Monday, November 03, 2008

Creating a "Science of the Web"

As you may know by now, Al Gore did not "invent the internet."

And as disappointing as that may be, you may find some comfort in the fact that Tim Berners-Lee took care of that for Al. Now that the internet is so integrated into our lives, Berners-Lee is thinking, "Well, it may just be time to figure out just what it is." [author's note: this is a fictional quote and may or may not accurately represent Dr. Berners-Lee's motiviations].

He's actually been at this for quite a while, and it may only be news to me because my father-in-law passed along a recent copy of Science Magazine. That said, the article that triggered Gerry's sharing the magazine is absolutely fascinating and makes sense in so many ways that I want to pass it along.

The article, entitled COMPUTER SCIENCE: Enhanced: Creating a Science of the Web argues that:

If we want to model the Web; if we want to understand the architectural principles that have provided for its growth; and if we want to be sure that it supports the basic social values of trustworthiness, privacy, and respect for social boundaries, then we must chart out a research agenda that targets the Web as a primary focus of attention.

I think it's really really time we put some effort into establishing an understanding of the behemoth that is so important to so many of us. What do you think?

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Dave Briccetti said...

Hey there, Scott. I like to keep the meanings of the Internet and the Web distinct. The Internet had existed for some time when Berners-Lee created the Web. There was email, FTP, gopher, and anything else that would run over TCP/IP.

Scott said...

I stand corrected. This is the kind of distinction we need to make, and maybe a Science of the Internet is more what we need, which would take into consideration the entire technological span of online interaction, not just the Web. Would that make more sense?