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The University of Southampton
Web Science Institute

What is Web Science?

From the first web site in 1992 the World Wide Web has grown to become the largest human information system in history, integrated into the everyday lives of billions of people across the planet, shaping how we do business, conduct our social lives and organize politically.

A powerful combination of technical innovation and social participation, the Web is transforming the world in ways that were never imagined at the start and continues to evolve in inventive and unexpected ways that will shape the future of the world.

Web Science has an ambitious agenda: to focus the analytical power of researchers from disciplines as diverse as mathematics, sociology, economics, psychology, law and computer science to understand and explain the Web. It is necessarily interdisciplinary - as much about social and organizational behaviour as about the underpinning technology.

Nothing like the Web has ever happened in all of human history. The scale of its impact and the rate of its adoption are unparalleled. This is a great opportunity as well as an obligation. If we are to ensure the Web benefits the human race we must first do our best to understand it.

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