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Defining Web 3.0: opportunities and challenges

Riaan Rudman (Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Rikus Bruwer (Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch, South Africa)

The Electronic Library

ISSN: 0264-0473

Article publication date: 1 February 2016




The purpose of this study is to define Web 3.0 and discuss the underlying technologies, identify new opportunities and highlight potential challenges that are associated with the evolution to Web 3.0 technologies.


A non-empirical study reviewing papers published in accredited research journals, articles and whitepapers and websites was conducted. To add scientific rigour to a literature review, a four-stage approach, as suggested by Sylvester et al. (2011), was used.


The World Wide Web (henceforth referred to as the Web) is recognised as the fastest growing publication medium of all time. To stay competitive, it is crucial to stay up to date with technological trends. The Web matures in its own unique way. From the static informative characteristics of Web 1.0, it progressed into the interactive experience Web 2.0 provides. The next phase of Web evolution, Web 3.0, is already in progress. Web 3.0 entails an integrated Web experience where the machine will be able to understand and catalogue data in a manner similar to humans. This will facilitate a world wide data warehouse where any format of data can be shared and understood by any device over any network. The evolution of the Web will bring forth new opportunities and challenges. Opportunities identified can mainly be characterised as the autonomous integration of data and services which increase the pre-existing capabilities of Web services, as well as the creation of new functionalities. The challenges mainly concern unauthorised access and manipulation of data, autonomous initiation of actions and the development of harmful scripts and languages.

Practical implications

The findings will assist data managers to identify future opportunities while considering negative impacts and understanding the underlying technologies associated with the structure and storage of electronic information. The research will assist anyone in the data and information management industry to identify opportunities and mitigate risk.


Many organisations were caught off guard by the evolution of the Web to Web 2.0. Organisations, and in particular anyone in the data and information management industry, need to be ready and acquire knowledge about the opportunities and challenges arising from Web 3.0 technologies.



Rudman, R. and Bruwer, R. (2016), "Defining Web 3.0: opportunities and challenges", The Electronic Library, Vol. 34 No. 1, pp. 132-154.



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Copyright © 2016, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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