We started off day one of the Web Science Conference with the PhD Symposium. Allison Noble, Web Science PhD student, summarised her participation in this event as follows:
“A number of experienced academics gathered at the Web Science PhD Symposium in order to provide PhD students (at different stages of their candidature) an opportunity to showcase their research goals and to receive feedback on their ongoing research on an international platform.
I was fortunate enough to be selected to present my ideas at the Symposium. My aim was to receive feedback on a concept which I had been working on regarding the merging of ‘listening experiences’ into my main research on music streaming platforms. However, I was not sure about the robustness of this notion and therefore took the opportunity to present my proposal to the mentors in order to hear their thoughts. I was grateful to have the platform to present as this ensured that I had to have a clear message and outcome come across in my presentation. I received clear and considerate feedback from the other mentors who were intrigued by the depth of my study and reminded me to maintain a clear scope of interest to avoid getting lost within the research.
I would recommend other PhD students to participate in such events as they help to create a clear sense of direction in work and methods”.
Our first Keynote featured Matthew Weber from Rutgers University who is carrying out archive research to investigate changes in local news reporting online. There were many excellent questions in response to his talk. A key danger is that a reduction in local news tends to lead to a decrease in civic participation and the associated sense of community. Matt noted how “the web has complicated local news” – while local titles are in decline, some communities still rely on printed newspapers that are focused on a very local area. In contrast, social media give a huge variety of consumption options, with potentially a global platform for certain lucky news items.