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by Sepideh Chakaveh

The SoFWIReD project brings together two ERCIM institutes, University of Southampton and Fraunhofer Gesellschaft to determine the future of Web and Internet Science.

The information age as we know it, has its roots in a handfull of enabling technologies most of all the World Wide Web for the provision of global connectivities. The emergence of a Web of Data in terms of the publication and analysis of UK Open Government Data has provided new insights about the impact of the Web in Society [1].

The second most important technology in this development has been the emergence of streaming processes based on new and innovative compression methods such as MP3 where audio & video contents could be accessible to everyone on the web.

The University of Southampton where Sir Tim Berners-Lee the inventor of the WWW holds a chair in Computer Science, together with Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, Europe‘s largest research organization for applied research and the inventors of MP3, have jointly launched a common project: SoFWIReD.

The SoFWIReD-project aims to find answers to research questions such as:

  • What are the socio-economic reasons as to why individuals participate in a collective endeavour?
  • What legal frameworks govern (or should govern) the resources that are created?
  • What is the psychology of identification with an online collective community?
  • What role is there for policy-makers to engage in and facilitate collaborative endeavour?
  • How can collective intelligence emerge, given the different languages used by different genders, races, classes, and communities?

The SoFWIReD-project is developing a comprehensive, interoperable platform for data and knowledge driven processing of open data and will investigate aspects of Collective Intelligence. The insights generated in the project will form the basis for supporting companies in the collective intelligence transition by consulting, organisational development and software solutions.

Research topics add’ressed by SoFWURed

The project addresses the following research topics:

Web Observatory
The goal is to establish an observation mechanism capable of detecting or predicting information cascades on the Web. The idea is to identify and collect data on the Web, to analyse how it impacts business activity, and to develop mechanisms and tools that will enable interpretation and analysis [2].

Crowd-Sourced Open Data
The goal is to leverage the value of open data for e-business by exploring the value of open data in supply chains and logistics, and to deploy mechanisms for public engagement in collecting and leveraging open data related to e-government. This refers to sharing concepts on a digital collaboration environment to encourage and facilitate new and innovative “brainstorming” processes. New concepts may emerge due to the contributions of individuals, professional or otherwise who are able to share their ideas, as it is not limited to professionals, but rather the general public who wishes to become involved through this collaboration and social dissemination fashion which is only possible using the web.

Dynamic Media Objects
Media objects that are consumed in the web such as audio & video content are mainly streamed. It is recently established that these objects are inherently dynamic and are in stark contrast to static objects such as text files. The focus of this part of the SoFWIReD project is to understand the nature and behaviour of dynamic media objects and their life cycle. Also some generic technical & legal interactions concepts and the relevant impacts on the Web such as privacy and trust issues are to be addressed in here [3].

Internet Services
This aims at developing advanced, secure and trustworthy services that can help companies to improve the flow of information as well as to adjust their structure and organisation to remain competitive in a mobile and dynamic Web environment.

Each of these four research themes represents a major direction for innovation with significant impact on Web technology at large. They result from considering the practical demands of both the research community and customers in industry, alike.


[1] T. Berners-Lee, W. Hall, J. Hendler, N. Shadbolt, D. Weitzner: “Computer Science: Enhanced: Creating a Science of the Web”, Science 313 (5788): 769–771
[2] W. Hall, N. Shadbolt: “Web Science and the Web of Linked Data: Opportunities in the Information Age”, in Self-Innovation Forum, 11 November 2010, Shenzhen, China.
[3] S. Chakaveh, W. Vonolfen: “Edited Web Collective Intelligence Project Proposal”, Fraunhofer Gelleschaft – ICON Programme Documentations

Please contact:
Sepideh Chakaveh
Chair of Media Technology & Edutainment Working Group
Web & Internet Science Research Group
Electronics & Computing Department
University of Southampton
E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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