The pressure-induced changes to the structure of disordered oxide and chalcogenide network-forming materials are investigated on the length scales associated with the first three peaks in measured diffraction patterns. The density dependence of a given peak position does not yield the network dimensionality, in contrast to metallic glasses where the results indicate a fractal geometry with a local dimensionality of ~5/2. For oxides, a common relation is found between the intermediate-range ordering, as described by the position of the first sharp diffraction peak, and the oxygen-packing fraction, a parameter that plays a key role in driving changes to the coordination number of local motifs. The first sharp diffraction peak can therefore be used to gauge when topological changes are likely to occur, events that transform network structures and their related physical properties
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