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Title: The DNA of Web Observatories
Author: Brown, Ian C.
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis investigates the proposed Web Observatory (WO) which will offer access to globally shared data and apps, delivering insights into the nature of the Web and also society-on-the-Web. Understanding how different groups conceptualise and engage with WO concepts is vital to understanding the drivers for adoption and the requirements for adoption between groups. Observations from the field and analysis of work relating to WOs are combined and compared with established theories of innovation and adoption. I argue that a purely technological definition of WO is necessary-but-not-sufficient to capture the set of complex interactions and interests that a network of Observatories at Web scale would need to reflect. A new socio-technical 'DNA' model of Web Observatories is developed combining technical and architectural definitions (D factors) with socially-embedded narratives (N factors) and group perspectives and motivations (A factors) .Visual model of D's, N's and A's and a new perspective on parallel modelling for technically- vs socially constructed models is introduced. An inductive approach, which combines case studies, content analysis and extensive interviews/observations blends data from a broad range of sources across academia, business and government. A new WO taxonomy is established and iterative analysis refines a multi-perspective model of WOs employing a constructivist grounded theory (CGT) lens. An approach combining Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) and visual mapping techniques using a hybrid concept mapping/TRIZ approach is developed to model the findings. Social theories are considered around individual/shared meanings to enable a definition of WO to be embedded (framed) within the social context of the individuals and groups who seek to use WO to address specific problems and outcomes. This thesis has implications for how new Observatories may be designed and built and also for how existing systems and sources may be recruited into a global Observatory eco-system through a better understanding not only of how participants may join but also, critically, why they would choose to do so. The models/techniques developed here may find a wider application for the study of socio-technical systems and social machines.
Supervisor: Hall, Wendy Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available