The Fundamentals of the Web, the Importance of Web Science - Les Carr
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The Fundamentals of the Web, the Importance of Web Science - Les Carr



Talk at Web Science Montpellier Meetup - 13th May 2011

Talk at Web Science Montpellier Meetup - 13th May 2011



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The Fundamentals of the Web, the Importance of Web Science - Les Carr Presentation Transcript

  • 1. The  Fundamentals  of  the  Web,  the  Importance  of  Web  Science   LA  Carr  University  of  Southampton,  UK  
  • 2. Introduc9on     Web  Science  is  the  study  of  the  technologies   and  policies  that  support  the  co-­‐construc7on   of  a  linked  online  environment  by  a   networked  society.  •  The  Web  is  not  a  thing   –  It  is  a  verb,  not  a  noun.  A  performance,  not  an  object.  •  The  Web  wasn’t  just  invented  by  Tim  Berners-­‐Lee   –  It  was  co-­‐constructed  with  society  •  The  Web  didn’t  just  appear  out  of  nothing   –  It  was  just  the  latest  proposal  for  scaling  communica9on  •  Hence  we  can’t  take  it  for  granted.  We  need  to  study  it   and  understand  it  to  retain  its  desirable  features.  
  • 3. The  Web  is  a  Performance…   Create  a   Contribute  The  middle   homepage   to  a   Publish  a  space   genome   paper   Edit  a  represents  the   Communi7es   wikipedia  ac7vity  of   entry  individuals   Special   Individuals  (poten7ally   Interest   Companies  ac7ng  in   Groups   HTTP   URIs  concert)  who  create   Society   Servers  interlinked   Caches  resources  that   Ins7tu7ons   Web  both  reflect  and  reinforce  the   Government   Architecture  interlinkedness  of  society  and   HTML   RDF  social   Browsers  (economic,   Blog   Tweet  legal,  personal)   Place  a  interac7on.   Update   bid  at  an   Make  a   …and  a  record  of   Facebook     YouTube  video   aucBon   response   that  performance  
  • 4. Performing  on  the  Web   •  It’s  something  we  do,  not  a  product  we  buy   ✗  Informa9on  and  Communica9on  Technology   ü Informing  and  Communica9ng  Technology  Wikipedia  –  new  knowledge  is  edited   Academia  –  new  knowledge  is  created  and  managed  on  the  web  through   privately  and  some9mes  presented  on  processes  that  are  discussed  and   the  Web.  Centuries-­‐old  processes  and  managed  through  the  Web.  Wikipedia   values  pre-­‐exist  in  academic  only  exists  because  of  the  wikipedia   organisa9ons  and  are  re-­‐interpreted  community;  the  wikipedia  community   for  the  prevailing  technology.  only  exists  because  of  the  Web.  Both  are  a  linked  resource  with  an   Different  parts  of  society  have  different  emerging  set  of  values  and  standards.   needs  to  communicate  for  different  ends.  
  • 5. Academics  and  the  Web   sustainability   accountability  &  auditability   distrust   SCIENTIFIC  &   technology  affordances   SCHOLARLY   business    interests   scien9fic  data  mining   COMMS   status  quo   high  moral  ground   more  web,  increasing  openness  •  Open  Access,  Open  Data,  Open  Educa9onal  Resources   –  Web  Technology  joins  the  High  Moral  Ground  •  vs  the  established  economic  model  for  ensuring   con9nuity  of  informa9on  produc9on   –  trading  of  privately  held  informa9on  through  subscrip9on   products  such  as  journals  or  magazines  
  • 6. Society  is  Diverse   InsBtuBon   ObjecBve   Commerce   Academy   Create  and  transmit   Academy   knowledge   Commerce   Trade  goods   Press  Government  Society   Press   Report  news   Media   Broadcast  content   Media   Military   Defend  society   Military   Government   Control  society  &  share   resources  The  development  of  society  as  a  whole  (nuanced  and  structured  and  refined)  is  inextricably  related  to  the  technology  of  informa9on  provision,  consump9on  and  dissemina9on  (e.g.  wri9ng,  reading,  prin9ng,  educa9on).  Different  parts  of  society  have  different  objec7ves  and  hence  incompa7ble  Web  requirements,  e.g.  openness,  security,  transparency,  privacy.  
  • 7. ICT  designs  from  the  last  century  Sponsor   System   Scope   Real   Date   Important  ProperBes  Press   Reuters   Professional,   ✔   1850   News  &  stock  informa9on  (originally  carrier  pigeon  and   centralised   subsequently  telegraph)  Private   Mundaneum   Public,  centralised     ✔   1920   Based  on  indexing  technology  (the  library  card)  Ins9tu9on  Military   Memex   Scholarly,  individual,   ✗   1945   Aimed  at  Scien9sts  and  Technologists  in  WWII   centralised  Media   Xanadu   Public,  decentralised   ✗   1960   Focused  on  DRM,  reuse  and  wri9ng  for  “crea9ves”  Media   CEEFAX   Public,  na9onal,   ✔   1970   Broadcast,  linked,  not  par9cipatory     centralised  Government   Minitel   Public,  na9onal,   ✔   1980   Commercial  services  and  informa9on   centralised  Academy   FTP  /  Archie  /   Public,  decentralised   ✔   1985   Downloaded  resources  (papers,  reports)  to  hard  drives  (CS  &  HEP)   Anarchie   and  printed  them  on  LaserWriters.  Commerce   Hypercard,   Private,  centralised   ✔   1988   Personal  applica9ons,  some9mes  9ed  to  mul9media   HyperTIES   resources  on  CDROMs  /  video  disks  Academy  (HEP)   WWW   Public,  global,   ✔   1990   Universal  naming,  linking,  interoperability,  par9cipa9ve.   decentralised   However  no  wri9ng,  no  indexing.  Academy  (CS)   Microcosm   Private,  centralised   ✔   1990   Sophis9cated  linking  and  openness  for  personal   informa9on  stores  Academy  (CS)   HyperG   Public,  centralised   ✔   1990   Extension  of  Web  for  with  support  for  wri9ng,  indexing   and  consistency  management.  Commerce   AOL,   Public,  centralised   ✔   1990   Dialup  access  to  email,  forums,  chat  rooms  and   CompuServ   informa9on  resources  
  • 8. NASA  WMAP  Science  Team  hip://  
  • 9. The  Big  Bang:  Informa9on  &   Fundamental  Constants  •  The  Web  spread  the  condi9ons  of  its  ini9al  crea9on   throughout  the  whole  of  society  as  it  underwent  an   ini9al  infla9onary  phase.  •  Consequently,  the  assump9on  of  the  open  exchange  of   informa9on  (found  in  an  academic  physics  research   laboratory)  is  now  being  imposed  on  the  rest  of   society.  •  The  ques9on  that  Web  Science  must  address  is   whether  the  Web,  open  access,  open  data  and  the   Scien9fic  and  Crea9ve  Commons  offer  us  a  beneficial   opportunity,  or  a  dangerous  cul-­‐de-­‐sac?  •  For  further  details  see  Carr,  L.,  Pope,  C.  and  Halford,  S.  (2010)  Could  the  Web  be  a   Temporary  Glitch?  In:  WebSci10:  Extending  the  Fron7ers  of  Society  On-­‐Line,  April   26-­‐27th,  2010,  Raleigh,  NC:  US.  hip://  
  • 10. Dissemina9on  of  Knowledge  •  An  old  tradi9on  and  a  new  technology  have   converged  to  make  possible  an  unprecedented  public   good.  (Budapest  Open  Access  Ini7a7ve,  2001)  
  • 11. Ins9tu9onal  Repositories  
  • 12. Web  Science  Ques9ons  •  How  would  the  world  change  if  one  of  the  previous  Web   systems  had  been  in  the  right  place  at  the  right  9me  for   success?   –  What  if  the  commercial,  crea9ve  Web  had  succeeded  (Xanadu  +  AOL)   instead  of  the  open,  academic  Web?   •  How  will  the  world  change  as  other   parts  of  society  impose  their   requirements  on  the  Web?   –  What  if  the  requirements  of  security   and  policing  take  future  priority  over   free  exchange  of  informa9on  or   unrestricted  transfer  of  knowledge?  
  • 13. Urgent  Web  Science  Ques9ons   •  Are  the  public  and  open  aspects   of  the  Web  fundamental   constants  of  its  opera9on?   •  Are  they  a  permanent  change  in   our  society’s  informa9on   processes,  or  just  a  temporary   mistake?   –  Are  open  source,  open  access,  open   science  &  crea9ve  commons  efficient,   effec9ve  and  sustainable  alterna9ves  to   fee-­‐based  transfer  of  knowledge-­‐ bearing  artefacts?  
  • 14. Summary  •  We  take  for  granted  a  Web  that  provides  free   and  unrestricted  informa9on  exchange  •  But  the  Web  is  under  pressure  to  change   –  to  respond  to  issues  of  security,  commerce,   criminality,  privacy  •  Web  Science  needs  to   –  explain  how  the  Web  impacts  society   –  predict  the  outcomes  of  proposed  changes  to  Web   infrastructure  on  business  and  society.