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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is an international consortium where member organizations, a full-time staff, and the public work together to develop standards for the World Wide Web.

W3C's mission is: 'To lead the World Wide Web to its full potential by developing protocols and guidelines that ensure long-term growth for the Web'.

The Consortium is headed by Tim Berners-Lee, the original creator of the World Wide Web and primary author of the URL (Uniform Resource Locator), HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol) and HTML (HyperText Markup Language) specifications, the principal technologies that form the basis of the Web.

The Consortium was initially created to ensure compatibility and agreement among industry members in the adoption of new standards. Prior to its creation, incompatible versions of HTML were offered by different vendors, increasing the potential for incompatibilities between web pages. The consortium was created to get all those vendors to agree on a set of core principles and components which would be supported by everyone.

In accord with the W3C Process Document, a Recommendation progresses through the maturity levels of Working Draft (WD), Candidate Recommendation (CR), and Proposed Recommendation (PR), culminating ultimately as a W3C Recommendation (REC). A Recommendation may be updated by separately-published Errata until enough substantial edits accumulate, at which time a new edition of the Recommendation may be produced (e.g., XML is now in its third edition). W3C also publishes various kinds of informative Notes which are not intended to be treated as standards.

The W3C does not have a certification program.

The Consortium is jointly administered by the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) in the USA, the European Research Consortium for Informatics and Mathematics (ERCIM) (in Sophia Antipolis, France), and Keio University (in Japan). W3C has World Offices in fifteen regions around the world.

Weblink: www.w3c.org