The Web Turns 20 This Month

By March 17, 2009 1 comment

It’s ironic that Sir Tim Berners Lee revealed last week that he had been the victim of web fraud after buying a Christmas present from a fake company. It’s ironic because it’s his fault, what with inventing the Web and all. This month marks the twentieth anniversary of the Internet, which was first outlined by Berners Lee in “Information Management: A proposal,” which he submitted to CERN, the European Center for Nuclear Research, in March 1989. The Web was initially intended for physicists working on “questions about the Universe.” Lee wanted to allow researchers to share information, connecting hypertext, the Internet and personal computers. Information was retrieved and modified by a joint browser-editor.

CERN’s website,, was the first in the world. The world's first web page was

Berners Lee's creation was dubbed the WorldWideWeb in May 1990.

In honor of the Web’s 20th birthday, here’s the conclusion of Berners Lee’s historic paper, in which he gives his global vision of what the Web should be:

“We should work toward a universal linked information system, in which generality and portability are more important than fancy graphics techniques and complex extra facilities.

“The aim would be to allow a place to be found for any information or reference which one felt was important, and a way of finding it afterwards. The result should be sufficiently attractive to use that it the information contained would grow past a critical threshold, so that the usefulness the scheme would in turn encourage its increased use.”

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