The University of Southampton

WEBS1001 Information, Technology and Social Change

Module Overview

The World Wide Web has changed the world. It has changed the ways we communicate, collaborate, and educate. We increasingly live in a Web-dependent society in a Web-dependent world. The Web is also the largest human information construct and it is growing faster than any other system. However, it is a striking fact that there is no systematic discipline to study the Web. We need to understand the current, evolving, and potential Web but at the moment we have no means of predicting the impact that future developments in the Web will have on society or business. Web Science aims to anticipate these impacts. It is the study of the social behaviours in the Web at the inter-person, inter-organisational and societal level, the technologies that enable and support this behaviour, and the interactions between these technologies and behaviours. It is therefore inherently interdisciplinary and at even the simplest level represents a fundamental collaboration between computer science and the social sciences.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This unit provides an introduction to Web Science, an overview of current research and an appreciation of the diverse set of disciplines that make up this multidisciplinary research area.

Learning Outcomes

Subject Specific Practical Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Describe the evolution and architecture of the Web
  • Write and present arguments about the Web and society
  • Appreciate and synthesise different disciplinary approaches to understanding the Web
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Begin to synthesise a broadly based understanding of the Web as a socio-technical phenomenon
  • Describe the technical infrastructure and architecture of the Web, including hypertext, social and semantic Web
  • Understand the contribution of a range of social and technical approaches to the Web


Having successfully completed the module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of: - Social and technological approaches to understanding the web - The range of disciplines, research methods and theoretical approaches required to analyse, critique and develop the Web - Current and emerging research questions for Web Science

Learning and Teaching

Wider reading or practice51
Completion of assessment task99
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

Tim Berners-Lee, Wendy Hall, James Hendler, Nigel Shadbolt, Daniel J. Weitzner (2006). Creating a Science of the Web. Science. ,313 , pp. 769-771.

Module resources, including directed reading, will be maintained on the module web site and the Wiki.. 

Tim-Berners Lee, Wendy Hall, James A. Hendler, Kieron O'Hara, Nigel Shadbolt and Daniel J. Weitzner (2006). A Framework for Web Science. 



MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  ( hours) 40%
Exam  (2 hours) 60%


MethodPercentage contribution
Exam 100%

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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