Interview: Liddy Nevile

Interview with Liddy Nevile: 12th International World Wide Web Conference Co-Chairperson & La Trobe University, Australia - 15th May 2003

What's your background?

Law, maths, computer science, education, technologies really is the glue.

How long have you been using the internet?

Since about 1983 when the US Defence Department contacted us to see why we were hacking into their system - in fact we were just e-mailing friends at MIT.

What are your main aims and objectives?

To look hard at new technologies and find ways to think about them so they can be useful to humans - ie critically re-conceptualising technologies in the context of human needs.

What will make the 12th International conference so unique, and what are some of the highlights?

Well, the community is growing - we have seen Asian participants in recent years and now we are in Hungary and Eastern Europeans are joining in - that is really important - we still need people from the
southern hemisphere though.

What is your main involvement in the conference?

Co-Chair of the global community track - I started this track in 1998 to broaden the perspectives and it has been successful in developing dialogue between the technical people who traditionally compete to
present at the WWW Conference and the people who work to use these technologies for the benefit of a wide range of communities - it has changed from being the cultural track to being the global community
one, and I am not so sure this has helped. This year, it is only a day long - usually we provide an interesting alternative and critique of the conference for the full three days.

Do you prefer Linux or Microsoft platforms?

Apple - thanks!

What is internet 2?

Not really involved in this.

What is the greatest I.T success story on a company-wide and individual scale?

Well, I work in standards and I think the Dublin core has been a killer application - at a high level - and accessibility is beginning to do something very interesting for everyone.

What websites do you most visit?


What is your preferred choice of computer code?


Can you write code, or do have have others write it?

Yes , I can write it.

How does the internet help and hinder you?

How? it's a conceptual space as well as a convenience for me - I travel endlessly and the world is very small and my friends (everywhere) are very close...I am optimistic for the world because of this.

Do you believe in internet censorship? Why?

ummm - I believe there is something like criminal use of Internet but I am not in favour of what I think of as censorship - I worked on PICS in the early days to try to make it possible for individual preferences
and I am still working on this idea - personal 'portal' type services for everything we access - ..using smarter technologies these days, of course.

How much spam do you receive?

Heaps but I have a fast delete finger.

What should be the penalty for spammers?


What is the ill effects for those who spend too much time online?

It is not about time it's about what they do ... and what is the difference between online and elsewhere - I don't know...

What is the worst case of "cash burn" in the internet business, that you know about?

I was working at Melbourne IT!!

What are your main achievements?

Bringing people together worldwide to re-think the implications of what they are doing.

What is the biggest compliment you have ever received?

Being like John Seeley-Brown (Xerox Parc) - supporting fresh ideas especially with young people.

What else would you like our audience to be aware of?

The need to be critical about the ways in which politics sometimes override the needs and opportunities for people.


*This interview was conducted via e-mail.


12th International World Wide Web Conference

La Trobe University, Australia