Web science

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Web science is a scientific research discipline that examines the meaning, impact, development and social dimensions of the Internet and the World Wide Web . It deals with questions of structures, evaluation, classification, media impact , media convergence and, fundamentally, media development in the field of online media. Web science strives to develop an independent web science approach based on and including media and communication science methods and findings.


Web studies is a transdisciplinary research approach from media and communication studies , law , economics , sociology , computer technology and philosophy . In addition to the theoretical examination of the web and a definition of media terms for the internet or the web, it is also practiced as an applied science , with the specific further development of web design , content production , retrieval , navigation and usability being the focus of interest stand. Both the media repertoire of the web (and the necessary media-specific delimitation of these forms of representation from the Internet) and its socio-cultural significance play a major role in the formation of theories in web science. It will have to be clarified whether the medium / mass medium web is to be understood as a hybrid medium and to what extent web theories benefit from the traditional discourses of individual media studies.


In 2006, Tim Berners-Lee called for the establishment of an independent web science in his article Creating a Science of the Web in the journal Science .

Berners-Lee describes the web as a space constructed from specific formal language and protocols . In it, the human interactions between the creators of websites and their links form specific, independent and growing structures. These human interactions are regulated by social conventions and laws . Therefore, web science must be interdisciplinary in nature and pursue the goal of understanding the growth of the web and formulating approaches that produce new and beneficial models .


Tim Berners-Lee founded the Web Science Research Initiative (WSRI) together with Wendy Hall , James Hendler , Nigel Shadbolt and Daniel J. Weitzner in 2006 as a merger of the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at the University of Southampton. The aim of the WSRI is to enable the fundamental scientific advances to deal with the future development of the World Wide Web . The Web Science Trust , headed by Tim Berners-Lee, Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt and Steffen Staab , among others, advises on the web science curriculum every year.

In German-speaking countries, web science has so far been institutionally established at the following universities:

  • Cologne University as part of the program "Online Editor". This BA course, established by Helmut Volpers (Institute for Information Science at the Cologne University of Applied Sciences), has existed since 2002 and contains elements of applied web science. Since 2007 Helmut Volpers has held the first professorship for media and web studies in the German-speaking area.
  • Cologne University of Applied Sciences as part of the part-time course "Web Science"
  • University of Koblenz-Landau , Institute for Web Science and Technologies - WeST as a master’s course, degree MSc Web Science, developed by Steffen Staab . The course is interdisciplinary and internationally oriented; in addition to the IT and technical aspects of the Internet, sociological, linguistic and economic approaches are also part of the curriculum. The Institute for Web Science and Technologies - WeST is affiliated with the Web Science Trust.
  • At the University of Koblenz-Landau , a Web Science Summer Academy was offered for the first time in 2010, which has been continued annually since then.
  • The Johannes Kepler University Linz introduced a master’s degree in web science in the 2011/2012 winter semester . It is interdisciplinary and accessible to graduates of various bachelor’s degree programs. It is divided into different branches of study: Social Web, Web Art & Design, Web Business & Economy, Web Engineering , Web and Law.

See also


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ T. Berners-Lee: Creating a Science of the Web. In: Science Vol. 313, p. 769.
  2. T. Berners-Lee et al .: http://webscience.org/about/
  3. http://west.uni-koblenz.de/mws
  4. Web Science Track ( Memento from July 22, 2013 in the Internet Archive )
  5. jku.at: Web Sciences - Master's degree ( Memento from March 6, 2011 in the Internet Archive )
  6. ORF, http://ooe.orf.at/magazin/treffpunkt/kultur/stories/216937/  ( page no longer available , search in web archivesInfo: The link was automatically marked as defective. Please check the link according to the instructions and then remove this notice.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link / ooe.orf.at  
  7. jku.at: Curriculum Web Studies ( Memento from May 16, 2011 in the Internet Archive ) (PDF; 134 kB)