The University of Southampton

Why we must study the Web

Published: 5 March 2010

Students from a whole range of disciplines are being invited to go along to the Royal Society in London next week to hear why they should study the World Wide Web.

At a discussion entitled Why Study the Web? at the Royal Society on Monday 8 March at 6.30pm chaired by Dr Aleks Krotoski, presenter of the BBC's Virtual Revolution, Professor Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web, and Professor Nigel Shadbolt, Government Information Advisor, will discuss the future of the Web with JP Rangaswami of BT, Professor Helen Margetts of the Oxford Internet Institute, and Professor Noshir Contractor from Northwestern University in the USA. The panel discussion will be streamed live on the Web at

"People think that you need to be a computer scientist to study the Web, but that is not the case," said Professor Dame Wendy 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 take up our PhDs so that we can fully understand the impact the Web is having on our lives." The Centre has 50 fully-funded studentships for graduates from a whole range of disciplines to study four-year PhDs in Web Science.

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,” said Professor Hall. “Each one has a different focus but all seek to enable students to study the development of the Web, the way 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 GMT. The event will be broadcast live on the Web and will be available for subsequent video download.

Find out more about this free event and register (free).

The panel will be streamed live on the Web and available for subsequent video download at

For further information contact Joyce Lewis; tel. +44(0)23 8059 5453.

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