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The History of the Internet


By Renata Rodrigues de Mesquita, São Paulo August 31st 2011

4th Semester – System Analysis and Development

E-mail: rodriguesdemesquita@gmail.com

 

Nowadays anyone can easily find the latest creation of an artist on the other side of the world. Do you realize how many times you “googled” for information yesterday? Information is all there on the web. You can find anything you want. The latest news, that everyone knows, and the secrets that someone decided to publish on the web. You can find all kinds of theories, regardless whether they are truths or lies. Do you have any idea how the www started? Have you ever wondered what the main point of the web was when it had just started?

The web was first conceived to be a place to interchange knowledge. You have certainly heard about hypertext. This word is close connected with internet. We’ll explain later the meaning of that word. By now, just let me tell you that the first idea of internet was based on that word and people were just looking forward to create a place where information can be linked and available to access. So, the basic idea is still the same, but a lot of things have changed. The first pages were very simple, just the text. The main concern was to spread information.

 

The World Wide Web was invented in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, a scientist at CERN (European Organization for Nuclear Research). It was important to create a way to communicate fast and to exchange information between scientists. The idea was to develop a way to access documents that were related and were physically far apart. Most of those documents were stored in personal computers. So, Tim Berners-Lee proposed that the information could be transferred by internet using hypertext, with a clicking system to navigate from one text to another. If they succeed they could link personal computer information to the labs and other research centers.

And so they did!

CERN’s scientists brought to public the first exhibition in 1991, calling it Hypertext’91.

But what is Hypertext?

Hypertext is a concept, rather than a thing. It is a text that is not linear. It means that it contains a link to other texts. The word wasn’t invented with the web; instead, it was coined before, in the 60’s, by Ted Nelson.

As you can see, the scientists got what they needed: a place to swap their documents which is able to link texts that are somehow related. They started to link several institutions and soon a consortium from CERN with MIT brought to light the W3C, which today is responsible for establishing rules and parameters for the web.

That could be the end of the story, and you would be reading a very boring page, filled with characters and a text related to another text. No colors, no pictures…

 

Let’s have a look on one page, one of the first pages done:

 

 

Did you know that…

 

Links to learn more and to consult:

http://info.cern.ch/

 

Images from:

http://www.slac.stanford.edu/history/earlyweb/firstpages.shtml