Web turns twenty

Twentieth anniversary of Tim Berners-Lee's paper that suggested the world wide web

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By  Mark Sutton Published  March 13, 2009

The world wide web turns twenty years old today, with the anniversary of its invention by British scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

In 1989, Berners-Lee submitted a paper titled “Information Management: A proposal” that put forward a way to manage information at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN). While networks for sharing data already existed, such as the US ARPANET, his proposals for using hypertext to make information more accessible gave birth to the world wide web as we know it today.

The organization had a high turnover of staff, and a large number of incompatible computers, which was causing CERN to loose research data. Berners-Lee, a software consultant at the time, proposed a web of interlinked hypertext documents that could be accessed using a browser. The proposal stressed that data should have generality and portability, and provide an easy way for important information to be stored, and found by others.

It took another two years before CERN built the first website, and it took the advent of web browsers such as Mosaic before the web became popular.

Berners-Lee will present a speech today at CERN to mark the occasion.

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