The World Wide Web Consortium achieves its mission by bringing diverse stake-holders together, under a clear and effective consensus-based process to develop high-quality standards based on contributions from the W3C Members, staff, and the community at large.
W3C is led by Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, and Dr. Jeffrey Jaffe, W3C CEO. They are supported by a staff of technical experts who help coordinate technology development and manage the operations of the Consortium.
The broader Web community also plays an important role in reviewing and providing input on specifications; there are many ways to participate in W3C even as an individual.
W3C does not have a typical organizational structure, nor is it incorporated. There are at least two ways to think about how W3C is organized:
In administrative terms: W3C is administered via a joint agreement among these "Host Institutions": MIT , ERCIM , Keio University, and Beihang University. The W3C staff (many of whom work physically at one of these institutions) is led by a Director and CEO. A small management team is responsible for resource allocation and strategic planning on behalf of the staff. Regional offices play an important role in W3C being an international organization.
In process terms: the W3C Process Document, Member Agreement, Patent Policy, and a few others documents establish the roles and responsibilities of the parties involved in the making of W3C standards. Some key components of the organization are:
W3C sources of revenue include:
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's global efforts includes:
Most W3C work revolves around the standardization of Web technologies. To accomplish this work, W3C follows processes that promote the development of high-quality standards based on community consensus; an introduction to the W3C Process gives a sense of how W3C gets work done. All stakeholders can have a voice in the development of W3C standards, including Members large and small, as well as the public. W3C processes promote fairness, responsiveness, and progress: all facets of the W3C mission.
See also W3C legal and policy information.
In February 2004, W3C adopted a Patent Policy for Working Groups to enable continued innovation and widespread adoption of Web standards developed by the World Wide Web Consortium. The W3C Patent Policy is designed to:
In August 2011, W3C adopted a Community Contributor License Agreement with Royalty-Free patent licensing terms and permissive copyright for W3C Community and Business Groups. See also the Final Specification Agreement, which further increases patent protection around Community and Business Group Specifications.
In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web (see the original proposal). He coined the term "World Wide Web," wrote the first World Wide Web server, "httpd," and the first client program (a browser and editor), "WorldWideWeb," in October 1990. He wrote the first version of the "HyperText Markup Language" (HTML), the document formatting language with the capability for hypertext links that became the primary publishing format for the Web. His initial specifications for URIs, HTTP, and HTML were refined and discussed in larger circles as Web technology spread.
W3C10 panel recounts early Web history.
In October 1994, Tim Berners-Lee founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Laboratory for Computer Science [MIT/LCS] in collaboration with CERN, where the Web originated (see information on the original CERN Server), with support from DARPA and the European Commission. In April 1995, INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique) became the first European W3C host, followed by Keio University of Japan (Shonan Fujisawa Campus) in Asia in 1996. In 2003, ERCIM (European Research Consortium in Informatics and Mathematics) took over the role of European W3C Host from INRIA. In 2013, W3C announced Beihang University as the fourth Host.