W3C Launches Incubator Activity

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New Option Available for Exploratory Technical Work at W3C


http://www.w3.org/ -- 8 February 2006 -- Today, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) announces the launch of its Incubator Activity, a new initiative to foster development of emerging Web-related technologies that complements the current W3C Recommendation Track. The Incubator Activity offers the W3C Membership and the Web community a new, streamlined process for discussing and developing interesting and possibly controversial ideas that are not (or not yet) clear candidates for standardization.

"With the Incubator Activity, W3C Members and Invited Experts can now combine Web technology discovery with the outstanding technical resources of W3C and see what develops," explained W3C Chief Executive Officer Steve Bratt. "We are now seeing multiple proposals which are likely to test their wings in the W3C Incubator."

The first Incubator Group will address the topic of "Content Labels." The W3C Members who are sponsoring this first Incubator Group are: @semantics; Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA); Institute of Informatics & Telecommunications, NCSR; Institute for Learning and Research Technology (ILRT); University of Bristol; Segala; T-Online; Vodafone; and Yahoo!

W3C Provides New Approach for Discovery-stage Work

The W3C Recommendation Track process has a record of success for engineering standards that are fundamental to the Web's infrastructure. The Recommendation Track facilitates the development of high-quality standards that reflect the consensus of the Membership, Team, and the public. Coordination within the community, interoperability testing, and thorough review are all important aspects of the Recommendation Track process.

The Web community has also sought to conduct more exploratory work within W3C. The Incubator Activity is designed to nurture emerging concepts that may or may not contribute to the future core Web architecture, and also technologies traditionally considered part of the applications layer. The new streamlined process enables focused groups of interested W3C Members and invited experts to start and progress new work quickly in an Incubator Group (called an "XG"), culminating in an "Incubator Group Report." The Incubator Activity is designed to make it easy to move work to the W3C Recommendation Track when there is momentum to standardize the results.

First W3C Incubator Group to Study Content Labels

The charter for the W3C Content Label Incubator Group states that a goal for the group is to to find "a way of making any number of assertions about a resource or group of resources. In order to be trustworthy, the label containing those assertions should be testable in some way through automated means."

"The XG is really about making it easy for content providers to publish data on key characteristics of their material. This will allow search engines, aggregators and other systems, having validated the data in some way, to personalize the content they offer to end users," explained Phil Archer, Chief technical officer for ICRA. "Our initial use cases look at identifying such things as suitability for mobile devices, conformance with accessibility guidelines, trustmarks, relevance to school study and, in ICRA's area of interest, suitability for children."

The group expects to publish its deliverables within one year.

About the World Wide Web Consortium [W3C]

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where Member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop Web standards. W3C primarily pursues its mission through the creation of Web standards and guidelines designed to ensure long-term growth for the Web. Over 400 organizations are Members of the Consortium. W3C is jointly run by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (MIT CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) headquartered in France, Keio University in Japan, and has additional Offices worldwide. For more information see http://www.w3.org/


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