As part of a web-archaeological excavation, the world’s very first webpage is to be put back online. Cern, the company that introduced he World Wide Web to the world are putting the site back online as part of a project to preserve the heritage of the internet.
The first sentence on the webpage reads, ‘The World Wide Web aims to give universal access to a large universe of documents’. the World Wide Web was invented by British Computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 while he was working at Cern. Combining the internet and hypertext, the web transformed the world and now the earliest copy of the site available (1992) is being restored for the world to see.
As if you were looking into a vortex into the past, the first website outlines the basics of the World Wide Web; explaining how to use it and instructions on how to establish your own ‘W3’ server, as it was then, rather than today’s ‘WWW’. Up until now, Tim Berners Lee’s website has been unavailable to the general public.
The first advertisement for the World Wide Web was published in 1993 and it described the technology as ‘an easy but powerful global system.’ – a fairly modest description of the technology that would define the future of technology. To add to the humble nature of the advertisement, it also asked users not to feel ‘disappointed’ by the basic interface and included instructions on how to install more ‘advanced graphical interface browsers on your local system’.
In the same year the World Wide Web was released into the public domain; for free. In this act Cern and Berners-Lee defined the ethos behind the free web that we know today; access for all and not controlled by one entity.
By restoring the first web page online, the first step in a larger project to raise awareness and to protect that history of the web has been taken. The project aims to preserve the hardware that was used to give birth to the web; including the NeXT computer that Tim Berners-Lee used as the first ever web server.
Future plans include the creation of an emulator that will give users an opportunity to use the first browser: WorldWideWeb (which was later renamed Nexus).
The web-archaeology style product will no doubt serve to inform a generation for whom the web is the status-quo about the development and the advancement that the web as we know it has come through. For those who remember the introduction of the technology, then I imagine the project will generate welcome nostalgia of the time that the digital revolution was in its embryonic stages.
For more glimpses into the past, you should take a look at our “Humble Beginnings” article. There you will find a number the internet’s biggest names back in their younger days.
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