WWW Virtual Library Constitution
The current location of this document is
An Association, known as "The World Wide Web Virtual Library"
(WWWVL), also known as "The Web Virtual Library" (WVL),
and organized in accordance with, and subject to, articles 60 and following
of the Swiss civil Code is hereby constituted. The association is domiciled
in Geneva, Switzerland.
The WWWVL is a not-for-profit organization whose objective is to create a
superlative and easy to use guide that thoroughly catalogues, in an organized
and meaningful way, quality Web resources on particular topics.
The WWWVL is made up of numerous volunteer specialists who are united by
an interest in cooperation, unbiased sharing and free dissemination of
information and dedicated to creating a distributed form of networked knowledge.
The WWWVL Council coordinates the efforts of the WWWVL.
In addition to the present Constitution, separate
Bylaws govern the practical functioning and the procedural details of
the WWWVL. The articles in these Bylaws have
to be ratified by a formal vote of the membership. Modifications to
the Bylaws can be proposed by the Council, or
by individual members through an initiative, as defined in Art. IX of the
The list of WWW Virtual Library maintainers ("the list") as recorded in the
database held at http://conbio.rice.edu/vl/database/footnote
is recognized as the set of members of the WWW Virtual Library.
The details of how new members are accepted and existing memberships are
terminated are stipulated in the Bylaws.
Any member in good standing may vote and may seek election to the position
of WWWVL Council Member.
The content and intellectual property of each member's VL site is the exclusive
property of the member, and does not belong to the Virtual Library itself.
All WWWVL members must be subscribed to the
mailing list. This list is reserved for special announcements and is private
(i.e., only the membership can subscribe and send to the list) and
All WWWVL members may be subscribed to the
list. This list is for general discussions among members and is private
and not moderated.
The council shall consist of at most 11 WWWVL members who are elected
by all the members.
Council members who have finished their term may be candidates for a new
Any wwwvl member can be a candidate for council membership.
The council will internally elect its chair, secretary, treasurer, and whichever
other role(s) it deems appropriate.
Votes on elections of new council members, on changing the bylaws, or on
any other decision that should be taken by the membership, are announced
mailing list. The exact procedures are as follows:
A council member is elected for three years, after which the corresponding
seat must be open for candidacy.
Whenever a vacancy is about to arise, the council shall send a call for candidacy
Within the two months following the announcement, candidates should publicize
their interest by sending an email to the
mailing list within two months of the call for candidacy.
After this period, if the number of candidates is less than or equal to the
number of seats, no vote shall be necessary and all the candidates shall
be considered to have been elected.
If the number of candidates is greater than the number of seats, an election
must be organized within a period of two months after the end of the candidacy
period. The council shall announce the election by sending the list of candidates
mailing list and by reminding the membership of the procedure for voting.
Within four weeks of the election announcement, the WWWVL members shall send
their votes by email to the address indicated in the call for
votes, listing their choice of candidates. Each member has as many votes
as vacant seats, but a member may cast only one vote per candidate.
The current council shall then count the votes that each candidate received
and shall prepare a list of those candidates who have received the most votes,
with as many names as there are seats available.
Finally, the council shall send the list of newly elected council members
Voting shall be conducted on the basis that each member has one vote.
The council sends a message to the
mailing list with the text that should be voted on and, possibly, the position
of the council on that subject. The call for votes shall also mention the
email address to which the votes should be emailed.
In the month following the announcement, the membership can discuss the subject
on the wwwvl
mailing list and send their votes by email.
In order for the subject voted on to be adopted, it shall require the consent
of not less than 75% of those eligible and voting.
At the end of this period, the council shall count the votes and announce
the result on the
Votes ending in a tie
A tie vote, in an election or in any other kind of vote, will be broken by
a vote of the members of the council.
The council controls and manages the "vlib.org" Internet domain, administers
the WWWVL and WWWVLannounce lists, and is in charge of moderating the
The council, or designee thereof, represents the membership at ceremonies,
awards and other such events.
The council proposes guidelines, rules and bylaws to be voted upon by all
The council proposes new members.
The council attracts new members to participate in the WWWVL.
One of the council members, to be selected by the council, shall oversee
the overall structure of the VL to encourage and organize cross-reference
links between VL entries.
The council manages the assets of the VL, including money, trademarks, and
copyrights held by the VL, and defends the trademarks and copyright of the
VL against misuse.
The council can require that individual VL entries contain a link to the
entry (or entries) that are immediately higher up in the hierarchical catalog.
The council, or designee thereof, manages the central catalog and database
of all WWWVL subject areas.
The council enforces the bylaws of the WWWVL
and the rulings of the Dispute Resolution Officer (see article on arbitration).
The council responds to outside criticism of WWWVL member sites as it deems
The council shall decide on its own procedures for decision-making.
The WWWVL defines, in the Bylaws, a procedure
to resolve all disagreements and conflicts arising from the implementation
of the present Constitution and its accompanying
Bylaws. The place of jurisdiction for the WWWVL association is the
Geneva court, Switzerland.
Whereas the administrative body of WWWVL shall be the WWWVL Council, the
control of WWWVL shall be vested in the membership in that any member may
submit a proposal (called "initiative") on which the membership could vote.
The submission shall be made by mailing the proposal to the
mailing list. To be accepted such a proposal should be supported by at least
five members who must be named in the initial mailing.
Within two months of the submission of the proposal, the council shall organize
a vote on the proposal. The council may simply submit the proposal for a
vote, and may argue for acceptance or rejection of the proposal, or can submit
a counter-proposal. Members shall vote to accept one proposal or the other,
or both, or reject both. The proposal with the highest vote will be carried
if it got more than 50% of favorable votes. Those submitting the initial
proposal can, before the vote, decide to withdraw their proposal in favor
of the counter-proposal, in which case only the counter-proposal shall be
submitted to the vote.
The Association may be dissolved by a vote of the membership, who shall decide
on the disposition of the Association's assets. Such assets (financial,
intellectual, or of any other nature) may only be transferred to another
not-for-profit organisation with similar objectives to the Association [and
with similar dispositions about any subsequent disposal of assets in its
own constitution]. In the absence of a suitable candidate organisation or
the inability or impracticality of agreeing on one, the assets shall be donated
to the Swiss national Red Cross.
This footnote does not form part of the Constitution.
Following the centralisation of all VLib services on the server vlib.org, this
link is no longer technically valid. (Legalistically though, links from conbio.net now redirect to
The Database of Members is being recreated: details.
Last update: Aug. 9, 2000 at 18:59 (GMT+1:00) (the US east coast is GMT-5:00,
i.e. 6 hours earlier)
March 14th 2005: Earlier this year the HTML coding was tidied and a stylesheet introduced.
Links have also been updated (where these do not form part of the Constitution text). A footnote has been
added (but is not part of the Constitution) to explain the remaining anomalous link in the Constitution.
Work continues on converting these older pages to XHTML and the better use of stylesheets. This work will
not affect the wording of the documents.
Accepted by a vote of the membership on Aug. 7, 2000.