Wendy Hall and Nigel Shadbolt are involved in building Web Science Research Institute to promote study of Web Science. This institute is brain child of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the developer of basic concepts behind WWW and now championing Semantic Web. In addition to the above three, Daniel Weitzner of MIT is another co-director of the Institute. At WWW08 I had a chance to spend some good amount of time with Wendy, Niel, and Tim. Wendy is a friend from long time ago. Their interest and dedication in making sure that the Web keeps propagating in a right way is impressive.
In a dinner conversation with Tim, he emphasized the importance of simple and modular approaches to make sure that the Web keeps propgating to the next stage in which it benefits more people. In our discussion about EventWeb and related ideas, he felt that some work started on dealing with events but it needs to be done. An interesting point he made, which is different from many early supporters of Ontology development, is that in every area multiple ontologies will co-exist and even need to be developed from different groups. I like it because that makes ontologies a formal modeling approach and like other tools, this may allow semantics from one group in one context to be explicitly represented and then used accordingly. This perspective, if extended and practiced correctly, is very different than many traditional ontologists in the Web community.
I am eager to see how Web Science evolves. I do see many places struggling with issues related to the Web and how to bring them under a unified framework.