W3CW3C Press Kit - WWW2006 Press Conference


Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to fullfill the "One Web" vision. W3C's mission is:

To lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web.

W3C Develops Web Standards and Guidelines

W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines. Since 1994, W3C has published more than ninety such standards, called W3C Recommendations. W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software, and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web. In order for the Web to reach its full potential, the most fundamental Web technologies must be compatible with one another and allow any hardware and software used to access the Web to work together. W3C refers to this goal as “Web interoperability.” By publishing open (non-proprietary) standards for Web languages and protocols, W3C seeks to avoid market fragmentation and thus Web fragmentation.

W3C Tim Berners-Lee and others created W3C as an industry consortium dedicated to building consensus around Web technologies. Mr. Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web in 1989 while working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), has served as the W3C Director since W3C was founded, in 1994. In December 2004 (in Boston, USA), and in June 2005 (in Sophia-Antipolis, France) W3C celebrated its tenth anniversary with symposia about the history and future of the Web and W3C. More information about the history of W3C and the Web is available.

W3C Is an International Consortium

Organizations located all over the world and involved in many different fields join W3C to participate in a vendor-neutral forum for the creation of Web standards. W3C Members and a dedicated full-time staff of technical experts have earned W3C international recognition for its contributions to the Web. W3C Members (sample testimonials), staff, and Invited Experts work together to design technologies to ensure that the Web will continue to thrive in the future, accommodating the growing diversity of people, hardware, and software.

W3C's global initiatives also include nurturing liaisons with national, regional and international organizations around the globe. These contacts help W3C maintain a culture of global participation in the development of the World Wide Web. W3C coordinates particularly closely with other organizations that are developing standards for the Web or Internet in order to enable clear progress. The document Worldwide Participation in the World Wide Web Consortium summarizes W3C efforts in broading our international impact.






Keio Univ.

W3C operations are supported by a combination of Member dues, research grants, and other sources of public and private funding. W3C operations are jointly administered by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France and Keio University in Japan. W3C also has World Offices in fifteen regions around the world. The W3C Offices work with their regional Web communities to promote W3C technologies in local languages, broaden W3C's geographical base, and encourage international participation in W3C Activities.


Below you will find some of W3C's most important achievements. Obviously, this type of list is subjective and does not represent every aspect of W3C work. For a complete view of W3C work, please consult the list of W3C Activities and the index of W3C's technical reports.

October 1996First W3C Recommendation published is Portable Network Graphics (PNG) 1.0. In the mid-'90s, more industrial and academic users were discovering the Web and its graphics capabilities. W3C developed Portable Network Graphics (PNG) to provide a cross-platform alternative to the graphics formats most prevalent at that time, some of which had raised some patent licensing concerns.

December 1996Separating content from structure, CSS Level 1 is published. Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) is a simple mechanism for adding style (e.g. fonts, colors, spacing) to Web documents. CSS Level 2 (1998) included further and more sophisticated features.

February 1997Web Accessibility Initiative launched. W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) guidelines for Web content, user agents, and authoring tools would become very popular among the Web community. WAI, in coordination with organizations around the world, pursues accessibility of the Web through four primary areas of work: technology, tools, education and outreach, and research and development.

December 1997HTML 4.0 adds tables, scripting, style sheets, internationalization, and accessibility features to Web publishing. Whereas HTML 3.2 had been published to capture the then current state of support for HTML on the Web, HTML 4.0 added new features to enable authors to create significantly richer Web content. These features included the ability to specify style sheets, create tables, and make pages more dynamic through scripting (see also W3C's work on the Document Object Model, or DOM). HTML 4.0 also included important features to promote more internationalized content and content more accessible to some users with disabilities.

February 1998XML 1.0 promotes interoperability and domain-specific markup. Soon to become the lingua franca of the Web, XML would serve as the basis for dozens of standards ranging from digital signatures (XML-Sig) and Web forms (XForms), to privacy technologies (P3P).

August 2000Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) 1.0 enriches Web graphics. A language to describe two-dimensional graphics and graphical applications in XML, SVG will serve as the foundation for new-generation mobile applications (SVG Mobile Profiles).

May 2001XML Schema provides an essential piece for XML to reach its full potential. This important specification delivers on the true promise of XML by providing a standard way to create XML vocabularies that permit mixing and a way to build more versatile and powerful commercial applications.

January 2002W3C launches Web Services Activity. Subsuming the XML Protocol Activity and extending its scope, Web services provide a standard means of interoperating between different software applications, running on a variety of platforms and/or frameworks.

May 2003W3C adopts royalty-free Patent Policy. The W3C Patent Policy governs the handling of patents in the process of producing Web standards, and explicitly encourages the development of open standards.

February 2004RDF and OWL make a strong foundation for Semantic Web applications. RDF and OWL are Semantic Web standards that provide a framework for asset management, enterprise integration and the sharing and reuse of data on the Web. Respectively, they deliver structured descriptions and Web-based ontologies.

March 2004W3C gives voice to the Web with VoiceXML 2.0. Voice interaction can escape the physical limitations of keypads and displays as mobile devices become even smaller. The goal of VoiceXML 2.0 is to bring the advantages of Web-based development and content delivery to interactive voice response applications.

December 2004W3C describes principles of Web architecture. W3C's Technical Architecture Group (TAG) publishes "Architecture of the World Wide Web," a description of the principles that make the Web we know work, and work well. This condensed assessment of fifteen years of observations about the Web authored by many of those who designed the core Web standards is a valuable foundation on which to design future Web standards.

February 2005Character Model brings unified approach to using characters on the Web. W3C's Internationalization Core Working Group publishes "Character Model for the World Wide Web 1.0: Fundamentals" with a goal of making it easier for all people to use the World Wide Web, regardless of their language, script, writing system, and cultural conventions, in accordance with the W3C mission of universal access. Building on the Universal Character Set (defined jointly by the Unicode Standard and ISO/IEC 10646), the Character Model provides authors of specifications, software developers, and content developers with a common reference for interoperable text manipulation on the World Wide Web.

May 2005Mobile Web Initiative launched to facilitate mobile Web access. W3C launched the Mobile Web Initiative (MWI) with the mission of making Web access from a mobile device as simple as Web access from a desktop device. MWI sponsors and participants develop authoring guidelines, checklists and best practices, as well as a database of descriptions that can be used by content authors to adapt their content to the strengths and capabilities of a particular device.

Future Work

W3C continues to expand the reach of the Web to:

Richer User Experience

Many developers rely on the Web as a platform-independent application environment. Familiar Web applications include Web mail, reservation systems, online shopping and auction sites, games, and multimedia applications. Recent W3C Recommendations such as XForms will soon begin to influence the usability of such applications. New W3C work in areas such as compound documents targets further improvements in content diversity and overall usability. For more information on developing platform-independent Web applications, please refer to the work of the W3C Compounds Document Formats Activity.

W3C is where the future of the Web is made. Our Members work together to design and standardize Web technologies that build on its universality, giving the power to communicate, exchange information, and to write effective, dynamic applications—for anyone, anywhere, anytime, using any device.”

—Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and inventor of the World Wide Web

Browse With Eyes, Ears, Voice and Touch

W3C is developing standards that support multiple, simultaneous modes of Web interaction: through eyes, ears, voice, and touch. In addition to the familiar keyboard, mouse, stylus, and audio/visual output, new interaction modes are becoming more and more commonplace. Indeed, so common that people may not even realize that they are interacting with a Web application such as a reservation system that is telephone-enabled.

Call center applications are just the beginning. W3C is enabling diversity of interaction so that people can choose the solution that best suits their needs in any given environment. W3C is carrying out this work in the W3C Multimodal Interaction Activity, the Voice Browser Activity, and the Device Independence Activity. These new technologies will improve access to the Web through mobile devices such as telephones and handheld organizers, but also other systems such as automotive telematics, home entertainment systems, and other multimodal applications.

Web for Everyone

W3C's Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) continues to promote implementation of existing accessibility guidelines in advanced authoring tools, together with improved evaluation tools. Increased implementation of accessibility guidelines for authoring tools, browsers, and media players, combined with personalized accessibility profiles, and use of metadata and proxy services to support accessibility, will enable people with disabilities to more readily create and interact with Web content. This progress will enable more automated support for development and repair of accessible Web sites. In this way, accessible Web design will become "business as usual."

W3C's vision of the Web is one of a truly integrated environment that allows for the expression of cultural nuances and language differences across distributed systems and geographies. W3C's Internationalization Activity has started work on guidelines that explain to developers how to ensure that their XML formats support internationalization and efficient localization. Other internationalization work will focus on common locale identifiers and negotiation for the World Wide Web and Web services in particular.

Web on Everything

One of W3C's goals is to design technology that will work independent of a particular hardware platform. Increasingly, people are seeking access from a range of devices that extend beyond the familiar desktop computer, including mobile telephones, kiosks in airports, kitchen appliances, and automobiles. Access from these devices (whether by human or machine) should be as simple, easy and convenient as Web access from a home computer. W3C is designing technologies (including those cited in the previous section, but also Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG), XForms, Synchronized Multimedia (SMIL), and more) that will lower obstacles to authoring for, and browsing with, devices having a broad range of input and output capabilities. In the handheld device world, as part of the Mobile Web Initiative, W3C is building a database of device descriptions and developing best practices for the creation of mobile-friendly Web sites.

We look forward to the continued creativity of the Web community and to novel ways to add to and read from the Web. W3C has begun discussions about the "Ubiquitous Web," in which new Web applications requiring coordination among multiple devices will enable increasingly sophisticated Web experiences. Scenarios envisioned include connecting a camera phone to a nearby printer, using a cell phone to give a business presentation with a wireless projector, and viewing and listening to your electronic mail at the same time.

Advanced Data Searching and Sharing

As the Web grows into a even richer storehouse of human knowledge, we need ever more powerful tools to search and interpret the tremendous amount of available data; this applies to intranets as well as the global Web. Two models have emerged to help manage this data on a global scale: the Semantic Web and Web services.

The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries. It is an extension of the current Web in which information is given well-defined meaning, better enabling computers and people to work in cooperation. The Semantic Web is data-centric.

Web services provide a standard means of interoperating between different software applications, running on a variety of platforms and/or frameworks. Web services are message-centric.

Both models are important to networked and distributed systems, so W3C is working to ensure their proper integration, both together and with the existing Web infrastructure. For instance, Web services benefit from the ability to share common vocabularies, unambiguous names, and a common data model, all of which are readily expressed with Semantic Web technologies.

Trust and Confidence

The Web has transformed the way we communicate with each other. In doing so, it has also modified the nature of our social relationships. People now "meet on the Web" and carry out commercial and personal relationships, in some cases without ever meeting in person. W3C recognizes the importance of designing technologies that foster trust and confidence and thus enable increasingly complex interactions among parties around the globe.

What does it mean for a technology to foster trust? W3C's Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P) was an important first step in building confidence by enabling people to become more aware about how they choose to share or not share information about themselves over the Web. Based on this experience with P3P, W3C is proceeding to tackle questions raised by service providers about how to implement privacy practices associated with those services. Organizations want to keep their promises. W3C is therefore exploring how privacy metadata can be used to help manage user data in a trustworthy fashion on the server side.

Traditionally, one way of establishing trust is to show some trusted form of identification, such as a driving license or a passport. Analogous authentication protocols are not yet widely available on the Web. Furthermore, today's approaches to online authentication often focus on authenticating the user and neglect the importance of mutual authentication. W3C is exploring ways to provide users and service providers more confidence in their transactions and easier identity management. The traditional public key infrastructure will also need to be augmented to accommodate the richness of different ways of life on the Web.

The Semantic Web will also play a role in trustworthy transactions. Semantic Web technologies enable people to write software that, on our behalf, can find and analyze information that will help build trust.


Working Group Meeting

XML Protocol Working Group at Mont St. Michel, France

In addition to the testimonials below (drawn from W3C press release announcements), we encourage you to consult the list of Member testimonials that appear on the W3C home page.

HP has been a strong supporter of the W3C for the past decade. We are firmly committed to the goal of building robust platforms based on open standards and are pleased to be a founding supporter of this Mobile Web Initiative. We believe the MWI will accelerate the development of rich media content services and will be a catalyst for the next generation of engaging communications experiences. MWI will cause the creation and adoption of a merged set of technologies for today's fixed and mobile content systems and delivery platforms. This is an essential step in the evolution of the World Wide Web. We expect to see a rapid innovation cycle based on MWI contributions to the convergence of fixed and mobile domains.”

—Evan Smouse, Director of Strategic Technology, HP, from W3C Launches "Mobile Web Initiative" press release, May 2005

The publication of Architecture of the World Wide Web is an important step forward for the industry. This architecture document sets out the principles that will facilitate continued success of the Web as the premier platform for information-sharing and distributed applications. Consistent with IBM's ongoing commitment to open standards for the Web, we are pleased to contribute to the work of the Technical Architecture Group. We congratulate the W3C on their ongoing stewardship of the fundamental Web standards, and particularly on this important publication.

—Karla Norsworthy, Vice President, Software Standards, IBM, from World Wide Web Consortium Issues "Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume One" as a W3C Recommendation press release, December 2004

Nokia welcomes the advancement of Mobile SVG to W3C Recommendation. We believe that Mobile SVG will play a significant role in future mobile multimedia applications. Nokia has demonstrated its commitment to W3C open standards by taking the responsibility of the editorship for the new specification, and has strongly driven the adoption in 3GPP standards of the Mobile SVG profile for Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and Packet Switched Streaming (PSS). Nokia believes that the availability of a open and mobile-friendly standard for the creation of vector graphics content will play a central role in creating a dynamic and rich market for applications that fully exploit the capabilities of these exciting technologies.”

—Janne Juhola, Senior Technology Manager, Multimedia - Nokia Mobile Phones, Nokia, Inc., from SVG 1.1/Mobile SVG press release January 2003

AOL has always regarded consumer privacy as one of our most important values. In addition to supporting robust self-regulatory initiatives and industry best practices, we strongly support technologies like P3P that empower consumers to personalize their online experience and make informed choices about their privacy. We commend W3C for the work it has done on this important issue, and we look forward to continuing to work with W3C and other interested organizations on ways to enhance and implement the P3P standard and other similar technologies.”

—Tatiana Gau, Senior Vice President, Integrity Assurance, America Online Inc., from P3P 1.0 press release April 2002

XML Schema is a significant milestone in the evolution and maturity of XML, and a key enabler of Web services and peer-to-peer computing. Interoperability in a world populated by millions of PCs, smart devices and Web services is only possible when based on rigorously defined data formats and protocols. The opportunities created by XML for businesses and consumers are greatly enhanced by this release of XML Schema. The adoption of XML and XML Schema throughout Microsoft's products and services is at the heart of our .NET vision for Web services.”

—Bill Gates, Chairman and Chief Software Architect, Microsoft Corporation, from XML Schema press release May 2001

Panasonic is very pleased that the "Modularization of XHTML" specification has been approved as a W3C Recommendation. "Modularization of XHTML" provides us a formal/systematic means for subsetting and extending XHTML. "Modularization" is a very important technique for applying Web technologies to digital home appliances, such as digital TV sets or mobile phones because sometimes there are resource limitations or device specific features on such devices; and "Modularization" allows us to have an specification which best fits to each platform in a systematic way. As one of the leading companies for digital home appliances, Panasonic highly expects that "Modularization of XHTML" will become the foundation for a wide variety of Web appliances.”

—Yasunori Tanaka, General Manager, Core Software Development Center, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., Ltd., from Modularization of XHTML press release April 2001

Congratulations to the World Wide Web Consortium and its Members for helping to make the Web more accessible for people with disabilities. The Web is having a dramatic impact on the way we work, learn, live and communicate with each other, and it is essential that this new medium be accessible to everyone. People with disabilities should be full participants in the Information Society. I am proud of the role that the White House has played in serving as a catalyst for the Web Accessibility Initiative. The U.S. Government intends to work closely with the World Wide Web Consortium to ensure that government information and services are accessible, and I want to challenge all Web developers to design Web sites that are accessible to everyone.”

—Al Gore, Vice President, USA, from Web Content Accessibility Guidelines press release May 1999


Group shot at W3C Tenth Anniversary Celebration

International press coverage of W3C Tenth Anniversary Celebration

The W3C Communications Team is your first point of contact for information on Web standards and the technologies under development at the W3C. We are available to answer your questions and connect you with W3C's technical experts.

Send all requests to w3t-pr@w3.org.
Note that we use an auto-responder for spam filtering; the first time you write to this address we request that you reply to the auto-responder so that we receive your mail.

Interview Requests for Tim Berners-Lee

Due to the volume of requests, the W3C Communications Team reviews all requests for interviews with Tim Berners-Lee once a week, usually on Mondays. Thus, response times for these requests may be up to a week.

Mr. Berners-Lee then selects the interviews he is most interested in pursuing, and which his schedule will permit. In your request, include your name, your publication, the purpose and format of the interview, the language in which it will be published, your deadline, and your contact information.

We also suggest that you read the Tim Berners-Lee FAQ, which may answer some of your questions.

W3C Press Contacts

If you have questions, please contact the following representatives:

In the Americas and Australia
Janet Daly, W3C Global Communications Officer, Tel: +1.617.253.5884 or +1.617.253.2613
In Europe, Africa and the Middle East
Marie-Claire Forgue, Head of W3C European Communications, Tel: +33.492.38.75.94 or +33 6 76 86 33 41
In Asia
Yasuyuki Hirakawa, W3C Asian Communications Officer, Tel: +81.466.49.1170

A single HTML page press kit is available.