Category Archives: Web Science Trust News

WebSci11 opens in Koblenz, Germany

The third conference in the annual Web Science series began yesterday (Wednesday 15 July) in Koblenz, Germany. This is the first conference in the series to be officially designated an ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) event.

The conference was opened by Professor Steffen Staab, Conference General Chair, Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Founder-Director of the Web Science Trust and Chair of the Conference Steering Board,  and by this year’s Programme Chair, Professor David De Roure.

Professor De Roure commented on the high number and quality of the submissions to this year’s conference, and the global spread of contributors. ‘The conference is unique in the manner in which it brings multiple disciplines together in creative and critical dialogue,’ he said.

The first conference keynote was delivered by Dr Jaime Teevan, researcher in the Context, Learning and User Experience for Search (CLUES) group at Microsoft Research. She demonstrated the importance of studying and analysing historical changes to web pages over time as a way of understanding the dynamics of web search, and helping improve browser, crawler and search engine behaviour.

The first Conference session, ‘Analysis of the Web and Web Users’, included presentatons on the value of analyzing spatio-temporal dynamics on Twitter and ways of improving search experiences on the Web.

The poster session included around 100 posters, covering areas such as: Business, Semantic Web, Privacy & Security, Social Media, Multimedia, Social Networks, Linked Open Data, Social Science, Web Mining, Crowd Sourcing and E-Learning.

In the Conference Programme, Professor David De Roure and Scott Poole write: ‘As a measure of community activity, the conference demonstrates the increasing breadth and quality of research in the Web Science area, and the programme illustrates exciting developments in the study of Web Science both in results and methodologies, with a growing body of empirical work that brings new insights to the micro and macro behaviour of the Web.’

Twitter feed: websci11

Conference website:

Web Science – helping ensure the healthy development of the future Web

Web Science is one of the main opportunities for ensuring the healthy development of the future Web, according to Sir Tim Berners-Lee, keynote speaker at the conference ‘Profiting from the New Web’, held in London this week.

An audience drawn largely from the technology sector heard Sir Tim outline his hopes for the Web’s future, along with some warnings about potential limitations to the development of the Web.

His keynote set the scene for a full day of discussion about new ways of doing business that have been enabled by the Web and will make a significant difference to business practice in the future.

Sir Tim, creator of the World Wide Web, pointed to open data and linked data as exciting examples of the way that the Web is promoting transparency of information and looked forward to the time when the current 20 per cent of the world’s population who can access the Web grows to 80 per cent, with all the changes this will bring in terms of technological and social developments, and new possibilities of communication and cultural change.

“Maybe our ideas of democracies will be different,” he said. “Maybe people will build systems that we can use to communicate across boundaries … or maybe we won’t …. Whatever happens at this stage we have to think about it – and what we think about it we call Web Science.”

Panel discussions during the day covered the value of open data, the importance of new platforms, social analytics, and the pervasiveness of new media in business communications, with examples drawn from companies such as Talis, Mendeley, BT, Nominet, Microsoft, Edelman, The Times, and IBM. Speakers included Dame Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt, Bill Thompson, Mike Galvin, Charlie Beckett, Hector Arthur, Graham Spittle and Noshir Contractor.

The conference was a joint event organized by the Web Science Trust and Intellect, and sponsored by Nominet, Assanka, and Memset.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee is Director of the World Wide Web Consortium and Director of the World Wide Web Foundation. He is Professor of Engineering and Computer Science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton. He is Open Data Advisor to the UK Government and a Member of the UK Public Sector Transparency Board. He is a Co-Founder and Director of the Web Science Trust.

The Web Science Trust was established in 2009 at the University of Southampton to raise awareness of Web Science and to build the foundations and framework for Web Science. The Trust’s main aim is to advance education and research in Web Science for the benefit of Society. Watch the Conference Video.

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel.+44(0)23 8059 5453.

WSTNet Lab hosts “Web: Science and Industry” Symposium

On 5 May 2011, a Symposium entitled “Web: Science and Industry” was hosted by the WSTNet Tsinghua-Southampton Web Science Laboratory at Shenzhen.  The aim of the Sympoisum was to build the connection between Industry and Science in the Web Science domain. The Symposium was held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Shenzhen and was sponsored by Syzygy Enterprise.

The Symposium described state-of-art of Web Technologies. Several leading scholars, including Jianping Wu, Maosong Sun, Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt and Jim Hendler proposed the vision of Web Science for the future.   Many important internet companies including Tencent QQ, China Telecom, ZTE were invited to present their perspectives on how to bridge science and industry in the domain.  In particular, the academic  and industrial representatives discussed the future of Web Science and how to apply advanced Web Technologies to industry. The Symposium played a key role in promoting the industrialisation of Web Science.

Presentation topics included:

We Are the Web: The Future of the Social Machine – Jim Hendler (RPI)

An Overview of Web Science Research at the Network Institute in Amsterdam – Hans Akkermans (VU University)

Research Activities of Division of Web Science and Technology at KAIST – Chin-Wan Chung (KAIST, Korea)

How the Web of Data will Change the World – Nigel Shadbolt and Hugh Glaser (University of Southampton)

ZTE’s vision on Cloud Computing – Lin Chong (ZTE)

Web Science Meets Network Science

The Third International Workshop on Network Theory: Web Science Meets Network Science was organised by the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Laboratory at Northwestern University, the Annenberg Network of Networks (ANN) at the University of Southern California, and the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO). It was hosted at the Northwestern University on 4 – 6 March 2011.

Although the weather in Evanston turned surly, members of the SONIC lab, along with some of the most influential and brilliant scholars involved in Network and Web Science, discussed the future of the field, major challenges, and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration.

The workshop organisers hoped to frame a new research agenda by leveraging the commonalities and distinctive contributions of Web Science and Network Science, and to formulate questions of interest to both communities.


  • Noshir Contractor, SONIC, Northwestern
  • Manuel Castells, ANN, USC
  • Peter Monge, ANN, USC
  • Brian Uzzi, NICO, Northwestern
  • Kevin Lynch, NICO, Northwestern

Academic Minute

The World Wide Web is one of the most transformative technologies of modern times, changing the way we work, the way we communicate, the way we date, the way we interact with our government and just about every other aspect of modern life. Over 75% of Americans, and nearly 30% of the world’s population use the Web — it has also become a primary engine of innovation and development for our nation, and around the world.

Unfortunately, the Web also has a dark side — our children are exposed to violence and pornography in a way they never have been before; bullies, criminals and terrorists use the Web in new and troubling ways; and we are being forced to rethink privacy and control of personal information in our ever-increasingly networked world.

Given the importance of the Web to the modern world, it is surprising for many people to discover how little we understand it at a deep, scientific, level. Understanding the Web requires knowing it’s math, it’s social impacts, and how to engineer it’s future. I have been involved with a number of my colleagues in creating a new interdisciplinary area called “web science” to help answer these questions. The Web has become a critical piece of international infrastructure, we must learn to understand it to keep it, not only functioning, but free, open, and fun.


Prof James Hendler

Tetherless World Constellation Chair & Asst Dean of IT and Web Science

Computer and Cognitive Science Depts


Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy NY 12180

@jahendler, twitter

Web Science Trust Directors host private dinner at the WWW 2011 Conference in Hyderabad, India

WST Directors Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Professor Dame Wendy Hall and Professor Nigel Shadbolt hosted a private dinner this week at the Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centre, coinciding with the WWW 2011 Conference. 

Distinguished guests from both industry and academia, including Microsoft Research India, Wipro Technologies, W3C India, Infosys Technologies, Tata Consultancy Services, International Institute of Informtion Technology, Bangalore, and the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad, were able to discuss the Trust’s plans to grow Web Science activity in India, particularly through the establishment of Web Science Research Laboratories.

Before dinner Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Web, outlined the importance of Web Science for Industry, academia, government and global society at large.

Tim Berners-Lee receives inaugural Gorbachev Award

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the World Wide Web and a Founder Director of the Web Science Trust, was honoured last night at a special 80th birthday celebration for former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, held at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Mr Gorbachev had chosen Sir Tim, along Ted Turner and Evans Wadongo, as the first recipients of the Mikhail Gorbachev awards.

The Inaugural Gorbachev Awards were presented in three categories, intended to reflect the former Soviet leader’s own achievements in the world. Mr Gorbachev, who turned 80 earlier this month, is widely credited with ending the Cold War and won a Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.

The three ‘Man Who Changed the World’ awards were: ‘Glasnost’, awarded to Ted Turner for his ‘contribution to the development of the culture of an open world’.

‘Uskorenie’ was awarded to Mr Wadongo for his “contribution to the development of modern science and technology”.

‘Perestroika’ was awarded to Sir Tim for his “contribution to the development of global civilisation”. Sir Tim created the World Wide Web in 1990.

Mr Gorbachev said: “These three people have each, in their own way, changed the world for their fellow men and women in ways which affect all our lives. Each and every one possesses the ability to make a difference and the Gorbachev Awards have been established to those people who achieve this and to provide inspiration to all of us to try.”

WSTNet Lab Director, Professor Helen Margetts awarded ESRC Professional Fellowship

Professor Helen Margetts has been awarded an ESRC Professorial Fellowship for ‘The Internet and Political Science: re-examining collective action, governance and citizen-government interactions in the digital era’ for the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2014.

The aim of this research is to assess:

  • Where political science understanding, knowledge and theory should be re-examined and developed in light of widespread use of the Internet;
  • To develop methodologies to study online behaviour including use of the Internet to generate new data and experiments; and
  • To build theory and understanding of internet-mediated interactions at both individual and organizational levels.

First, the project will re-examine the logic of collective action, assessing the impact of reduced communication, coordination and transaction costs; the changing nature of leadership; and the effects of real-time social information on political mobilization. This part of the research will involve conducting laboratory and field experiments into online behaviour, investigating the effect of different information environments on propensity to participate.

Second, the research will develop the Digital-era Governance model for newer ‘Web 2.0’ applications and other technological developments such as cloud computing, investigating where such applications have brought citizens into the ‘front-office’ of government. The research will re-examine the nature of citizen-government interactions in this changing environment, examining the impact of Internet-based mediation on information exchange, transparency and citizen participation in policy-making. This part of the research will involve a comparison of government’s online presence in eight countries, using webmetric techniques, and in-depth qualitative analysis of governance models, using elite interviewing and documentary analysis.

Helen Margetts is Professor of Society and the Internet in the Oxford Internet Institute, Professorial Fellow of Mansfield College, co-director of the social science experimental laboratory OxLab and Editor of the journal Policy and Internet. Research and publications are available at


To see the full article go to:

Daniel Weitzner to be named as new Deputy CTO for Internet Policy at the White House

Daniel Weitzner, a Commerce Department official, is expected to be named deputy chief technology officer for Internet policy, a spot previously held by Andrew McLaughlin.

GovFresh reported last week an OSTP representative had confirmed the pick, but it has not yet been formally announced.

At OSTP, Weitzner will join two other deputy CTOs, recently appointed Chris Vein, who focuses on innovation and Scott Deutchman, who focuses on telecommunications policy. All three will work under federal CTO Aneesh Chopra.

To see the full article go to:

WSTNet Lab Director, Professor Deborah McGuinness, features in Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute News

In the restaurant of the future, you will always enjoy the perfect meal with that full-bodied 2006 cabernet sauvignon, you will always know your dinner companions’ favorite merlot, and you will be able to check if the sommelier’s cellar contains your favorite pinot grigio before you even check your coat. These feats of classic cuisine will come to the modern dinner through the power of Semantic Web technology.

Web scientist and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute Tetherless World Research Constellation Professor Deborah McGuinness has been developing a family of applications for the most tech-savvy wine connoisseurs since her days as a graduate student in the 1980s—before what we now know as the World Wide Web had even been envisioned.

Today, McGuinness is among the world’s foremost experts in Web ontology languages. These languages are used to encode meanings in a language that computers can understand. The most recent version of her wine application serves as an exceptional example of what the future of the World Wide Web, often called Web 3.0, might in fact look like. It is also an exceptional tool for teaching future Web Scientists about ontologies.

To see the full article go to