Thanassis Tiropanis provided this helpful definition of the Web Observatory;
The Web Observatory project aims at mobilising the wider research community to create a distributed archive of data on the Web and its activity, and, at the same time, mechanisms and tools that will be able to explore its development in the past, to examine its present condition and to establish potential developments in the future. The Web observatory will provide for:

1. Live monitoring of the state of the Web in terms of topologies, resources, links and activity. These cover the availability of Web resources (documents and data), relationships among resources and activity in the context of social networks, business and government. The project will employ state-state-of-the-art visualisation to foster better understanding and analysis.

2. Simulation of the state of the Web in specific points in the past, based on information held in the Web observatory archives, as well as in the future, based on predictive models of Web evolution. Analyses and projections will be powerfully visualised to enable comparisons and provide insights.