Web Science Subject Categorization (WSSC): A proposal

Following the fruitful discussions with L. Carr, G. Metakides, I. Anagnostopoulos, J. Kopecky, and K. O’Hara about an early version of the Web Science Subject Categorization (WSSC) system I presented a “stable” version of the first epistemological index for the scientific study of the Web. The WSSC aims to facilitate communication and collaboration among scholars of the Web from various perspectives i.e. computational, mathematical, social, economic and legal. WSSC 1.0 by no means is “written in stone” and must be considered as the very first attempt to discuss a Science Subject Categorization for the Web ecosystem as a central subject of study.



Practically, every discipline is focusing its research efforts on the most important issues during specific periods of time. Today, economists put their efforts to discover new ways for estimating systemic risk because of the severe financial crisis; biologists try to find new personalized cures to diseases after encoding DNA and so forth. Concerning the Web ecosystem, scholars are facing two major challenges:


  1. to preserve and expand the fundamental right of equal and universal online access to information against restrictive political actions and oligopolic business practices and
  2. to accelerate socio-economic development by facilitating life-critical functions in the developing world and by enabling the publication, interlink and re-use of valuable datasets in the developed world.



The WSSC contains five distinct categories, namely: General, Web History and Methodology, Web Technologies, Web Analysis and Web Society.

The General (A) category refers to Instructional and Research exposition, Conference proceedings and collections of papers. The Web History and Methodology (B) category includes Web history, related biographies and epistemological and theoretical models of the Web artifact.

The Web is an application that runs on the Internet and the progress of the latter is crucial to the Web’s universal role. It is vital for innovation that Internet and the Web work together but advance independently [1]. The Web Technologies (C) section categorize the underlying infrastructure (Web Milieux and Basic Web Architecture) and the major enabling technologies for each Web era, namely Web 2.0, Semantic Web/Linked Data and Web of Things.

The class of scale-free networks, massively analyzed and used in various disciplines and applications during the last five years, was initially discovered in Internet and Web networks of real data.

The Web Analysis (D) category refers to the Mathematical Methods applied in the Web. The Web Society (E) category represents the following perspectives: Economic and Business analysis, Social Engagement and Social Science, Personal Engagement and Psychology, Philosophy, Law and Politics and Governance.

Introductory school and university courses in Computer Science are often out of date, remaining stuck on the utilitarian prospect of Web technologies. In this aspect, Web Science education should address the complex techno-social issues of the Web in an attractive and compatible way to modern real phenomena and other scientific approaches. Pre-college, Undergraduate and Graduate studies of the Web are contained in the Teaching the Web (F) category.

Engineering and next steps

The basic inputs for this draft version of the proposed Web Science Subject Categorization are related to existing classification systems and Web Science and WWW conferences. In WSSC 1.0 appear direct links to the following existing classification systems: ACMfor computing, AMS for Mathematics, JEL for economics, Sociological Abstracts Classification Scheme and Political Science Abstracts Classification Scheme. Currently, we have developed and testing a SKOS description of WSSC 1.0 in order to facilitate semantic processing for Web Science related publications. This description will be inter-connected to basic Linked Data components like DBLP, Dbpedia and Geonames. 

See the related poster in Web Science Conference.



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