To Chris Baker, the World Wide Web’s existence has been “like the birth of a new planet.”
Two decades in, the web – which helps Internet users access information – has billions of pages, links and other resources that make up the largest information repository in human history.
Baker, a University of New Brunswick researcher, is asking himself, “What now?”
The answers, he says, might be found through work in a new field called web science.
“What’s exciting is that there is a movement towards acknowledging that the web as an entity, having only been around for 20 years, has dramatically transformed,” Baker says in an interview.
“In order to understand it and try to improve it, we need to turn it into a discipline of its own.”
Different than computer science, web science is seen as an interdisciplinary field that includes computer science, but also philosophy, sociology and other disciplines.
Today, Baker is at a meeting of the minds on the topic called Web Science: the New Frontier, at the prestigious Royal Society in London where great scientific thinkers including the web’s creator, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, will speak.