What is considered technology

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 as a further development of the Internet

Web 2.0 is an evolutionary stage with regard to the offer and use of the World Wide Web, in which the focus is no longer on the pure dissemination of information by website operators, but on the participation of users in the web and the generation of additional benefits. Web 2.0 does not include a fundamentally new type of technology or application, but rather represents a consistent use and further development of the possibilities offered by the Internet. [see. Laningham / Berners-Lee 2006] The term Web 2.0 became known through an article by Tim O'Reilly in 2005. [cf. O’Reilly 2005] In this O’Reilly works out seven principles that are characteristic of Web 2.0:

  1. The web as a platform
  2. The use of collective intelligence
  3. Data next Intel Inside
  4. The end of the software life cycle
  5. Lightweight programming models
  6. Software beyond device limits
  7. Rich user experience

For Web 2.0, it is particularly important that the Web is not viewed as a pure information offering, but as a productively usable platform. This is made possible by the ever simpler use of web user interfaces and the independence of the web applications from the hardware and software conditions. In Web 2.0, software packages in the classic sense are less used, but rather smaller services (web services), which can easily be further used, expanded and recombined due to the source code available through the basic properties of the WWW and visible to all (so-called mash- Oops). The focus is no longer on the software applications, but rather on the databases that are offered and used by the individual services. By utilizing what is known as collective intelligence, i.e. the knowledge of the entire mass of users, [cf. on this, Surowiecki 2004], these databases are constantly being expanded with data, enriched with additional information, and this knowledge is only made accessible to the general public. The changed use of the WWW is therefore primarily expressed in the fact that the content of a website or parts of it is no longer created solely by the operator, who provides users with selected information for pure consumption, but that Internet users also access the Participate in creating the content. The originally rather passive use of the Internet is thus also becoming an active participation and co-creation of the information resources available worldwide. This co-creative role of Internet users was made possible above all by the provision of appropriate tools in the editorial field, so that specific specialist knowledge in markup languages ​​(e.g. HTML, XML), script languages ​​(e.g. PHP, JSP) and database languages ​​are no longer required in order to actively add content for websites to produce. [see. O'Reilly 2005]

User participation

Of course, a successful Web 2.0 application also includes the need and willingness of Internet users to contribute their own experience and knowledge to the information world of the WWW. The motivation for this increasing participation is based not only on the knowledge that the Internet has become a very significant and influential medium for social and economic developments, but also on the possibility of being able to distinguish oneself relatively easily in a virtual community and gain self-affirmation and social recognition . In this context, there is often talk of a “democratization” of the network, which should result from the direct participation of the users. So while at the beginning of the WWW the operators of websites alone determined the content, their role in Web 2.0 has changed to the extent that they are primarily responsible for providing a platform suitable for interactive and collaborative use and for administration. The pages are continuously updated through the intensive user participation and are therefore more dynamic and flexible. The success of the platform made available by the operator can be seen in the intensity of its use, which generally correlates with the quality of the content or the “customer benefit”.


The socio-technical changes in Internet usage associated with Web 2.0 naturally also require tools and procedures for collaborative work on content, for discussions on contentious content as well as for control functions and decisions. Wikis have established themselves as the basis, which enable every user to write, edit or delete posts. The collective cooperation automatically results in a powerful control instrument that usually makes incorrect information or misuse of the service difficult or almost impossible due to the large number of users alone.

Crowd sourcing

In this context, the term crowd sourcing is often used: a task to be mastered is shifted to the labor of a mass of voluntary and free-of-charge users. The comparison between the Lexica Britannica Online as a Web 1.0 application and Wikipedia as a Web 2.0 application is often cited as an example of the demarcation and development of Web 1.0 from Web 2.0. While the Web 1.0 lexicon was created by a few carefully selected experts, the online encyclopedia Wikipedia was created as a typical Web2.0 product from the contributions of many, arbitrary, not previously checked Internet users. The collaborative creation of the encyclopedia, which was made possible by the simple creation, editing and editing, is one of the most successful applications of Web 2.0. As described above, occurring errors and weaknesses are discovered and remedied by the collective supervisory authority of the entire user community. Incorrect changes or misuse of a contribution for advertising purposes will be reversed almost immediately by the collective. In this respect, it is understandable to say that the use of the collective intelligence of Internet users is an essential aspect of Web 2.0.


To distinguish between Web 1.0 and 2.0, another example is the comparison between a personal homepage and a blog (abbreviation for Web Log). Blogging is one of the most frequently mentioned features of Web 2.0. While personal homepages represent a kind of business card for the operator, blogs are constantly updated and commented diary entries that differ from conventional homepages in that they are processed using RSS technology (RSS 0.9 x: Rich Site Summary; RSS0.9 and 1.0: RDF Site Summary; RSS 2.0: Really Simple Syndication). This means that a corresponding service checks at regular intervals whether the blog has been updated and shows the subscriber every new entry. Via permalinks (abbreviation for permanent links), which, in contrast to the often common, changing links on the Internet, should be permanent and unchangeable, and through trackbacks, which can be used to monitor who links or comments on a post, references to special Contributions from other sites are set and intensive discussions are held. With the rapid spread of blogs on a wide variety of topics and the tendency of blogs or blog operators to be strongly networked, topics of interest to the general public quickly crystallize, the interest of which can be read from the degree of networking and thus can be used by search engines to improve their search results. Even if blogs, in which the user or reader can become an editor themselves, are often seen as competition to classic communication media that are centrally organized and publish editorially filtered articles, they reflect the subjective opinion of the people rather than that they disseminate objective information in a targeted manner.

Other Web 2.0 applications that use the “wisdom of the people” are

  • Social tagging
  • Social bookmarks
  • Mash ups

Social tagging

Social tagging is the assignment of keywords (tags) to individual information objects (texts, images, videos, etc.) by a larger group of users without precise rules or a fixed vocabulary having to be specified. The association skills of a wide range of users can thus be used without hierarchy and without a judgmental authority. Even if individual tags are classified as unsuitable or even critical, the tagging of numerous users leads to meaningful, intuitive and high-quality keywording, which enables the content of the information objects to be well developed and search results to be improved. The result of social tagging is a folksonomy that consists of all the tags assigned and is mostly displayed in a tag cloud. This displays the folksonomy tags according to their meaning in different font sizes, so that the most relevant terms are in the foreground. By tagging information objects, relationships can be established between the individual objects that existed before but were not obvious.

Social bookmarking

Social bookmarking is a form of social tagging that is restricted to hyperlinks. The bookmarks of users are archived (semi) publicly in a shared bookmark collection and can be tagged, rated or commented on by the users without restriction on various topics. As a result, additional information is generated for the individual bookmarks, which in turn can be specifically evaluated during Internet research and can lead to better search results. Well-known platforms for social bookmarking are e.g. del.icio.us, Furl or Mr. Wong.


Mash-ups are the combination of existing services on the Internet that create additional added value. Here, the different databases of two services are brought together in order to generate additional information, such as housingmaps.com, which connects Google Maps with the Craigslist real estate market. This is made possible by more or less open interfaces.


Many Web 2.0 applications only became usable because the usability of Internet applications has adapted to that of classic desktop applications and users no longer have to wait for the screen to be rebuilt after each click. This was made possible through the use of modern techniques, especially Ajax (Asynchronous JavaScript and XML). Ajax technology concerns the asynchronous transfer of data between client and server. It decouples the user input from the requests to the server by introducing an additional software layer between the user interface and the server. This layer allows the successive reloading of parts of the HTML page based on the payload or demand, in that user inputs are passed on asynchronously to the server and its responses in turn lead asynchronously to a partial update of the user interface. The main advantage is that the entire user interface does not have to be transmitted repeatedly for each user input, and the transmission is limited to the data that is actually required. Instead of additional plugins such as Flash or Java, only the JavaScript activated by default in browsers is required.


Laningham, Scott; Berners-Lee, Tim: developerWorks Interviews: Tim Berners-Lee from July 28, 2006. Source: http://www-128.ibm.com/developerworks/podcast/dwi/cm-int082206.txt

O'Reilly, Tim: What Is Web 2.0 - Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software. Source: http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/oreilly/tim/news/2005/09/30/what-is-web-20.html

Surowiecki, James: The Wisdom of Crowds - Why the Many are smarter than the Few and How Collective Wisdom shapes Business, Economies, Societies, and Nations. New York 2004.



Prof. Dr. Richard Lackes, Technical University Dortmund, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Chair for Business Informatics, Vogelpothsweg 87, 44227 Dortmund

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Dr. Markus Siepermann, Technical University of Dortmund, Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences, Chair for Information Systems, Vogelpothsweg 87, 44227 Dortmund

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