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Mowshowitz and Kawaguchi (2002) examined search engine bias, defined as the degree to which the distribution of items in a collection (provided by a search engine) deviates from the ideal. Their method of comparing a particular search against a control group of search engines is not applicable to the present study, as the present study examines three major search engines rather than one particular site, as was the case in the Mowshowitz and Kawaguchi (2002) study. Vaughan and Thelwall (2004) took a different approach from that of Mowshowitz and Kawaguchi (2002) to analyze search engine coverage bias.
The present study follows the model used by Vaughan and Thelwall (2004) and conceptually defines bias as non-proportional coverage of particular groups of websites-for example, sites from a particular country or in a particular language. The Vaughan and Thelwall (2004) study focused on commercial websites, while the present study extends the scope to include four major types of websites: Commercial, educational, governmental, and organizational sites.