Web Science paper shortlisted for Sociology prize

Susan Halford, Catherine Pope and Mark Weal‘s recent article Digital Futures? Sociological Challenges and Opportunities in the Emergent Semantic Web has been shortlisted for the annual best paper prize by Sociology, the flagship journal of the British Sociological Association.

The paper showcases Southampton’s Web Science to a sociological audience, drawing on multidisciplinary expertise to consider the politics of data and artefacts in the move towards Web 3.0. The analysis poses critical questions to both sociology and computer science and concludes by arguing for greater engagement across the disciplines. The abstract and full bibliographical reference are posted below. If you are not a journal subscriber you may request a pre-submission version of this paper from eprints.


‘In the context of recent debates about the ‘data deluge’ and the future of empirical sociology, this article turns attention to current activities aimed at achieving far-reaching transformations to the World Wide Web. The emergent ‘Semantic Web’ has received little attention in sociology, despite its potentially profound consequences for data. In response to more general recent calls for a critical politics of data we focus our enquiry as follows: first, we explore how sociological analysis of the artefacts and tools that are currently being developed to build a Semantic Web helps us to uncover the potential effects of this ‘next generation’ web on knowledge, data and expertise; and second we consider what a Semantic Web might offer to sociological research. We conclude by considering some implications of multidisciplinary engagement with the Web for the future of sociology.’

Sociology Vol.47(1) pp.173-189

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