Category Archives: Web Observatory Blog

Papers Introducing The Web Observatory

New Web Observatory Publications are available which introduce the Web Observatory

The Web Science Observatory

Authors: Thanassis Tiropanis, Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt, David De Roure, Noshir Contractor and Jim Hendler
Abstract: The World Wide Web is the largest information fabric in history.People shop, date, trade and communicate with one another using it. Scientists and researchers cannot imagine their work without it. The Web is ubiquitous and pervasive , and like all things that become commonplace, we take it for granted. However, over the past few years there has been a growing recognition that the ecosystem that is the Web needs to be treated as an important and coherent area of study this is Web Science.

Download: The Web Science Observatory

Web Evolution and Web Science

Authors: Wendy Hall, Thanassis Tiropanis
Abstract: This paper examines the evolution of the World Wide Web as a network of networks and discusses the emergence of Web Science as an interdisciplinary area that can provide us with insights on how the Web developed, and how it has affected and is affected by society. Through its different stages of evolution, the Web has gradually changed from a technological network of documents to a network where documents, data, people and organisations are interlinked in various and often unexpected ways. It has developed from a technological artefact separate from people to an integral part of human activity that is having an increasingly significant impact on the world. This paper outlines the lessons from this retrospective examination of the evolution of the Web, presents the main outcomes of Web Science activities and discusses directions along which future developments could be anticipated

Download: Web evolution and Web Science

Citation: Hall, Wendy and Tiropanis, Thanassis (2012) Web Evolution and Web Science. Computer Networks, 56, (18), 3859-3865.

Experimental prototype observatory node

The Web observatory is an exciting concept but it is difficult for a newcomer to get their head around what it means. To help, researchers at Southampton University have prototyped a Registry of Open Access Repositories which might be thought of as an example local node of a larger observatory which tracks the publication of relevant data sets.

See Registry of Open Access Repositories
This work has been sponsored at Southampton by Les Carr and Thanassis Tiropanis

A definition of the Web Observatory

Thanassis Tiropanis provided this helpful definition of the Web Observatory;
The Web Observatory project aims at mobilising the wider research community to create a distributed archive of data on the Web and its activity, and, at the same time, mechanisms and tools that will be able to explore its development in the past, to examine its present condition and to establish potential developments in the future. The Web observatory will provide for:

1. Live monitoring of the state of the Web in terms of topologies, resources, links and activity. These cover the availability of Web resources (documents and data), relationships among resources and activity in the context of social networks, business and government. The project will employ state-state-of-the-art visualisation to foster better understanding and analysis.

2. Simulation of the state of the Web in specific points in the past, based on information held in the Web observatory archives, as well as in the future, based on predictive models of Web evolution. Analyses and projections will be powerfully visualised to enable comparisons and provide insights.