The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published Character Model of the World Wide Web: Fundamentals as a W3C recommendation. The model provides a well defined and well understood way for Web applications on different platforms to transmit and process the various characters of the world's languages.

This recommendation gives authors of specifications, software developers and content developers a common reference to enable consistent, interoperable text manipulation on the World Wide Web. It builds on the Universal Character Set, which is defined jointly by the Unicode Standard and ISO/IEC 10646. Topics include use of the terms "character", "encoding" and "string", a reference-processing model, choice and identification of character encodings, character escaping and string indexing.

The character model is intended to facilitate use of the Web by all people, regardless of language, script, writing system and cultural conventions, in accordance with the W3C's goal of universal access.

This recommendation is the first in a set of three documents. Also in development are Character Model for the World Wide Web 1.0: Normalization, which will specify uniform normalization and string identity matching for text manipulation; and Character Model for the World Wide Web 1.0: Resource Identifiers, which will specify conventions for Internationalized Resource Identifiers.

Compiled by Hannelore Hämmerle and Nicole Crémel