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Areas that the Web has not been as successful

Today, if you look at the success of the Web, it would be easy to assume that the Web is a complete success.  If on the other hand, you take a more in-depth look at the original vision for the Web, part of which involves collaboration, a different picture emerges.

The collaborative features contained in the original intentions for the Web form part of the basis of the idea of a web through which information flows freely in all directions.  This allows for information to flow not only from web sites to users, but also from web site to web site, user to web site, and user to user (through the web site).  This is achieved by allowing the web site itself to be the medium for the communication of ideas.  This is quite different from the main information distribution model that is currently seen on the Web, that of the web site being controlled by one person or group, with them providing all the content, other than limited areas such as web boards, comments and such.

The collaborative features of the Web have not been as great a success as other aspects of the Web.  If you don't look back in history, to both the original design goals for the Web, and the other visionaries that envisioned a future with free and easy access to information in a easy and connected manner, it would be very easy to get a slanted view of whether the Web has lived up to its full potential.  There has been some work in the collaboration area with CSCW and BSCW, although these focus on the processes that surround the creation of a document, rather than the creation of the document itself.  So for example, they have the ability to track external notes, dates, agendas, but the document itself is generally in some other format and is processed in a file-sharing manner, similar to FTP, file shares, or email transfer.

The free flowing Web of Information

The goals of implementing this research are to provide options for co-operative authoring, collaboration and content management over the Web that will enhance the potential of the Web.  This will allow much more information sharing than is currently easily available, and would allow enhancement of the Web in the areas that it is currently not fulfilling its potential.  This collaboration would include the documents that are being created, along with the collaboration surrounding that work.  As the web pages could have the ability to be edited by anyone (or a set group), a larger number of people would be able to provide information, especially those that may just have a few words to contribute, which would not be worth setting up a full web site for.  This would also allow people to work in the environment where they feel most comfortable, and would allow them to be more productive.  This environment might not be a computer, as we currently know it.

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