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What are Web Observatories?

“Do you know what a web observatory is?” demanded our lecturer. “Er  - a place where you watch what’s happening on the Web?” volunteered a classmate.  Basically, although we’d heard of ‘Web observatory methods’ while preparing for our dissertations, it became clear that few of us had thought through what these might entail beyond a vague idea of sitting around checking out other people’s Facebook activity. Continue reading →

Open Hypermedia and the Web

Tim Berners-Lee, the main architect of the World Wide Web (W3), developed the system while working for CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research in the late 1980s. W3 was developed to overcome difficulties with managing information exchange via the Internet. At the time finding data on the Internet required pre-existing knowledge gained through various time-consuming methods: the use of specialised clients, mailing lists, newsgroups,hard copies of link lists, and word of mouth. Continue reading →

Crowd Sourcing

Crowd (or citizen) journalism emerged as an effective source of news during the Arab Spring, and during the London riots of 2011 became understood as a trustworthy one. Crowdfunding came of age with product success such as the Pebble watch, and the Securities and Exchange Commission relaxing rules on equity crowdfunding. Continue reading →


It’s not a stream of water, its a stream of data. Rather, if you think of your Twitter feed as a (more or less) gently flowing brooklet of data, the massive totality of Twitter data at any given moment is akin to the water brutally gushing out of a firehose. This firehose streams data  - historical and/or real time tweets - to partners who have a commercial or intellectual use for it. Who would have such a use? Academics, for one. Continue reading →

Introducing Web Science “Rough Guides”

The World Wide Web is a pretty big thing. Just how big no-one is exactly sure, but in 2008 Google hit the milestone of indexing 1 trillion pages. That’s a lot of information. Add to that all the metadata, all the ways of commercialising information, all the data analysis, and all the ways we think about these things and it becomes clear that knowledge of and about the Web is simply extraordinarily vast. Continue reading →

Hackathon at Google UK to help flood relief

A hackathon event is taking place in London tomorrow (Sunday) at Google UK and run in conjunction with the Open Data Institute, to use open data for flood relief efforts. Projects proposed so far include: A centralised website that serves as a "one stop shop" for local and national emergencies where critical information can be accessed. Have an API so people can get the data in which ever form they want e.g. SMS codes and/or customised web/ phone specific apps. Continue reading →

Web Science Seminar at University College London

UCL Computer Science, Web Science and Big Data Analytics Seminar by Bebo White on Friday 28th March at 13:00 Roberts G06 Sir Ambrose Fleming Lecture Theatre, UCL London "What Have We Learned From Web Science? - A Status Report" The World Wide Web has proven to be an invaluable collaboration tool in the physical, biological, and social sciences. The unique aspects of the Web have led to the definition of its own branch of science. Continue reading →