Introduction to Web Science
The Big Idea
In recent years there has grown a fascination in economic life and in society about the connectedness in modern life. A major stimulating factor for this development, of course, is the jump up of the dissemination of the internet. Despite this fascination, despite the innovations in this context, despite the economical and societal consequences of this connectedness, the phenomenon as a whole has until recently not been put in the focus of a discipline. Only in recent years the notion of the Web has been established to not only describe a technical basis for communication but also its interdependency with human action and its economical and societal consequences.
The term Web nowadays refers to the interconnection of people, services and systems (e.g.: technical, economical, social, cultural...). Web Science than deals with phenomenons in and of the Web and utilizes knowledge, concepts and methods from corresponding disciplines and perspectives (informatics, economy, business administration, law, design, social sciences etc.). Web Scientists are capable of embracing a holistic, out of the box perspective on web phenomenons and can come to viable, sound decisions.
Intended Learning Outcomes
Structure of the Course
Starting with a brief history on Web Science we outline a comprehensive set of research questions according to , illustrating the complex and multifaceted nature of the Web, and the multidisciplinary nature of its study and development. These questions, disciplines and approaches together set out an agenda for Web Science, the "science of phenomenons in and of the Web". Web Science is required both as a way to understand these phenomenons, and as a way to use and further develop the Web as a base of sound understanding of social, economical, ecological, ethical, cultural, communicational, aestetical and technical requirements. We survey central engineering issues, such as web architectures, the development of the Semantic Web, Web Services and so on. Beside law, design and ethical issues we consider the Web as a technology which is essentially socially embedded; therefore we review various issues and requirements for Web use and governance. Complementing study material can be found in the textbook by Brügger
Engineering the Web
In this section fundamental technical and informatical principles of the Web are being surveyed. The concepts of reference and identity, ressources and representations, linked data and semantic web, web services, grid- and cloud-computing are introduced. Study material can be found in chapter 3 of , and in the tutorial for linked data.
Analyzing the Web
In this section we will briefly review efforts to map the Web’s topology, and then mathematical methods of investigation. We introduce the notion of network, topology, metrics. Study material is contained in chapter 4 of  and in chapter 1 and 2 of .
Social Aspects of the Web
In this section we will introduce societal and ethical aspects that are induced by the Web. We will deal with fundamental notions like privacy, security, intellectual property, and global information ethics. Study material is contained in chapter 1 of the textbook by Telow , chapter 5 of  and in the introductory parts of chapters 5, 6,, 8, and 10 of the textbook by Tavani .
In this section we will introduce economical notions, that came up with the Web's pervasion of economic life in the industry nations. We introduce the notions of Computer Supported Cooperative Work, E-Commerce, Governance. Study material is contained in a article by Graham  and chapter 6 of .
Design and The Web
Spuriously Design was often seen as a skill/action-based and practice-oriented discipline above all to make things "good looking". Therefore Designers often came into the process of product development lately. Design has a long tradition in dealing with ill defined or wicked problems and synthesizing informations across different disciplines. Donald Schön  coined the notion of Designing as a intellectual and practical activity, where successful Designers show reflection in action and conversation with the material. We enrich this approach by introducing the concept of the Value Sensitive Design of Friedman and the notion of Design Thinking as a holistic, human-centered approach on context, process, perspectives and design qualities.
Business Administration, Management and The Web
The Web has deployed a profound influence on the organization and the management of many enterprises. Novel forms of interaction with customers and partners as well as more flexible and distributed ways of structuring and coordinating the internal work lead to ongoing transformations in the enterprises. In this part of the course a brief introduction into the purpose and recent developments in organization theory is given. Study material can be found in part I of the textbook by Hatch et al..
Didactic Concept, Schedule and Assignments
The course concept comprises basic readings, online workshops, online discussions and an introductory and final on site presence. After a first introductory lecture on site, the subject is treated in three online workshops, that are supplemented by a wrap-up session on site. Online workshops are held on three evenings with a duration of three hours each.
Introductory lecture on site
The introductory meeting deals with organizational course details and an introductory lecture giving a small survey of the notion of Web Science.
1st online session
The set texts for this session are the basic readings of the chapters: engineering the web and analyzing the web.
This session held in a plenary discussion on central issues. On the basis of two case studies concepts of Web Science will be identified and the relationship to the respective remarks in the literature will be established.
2nd online session
The second session deals with Social Aspects of the Web and Design and the Web. First part of this session is a plenary discussion based on the concepts and approaches found in the corresponding basic readings. Special emphasis will be given to establish a discussion about the Web on a conceptual level. Quality criteria for concepts for Web projects will be discussed and established and the challenges of adequate research for Web projects will be discussed.
3rd online workshop
On the basis of a case study, exemplifying the societal impact of the Web, the different perspectives of Web Science, as layed out in the paper by Berner-Lee, will be discussed
Offline-Activity of the Students
According to the intended learning outcomes all participants put their individual subject-specific competencies into relation to the prerequisites of the modules (chapters as shown above) and identify their potential knowledge deficits. They develop their individual study plan to abolish these deficits and pass it to the lecturer one week before the final session on site.
Wrap-up session on site
This on site workshop is dedicated to clarify open questions of the student and to summarize workshop content.
This information is provided on the current semester's page.
Past Course Pages