3. What is a Web Observatory?

In order to understand and build social machines, you must be able to observe and interrogate them through a lens which offers a view on the interactions and data flows.

This philosophy has been a critical driver for the Web Observatory, a globally distributed data platform to nurture Web Science research. At its core, the Web Observatory provides access to data, analytic tools and visualisations, with the goal of providing an environment to support the development of substantial theoretical and practical knowledge on topics including web economics, social networks, privacy, trust and Web infrastructure.

As a core component of SOCIAM, the Web Observatory is being used to monitor and classify the development and behaviour of Social Machines ‘in the wild’ as they evolve, and to act as an early warning facility for disruptive new innovations. SOCIAM contributes to the Web Observatory by investing in the development of infrastructure, tools, and analytical approaches that will in turn enable ongoing investigation and exploration of Social Machines.