Hall, Wendy and Tiropanis, Thanassis
Web evolution and Web Science.
[in special issue: The WEB we live in]
Computer Networks, 56, (18), . (doi:10.1016/j.comnet.2012.10.004).
This paper examines the evolution of the World Wide Web as a network of networks and discusses the emergence of Web Science as an interdisciplinary area that can provide us with insights on how the Web developed, and how it has affected and is affected by society. Through its different stages of evolution, the Web has gradually changed from a technological network of documents to a network where documents, data, people and organisations are interlinked in various and often unexpected ways. It has developed from a technological artefact separate from people to an integral part of human activity that is having an increasingly significant impact on the world. This paper outlines the lessons from this retrospective examination of the evolution of the Web, presents the main outcomes of Web Science activities and discusses directions along which future developments could be anticipated.
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