May 1, 2009

www2009: Twentieth Web Anniversary

www2009: Madrid, SpainThe 18th International World Wide Web Conference, www2009 finished last week in Madrid. In times of global economic, pandemic and ecologic crisis, the value of attending international conferences is questionable, so for armchair delegates like me, here are some www papers and www links that are www worth a look. Obviously, virtual conference attendance via the Web is no substitute for The Real Thing® in Real Time with Real People® , but it is cheaper and has a considerably smaller Carbon footprint than actual conference attendance. So, in no particular order, some www interesting www stuff:

  1. Unlike in previous years, this year the conference proceedings are all available thanks to the EPrints open source software and Christopher Gutteridge at www2009.eprints.org. This is a great demonstration of the actual value of Institutional Repositories. In the UK, The University of Southampton leads they way with this, now imagine every University had one of these…and every paper published by a scientist was freely available to all. Hmmmmm – that would be a definite game changer.
  2. Speaking of scientists, if you think digital identity is a solved problem, take a look at idMesh: Graph-Based Disambiguation of Linked Data (doi:10.1145/1526709.1526789):

    “…we found 109 different structured profiles related to Tim Berners-Lee. Three of them seemed to be created by Tim Berners-Lee himself. 53 profiles were managed by third-parties and another 53 profiles were generated automatically by combining several sources. Some contained legitimate and up-to-date information, while others were outdated or even fake.”

    The paper describes a solution to tackle the problem of disambiguating entities (e.g. people) on the Web. Found via Ivan Herman’s www2009 impressions, see also Orri Erlang’s extensive www notes.

  3. Speaking of Tim, the Web is now twenty years old, and no longer a stroppy and troublesome teenager! Ooooooh, it’s all grown up now and gone to University and everything. The Parents of The Web must be awfully proud. Happy Birthday Web, now go and celebrate by watching Tim’s TED video on linked data [1]. Viva la Webolution!
  4. Google has been in the vanguard of the web revolution, so take a look at the keynote by Googler Alfred Spector on the The Continuing Metamorphosis of the Web, see also his accompanying blog post on the Official Google Blog (“Bloogle”?). There is also Cloud Computing and the Internet by another Googler at www, the “Chief Internet Evangelist” and “Father of the Internet” Vint Cerf.
  5. The web wasn’t just created in google’s image, let’s not forget the foto fantastic flickr.com. Computer scientists David Crandall, Lars Backstrom, Daniel Huttenlocher and Jon Kleinberg from Cornell University presented a paper on Mapping the World’s Photos (with Flickr) (doi:10.1145/1526709.1526812) which shows how to “organise a large collection of geotagged photos, working with a dataset of about 35 million images collected from Flickr”. New Scientist magazine described this as Flickr users make accidental maps. It’s maps Tim, but not as we know it.

Next year www2010.org is in North Carolina, U.S.A. One of these days I’ll actually go to the Dubya Dubya Dubya conference, rather than being an environmentally-friendly armchair-delegate (again) [2,3,4]. Still thanks to the World Wide Web, we can all benefit from the conference, virtually or actually.


  1. www2008: The Great Firewall of China
  2. www2007: Workflows on the Web in Banff, Canada
  3. www2006: Dub Dub Dub in Scotland

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