Re: The World Wide Web vs. webs.

Subject: Re: The World Wide Web vs. webs.
From: Iain Harrison <iharrison -at- SCT -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Thu, 19 Sep 1996 15:55:00 GMT

Gary Comins writes:


How about these distinctions?

- National Public Radio vs. the radio.
- British Broadcasting Company vs. broadcasting.
- American Telephone and Telegraph vs. the telephone.
- The World Wide Web vs. other types of webs.

Remember, the _Internet_ was one distinct system developed by government
agencies and educational institutions for a specific purpose. It evolved
from the _ARPANET_ (all caps acronym) which was dismantled several years

Other networks in general may be connected by LAN or WAN technology,
but can one call them an _internet_?

National Public Radio, British Broadcasting Corporation, AT&T etc are all
trade names, and are therefore treated as proper names. They don't get the
initial caps for their uniqueness, but for their trademark status.

The 'World Wide Web vs. other types of webs' is not the same distinction.

The other examples aren't _types_ of network, they are proprietary makes of

We don't talk of Cellular telephones because cellular is a type, not a

AT&T have a telephone system, that is connected to (almost) all the other
telephones in the world (and a few outside it). Together they make _the_
telephone network (unique, but no caps). Similarly, each web site has a
web, connected to other sites through proprietary ISPs, and together they
make up the global web.

Possibly if CERN had trademarked 'World Wide Web', the caps would be
obligatory, but AFAIK, they didn't.

OK, there are many types of web.

There is a &$ -at- %&!! spider that builds a web across my gate each night, and
I walk through the tickly threads every morning. One day I'll remember to
wave it away first!

There is another factor, which is partly relevant at least.

Most internet servers are on platforms with case-sensitive file systems,
and the default is to use lower case. Use Initial Caps in the wrong place,
and you don't find the file. I suspect that this colours my thinking when I
default to lower case names in internet-related writing.

I have to admit that I feel happier with 'World Wide Web', but prefer web
on its own. I'm finding it hard to find relevant justification for this,
hence my indecision and rather disordered comments here.


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