World Wide Web Consortium (W3C)

A variety of organisations currently support the development and adoption of open standards for data. This section profiles some of those organisations and how they can support you.

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international community where member organisations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop web standards for both web pages and the web of data.

Led by web inventor and Director Sir Tim Berners-Lee and CEO Jeffrey Jaffe, W3C’s mission is to lead the web to its full potential. We are primarily funded through membership fees, but also through sponsorships, education programmes, donations, and government-funded programmes including the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation.

Do you have a focus on a specific type of standard or sector?

No, as the web is applicable across all sectors.

What standards have you helped to develop or support?

W3C is well known for our web standards, for example HTML for web pages and the suite of core standards for XML, RDF and Linked Data. Our Director, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has been a long-time evangelist for the power of Linked Data and the benefits for organisations of opening up their data for others to create value-added services.

The web is a striking success for open standards and has grown to some two billion websites. The web of data is likewise growing steadily as more and more people recognise its potential as a global framework for bridging the silos associated with incompatible platforms, protocols and data formats.

What type of support can you offer to organisations interested in developing open standards for data?

In addition to developing core web standards, W3C hosts hundreds of Community Groups, which are free for anyone to set up and join. W3C Community Groups provide online fora for people to come together to discuss ideas relevant to their particular community, such as identifying best practices, gathering use cases, analysing their requirements, understanding existing standards better and working on ideas for new standards.

In some cases, Community Group Reports may be sufficient, but in others, where there is a need for progressing work along a formal standardisation track, then Community Groups can draft charters for new W3C Working Groups. W3C seeks to encourage widespread implementation through royalty-free licensing of web standards according to W3C’s Patent Policy.

How to use this guide

There are a number of ways for you to learn more about the creation, development and adoption of open standards for data.

About this guide

This guidebook helps people and organisations create, develop and adopt open standards for data. It supports a variety of users, including policy leads, domain experts and technologists.

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