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Web Science: understanding the emergence of macro-level features on the World Wide Web

Web Science: understanding the emergence of macro-level features on the World Wide Web
Web Science: understanding the emergence of macro-level features on the World Wide Web
In this monograph we consider the development of Web Science since the launch of this journal and its inaugural publication ‘A Framework for Web Science’. The theme of emergence is discussed as the characteristic phenomenon of Web-scale applications, where many unrelated micro-level actions and decisions, uninformed by knowledge about the macro-level, still produce noticeable and coherent effects at the scale of the Web. A model of emergence is mapped onto the multitheoretical multilevel (MTML) model of communication networks of Monge and Contractor. Four specific types of theoretical problem are outlined. First, there is the need to explain local action. Second, the global patterns that form when local actions are repeated at scale have to be detected and understood. Third, those patterns feed back into the local, with intricate and often fleeting causal connections to be traced. Finally, as Web Science is an engineering discipline, issues of control of this feedback must be addressed. The idea of a social machine is introduced, where networked interactions at scale can help to achieve goals for people and social groups in civic society; an important aim of Web Science is to understand how such networks can operate, and how they can control the effects they produce on their own environment.
web science, emergence, social machines, networks
103-267
O'Hara, Kieron
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Contractor, Noshir S.
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Hall, Wendy
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Hendler, James A.
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Shadbolt, Nigel
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O'Hara, Kieron
0a64a4b1-efb5-45d1-a4c2-77783f18f0c4
Contractor, Noshir S.
9ab55248-16fc-495b-895e-282d9b334c48
Hall, Wendy
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Hendler, James A.
4d6c74ad-a6c7-4a0c-9188-873fb1d53c84
Shadbolt, Nigel
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O'Hara, Kieron, Contractor, Noshir S., Hall, Wendy, Hendler, James A. and Shadbolt, Nigel (2013) Web Science: understanding the emergence of macro-level features on the World Wide Web. Foundations and Trends in Web Science, 4 (2-3), 103-267. (doi:10.1561/1800000017).

Record type: Article

Abstract

In this monograph we consider the development of Web Science since the launch of this journal and its inaugural publication ‘A Framework for Web Science’. The theme of emergence is discussed as the characteristic phenomenon of Web-scale applications, where many unrelated micro-level actions and decisions, uninformed by knowledge about the macro-level, still produce noticeable and coherent effects at the scale of the Web. A model of emergence is mapped onto the multitheoretical multilevel (MTML) model of communication networks of Monge and Contractor. Four specific types of theoretical problem are outlined. First, there is the need to explain local action. Second, the global patterns that form when local actions are repeated at scale have to be detected and understood. Third, those patterns feed back into the local, with intricate and often fleeting causal connections to be traced. Finally, as Web Science is an engineering discipline, issues of control of this feedback must be addressed. The idea of a social machine is introduced, where networked interactions at scale can help to achieve goals for people and social groups in civic society; an important aim of Web Science is to understand how such networks can operate, and how they can control the effects they produce on their own environment.

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1800000017-O'Hara-Vol4-WEB-017.pdf - Other
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Published date: 2013
Keywords: web science, emergence, social machines, networks
Organisations: Web & Internet Science

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 360718
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/360718
PURE UUID: 53869886-e07f-4eed-8e58-a4acceb4b28e
ORCID for Kieron O'Hara: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0002-9051-4456
ORCID for Wendy Hall: ORCID iD orcid.org/0000-0003-4327-7811

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 02 Jan 2014 10:07
Last modified: 07 Oct 2020 07:13

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Contributors

Author: Kieron O'Hara ORCID iD
Author: Noshir S. Contractor
Author: Wendy Hall ORCID iD
Author: James A. Hendler
Author: Nigel Shadbolt

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