The project is conducted both by INRIA and MIT, together with CERN. The European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN) invented the World Wide Web in 1989. The needs of particle physics have forced CERN to be a pioneer in networking technology for many years; it is still a major networking site. INRIA, the French National Institute for Research in Computing and Automation is the European centre of the World-Wide Web. The American centre is at the Laboratory for Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT/LCS).
The WebCore project is a pilot project with the overall goal of creating a European information market where information, goods and services can be purchased, sold or exchanged freely to improve economic well being and quality of life for people in Europe and throughout the world. The approach is based on the World-Wide Web (WWW), an enabling technology that allows users to access information from different sources in a uniform way via networks. It already offers access to a wide range of information sources via intuitive interactive interfaces. New sources can easily be added.
The specific objectives are to establish the European Chapter of the international World-Wide-Web Consortium (W3C), and to arrive at specifications and recommendations which to guide further evolution. The results envisaged within the action time scale include improving WWW standards in response to both evolving user requirements and advancing technology. In some areas progress on standards can be achieved within the time scale: in others recommendations will be made on standards policy, including what needs to be standardised and what standards need to be incorporated.
The World-Wide-Web Consortium promotes the Web by producing specifications and reference software. W3C is funded by industrial members but its products are freely available to all. The consortium is run by MIT LCS, in the US, and INRIA, in Europe, in collaboration with CERN.
The aims of the consortium are to support advancement of Information Technology in the fields of networking, graphics and user interfaces by developing the World-Wide-Web into a comprehensive information infrastructure and to encourage industry to adopt a common set of interoperable protocols. The role of MIT and INRIA is to provide a vendor neutral architectural, engineering and administrative structure necessary to:
- design a common World Wide Web protocol suite,
- develop a publicly available reference code,
- promote the results throughout the world,
- encourage industry to develop products that comply with the common protocol suite.
A variety of topics are addressed by the consortium. Areas investigated include:
- security protocols for two-party secure communication and for n-party payment systems,
- protocols for replication and caching,
- protocols for low bandwidth and mobile operation,
- new versions for HTML and HTTP,
- style sheet definition,
Membership is open to any organisation which signs a membership agreement. Members will influence the further development of the World-Wide-Web and its standards. The consortium comprises currently 115 members, with 53 full, and 62 affiliate members. 45 are European, 57 American, and 13 Asian. From an industrial perspective the consortium comprises 58 Hardware/Software vendors, 16 telecommunications companies, 7 content providers, 12 users, and 22 Universities and research organisations.