1. 2nd call: Web25 — Special issue of New Media & Society on
the Web?s first 25 years (Niels Br?gger)


Message: 1
Date: Wed, 22 Oct 2014 17:51:45 +0000
From: Niels Br?gger <nb@dac.au.dk>
To: “webcultures@listcultures.org” <webcultures@listcultures.org>
Subject: [WebCultures] 2nd call: Web25 — Special issue of New Media &
Society on the Web?s first 25 years
Message-ID: <4EFE8A36-A3C9-4401-AE4F-D5837E39B1D8@imv.au.dk>
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***Apologies for cross-postings***

Call for papers

Special issue of New Media & Society on the Web?s first 25 years

In August 2016 the World Wide Web can celebrate its 25th anniversary. Or can it?

No doubt that the World Wide Web ? or simply: the Web ? has played an important role in the communicative infrastructure of most societies since the beginning of the 1990s, but when did the Web actually start? And how has the Web developed? These are the two main areas of study that this special issue intends to investigate.

The start of the Web
As with any other new media form it is difficult to determine in a clear cut manner when it was invented. Was it the first time it was thought of? Or when it was made publicly or commercially accessible? Or? In the case of the Web its 25th anniversary was widely celebrated in March 2014, thus celebrating that Tim Berners-Lee circulated his “Information Management: A Proposal” in 1989. But one could also maintain that the Web only started when it was named “WorldWideWeb” (October 1990), when the first Web server and the first Web page were created (November 1990), or when the WWW software was made available on the net, posted on alt.hypertext (August 1991) (cf. http://www.w3.org/History.html). Or maybe the Web started years before, with Paul Otlet?s Mundaneum in the beginning of the 20th century, with Vannevar Bush?s ideas about the Memex in 1945, or with the invention of HyperCard in the late 1980s? These questions all revolve around underlaying questions such as ?what is a start?? ? ?when is something ?new??? ? ?and to what extent is it relevant to ask for clear cut dates?? This is one set of issues related to the history of the Web that this special issue of New Media & Society intends to explore and question.

The historical development of the Web
Despite the fact that it can be difficult ? and interesting ? to investigate the beginning of the Web, the Web was invented after all, and it has been with us for approximately 25 years now. What has it looked like, and how has it been used? Who and what has affected its development? These are some of the general questions regarding the history of the Web, but they can be narrowed and detailed in a number of ways, for instance by focusing on specific areas of society ? politics, culture, news, business, etc. ? on specific demographic groups, on different regions on the globe, on the technical infrastructure, or on software. In addition, the historical development of the Web not only calls for empirical studies, historiographical issues are also highly relevant to address, that is theoretical and methodological topics related to the writing of the histories of the Web. The historical development of the Web as well as historiographical questions related to the history of the Web constitute the second area of interest for this special issue of New Media & Society.

Papers must address one of these two areas of study regarding the Web ? or they may address both, and even focus on their interplay ? as well as they must adopt a historical approach.

With a view to sparking discussion, the point of departure of the special issue is that what should be celebrated is the date when the Web was made publicly availabe, that is August 1991 ? but contributors are welcome to question this.

– Banks, M.A. (2008). On the Way to the Web: The secret History of the Internet and its Founders. Berkeley: Apress.
– Berners-Lee, T. (1999). Weaving the Web: The Past, Present and Future of the World Wide Web by its Inventor. London: Orion.
– Brunton, F. (2013). Spam: A shadow History of the Internet. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
– Br?gger, N. (Ed.) (2010). Web History. New York: Peter Lang.
– Burns, M. & Br?gger, N. (Eds.) (2012). Histories of Public Service Broadcasters on the Web. New York: Peter Lang.
– Carey, J. & Elton, M.C.J. (2010). When Media are New: Understanding the Dynamics of New Media Adoption and Use. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
– Gillies, J. & R. Cailliau. (2000). How the Web was Born: The Story of the World Wide Web. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
– Gitelman, L. (2006). Always Already New: Media, History, and the Data of Culture. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.
– Park, D.W., Jankowski, N.W. & Jones, S. (2011). The long History of New Media: Technology, Historiography, and contextualizing Newness. New York: Peter Lang.
– Poole, H.W. (Ed.) (2005). The Internet: A historical Encyclopedia. Santa Barbara, CA.

Possible topics
Possible topics may include, but are not limited to:

?      Broad as well as specific histories of the development of the Web, focusing on, for
instance, technology, graphic design, culture, politics, etc.
?      The history of sharing syndication, or viral spread
?      The development of blogs and microblogs
?      The history of one website, or types of websites
?      Web elements transcending more websites, for instance the use of images, sound, or video on specific types of websites (news, social network sites, other)
?      The Web?s interplay with traditional media (books, newspapers, film, radio, television)
?      The big trends, developments of entire national Webs, or of the entire Web
?      The history of spam, or of hacking
?      The role of familar, but often unaknowledged Web features such as search engines, browsers, and plugins
?      The use of the Web as a historical source, for instance archived Web
?      The history of events on the Web, such as political elections, catastrophies, sports events, etc.
?      What is ?new?? ? intersections of ?old? and ?new? on the Web
?      The gouvernance of the Web (on a global, regional, or national scale)
?      Defining moments and events on the Web, regarding inventions as well as use
?      Social networking sites
?      The need for and use of digitally supported methods and digital analytical tools
?      The history of the Web in the larger framework of cultural history

Abstract and time schedule
Please email a 700 word abstract proposal, along with a short author biography, no later than 15 November 2014 to nb@dac.au.dk.

On the basis of these abstracts invitations to submit articles will be sent out no later than begin January 2015.

Final selected articles will be due 1 June 2015 and will undergo peer review following the usual procedures of New Media & Society. Invitation to submit a full article does not therefore guarantee acceptance into the special issue. The special issue will be published in 2016.

The special issue is edited by Niels Br?gger, the Centre for Internet Studies, and NetLab, Aarhus University, Denmark, nb@dac.au.dk.

This call for articles can be found in pdf format at http://imv.au.dk/~nb/Web25_call_nms.pdf. Please forward as appropriate to interested parties.

A Little History of the World Wide Web

See also How It All Started presentation materials from the W3C 10th Anniversary Celebration and other references.

from 1945 to 1995


Vannevar Bush writes an article in Atlantic Monthly about a photo-electrical-mechanical device called a Memex, for memory extension, which could make and follow links between documents on microfiche


Doug Engelbart prototypes an “oNLine System” (NLS) which does hypertext browsing editing, email, and so on. He invents the mouse for this purpose. See the Bootstrap Institute library.

Ted Nelson coins the word Hypertext in A File Structure for the Complex, the Changing, and the Indeterminate. 20th National Conference, New York, Association for Computing Machinery, 1965. See also: Literary Machines. Note: There used to be a link here to “Hypertext and Hypermedia: A Selected Bibliography” by Terence Harpold, but the site hosting the resource did not maintain the link.

Andy van Dam and others build the Hypertext Editing System and FRESS in 1967.


While consulting for CERN June-December of 1980, Tim Berners-Lee writes a notebook program, “Enquire-Within-Upon-Everything”, which allows links to be made between arbitrary nodes. Each node had a title, a type, and a list of bidirectional typed links. “ENQUIRE” ran on Norsk Data machines under SINTRAN-III. See: Enquire user manual as scanned images or as HTML page(alt).


“Information Management: A Proposal” written by Tim BL and circulated for comments at CERN (TBL). Paper “HyperText and CERN” produced as background (text or WriteNow format).


Same proposal recirculated
Mike Sendall, Tim’s boss, Oks the purchase of a NeXT cube, and allows Tim to go ahead and write a global hypertext system.
Tim starts work on a hypertext GUI browser+editor using the NeXTStep development environment. He makes up “WorldWideWeb” as a name for the program. (See the first browser screenshot) “World Wide Web” as a name for the project (over Information Mesh, Mine of Information, and Information Mine).
Project original proposal reformulated with encouragement from CN and ECP divisional management. Robert Cailliau (ECP) joins and is co-author of new version.
Initial WorldWideWeb program development continues on the NeXT (TBL) . This was a “what you see is what you get” (wysiwyg) browser/editor with direct inline creation of links. The first web server was nxoc01.cern.ch, later called info.cern.ch, and the first web page http://nxoc01.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html Unfortunately CERN no longer supports the historical site. Note from this era too, the least recently modified web page we know of, last changed Tue, 13 Nov 1990 15:17:00 GMT (though the URI changed.)
Technical Student Nicola Pellow (CN) joins and starts work on the line-mode browser. Bernd Pollermann (CN) helps get interface to CERNVM “FIND” index running. TBL gives a colloquium on hypertext in general.
Line mode browser and WorldWideWeb browser/editor demonstrable. Acces is possible to hypertext files, CERNVM “FIND”, and Internet news articles.


workplan for the purposes of ECP division.
26 February 1991
Presentation of the project to the ECP/PT group.
Line mode browser (www) released to limited audience on “priam” vax, rs6000, sun4.
Workplan produced for CN/AS group
17 May
Presentation to “C5” Committee. General release of WWW on central CERN machines.
12 June
CERN Computer Seminar on WWW.
Files available on the net by FTP, posted on alt.hypertext (6, 16, 19th Aug), comp.sys.next (20th), comp.text.sgml and comp.mail.multi-media (22nd). Jean-Francois Groff joins the project.
VMS/HELP and WAIS gateways installed. Mailing lists www-interest (now www-announce) and www-talk@info.cern.ch (see archive) started. One year status report. Anonymous telnet service started.
Presented poster and demonstration at Hypertext’91 in San Antonio, Texas (US). W3 browser installed on VM/CMS. CERN computer newsletter announces W3 to the HEP world.Dec 12: Paul Kunz installs first Web server outside of Europe, at SLAC.


15 January
Line mode browser release 1.1 available by anonymous FTP (see news). Presentation to AIHEP’92 at La Londe (FR).
12 February
Line mode v 1.2 annouced on alt.hypertext, comp.infosystems, comp.mail.multi-media, cern.sting, comp.archives.admin, and mailing lists.
29th April: Release of Finnish “Erwise” GUI client for X mentioned in review by TimBL.
Pei Wei’s “Viola” GUI browser for X test version dated May 15. (See review by TimBL)At CERN, Presentation and demo at JENC3, Innsbruck (AT). Technical Student Carl Barker (ECP) joins the project.

Presentation and demo at HEPVM (Lyon). People at FNAL (Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory (US)), NIKHEF (Nationaal Instituut voor Kern- en Hoge Energie Fysika, (NL)), DESY (Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron, Hamburg, (DE)) join with WWW servers.
Distribution of WWW through CernLib, including Viola. WWW library code ported to DECnet. Report to the Advisory Board on Computing.
Introduction of CVS for code management at CERN.
Plenary session demonstration to the HEP community at CHEP’92 in Annecy (FR).
Jump back in time to a snapshot of the WWW Project Page as of 3 Nov 1992 and the WWW project web of the time, including the list of all 26 resoanably reliable servers, NCSA’s having just been added, but no sign of Mosaic.


By now, Midas (Tony Johnson, SLAC), Erwise (HUT), and Viola (Pei Wei, O’Reilly Associates) browsers are available for X; CERN Mac browser (ECP) released as alpha. Around 50 known HTTP servers.
NCSA release first alpha version of Marc Andreessen’s “Mosaic for X”. Computing seminar at CERN. The University of Minnesota announced that they would begin to charge licensing fees for Gopher’s use, which caused many volunteers and employees to stop using it and switch to WWW.
WWW (Port 80 HTTP) traffic measures 0.1% of NSF backbone traffic. WWW presented at Online Publishing 93, Pittsburgh.The Acceptable Use Policy prohibiting commercial use of the Internet re-interpreted., so that it becomes becomes allowed.

April 30: Date on the declaration by CERN’s directors that WWW technology would be freely usable by anyone, with no fees being payable to CERN. A milestone document.
Ari Luotonen (ECP) joins the project at CERN. He implements access authorisation, proceeds to re-write the CERN httpd server.
July 28-30
O’Reilly hosts first WWW Wizards Workshop in Cambridge Mass (US).
WWW (Port 80 http) traffic measures 1% of NSF backbone traffic. NCSA releases working versions of Mosaic browser for all common platforms: X, PC/Windows and Macintosh.September 6-10: On a bus at a seminar Information at Newcastle University, MIT’s Prof. David Gifford suggests Tim BL contact Michael Dertouzos of MIT/LCS as a possible consortium host site.

Over 200 known HTTP servers. The European Commission, the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft and CERN start the first Web-based project of the European Union (DG XIII): WISE, using the Web for dissemination of technological information to Europe’s less favoured regions.
WWW receives IMA award. John Markov writes a page and a half on WWW and Mosaic in “The New York Times” (US) business section. “The Guardian” (UK) publishes a page on WWW, “The Economist” (UK) analyses the Internet and WWW.
Robert Cailliau gets go-ahead from CERN management to organise the First International WWW Conference at CERN.


O’Reilly, Spry, etc announce “Internet in a box” product to bring the Web into homes.
Marc Andreessen and colleagues leave NCSA to form “Mosaic Communications Corp” (later Netscape).
May 25-27
First International WWW Conference, CERN, Geneva. Heavily oversubscribed (800 apply, 400 allowed in): the “Woodstock of the Web”. VRML is conceived here. TBL’s closing keynote hints at upcoming organization. (Some of Tim’s slides on Semantic Web)
M. Bangemann report on European Commission Information Superhighway plan. Over 1500 registered servers.Load on the first Web server (info.cern.ch) 1000 times what it has been 3 years earlier.

Over June '91 to June 94, stead

MIT/CERN agreement to start W3 Organisation is announced by Bangemann in Boston. Press release. AP wire. Reports in Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe etc.
Founding of the IW3C2: the International WWW Conference Committee, in Boston, by NCSA and CERN.
The European Commission and CERN propose the WebCore project for development of the Web core technology in Europe.
1 October
World Wide Web Consortium founded.
Second International WWW Conference: “Mosaic and the Web”, Chicago. Also heavily oversubscribed: 2000 apply, 1300 allowed in.
14 December
First W3 Consortium Meeting at M.I.T. in Cambridge (USA).
15 December
First meeting with European Industry and the European Consortium branch, at the European Commission, Brussels.
16 December
CERN Council approves unanimously the construction of the LHC (Large Hadron Collider) accelerator, CERN’s next machine and competitor to the US’ already defunct SSC (Superconducting Supercollider). Stringent budget conditions are however imposed. CERN thus decides not to continue WWW development, and in concertation with the European Commission and INRIA (the Institut National pour la Recherche en Informatique et Automatique, FR) transfers the WebCore project to INRIA.


the Web is the main reason for the theme of the G7 meeting hosted by the European Commission in the European Parliament buildings in Brussels (BE).
CERN holds a two-day seminar for the European Media (press, radio, TV), attended by 250 reporters, to show WWW. It is demonstrated on 60 machines, with 30 pupils from the local International High School helping the reporters “surf the Web”.
Third International WWW Conference: “Tools and Applications”, hosted by the Fraunhofer Gesellschaft, in Darmstadt (DE)
Founding of the Web Society in Graz (AT), by the Technical University of Graz (home of Hyper-G), CERN, the University of Minnesota (home of Gopher) and INRIA.

See also:

Dan Connolly, 2000
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created circa 1995 by Robert Cailliau