First Monday

FM reviews


Web 2.0 and beyond Paul Anderson.
Web 2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies.
Chapman & Hall/CRC Textbooks in Computing.
Boca Raton, Fla.: CRC Press, 2012.
decorated boards, 378 p., ISBN 978–1–439–82867–0, $US69.95.
CRC Press:



The Web has become an inalienable and ubiquitous part of our daily lives. Besides traditional computer science research and applications, more and more online human behaviors turned the Web to a huge magnet drawing attention from other fields, such as business, economics, information science, law, media, philosophy, psychology, social informatics and sociology.

Web 2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies is a general reference book based on Paul Anderson’s iceberg model of Web 2.0, and places the social aspect on top of other knowledge foundation and information technologies. It helps readers understand the Web 2.0 related issues interdisciplinarily, so as to study the vast Web as a complex and engineered environment.

The author, Paul Anderson, is a writer and technology forecaster for Intelligent Content Ltd. and has worked in academia and industry for more than two decades. His works draws the wide implications of computing as well as how other areas interpret the Web 2.0. Summaries of important research from various disciplines are also mentioned as themes in the book.

Web 2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies introduces the necessary background knowledge of today’s Web services and studies. Mr. Anderson’s book not only covers technology standards but also the processes of standardization, which shows how the inter–relatedness among them is important to understanding Web 2.0, as well as relevant key research findings.

This book is well structured and divided into three sections following an introductory chapter reviewing the evolution of the Web in recent years, such as the emergence and controversy of Web 2.0, the definition of Web 2.0 by O’Reilly, and the author’s iceberg model. This chapter gives the readers an opportunity to understand the concept of Web 2.0 as a whole.

The first section “the Six Big Ideas” contains fundamental ideas and principles of the Web 2.0, such as user–generated content, the architecture of participation, data on an epic scale, harnessing the power of the crowd, openness and the network effect and Web topology. This section is a very good starting point for the non–expert readers from various backgrounds to taste Web 2.0.

The second section discusses major Web 2.0 services and leading players — blogs, wikis, social networks, media sharing sites, social bookmarking and microblogging. Each chapter in this section examines how the service is developed and used, the technology involved as well as important research in the fields, a much needed pathfinder for research students.

The final section presents the technologies and standards that underpin the operation of Web 2.0 and goes beyond this to explore many developing issues, such as the semantic Web, cloud computing and Web science, as well as the possibilities of Web 3.0. The chapter on the future draws on the ideas presented earlier and challenges readers to review their knowledge.

Besides discussing technology development and current services, parts of Mr. Anderson’s book (i.e., extensive literature reviews) addresses the needs of undergraduates and post–graduate research students (i.e., computer or information science majors). This book will help future researchers form deeper understanding of what Web 2.0 is and how it could develop in the future.

This book covers many aspects of Web 2.0, however, new technologies and popular services are emerging around the clock. A textbook on Web 2.0 related issues needs to be constantly updated or checked along with other reliable sources (i.e., popular technology blogs) to follow the new trends, such as the rise of Pinterest ( and disseminating news via social network systems.

Some IT information, i.e., AltaVista and MySpace, should be updated in this edition. Two independent chapters on ethic issues and information retrieval (i.e., online data mining technologies) might further enrich the readers experience while reading this book, which offers very good access points for using Web 2.0 better.

Web 2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies explains Web 2.0 and its wider context in an accessible and engaging style, helping readers, especially beginners, understand every aspect of Web 2.0 without difficulty. However, for senior researchers of Web science, the contents in this book may seem a little shallow and not “cutting edge”.

As an instructor in library and information science, I recommend Web 2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies as a textbook for introductory level courses for readers with little knowledge of the current state of computing. — Yijun Gao, Graduate School of Library & Information Science, Dominican University, River Forest, Ill. End of article

Copyright © 2012, First Monday.

Book review of Web 2.0 and beyond: Principles and technologies
by Yijun Gao.
First Monday, Volume 17, Number 9 - 3 September 2012