Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee set to be knighted
You can call him Sir Tim soon.
The W3C Web site (http://www.w3.org/)
usually features announcements of progress on XML technical specifications. But
on New Year's Eve it celebrated with a press release headlined: ''W3C Director
Tim Berners-Lee to be Knighted by Queen Elizabeth: Web inventor recognized for
contributions to Internet development.''
The 2004 New Year's 'Honours' list released by Buckingham Palace announced
that Berners-Lee -- inventor of the World Wide Web as well as founder and
director of the W3C, which established the XML standard -- will become a Knight
Commander, Order of the British Empire. With its commitment to putting all data
in its proper order, the W3C explained that ''The rank of Knight Commander is the
second most senior rank of the Order of the British Empire.''
While the 48-year-old Berners-Lee lives in the U.S., he is a citizen of the
U.K., having been born in London and educated at Oxford University. But despite
his upper-class education and impending knighthood, Berners-Lee used the
announcement to advocate his democratic vision for the Web and to share the
honor with all of its developers.
''This is an honor which applies to the whole Web development community, and
to the inventors and developers of the Internet, whose work made the Web
possible,'' Berners-Lee was quoted as saying in the announcement posted on the
W3C site. ''I accept this as an endorsement of the spirit of the Web; of building
it in a decentralized way; of making best efforts to keep it open and fair; and
of ensuring its fundamental technologies are available to all for broad use and
innovation, and without having to pay licensing fees.''
He went on to frame his knighthood in his vision of a Web that serves a
worldwide community: ''By recognizing the Web in such a significant way, it also
makes clear the responsibility its creators and users share. Information
technology changes the world, and as a result, its practitioners cannot be
disconnected from its technical and societal impacts. Rather, we share a
responsibility to make this work for the common good, and to take into account
the diverse populations it serves.''
If he is going to be a knight, it appears that Sir Tim will be a knight on a
Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.