The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has published the “Character Model of the World Wide Web: Fundamentals” as a W3C Recommendation. It provides a well-defined and well-understood way for Web applications to transmit and process the characters of the world’s languages. This architectural Recommendation gives authors of specifications, software developers, and content developers a common reference, enabling interoperable text manipulation on the World Wide Web. It builds on the Universal Character Set, defined jointly by the Unicode Standard and ISO/IEC 10646. The goal of the Character Model for the World Wide Web is to facilitate use of the Web by all people, regardless of their language, script, writing system, and cultural conventions. As the number of Web applications increases, the need for a shared character model has become more critical. Unicode is the natural choice as the basis for that shared model, especially as applications developers begin to consolidate their encoding options. However, applying Unicode to the Web requires additional specifications; this is the purpose of the W3C Character Model series. This Recommendation is the first in a set of three documents. In development are “Character Model for the World Wide Web 1.0: Normalization,” specifying early uniform normalization and string identity matching for text manipulation, and “Character Model for the World Wide Web 1.0: Resource Identifiers,” specifying IRI conventions.