Professor Wendy Hall: The Emerging Science of the Web

Below are my notes taken on my netbook at the conference (earlier today)

Mountbatten Archive, 1987 – first talking about digitisation, before common, cost and copyright – defeated. Interested in hypertext – e.g. Minutes from a meeting – linked to e.g. Photos from the time. Wanted to use info for different purposes.

Microcosm system, 1990 conference Paris, network computers were there, but was no web, was a need for it – hungry to share documents especially in a hypertext way. H.G. Wells talked about hypertext ideas. No one was quite sure what the world should look like – Tim Berners-Lee was there, and he already had the idea for the web, not sure it was named.

ACM Hypertext 1991 “Gone to Texas” – rejected TBL and WH papers, put in posters/demos. By then TBL had named it the web. Hyper G & Microcosm seemed better, thought web was old hat. By 1992 Mosaic released their demo – rest = history.

Big is beautiful – the network is everything – if it starts to fragment, potentially starts to die. Lanugage is one of the ways the web is fragmented. Now big – can start to analyse what it’s doing – how it works.

Scruffy works – let the links fail to make it scale – some need HUGE accuracy, but most it doesn’t

Democracy rules – open & free – TBL – if don’t make free won’t get everyone using it, then experiment doesn’t work. But now – e.g. Newspapers – at what point do you start charging for it.

But we lost (for a time) conceptual and contextual linking – the web is a strangely linkless world. In fact lost a lot of hyperlinking, what to link to, etc? Easier now (blogging?)

Missing links – search engines fill the gap – once information gets to a certain size, can’t just follow.

Google paper, 1997? Reliant upon statitistical information on the web, then analyse. Clean – unlike most search – adverts to monetise. Started to scale, demonstrated, then 2001 people started to use – designed new idea to sell WORDS. Web/Google feed each other, doesn’t really work otherwise. Now they are big = part of the problem… now proprietorial – that data is not your ownership, in a format don’t release to the world. Interesting dichotomy.

Diagram users – read only web, read/write web, social web, Mark Schueler, PhD Student. Not really used until Mosaic (Netscape) – a browser, simple – whereas TBL had released complex read/write. Dot com bubble had to burst as trying to sell soemthing to people when they don’t have the capability to buy/run…Web grows (not natural – constructed, built by engineers and scientists), grows by what people put onto it (e.g. Facebook, Wikis, etc). Technical layer, what people do with it (content/activity), then policies (governments, companies such as Google, etc., e.g. Talking about 2-tier – pay for faster networks – but what about the issues of starting to fragment it)

Then were still surprised to find stuff on the web to 1999

1999-2004 – played more on the web, be hopeful for what you were looking for

Now – we expect to find it there or the people giving it have failed, or it doesn’t exist.

There’s no owners, etc. So can’t necessarily expect it just to keep growing, it may break. We take for granted the existence. W3 runs on a shoestring. A duty to take care of this. What for the next 5 years?

What technical development is behind…

Video standards –  YouTube

Blogs – trackbacks

Audioboo = audio Twitter, is there a visual version…

Cloud computing, Second Life next generation – will start to have dominance. Become seamless in everyday life which includes education. SL is something need to be quite dedicated to get into… The technology isn’t there for it to become seamless yet, but it’s coming…

Wikipedia – never predicted free & trusted… expected would have to pay for access/licences, which is how we started. Get the masses to create it… moderators – democratic – how will it evolve? Will die under weight of beuraucracy now being created? Do a comparison with Encyclopeadia Britannica – similar level of errors. Millions of eyes on it, dynamic, can be corrected. Increasingly people trying to use for their own ends. Take it for granted there.. might not be. How do you start to make it pay?

Winkin Huang Tonhjian Twitter growth

Increasingly getting people helping feed data in – e.g. Galaxy Zoo – sharing data. We’ve shared documents, socially, next wave = sharing data: the semantic web – the web = more intelligent smarter. We can make the web semantic by adding metadata… machine can work out it’s a picture, but not what that content is. Hard to do retrospectively – how about getting data out there in a way that machines can interpret? Ask web – get an answer back, rather than a set of documents?

Semantic Web – need to describe the world in a way that makes sense. Moving into a world where everything will be censered. Put questions out, have to have some idea where the answers have come from and whether you trust them – proof/trust!

TED: Tim Berners-Lee on the next Web

Put information out in a standard format (RDF) – easier to use the data internally, and also aggregators can start to build on that data – e.g. All the places I can study Spanish.

Nigel Shadbolt & Tim Berners-Lee, leading public non-personal project – all the data in RDF format so it can be used.

What are the implications of this, very interdisciplinary. Web Science Research Initiative. Bringing disciplines together to trying to understand what’s going on… About additionality…  Structure, how phenomena occur, what is collective intelligence, information accountability, linked data, why this matters. Www.

Funded RCUK Digital Economy programme, PhDs funded.

E-Learning by background… new methodologies in a rapidly evolving environment. Cross-disciplinary approach – changing ways universities work, has a big impact on the management of e-learning.

Is the internet going to break under the volume of traffic – remember net & web = 2 different things – open hugely to attack…  Plenty of space on the network, unless govts pull access, computer network still scaling…

Imagine if the internet broke tomorrow – what would you do?

Changed education? May not have changed the core ideas, but how we interact and how we get/they get their resources. Many businesses would collapse without it…

Public Data Initiatives – govt pushes. To the world = still using ‘the web’. Machines to read/provide us with apps.

English still the dominant language (Euphonia)… Google Anglophone hegemony. Impacts on other communities? Dead languages preserved because on web? Others dying because the web = largely English? Many remote communities have mobile phones (not standard web) – what will that do?!

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