Web Science and Reflective Practice

O'Hara, Kieron and Hall, Wendy (2010) Web Science and Reflective Practice In, Moira Cockell, Jerome Billotte, Frederic Darbellay & Francis Waldvogel (eds.), Common Knowledge: The Challenge of Transdisciplinarity. EPFL Press pp. 205-218.


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The notion of reflective practice has been influential in professional practice of all kinds, including engineering. Reflective practice suggests that knowledge and practice are linked, that improvisation based on actual practice, as opposed to the application of formalised theory, drives understanding in many applied fields. A key feature of reflective practice is a feedback loop between actions and their effects, which need to be evaluated to produce understanding. The WWW is of course a piece of socially-embedded technology, and in many ways its progress can be seen in terms of such feedback loops, as development of formalisms and applications have social effects which are evaluated to create new opportunities for innovation. However, as we shall describe in this chapter, the WWW is embedded very deeply, and innovation can create social effects on extreme scales – for example, the creation of the practice of blogging and the massive linked blogosphere, which appeared in a very short space of time. The discipline which is called Web Science is intended to address the problem of reflective practice in a space where the feedback loops which facilitate learning happen at large scales over small time periods, increasing the danger that learning will happen at the cost of large-scale social damage (or damage to the WWW itself). In this chapter we will interpret the practice of Web engineering through the lens of the reflective practice concept, using the development of the Google search engine as a case study, in order to articulate the particular issues that individuate Web engineering from other types of engineering.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Chapter: 3.3
ISBNs: 9781439863312 (print)
Keywords: Web Science, reflective practice
Organisations: Web & Internet Science
ePrint ID: 271712
Date :
Date Event
Date Deposited: 24 Nov 2010 12:54
Last Modified: 17 Apr 2017 18:07
Further Information:Google Scholar
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/271712

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