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25th Anniversary of the World Wide Web

On March 12, 1989, Tim Berners-Lee submitted his idea for what would become the World Wide Web. Berners-Lee was working at the European Organization for Nuclear Research, or CERN, at the time and saw the need to exchange information amongst many people in a quick and easy manner. Berners-Lee’s idea was generally ignored, but he began work on a “large hypertext database with typed links” using a NeXT workstation. While many of his colleagues were not excited about the idea, Robert Cailliau began working alongside Berners-Lee. After pitching the idea of connecting hypertext with the Internet to the European Conference of Hypertext Technology in September of 1990, the men still had no support from vendors or at CERN. By December of 1990, Berners-Lee has developed all the tools necessary for the Web. The first website and server were launched at CERN. Berners-Lee’s first webpage was all about his WWW project and the components needed to build webpages. The NeXT computer that he used as a server is located at Microcosm, which is the public museum at CERN. Berners-Lee worked on his WWW project both at CERN and at home. The first webpage is lost. By January of 1991, CERN began distributing information about their WWW system to others in the physics community in order to help others build their own software. On August 6, 1991, Berners-Lee released a report on his WWW project to the public. By December of 1991, the first server was installed at the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center in California. By 1993, the University of Illinois released the Mosaic browser, which allowed for the WWW to be run on everyday personal computers. In 1993, CERN also released the WW source code, ensuring that it would remain in the public domain. In late 1993, there were approximately 500 webservers. This number skyrockets by the end of 1994, where there were over 10,000 servers and 10 million users.

 Items in Our Collection

Weaving the Web: the original design and ultimate destiny of the World Wide Web by its inventor by Tim Berners-Lee; Mark Fischetti

How the Web was born: the story of the World Wide Web by James Gillies; R Cailliau

Computer: a history of the information machine by Martin Campbell-Kelly; William Aspray