ERCIM News No.25 - April 1996

ERCIM's Leading Edge in WWW

by Keith Jeffery

The ERCIM institutes were quick to react to the emerging technology of WWW. RAL, the UK institute where I work, is involved in particle physics, and so has strong links with CERN (where WWW originated). Indeed, most ERCIM institutes have a track-record of R&D in hypertext and multimedia so that the emergence of WWW did not find us unprepared. The ERCIM WWW node was very soon a well-visited site. A World-Wide-Web Working Group (W4G) was formed within ERCIM to act as a focus for technical activities. Several excellent workshops have been organised (see article in this issue) for the exchange of ideas between researchers and to make recommendations for emerging WWW standards for consideration by World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Steven Pemberton of CWI ( is the leader of W4G and the agency for making these representations. INRIA was approached by the EC to host `webcore', the European response to the setting-up of W3C (based at MIT in USA) to maintain a balanced momentum of WWW development between Europe and the USA. Several other ERCIM institutes have joined W3C as members: RAL was one of the first European members; and ERCIM itself is also a member. Of course, INRIA has a rather special position, and the use of internal mobility to transfer ERCIM institute researchers to work in `webcore' is demonstrating ERCIM commitment to the technology and its development in a European context. The hosting of the WWW5 Conference in Paris in May 1996, with RAL's Bob Hopgood as Technical Committee chair, indicates ERCIM's commitment. Several ERCIM institutes are actively working with SMEs to help them utilise WWW technology for their business activities (see RAL and Milton Park, ERCIM News 24, page 13) thus demonstrating technology transfer at the leading edge of technological developments. WWW is clearly the technology of the future for both internet and intranet information systems. ERCIM will remain at the forefront of the technology and will continue to pioneer its adoption in commerce and industry, as well as in its own institutions. This special issue of ERCIM News celebrates this strength, in the number, quality and subject breadth of the articles dedicated to the Web, that have come from ERCIM institutes across Europe.

Please contact:
Keith Jeffery - CLRC
Tel: +44 1235 44 6103 E-mail:

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