Wendy Hall, Professor of Computer Science at the University of Southampton and Dean of the Faculty of Physical Science and Engineering

by Wendy Hall

In 2014 we celebrate the twenty-fifth anniversary of the birth of the idea that became the World Wide Web. In March 1989, while working at CERN, Tim Berners-Lee wrote a document entitled “Information Management – a Proposal” which described his ideas for creating a hypertext system that worked over the internet to enable physicists and other researchers around the world to easily exchange documents [1]. I first heard about his ideas at the European Hypertext Conference (ECHT’90) in November 1990, where we presented our first paper on the Microcosm “open hypermedia system” that we had been developing at Southampton since 1989 [2]. I first saw Tim and his colleague Robert Cailliau demonstrate the system they had by then called the World Wide Web at the ACM Hypertext conference (HT’91) in December 1991. This was the conference that famously rejected their paper about the WWW but it also marked the beginning of the revolution that the Web has brought to all our lives – the killer application for the Internet, the disruptive technology that has changed the way we communicate and manage information forever.

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