The Anatomy of Web 2.0: The Web as a Platform to Promote Users' Participation and Collaboration

The Anatomy of Web 2.0: The Web as a Platform to Promote Users' Participation and Collaboration

A. Bellucci (Universidad Carlos III, Madrid, Spain), A. Malizia (Universidad Carlos III, Spain) and P. Diaz (Universidad Carlos III, Spain)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-763-3.ch003


In the last 20 years we have assisted to the birth and growth of the World Wide Web. It rapidly changed from a tool conceived for scientists at CERN, into a global information network, populated by billions of users. Currently, we are experiencing another change within the Web paradigm, where the Web is viewed as a read/write tool enhancing users’ collaboration and participation in information creation, consuming and sharing. Web 2.0, intended as a second step in the Web’s evolution, is a complex topic and therefore it is difficult to clearly define it. It concerns viewing the Web as a platform for the development of Rich Internet Applications that go beyond the page metaphor of Web 1.0. It lies on the ideas of 1) users’ participation; 2) users production of content and; 3) data remixability, so that Web applications and services can be employed as social tools allowing mass users collaboration and information sharing. The authors describe in this chapter, the main concepts behind the Web 2.0 paradigm, together with the technological aspects and design patterns that demonstrate this new way to use and perceive the Web. In second stance, they highlight future directions and research trends which are leading to the next Web’s evolution phase: the Social Semantic Web.
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Starting from 2004 we are assisting to an evolution of the Web due to the birth of new services and applications that are changing the habits of Internet users. The term Web 2.0 was coined during a conference brainstorming session during FOO Camp4 (a conference at O'Reilly Media) where Dale Dougherty, vice-president of O’Reilly, stated that the Internet was going through a phase of growth and innovation that cannot be ignored. It is not possible to give a unique and synthetic definition of what the Web 2.0 is, mainly because not all the people agree on the point that it really is an innovation or a mere evolution. In any case, it is possible to refer to this compact definition of Tim O'Reilly (2006) in order to catch some of the most important aspects of Web 2.0: “Web 2.0 is the business revolution in the computer industry caused by the move to the Internet as platform, and an attempt to understand the rules for success on that new platform. Chief among those rules is this: Build applications that harness network effects to get better the more people use them” (O'Reilly, 2006).

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