Tim Berners-Lee’s 1994 “The World Wide Web”

What a coincidence! I’m reading about the Web’s early availability at the same time that I’m preparing a 5-minute history of my department, the Digital Library and Archives. To make by brief presentation (for the library’s In Service Day) interesting I decided to go to the Wayback Machine and capture screen shots to show DLA’s evolution from the Scholarly Communications Project.

The first Web page in the Internet Archive is from Oct. 18, 1996. Man, is it ugly! But I was so proud. James Powell, the library programmer and sys admin, had designed the logo with its not-so-subtle message that through (personal, though indirect) interaction we could provide missing information. He showed me the few HTML tags I needed to create our web pages, including tables, and imbed images. What a coup!

Before there was the Web, however, there was the Gopher. I tracked down some early stats and was surprised to see that we already had 5 ejournals on the Gopher that we migrated to the Web in 1994.

It’s interesting to be reading Berners-Lee as he describes what the W3 can do–what we have taken for granted for quite some time, like URIs and client-server architecture. While he had a concept of how W3 could scale, I was wearing blinders–knowing intellectually what could be done, the vast interlinkages possible, but not really comprehending that one day I’d be responsible for hundreds of thousands of DLA’s Web pages.

[gotta run to the library reading group re lib pub strategies w/Julie Speer, but at this point in the reading [p.794], it doesn’t seem like TB-L addresses preservation or archiving the Web]