The Web Observatory: A Middle Layer for Broad Data

New paper by Tiropanis Thanassis, Hall Wendy, Hendler James, and de Larrinaga Christian in Big Data: “The Web Observatory project1 is a global effort that is being led by the Web Science Trust,2 its network of WSTnet laboratories, and the wider Web Science community. The goal of this project is to create a global distributed infrastructure that will foster communities exchanging and using each other’s web-related datasets as well as sharing analytic applications for research and business web applications.3 It will provide the means to observe the digital planet, explore its processes, and understand their impact on different sectors of human activity.
The project is creating a network of separate web observatories, collections of datasets and tools for analyzing data about the Web and its use, each with their own use community. This allows researchers across the world to develop and share data, analytic approaches, publications related to their datasets, and tools (Fig. 1). The network of web observatories aims to bridge the gap that currently exists between big data analytics and the rapidly growing web of “broad data,”4 making it difficult for a large number of people to engage with them….”