World Wide Web Consortium

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is the main international standards organization for the World Wide Web (W3). It is arranged as a consortium where member organizations maintain full-time staff for the purpose of working together in the development of standards for the W3. As of December 2006. W3C had 429 members and it's open for new organisations to join.

W3C also engages in education and outreach, develops software and serves as an open forum for discussion about the Web.

The Consortium is headed by Tim Berners-Lee, the primary author of the original URL (Uniform Resource Locator), HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and HTML (HyperText Markup Language) specifications, the principal technologies that form the basis of the World Wide Web.

In October 1994, Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, left the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) and founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Laboratory for Computer Science (MIT/LCS) with support from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) -- which had pioneered the Internet -- and the European Commission.

The consortium was created to ensure compatibility and agreement among industry members in the adoption of new standards. Prior to its creation, incompatible versions of HTML were offered by different vendors, increasing the potential for inconsistency between web pages. The consortium was created to get all those vendors to agree on a set of core principles and components which would be supported by everyone.

It was originally intended that CERN host the European branch of W3C. However, CERN wished to focus on particle physics, not information technology. In April 1995 the Institut national de recherche en informatique et en automatique (INRIA) became the European host of W3C, with Keio University becoming the Japanese branch in September 1996. Starting in 1997, W3C created regional offices around the world; as of May 2006 it has sixteen World Offices covering Australia, the Benelux countries (the Netherlands, Luxemburg, and Belgium), Mainland China, Finland, Germany and Austria, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Korea, Morocco, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

In January 2003, the European host was transferred from INRIA to the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM), an organization that represents European national computer science laboratories.

The Consortium is jointly administered by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) (in Sophia Antipolis, France), and Keio University (in Japan). The 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.

This text is a reprint from Wikipedia
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W3c