The University of Southampton

New improved Southampton Web Observatory site

Published: 6 December 2016
New Southampton Web Observatory website

Web and Internet Science (WAIS) academics have deployed a revamp of Southampton’s Web Observatory site – a resource that enables more meaningful engagement with data analytics.

The revamp will be implemented on other Web Observatory sites worldwide, providing a global distributed resource to discover, use and share datasets and analytics.

Dr Thanassis Tiropanis, an Associate Professor in the WAIS reaserch group in Electronics and Computer Science, led the effort which was supported by the University of Southampton, under the umbrella of the Web Science Trust.

The concept of Web Observatories was developed and promoted by the University of Southampton six years ago as a way of fostering Web Science research. They are an emerging global resource that aims to provide a distributed catalogue of datasets and apps that can be shared and accessed in a secure manner.

There are now 11 Web Observatories around the world, each focusing on different aspects including Web Science, disaster management and health and care for the elderly. They provide the means to observe the digital planet, explore its processes, and understand their impact on different sectors of human activity, by nurturing communities exchanging and using each other’s Web-related datasets, as well as sharing analytic applications for research and business Web applications.

Now an improved Southampton Web Observatory has been implemented making the site even more engaging, user-friendly and easy to access.

Key improvements include:

  • A new user interface making it easier for businesses, entrepreneurs, researchers and the public to engage with datasets and analytics.
  • An improved search function across different Web Observatory sites.
  • Better security allowing control of who can access resources.
  • Single sign-in allowing access across different Web Observatory sites.

Thanassis said: “This is a key upgrade for engagement with the Web Observatory; better user interface, search function, single sign-in, and tutorials to make it easier for everyone to use and contribute datasets and apps. A great team has been working hard on this deployment and we are all excited about its potential.” Dame Wendy Hall, Professor in WAIS and Managing Director of the Web Science Trust, said: “This is a big step forward towards a global network of Web Observatories that will empower researchers in Web Science and beyond.”

The University of South Australia Web Observatory and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) PETRAS-funded Internet of Things Observatory are also being upgraded.

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