The following contribution highlights selected work conducted by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Web Science Research Center. (RPI WSRC). Specifically, it brings to light four different themed Web Observatories - Science Data, Health and Life Sciences, Open Government, and Social Spaces. Each of these observatories serves as a repository of data, tools, and methods that help answer complicated questions in each of these research areas. We present six case studies featuring tools and methods developed by RPI WSRC to aide in the exploration, discovery, and analysis of large data sets. These case studies along with our web observatory developments are aimed to increase our understanding of web science in general and to serve as test beds for our research.