The Web's Awake: An Introduction to the Field of Web Science and the Concept of Web Life

Philip Tetlow

Publisher Wiley Inter-Science
ISBN 978-0-470-13794-9
RRP £26.50
Reviewed by Danny Williams MBCS CITP
Score 9 out of 10

The Web's Awake Do we actually know what the web is? What shape is it? How large is it? What laws does it obey?

In this perspective-changing book, the author argues that the web is an organism that obeys the laws of physics, chemistry and biology.

He demonstrates that the web follows complexity theory. He also shows how it obeys the second law of thermodynamics. When examining the structure of the web, we are shown that it is fractal in nature, just like a tree. Wave-particle duality and the structure of DNA helixes also apply.

This book does not make for light reading; it requires concentration to follow the arguments. Fortunately, prior knowledge of the related scientific areas is not required - the author provides a comprehensive explanation as an introduction to each argument.

Phil dedicates much of the book to reflecting back on existing science; I would have expected more study of the web, demonstrating how it exists in accordance with the natural sciences.

Perhaps the challenge is in trying to study something that we perceive has developed significantly, but is actually still gestating?

I recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in how the World Wide Web has developed, and continues to evolve.

Further information: Wiley