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World‐wide web: the information universe

Tim Berners‐Lee (CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva, Switzerland)
Robert Cailliau (CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva, Switzerland)
Jean‐François Groff (CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva, Switzerland)
Bernd Pollermann (CERN – European Organization for Nuclear Research, Geneva, Switzerland)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 17 August 2010




The World‐Wide Web (W3) initiative is a practical project designed to bring a global information universe into existence using available technology. This paper seeks to describe the aims, data model, and protocols needed to implement the “web” and to compare them with various contemporary systems.


Since Vannevar Bush's article, men have dreamed of extending their intellect by making their collective knowledge available to each individual by using machines. Computers provide us two practical techniques for human‐knowledge interface. One is hypertext, in which links between pieces of text (or other media) mimic human association of ideas. The other is text retrieval, which allows associations to be deduced from the content of text. The W3 ideal world allows both operations and provides access from any browsing platform.


Various server gateways to other information systems have been produced, and the total amount of information available on the web is becoming very significant, especially since it includes all anonymous FTP archives, WAIS servers, and Gopher servers as well as specific W3 servers.


The paper notices that a W3 server could provide the functions of each of these servers, and so it looks forward to a single protocol that can be used by the whole community.



Berners‐Lee, T., Cailliau, R., Groff, J. and Pollermann, B. (2010), "World‐wide web: the information universe", Internet Research, Vol. 20 No. 4, pp. 461-471.



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