By: Sonny Zulhuda
The first time I encountered the word web science was when I came to know about the then-upcoming OII Summer Doctoral Programme (SDP) 2008 early this year. My first impression was it was something curiously-yet-intellectually stimulating.
Why ‘web’ science? That was among my first questions. All this while my research intersects with issues of the Internet in the society. We have talked quite extensively on how the Internet affects society and how a social reaction in turn shapes the trend and the future of the Internet itself. Then comes the term ‘web’ science. At least from the SDP I knew I was not alone to think that ‘web-science’ may connote a science about the physical infrastructure of the web, per se. This is because the term web for me is too technical to stimulate any discussions on social or humanity issues. But the word ‘Internet’ –being more popular– is not; we’ve heard about the ‘Internet society’, ‘Internet law’, or ‘Internet generation’. This is still very narrow compared to a more generic term of ‘information society’, for example. The word ‘web science’ itself is therefore, to many quering minds, still an area of debate by itself.