, East and West Africa, and South
America that have .10 - .25 hyperlinks per capita. Examples of capitals in this category

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An E-Classification of the World™s Capital Cities 211

include Beijing, Moscow, Mexico City, Buenos Aires, Delhi, Kabul, Freetown, and
Baghdad. The third category has 29 cities with .26 - .50 hyperlinks per capita. These are
a number of capitals in large countries and mini-states in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Examples of cities include London, Paris, Luanda, Gaborone, Tel Aviv, Doha, Dubai,
Havana, and San Jos©. The fourth category includes 16 capitals with .51 - .75 hyperlinks
per capita. These are mostly in southern and eastern Europe and in the Pacific. Examples
of cities include Prague, Ljubljana, Budapest, as well as Port Moresby, Honiara, Noum©a,
and Suva. The fifth category includes nine cities with .76 - .99 hyperlinks per capita. Most
of these are capitals of mini-states, of large and wealthy European states, or political
hotspots. Examples include Copenhagen, Nicosia, The Hague, Rome, Vienna, Dili, and
Windhoek. The sixth category includes those 48 states with more than one hyperlink per

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