Happy Birthday World Wide Web!

Written by Michael Sutherland, Web Services Librarian

The World Wide Web turns 25 today! In that 25 years, it has changed the way that we shop, conduct business, perform our jobs, keep in touch with friends and family, and the way we learn and search for information. Using the Web – browsing it, searching it, sharing on it – has become the main activity for millions of people around the globe daily.

On March 12, 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee distributed a paper that proposed an ‘information management’ system that became the conceptual and architectural structure for the World Wide Web.  With a small group of helpers, he wrote the necessary software and designed the protocols needed to implement the idea.  He later released the code for this system to the world on December 25, 1990 for free.

After a quarter of a century, organizations and individuals examine how the Web has transformed our lives, such as the Pew Research Internet Project report, The Web at 25 in the U.S., released February 27th, 2014, and, 25 things you might not know about the web on its 25th birthday.

According to the Pew Research Internet Project, “[The World Wide Web] is one of the most important and heavily-used parts of the network of computer networks that make up the internet. Indeed, the invention of the Web by Sir Tim Berners-Lee was instrumental in turning the internet from a geeky data-transfer system embraced by specialists and a small number of enthusiasts into a mass-adopted technology easily used by hundreds of millions around the world.”1

What do you think? Has the Web been a good thing or a bad thing?

Fun fact: In 1995, 42 percent of Americans had never heard of the Internet. Of the 14 percent of Americans who had Internet access, only 2 percent were using the top-of-line modems that reached the then-blazing speeds of 28.8 bytes per second.

Direct link to the Pew Research Report
Post from Tim Berners-Lee

1. Fox, Susannah and Lee Rainie. “Summary of Findings”. Pew Research Internet Project. http://www.pewinternet.org/2014/02/27/summary-of-findings-3/ (accessed March 11, 2014).

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