Aaron Swartz's unfinished monograph on the "programmable Web"

Michael B. Morgan, CEO of Morgan & Claypool Publishers, writes:

In 2009, we invited Aaron Swartz to contribute a short work to our series on Web Engineering (now The Semantic Web: Theory and Technology). He produced a draft of about 40 pages -- a "first version" to be extended later -- which unfortunately never happened.

After his death in January, we decided (with his family's blessing) that it would be a good idea to publish this work so people could read his ideas about programming the Web, his ambivalence about different aspects of Semantic Web technology, his thoughts on Openness, and more.

As a tribute to Aaron, we have posted his work on our site as a free PDF download. It is licensed under a Creative Commons (CC-BY-SA-NC) license. The work stands as originally written, with only a few typographical errors corrected to improve readability.

Aaron Swartz's A Programmable Web: An Unfinished Work

Aaron Swartz’s A Programmable Web: An Unfinished Work (PDF)

(Thanks, Michael!)


  1. Ironic that this document, which talks about usability and flexibility of information on the Internet should be locked inside of a PDF document.  I think I shall use my rights under the Creative Commons license to convert this to a number of more suitable markup and e-book formats. 

  2. Ironically Aaron discusses useful and non-useful URL structures right at the beginning of this document, but the document itself resides at an aggressively non-useful URL.

    Also, when pasting that link into Facebook the document title shows as “An Error Occurred Setting Your User Cookie” it’s pretty lol-worthy.

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