Building upon the success of the past International “Building Web Observatories Workshops” (BWOW) at Web Science 2013 and 2014, BWOW2015 seeks to invite research concerned  with topics of distributed querying, analysis, and visualisation within the context of Web Observatories and Web Science.

In order to understand the Web, we need technical infrastructure, capable to handle the growing streams of data produced by human and machine activity. Considering the changing data landscape, Web Observatories provide a unique opportunities to facilitate the analysis of different sources of data in order to study Web activities. However, to achieve this, analytical methods which are grounded in understanding human activity and interaction are required, as are the visualisations used to interpret such analyses.

Central to the design of Web Observatories is the challenge of understanding the requirements at different stages of the ‘observational pipeline’, from data harvesting, processing, analysis, and visualisation. These steps, which could be considered as the building blocks of an observatory are essential if valuable and informative insights are to be achieved. However, questions need to be asked as to what methods and analysis techniques are required to understand these types of social data, and how these fit in with building Web Observatory platforms. Added to this complexity are the limitations and boundaries associated with performing analysis on big data, and requires consideration of examining distributed approaches to analytics where analysing local data  – especially across multiple sources – is not possible, or practical..

The goal of this workshop is to further advance the ongoing research which is exploring how to build Web Observatories, the challenges faced and techniques employed when trying to perform analysis and visualisations of datasets and real-time streams. Specifically, we are interested in the development and discussion of appropriate distributed techniques for data analytics and visualisation, where multiple datasets have been used,.from multiple locations.

Background, Goals, Topics

This event will examine the key aims and features of performing analysis and visualisation over a network of emerging Web Observatories. We hope to explore how Web Observatories can provide vital tools for observing and analysing the complex interactions and correlations across different locations, topics and systems in an attempt to deliver insight  into the socio-technical interactions between human beings and the Web.

The topics for this workshop include but are not limited to:

  • Best practice on deploying and managing multiple Web Observatories instantiations.
  • Discussion on the functional aspects of Web Observatories and of interoperability challenges for datasets and analytics.
  • Reports, Presentations, Experiences and Tools from building observatories to inform best practice.
  • Discussion on the key issues around mobilising existing datasets to be available through discoverable catalogs.
  • Discussion on the key issues on performing analytics across distributed and/or heterogeneous datasets.
  • Challenges in harvesting, cataloguing and discovering datasets on the Web.
  • Provide an environment to showcase the latest in cutting-edge analytics and visualisations for Web datasets
  • Proposals for key datasets (partnerships) to be included in a Web Science Observatory.


Position papers, Ongoing work, and full papers in the following areas are invited (but not limited to) the above topics. Submissions as also invited for the visualisation competition.

  • Short papers: ongoing work need to be 2-3 pages,
  • Full papers: can be a maximum of 8 pages. All accepted papers will be included in the online proceedings.

Authors of selected papers (independent on submission type) will be invited to give a 10 minute presentation and sit on a panel; there will be two panels, one for each of the above areas.

Position papers need to be 2-3 pages long in LNCS format and they can be submitted at  BWOW15 on EasyChair

All accepted position papers will be included in the online proceedings.

Authors of selected papers will be invited to give a 15 minute presentation plus 5 minutes of questions. We will then open up the workshop to a discussion about the next steps for observatory development and integration.


This is a half-day workshop, split into two parts, a morning of paper presentations and discussions. The following provides an out-line of the programme:

  • 14:00 – Welcome and Introduction
    • Quick recap of the previous Web Observatory Workshops
  • 14:15 – Keynote Presentation
    • Nicholas Gruen, Lateral Economics
  • 15:00 – Presentation Session
    • Ian Brown, Lisa Harris and Wendy Hall. DNA: Towards a method for analyzing Social Machines & Web Observatories.
    • Xin Wang, et al.. Building a Web Observatory for South Australian Government: Supporting an Age Friendly Population
    • Johanna Walker, Jacqui Taylor and Leslie Carr. From PSI Catalogue to Productive Data: Defining a National Information Infrastructure
  • 16:00 – Coffee Break
    • Refreshments will be available
  • 16:30 – Open Discussion
    • Current Web Observatory progress
    • Getting Web Observatories to go gobal
    • Connected network of Web Observatories
    • Next steps required
  • 17:00  – Wrap up and Close


The principal organizers of the workshop are as follows:

  • Ramine Tinati, University of Southampton, UK
  • Thanassis Tiropanis, University of Southampton, UK
  • Wendy Hall, University of Southampton, UK
  • David de Roure, University of Oxford, UK
  • Ian Brown, University of Southampton, UK

Programme Committee

  • (Chair) Wendy Hall, University of Southampton, UK
  • (Chair) David De Roure, University of Oxford, UK
  • Ramine Tinati, University of Southampton, UK
  • Thanassis Tiropanis, University of Southampton, UK
  • Noshir Contractor, Northwestern University, US
  • Jim Hendler, RPI, US

Key Dates

Paper submission deadline: Sunday 10th May 2015 23.59 PST  Sunday 29th May 2015 23.59 PST

Acceptance notifications:  Friday 22th May 2015


The workshop proceedings will be published on EPrints and on the WSTnet Web Observatory website


For more information, questions or comments, please contact r.tinati (at)

Additional Information

3rd International workshop on Building Web Observatories

Oxford, UK, 29th June 2015

co-located with the ACM Web Science Conference 2015


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