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The Web

blogging - internet - hypertext - link - publishing

screen shot of jahsonic.com [Feb 2005]


# World Wide Web: A Hypertext system that operates over the Internet, used for serving webpages and transferring files. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web [May 2005]

The World Wide Web ("WWW", or simply "Web") is an information space in which the items of interest, referred to as resources, are identified by global identifiers called Uniform Resource Identifiers (URI). The term is often mistakenly used as a synonym for the Internet, but the Web is actually a service that operates over the Internet. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWW">http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWW [May 2005]

Publishing web pages

The web is available to individuals outside mass media. In order to "publish" a web page, one does not have to go through a publisher or other media institution, and potential readers could be found in all corners of the globe. To some this represents an opportunity to enhance democracy by giving voice to alternative and minority views. Others took it as a path to anarchy and unrestrained freedom of expression. Yet others took it as a sign that a hierarchically organized society of which mass media is a symptomatic part, will be replaced by a so-called network society.

In addition, hypertext seemed to promote non-hierarchical and non-linear ways of expression and thinking. Unlike books and documents, hypertext does not have a linear order from beginning to end. It is not broken down into the hierarchy of chapters, sections, subsections, etc. This is reminiscent of the idea of Marshall McLuhan that new media change people's perception of the world, mentality, and way of thinking. While not unique to the web, hypertext in this sense is closely related to the notion of "death of author" and intertextuality in structuralist literary theory.

These bold visions are not fully realized yet. We can find both supporting and countering aspects of web usage. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WWW#Publishing_web_pages

Web site

A website, Web site or WWW site (often shortened to just site) is a collection of webpages, that is, HTML/XHTML documents accessible via HTTP on the Internet; all publicly accessible websites in existence comprise the World Wide Web. The pages of a website will be accessed from a common root URL, the homepage, and usually reside on the same physical server. The URLs of the pages organize them into a hierarchy, although the hyperlinks between them control how the reader perceives the overall structure and how the traffic flows between the different parts of the site.

Some (parts of) websites require a subscription, with a fee to be paid e.g. every month, or just a free registration. Examples include many Internet pornography sites, parts of many news sites, gaming sites, and sites providing real-time stock market data. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Website [Apr 2005]

Web portal

A web portal is a web site that provides a starting point, a gateway, or portal, to other resources on the Internet or an intranet. Intranet portals are also known as "enterprise information portals" (EIP).

Portals typically provide personalized capabilities to their users. They are designed to use distributed applications, different numbers and types of middleware, and hardware to provide services from a number of different sources. In addition, business portals are designed to share collaboration in workplaces. A further business-driven requirement of portals is that the content be able to work on multiple platforms such as personal computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), and cell phones. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Web_portal [Feb 2005]

Brief History

In 1994, a computer program called the Mosaic browser transformed the Internet from an academic tool into a telecommunications revolution. Now a household name, the World Wide Web is a prominent fixture in the modern communications landscape, with tens of thousands of servers providing information to millions of users. Few people, however, realize that the Web was born at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, and that it was invented by an Englishman, Tim Berners-Lee.


I started using the internet late 1995 and have been hooked ever since. The early days were special. Yahoo!Oct 96 held only about a couple of thousand sites. Every site would link to a dozen others and it would all be wacky and non commerial. This site is built around the principles of those early days. The internet as a rhizome [Deleuze & Guattari], an information source with no beginning and no end, only middle, inbetweenness. [...]


I know what your Inbox looks like, and it isn't pretty. It looks more and more like mine: a babble of come-ons and lies from hucksters and con artists. To find your real e-mail, you must wade through the torrent of fraud and obscenity known politely as "unsolicited bulk e-mail" and colloquially as spam. In a perverse tribute to the power of the online revolution, we are all suddenly getting the same mail. --James Gleick in New York Times Magazine 9 February 2003


Under pressure from privacy advocates, most companies in the collaborative-filtering business pledge not to share information without customers’ consent. Even if the trail of your reading history leads your bookseller to conclude that you’re on the verge of buying a new red Porsche Boxster or a blue Gap dress, Amazon promises not to tell the car companies or the special prosecutor. --James Gleick

Semantic Web [...]

Definition: The Semantic Web is the representation of data on the World Wide Web. It is a collaborative effort led by W3C with participation from a large number of researchers and industrial partners. It is based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF), which integrates a variety of applications using XML for syntax and URIs for naming.


There have been attempts to control the placing of links. Most famously, in April 1997 Ticketmaster, with breathtaking short-sightedness, sued Microsoft because Microsoft’s Sidewalk city guides were linking from pages about upcoming concerts to the Ticketmaster page where you could buy tickets for that concert. A less arrogant company would have seen this as a marketing coup – Microsoft was drumming up business for Ticketmaster. But Ticketmaster couldn’t get past the sites-are-stores model. Although the direct links to the Ticketmaster concert pages were a convenience for the user, Ticketmaster wanted to drag users through their front door and down all the aisles in order to get to the bananas. This would have been enough to drive a significant number of users to Ticketmaster’s competitors … if Ticketmaster had competitors. Unfortunately, Microsoft settled the suit and Sidewalk agreed to link only to Ticketmaster’s home page – a bigger loss for customers than for Microsoft. --David Weinberger in Small Pieces

"The Semantic Web is an extension of the current web in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation." -- Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler, Ora Lassila, The Semantic Web, Scientific American, May 2001

What is a Blog?

The one hallmark of the blog is the time-dated entry, indicating that it's not just another website put up in haste and abandoned. Blogs tend to be more actively changed then traditional websites, and those changes are immediately noticable. That energy seperates blogs from other websites. Here is my blog.


Launched in 1998 by two Stanford graduate students, Google is a powerful multimillion-dollar company that today says it handles 200 million internet searches a day. Those questions come from some 200 countries and in 88 languages.

Rhizome [...]

A rhizome doesn't begin and doesn't end, but is always in the middle, between things, interbeing, intermezzo." -- from Rhizome by Deleuze & Guattari


One of the oddest things about the Internet is that despite its purportedly revolutionary nature, it has yet to produce anything revolutionary. Shopping without actually visiting a store? Catalogues have let people do the same thing for decades. Instant communication over global distances? Available since the invention of the telegraph. Electronic mail? A century ago, most urban areas had so many daily postal deliveries that people could exchange several messages a day. Instant, uncontrollable diffusion of information? Despite Victor Hugo's efforts in 1862 to control the publication of Les Misérables, which included sequestering the galleys, pirate publishers produced eleven bootleg editions of his mammoth novel in Belgium alone within a week of its appearance. The technological tools are faster and more efficient today than they were before, but they're not different in kind. MP3 could change that. -- Charles C. Mann in http://www.theatlantic.com/unbound/digicult/dc990408.htm, 1999

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Pornography [...]

One of the most contradictory aspects of the incessant attempts to legislate against pornography both on the web and elsewhere (and there are many such aspects, of course) is the inability of the idiot moralizers to grasp a very simple fact about the history of capitalism's technologies. That's to say, it's pretty clear that every communicational technology developed under capitalism (film, photography, the telephone, computers, the mass press, and so on) has historically come to realize its potential by way of its more prurient uses. And as we've seen with the web, this is a necessary prelude to the realization of the commercial functions of those technologies. By and large the moralizers just want to jump from the first stage to the desired second stage, without acknowledging the necessity of the first. -- Paul Smith


  1. Towards the Semantic Web: Ontology-Driven Knowledge Management - John Davies [book, Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    With the current changes driven by the expansion of the World Wide Web, this book uses a different approach from other books on the market: it applies ontologies to electronically available information to improve the quality of knowledge management in large and distributed organizations. Ontologies are formal theories supporting knowledge sharing and reuse. They can be used to explicitly represent semantics of semi-structured information. These enable sophisticated automatic support for acquiring, maintaining and accessing information. Methodology and tools are developed for intelligent access to large volumes of semi-structured and textual information sources in intra- and extra-, and internet-based environments to employ the full power of ontologies in supporting knowledge management from the information client perspective and the information provider.

    The aim of the book is to support efficient and effective knowledge management and focuses on weakly-structured online information sources. It is aimed primarily at researchers in the area of knowledge management and information retrieval and will also be a useful reference for students in computer science at the postgraduate level and for business managers who are aiming to increase the corporations information infrastructure.

  2. Small Pieces Loosely Joined: A Unified Theory of the Web - David Weinberger [1 book, Amazon US]
    David Weinberger's Small Pieces Loosely Joined does not merely celebrate the World Wide Web; it attempts to make a case that the institution has completely remodeled many of the world's self-perceptions. The book does so entertainingly, if not convincingly, and is a lively collection of epigrammatic phrases (the Web is "'place-ial' but not spatial"; "on the Web everyone will be famous to 15 people"), as well as illustrations of these changes. There are intriguing assertions: that the Web is "broken on purpose" and that its many pockets of erroneous information and its available forums for disputing, say, manufacturers' hyperbole, let people feel more comfortable with their own inherent imperfections. At other times the book seems stale: it declares that the Web has disrupted long-held axioms about time, space, and knowledge retrieval and that it has dramatically rearranged notions of community and individuality. Weinberger's analysis, though occasionally facile and too relentlessly optimistic and overstated, is surely destined to be the subject of furious debate in chat rooms the cyber-world over. --H. O'Billovich for amazon.com

  3. Linked: The New Science of Networks (2002) - Albert-László Barabási [Amazon US] [FR] [DE] [UK]
    How is the human brain like the AIDS epidemic? Ask physicist Albert-László Barabási and he'll explain them both in terms of networks of individual nodes connected via complex but understandable relationships. Linked: The New Science of Networks is his bright, accessible guide to the fundamentals underlying neurology, epidemiology, Internet traffic, and many other fields united by complexity.

    Barabási's gift for concrete, nonmathematical explanations and penchant for eccentric humor would make the book thoroughly enjoyable even if the content weren't engaging. But the results of Barabási's research into the behavior of networks are deeply compelling. Not all networks are created equal, he says, and he shows how even fairly robust systems like the Internet could be crippled by taking out a few super-connected nodes, or hubs. His mathematical descriptions of this behavior are helping doctors, programmers, and security professionals design systems better suited to their needs. Linked presents the next step in complexity theory--from understanding chaos to practical applications. --Rob Lightner

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