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The University of Southampton

Southampton professors to join discussion on the future of the Web

Published: 5 March 2010

Professors Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Dame Wendy Hall and Nigel Shadbolt, from the University of Southampton, will be discussing 'Why study the Web' at an event at the Royal Society in London next week.

Students from a range of disciplines are being invited to go along to the event, which will be chaired by Dr Aleks Krotoski, presenter of the BBC's 'Virtual Revolution', on Monday 8 March.

"People think that you need to be a computer scientist to study the Web, but that is not the case," says Professor Hall, Director of the Web Science Doctoral Training Centre at the University of Southampton.

"We need economists, sociologists, political scientists, linguists and people with backgrounds in many other disciplines to study the Web at doctoral level so that we can fully understand the impact the Web is having on our lives."

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, and Government Information Adviser Nigel Shadbolt, both professors at the University's School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), will join a discussion panel which will also feature JP Rangaswami of BT, Professor Helen Margetts of the Oxford Internet Institute, and Professor Noshir Contractor from Northwestern University in the USA.

After the panel session, there will be presentations from Professor Hall, Professor Bill Dutton of the Oxford Internet Institute, and Professor Jim Hendler of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in the USA about the nature of the Web Science courses at their particular institutions.

"We are very encouraged to see an increasing number of courses and degree programmes in Web Science emerging at various institutions around the world," says Professor Hall.

"Each one has a different focus but all seek to enable students to study the development of the Web, how it is shaping our lives and the socio-technical dynamics that will determine its future. We believe that career prospects for Web Scientists will be very bright indeed as companies increasingly become aware of the need for highly-qualified people with this range of interdisciplinary skills."

'Why study the Web' will take place at the Royal Society, 6-9 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AG on Monday 8 March 2010 at 6.30pm. The event will be broadcast live on the Web and available for subsequent video download.

For more details about the event and to register (free), please visit

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