On behalf of the WWW7 Consortium and the IW3C2 welcome to Seventh International World Wide Web Conference. As part of a conference series this event carries forward certain traditions as well as breaks some new ground. The conference logo and its title, "The Gathering Place", symbolise people coming together at a particular time and place and for the purpose of discussing a particular subject, the Web.
The venue in Brisbane, Australia represents the first time the conference series has ventured into the southern hemisphere and in particular the Asia-Pacific region. In breaking from its Euro-US axis the conference has become truly international in the geographic sense. Strong international participation has always been a feature. For the first time the conference has been organised by a consortium of five equal partners and the IW3C2. The Consortium partners: Charles Sturt University, the Distributed Systems Technology Centre, the Prentice Centre, the Information Industries Branch (Queensland) and Southern Cross University, have each contributed special expertise and skills to the organisation of the conference. In addition other valuable contributions have been made by individuals from other institutions and organisations both from within Australia and overseas. This structure, coupled with the support of local, national and international sponsors, has provided the crucial resources for the planning and organisation of the conference. My sincere thanks to all those who have been involved.
The traditional format of the conference has been preserved. Day 1 provides opportunities for professional development and peer collaboration by offering a program of tutorials and workshops that we believe address many of the issues that are central to the development and evolution of the Web. Days 2, 3 and 4 comprise the core technical program and present a series of keynote addresses, refereed papers and posters, panels, special interest groups and the W3C track. Day 5 remains dedicated to developers, a forum for technical discussion at the forefront of Web innovation and research.
Some new elements included this year are the provision of special parallel day registrations in the areas of Cultural Issues and Business. The alignment of a major Expo and Trade Show, PCIT'98, with the conference provides delegates with the opportunity to inspect over 7,500 m2 of displays and booths. The Internet Café, planned to be the world's largest, will provide delegates with unrivalled Web and email access throughout the conference, as well as being the venue for a mini-program of demonstrations and special activities. It will be open to delegates, exhibition goers and other groups. Then, in the jargon of the Web, there is the W3D2, the World Wide Web Distributed Dinner. This event will be held at a large number of small restaurants and cafés in the area close to the conference venue and will offer almost as many types of ethnic food as there are countries from which delegates have travelled.
As delegates to WWW7 you will be final judges as to whether the conference was successful. If it enabled to you listen, talk, learn and teach, to enjoy the company of people from many countries and cultures, then it will have achieved our goals and we hope your efforts to gather in Brisbane will have been well rewarded.
And finally my best wishes to the WWW8 organisers who in 1999 will take the conference to Canada and the city of Toronto.
Allan Ellis (Southern Cross University)