[Air-l] Web Science a Field of Study

Sam Tilden tildensam at yahoo.com
Mon Nov 6 12:56:54 PST 2006

Having initiated the recent discussion about a definition for the term "Internet", I have contiued to search for a dispositive understaning. 
  Tim Berners Lee has provided me with some clarity. 
  "The web itself should be independent of the social... the first order, it should be not an institution but a completely blank piece of paper, a medium upon which society can do what it needs to do and what it wants to do." TBL
  Lydon, C. (2004). Christopher Lydon interviews... Checking in with the inventor: Tim Berners-Lee. Retrieved November 6, 2006, from http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/lydon/2004/01/09; in-line link to audio interview file at http://media.skybuilders.com/lydon/Berners-Lee.1.mp3.
  From a research or scholarly point of view nothing is lost by seperating the technology from what human behavior is conducted using the technology. In some respects TBL is saying that the Internet is a blackboard on which great things are created. It is our job as scholars to bring illumination to how it is used.
  It is unnecessary to disparage the contribution of TBL past or present to express disagreement. Whatever his motive and whenever it occured TBL has more stature than the bulk of us and comments below do not show collegiality and cross-disciplinarity to the world community.
  I remind you all that Elijah has a habit of calling people names and discrediting them. Do the rules and the interests of us all not apply to flaming someone who is not a part of this body.
  In my opinion TBL has it right. He should know because he single handed gave us a gift of the world we are supposed to be researching

elw at stderr.org wrote:  
> Subject: [Air-l] Web Science a Field of Study

> Web science, the researchers say, has social and engineering dimensions. 
> It extends well beyond traditional computer science, they say, to 
> include the emerging research in social networks and the social sciences 
> that is being used to study how people behave on the Web. And Web 
> science, they add, shifts the center of gravity in engineering research 
> from how a single computer works to how huge decentralized Web systems 
> work.

I find this patently absurd.

Attempting to name something doesn't create a new field of study.

New paradigms are rooted in established fields. Sociologists, linguists, 
information scientists, and others are all doing groundbreaking work in 
just the area that TBL is "inventing".

This looks more like an attempt to grab publicity and credibility on the 
part of TBL and MIT. Embarassing, to be sure.

Incidentally, I don't see a whole lot of research from TBL these days, on 
*any* of the lists I participate in where people care about networks, the 
internet, or the web... or people's use of any of them.

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