Yesterday' conversation with Leslie Bradshaw of New Media Strategies , one of a talented caste of co-presenters at Friedman Foundation's first Generator Forum on social media and the recent passing of Oliver Selfridge, founding father of artificial intelligence, reminded me I had not posted on the Web Science Research Initiative begun this fall at MIT and South Hampton University. September's Scientific American detailed the philosophy and research focus of the academic program in their article Web Science: Studying the Internet to Protect Our Future.
There is a symbiotic relationship with web technology, the intentions of people wanting to connect around what interests and motivates them and the culture that evolves.
According to Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the Web and leads the consortium, it is now time to analyze the Web in a scientific way. By modeling its structure, articulating the architectural principles that have fueled its phenomenal growth, and discovering how social conventions drive online human interactions, Web science hopes to find mechanisms that will ensure the network continues to grow productively and in ways that support the basic social values of trustworthiness and privacy. As transformational as the Web has been, far more advancement could be realized with deeper scientific investigation of decentralized information systems.
The first round of papers for the Web Science Research Initiative will be presented at Society Online Conference in March of 2009 in Athens, an apt setting as it was the home of Hadrian’s library, the ancient Greek's physical hub of society.
~ Victoria G. Axelrod