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Web Science for Development

at IIIT-Bangalore, 27th February 2019 


Web Science Lab


Need and Problem Addressed : 

The World Wide Web (WWW) is the biggest information construct that the world has ever seen. Nothing like the web ever existed in recorded human history. The web is neither a natural phenomenon, nor is it an artificially engineered system. It is the result of trillions of human decisions made independently.

As the WWW makes inroads into most aspects of our lives, there is a growing urgency to understand how it is affecting humanity as a whole. The interdisciplinary study of Web Science was born in 2006 as a result.

The Web Science for Development (WS4D 2019) workshop is part of the web science research initiative at IIIT Bangalore. WS4D 2019 is a workshop that brings together professionals from several domains, addressing three thematic concerns, namely: Social Cognition, Data-driven Governance, and Digital Empowerment.

Working groups

Following is the description of the three working groups –

1) Social Cognition: This working group addresses questions about how the web, and particularly social media and open online knowledge portals like Wikipedia, is affecting collective opinion and worldview. Social cognition is playing a central role in the making and breaking of reputations of individuals, businesses, and countries. There is a pressing need to understand social cognition in the post-web world.

2) Data-driven Governance: This working group addresses questions about how different forms of data management processes can be woven into the fabric of administrative decision-making. These include structured data generated by different government departments, corporates and other organizations; as well as the so-called Big Data, generated from several sources like sensors, social media posts, etc. that often contain useful inputs for decision-making.

3) Digital Empowerment: This working group addresses the question of how the WWW and digital technologies in general can be used for education and up-skilling of the population at scale. As mobile phones and high-speed data connections become ubiquitous, this has created a huge opportunity for disseminating knowledge and skills to a vast population efficiently. However, a dearth of sound understanding of how this can be achieved, is still an impediment. This working group speculates about the future of digital empowerment, and makes suitable recommendations.


Keynote by Prof. Dame Wendy Hall,

Executive Director  of the Web Science Institute, University of Southampton

Data science: A necessary condition for inclusive development in India by Dr Gurucharan Gollerkeri and Dr Asha Subramanian (From public affairs centre)

Social media and organizational risk  by Dr Jai Ganesh (From Mphasis NEXTLabs)

Renarration for all by Dr T B Dinesh (From Servelots)

Intelligent personal assistant as performative social agents: a dramaturgical analysis of human-machine interactions by Dr Bidisha Chaudhari & Mr Dipanjan Saha (From IIITB)

Recognizing non-use: towards a more inclusive internet by Dr Preeti Mudliar (From IIITB)

Transforming education using Personalized Adaptive Learning by Ms Sweety Agrawal (From Funtoot)

Social Impact : 

WS4D was organized into three working groups. Each working group comprised of invitees who have made significant contributions in the area. They presented their work, and followed it up with a focused discussion, for creating a roadmap into the future of web science. The working groups would be speculating on open research problems, social impact and challenges, and policy issues pertaining to their thematic concern.

Target audience :

Included students, researchers, educationists, policy makers, industry and start-up pioneers.

Number of Participants: 47

Sponsors :