World Wide Web Consortium Launches W3C-LA Initiative

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European Commission's Esprit Programme Champions W3C to Leverage the Web for European Industry


BRUSSELS -- 24 November, 1997 -- The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) today announced the launch of W3C-LA, a new initiative to promote W3C developments to leverage the Web for European industry. W3C-LA (Leveraging Action) is one of the European Commission's "Leveraging Actions for Software Technologies", sponsored by the Esprit programme.

"Since the launch of the W3C European host at INRIA in April 1995, we have developed our membership and established our team in Europe. Significant results have been achieved within W3C's three technical Domains -- Architecture, User Interface, and Technology & Society," said Jean-François Abramatic, W3C Chairman and W3C-LA Project Manager. "We are now starting to formally disseminate these results to maximise their acceptance by the Web community. The goal of W3C-LA is to promote W3C results throughout Europe."

W3C Developments Meet Industry Needs

Leveraging Actions for Software Technologies aim at accelerating the wide adoption of innovative software technologies by European industrial, financial and commercial users. The core developments by W3C improve the basic functionality of the Web, increasing its expressive power and its flexibility. W3C-LA will develop awareness about W3C and encourage industry champions to demonstrate the positive impact of the Web on future business. To assist technology and service providers as well as users, key initiatives will be developed to characterise the business drivers for and the impediments to the uptake of the Web's maturing technology opportunities. These include:


To express the innovative uses to which the core developments can be put, shrink-wrapped demonstration packages will be developed and disseminated throughout Europe. Additionally, the demonstrators allow the Web community to feed its discussions by concrete examples and experimental developments. "The ultimate challenge of this initiative is to satisfy the demands of the community and offer cooperation in building the Web of tomorrow," explained Abramatic.

The demonstrators will be designed to address the following issues:

  • Performance: To implement the evolving HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) to impact the performance of the Web for the service provider and end-user
  • Content Design: To use CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) and features of HTML (HyperText Markup Language) to achieve best practice for the content provider
  • Trust: To utilise PICS (Platform for Internet Content Selection) to label, rate and filter material on the Internet and for workflow within an Intranet
  • Europeanisation: To develop a real multilingual information service
  • Web Collections: To create a set of Web pages that effectively are a single entity
  • Synchronisation and Vector Graphics: To synchronise information in different media and to optimise performance for schematic and vector graphics


Mirroring and Translation

The Web community uses the Web itself as the primary medium for communication. W3C is no exception; its site at is the leading reference source for information on the evolution of Web technology. This information is currently available from MIT in America, INRIA in Europe and Keio University in Asia. W3C-LA will enhance European access to W3C information by mirroring the INRIA site in various European locations. In addition, W3C will encourage translations of relevant parts of the W3C site content into non-English European languages, and address the consistency of information available in different languages.

Disseminators: Symposia and Workshops

To encourage organisations to start to use the Web infrastructure (particularly the demonstrator results) as a ubiquitous medium, face-to-face meetings will be held. As users and providers become involved, they will be able share their experiences in an interactive mode; to augment the continuous process conducted over the Web. W3C-LA will organise events throughout Europe to promote W3C demonstrator results and to seek feedback from the European community. These events will initially take place as open symposia describing recent Web advances and announcing the status of demonstrators in development. The following phase will have demonstrator advice workshops aimed at the industry champions familiar with the completed demonstrators. The final phase of the project will be events to disseminate user's experience of the demonstrators.

W3C Offices

W3C-LA is run by INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control and W3C host in Europe, in partnership with CLRC-RAL, the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils-Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in the United Kingdom. "CLRC was one of the very first European members of W3C. We have a long-standing experience and commitment to the development of standards for the information technology industry", said F. Robert Hopgood, W3C-LA Deputy Manager at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory Department For Computation And Information. "W3C-LA will allow to increase the use of Web-related specifications for the benefit of the European industry".

To enhance the communication between W3C and the Web community, W3C will open W3C Offices covering specific geographical areas. W3C Offices will be the first point of contact between the Consortium and its membership, as well as the general public in their corresponding region. CLRC-RAL has been established as the first W3C Office, covering the United Kingdom. Other Offices to be launched during the first quarter of 1998 include GMD (Forschungszentrum informationstechnik) in Germany, CWI (Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica) in the Netherlands, SICS (Swedish Institute of Computer Science) in Sweden, and FORTH (Foundation Of Research and Technology) in Greece.

The deployment of W3C Offices leverages the efforts of ERCIM (European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics), the long-standing partnership between information technology research laboratories throughout Europe. W3C Offices will have the responsibility of mirroring the W3C Web site and organising events which include symposia and workshops of the W3C-LA programme.

For more information on W3C, please see


About the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

The W3C was created to develop common protocols that enhance the interoperability and promote the evolution of the World Wide Web. It is an industry consortium jointly run by the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science (LCS) in the USA, the National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control (INRIA) in France and Keio University in Japan. Services provided by the Consortium include: a repository of information about the World Wide Web for developers and users; reference code implementations to embody and promote standards; and various prototype and sample applications to demonstrate use of new technology. To date, over 220 organisations are Members of the Consortium.

For more information about the World Wide Web Consortium, see

About the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science

Now in its third decade, MIT LCS is dedicated to the invention, development and understanding of information technologies expected to drive substantial technical and socio-economic change. The LCS has helped information technology grow from a mere curiosity to 10 percent of the industrial world's economies by its pioneering efforts in interactive computing, computer networking, distributed systems and public key cryptography. LCS members and alumni have started some thirty companies and have pioneered the Nubus, the X-Window System, the RSA algorithm, the Ethernet and spreadsheets. For more information about the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, see


INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Computer Science and Control, is a public-sector scientific institute charged with conducting both fundamental and applied research, and with transferring research results to industry. INRIA is made up of five Research Units located at Rocquencourt (near Paris), Rennes, Sophia Antipolis, Nancy and Grenoble. Areas of current research include information processing, advanced high speed networking, structured documents, and scientific computation. For more information about INRIA, see

About Keio University

Keio University is one of Japan's foremost computer science research centers and universities. It is one of the oldest private universities in Japan, and has five major campuses around Tokyo. Keio University has been promoting joint research projects in cooperation with industry, government and international organisations, and is now becoming one of the research leaders for the network and digital media technology. For more information on Keio University, see

About the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils - Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (CLRC-RAL)

The Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CCLRC) is responsible for one of Europe's largest multidisciplinary research support organisations, the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils (CLRC). Its facilities and expertise support the work of more than 12000 scientists and engineers from around the world, both in universities and in industry.

Operating from three sites - Daresbury Laboratory in Cheshire, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire, and Chilbolton Observatory in Hampshire - CLRC supports research projects in a wide range of disciplines, and actively participates in collaborative research, development and technology transfer projects. The Laboratory has some 1800 staff and a turnover in excess of £90m.

The Rutherford Appleton Laboratory lies 10 miles south of Abingdon, at Chilton in Oxfordshire. The Laboratory was founded in 1957 and is now part of the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils.

For information on the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, please see For more information about the Council for the Central Laboratory of the Research Councils, see


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