For Immediate Release: February 1999

Contact: Maurice Martin
(703) 522-4114

Inventors of World Wide Web and Tag Language Technology Honored by STC

The Society for Technical Communication names Charles Goldfarb and Tim Berners-Lee STC Honorary Fellows for 1999. This status is conferred annually by STC to an individual or individuals who are not STC members but who have achieved eminence and influenced the practice of technical communication.

In 1969, Goldfarb and two colleagues at IBM pioneered development of a tagging scheme to represent the structure of information independently of the procedures used to visually present them. A tag "markup language" enables a document to be viewed and printed on many different devices and formatted optimally for the particular device. This invention became GML (Generalized Markup Language), the first tagging language to become a commercial product.

GML served as the model for SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language), invented by Goldfarb in 1974 and approved as an international standard in 1986. It is now widely used in industries, government, and wherever platform-independent information exchange is important. Goldfarb is technical leader of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committee that developed the standard, on which the World Wide Web languages HTML and XML are based. He is author The SGML Handbook (Clarendon Press, 1990) and co-author of The XML Handbook (Prentice-Hall, 1998).

In 1986, Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web while employed at the European Particle Physics Laboratory (CERN) and thereby pioneered global information sharing via hypermedia. The World Wide Web opened the window onto Internet-delivered electronic information for the average person. Thanks to Berners-Lee's tag-based HyperText Markup Language (HTML), persons without computer training could easily create and view documents of all kinds.

Berners-Lee currently directs the W3 Consortium, an open forum of companies and organizations with the mission to realize the full potential of the Web. He also holds the position of principal research scientist at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science.

The Society for Technical Communication is a professional organization for technical writers, editors, illustrators, managers, and educators. It is the largest professional organization in this field, with more than 21,000 members in 141 chapters worldwide. Information about STC and its programs can be found on the STC office Web site at