Digital Divides and Web Science.
At Technologies, Contents and Services for Social Inclusion: Facing the Digital Divide and the Emergence of Ambient Assisted Living, Ministério da Ciência, Tecnologia e Ensino Superior, Lisbon,
29 - 30 Oct 2007.
The complexity of the digital divide is described, and it is argued that in fact there are several divides, not a single one. Relevant parameters include the dimension along which the divide takes place, the function of the technology in question, and the nature of the technology in question. It is argued that only a highly multidisciplinary approach to social issues in the context of the World Wide Web, including both analysis of the Web and its social context, and the synthesis of new engineering protocols, formalisms and standards, will have any lasting effect on such phenomena. A recent initiative to create a discipline called Web Science, taking the Web as a first-order object of study, is described.
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