talked to BBC Oxford Online about the future of the World Wide Web,
attempts by governments to restrict access to the internet and his
days at Oxford University.
based in the US, Berners-Lee is a director of W3C, a consortium
of organisations that aims to develop technologies to enable people
to use the web as a forum for exchanging information more easily.
the future of the web:
Berners-Lee believes that the future of the Web lies in the creation
of a Semantic Web.
a concept that's difficult to describe, but he says that originally
the concept of the Web was difficult to convey to people - no-one
was very excited about the idea of following a hypertext link.
Web is one in which all the information can easily be extracted
and processed by computers. This will mean that vast resources of
information can be used in a much more efficient manner.
present, much of the information on the Web is "marked-up"
with HTML, which just tells your browser how to display the information,
not what the information is. Human users are currently needed to
extract sense from the Web, but in the future computers will be
able to interpret and process information contained in the Semantic
to Professor Berners-Lee discussing the Semantic Web
restriction of access to the Web:
the easiest thing [for governments] to do is to install the
Internet . . . without any filters. It's very effective and
fast and it has a dramatically positive effect, typically on
the economy because it gets people communicating better and
allows business to run better".
Berners-Lee says that very
centralised political regimes can regard the web as a threat to
their power bases because
to promote social systems that are decentralised by encouraging
individual thought and the creation of sub-groups.
governments tend to worry about how they deal with the Internet,
but any regime that is interested in restricting the amount of information
available to its citizens has more to worry about.
to Professor Berners-Lee discussing this topic
being a student in Oxford
Berners-Lee is an Honorary Fellow of Queen's College, where he read
Physics. He sees links between the study of physics and the creation
of the World Wide Web: both involve looking at simple rules about
how microsystems work to understand how the macrosystem works.
Berners-Lee enjoyed his time studying at Oxford. He feels that the
traditional spirit of knowledge and teaching here is very special.
to Professor Berners-Lee talking about his time in Oxford
University awarded Professor Lee an Honorary degree in June 2001,
along with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. Professor Berners-Lee
returned to Oxford in September to give a lecture at the Sheldonian
Theatre on the future of e-democracy.