It is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Web Conference 2022, which is the 31st conference in the International World Wide Web Conference series. It is wonderful to be back in beautiful Lyons, even if the pandemic means we might not all be able to be there physically. We have learnt over the last year how to run conferences on-line, and I know the conference hosted by the team in Lyons will be a great event whether it’s on-line, or hybrid. We all look forward to the time when international travel becomes easier again and we are able to meet together in beautiful locations around the world. But we have learnt that we can be more inclusive if conferences enable anyone from anywhere in the world to be part of the conference by joining virtually. We don’t know yet what are the essential ingredients to make a hybrid conference a success, but they are beginning to emerge and I plan to work closely with the Lyons team to make it an example of best practice in this respect.
Apart from potentially breaking new ground in conference formats and presentation styles, the 2022 conference will also be special as it will be the first ACM Web Conference. IW3C2 has managed the International WWW Conference series since the first conference in Geneva in 1994. It was established by Robert Cailliau and Tim Berners-Lee at CERN and rapidly became the top international Web conference. IW3C2 has worked hard over the year to maintain and evolve the conference to the amazing event that it is today – a top publication and discussion venue for researchers and practitioners alike. But it has become increasingly difficult to manage an international conference series as a one conference organisation. The CV-19 pandemic just highlights how hard it is to predict how successful a physical conference will be and that is only going to get harder as we move to hybrid conferences in a world where the future of international travel is so uncertain for many different reasons. As a result, IW3C2 has been in negotiation with SIGWEB for a number of years to move the conference series fully into the ACM conference family. We have had a publishing contract with the ACM for many years now so this was in many ways a natural course of events and as a committee we were unanimous in thinking that this is the best way to ensure the future success of the conference.
So we will be planning a big party in Lyons – whether virtual or face to face – to say farewell to IW3C2 and hello ACM. Members of IW3C2 will continue as members of the new ACM Steering Committee, with new members joining from SIGWEB. But membership of the committee is on a rotation basis and a number of members are due to retire soon. We are always on the lookout for new members who care about the conference series and want to help it evolve in the future. If you are interested, please get in touch contact(at)iw3c2.org
We will all be different as we emerge from the pandemic both as individuals and as a society – it is an experience that has truly shocked the world. But the thing that I have marvelled at most during the pandemic has been the resilience of the Internet. It is a great testament to the Internet and Web pioneers who designed a system that stayed up and running and gave us all hope and a method of communicating when so many systems that we had always taken for granted were closing down around us. For me this makes the Web Conference even more significant as the future of the Web is so important not just to us as researchers but to the world.
I do hope I’ll see you all in Lyons next year, not least for the gastronomic experience we can all enjoy if we are there in person, but whatever happens I know I’ll see you there on the Web.
Prof. Dame Wendy Hall, chair of the IW3C2.
April 21 2021