In 1994, in the wake of Tim Berners Lee‘s work, the World Wide Web was officially born. A global web, wide in its dimensions as in its contents. Over the years, these contents have literally exploded, imposing the use of search engines to try and sort out this fertile chaos on the basis of the principle of a classification ‘by relevance’. The domain name (DNS) to identify and classify web sites and to adress documents and the “http protocol” (hypertext transfer protocol) to retrieve them are the main features of this first documentary age of the web.
Then came the World Live Web, an instantaneous subset of the World Wide Web, a web giving the latest published information in real time. Google News service was one of the pioneers of this second documentary age, but it also enables to refer to what is called micro contents (citizen media), e.g. comments on blogs. Specialised search engines like Technorati are integrated with tools that power the blogosphere and are able to index new content within ten minutes. According to Technorati data, there are over 175,000 new blogs every day. In april 2008, Technorati is tracking more than 100 million blogs and over 250 million pieces of tagged social media. For instance searching for artgallery.lu in Technorati gives more than 100 results.
We are now entering a third documentary age, the World Life Web, in particular with the extraordinary boom of social networks (Facebook, MySpace) and of virtual worlds (Second Life). The main issues of this new age are the sociability and the indexable and remixable nature of our digital identity as well as its traces on the network.
Olivier Ertzscheid, enseignant-chercheur (Maître de Conférences) en Sciences de l’information et de la communication au département Infocom de l’IUT de la Roche sur Yon (Université de Nantes) a publié un petit texte à vocation pédagogique sur ce sujet sur son blog personnel affordance.info.