Creating a Science of the Web

August 20, 2007

I have checked again the notes from The Berkman Center for Internet & Society, Harvard Law School 2007 Summer Doctoral Programme Edition done by Ismael Peña and BERKMAN BUZZ. Probably what happened there is very close to a Web Science Research Initiative and the graphic below could be the framework of the Programme.

About Web Science Research Initiative

Since its inception, the World Wide Web has changed the ways scientists communicate, collaborate, and educate. There is, however, a growing realization among many researchers that a clear research agenda aimed at understanding the current, evolving, and potential Web is needed. If we want to model the Web; if we want to understand the architectural principles that have provided for its growth; and if we want to be sure that it supports the basic social values of trustworthiness, privacy, and respect for social boundaries, then we must chart out a research agenda that targets the Web as a primary focus of attention.

When we discuss an agenda for a science of the Web, we use the term “science” in two ways. Physical and biological science analyzes the natural world, and tries to find microscopic laws that, extrapolated to the macroscopic realm, would generate the behavior observed. Computer science, by contrast, though partly analytic, is principally synthetic: It is concerned with the construction of new languages and algorithms in order to produce novel desired computer behaviors. Web science is a combination of these two features. The Web is an engineered space created through formally specified languages and protocols. However, because humans are the creators of Web pages and links between them, their interactions form emergent patterns in the Web at a macroscopic scale. These human interactions are, in turn, governed by social conventions and laws. Web science, therefore, must be inherently interdisciplinary; its goal is to both understand the growth of the Web and to create approaches that allow new powerful and more beneficial patterns to occur.”

Creating a Science of the Web
Tim Berners-Lee, Wendy Hall, James Hendler, Nigel Shadbolt, Daniel J. Weitzner

Colliding Web Science

Web science