Restoring the first website

I work in the communications group at CERN where I am in charge of CERN’s public-facing websites. We’ve set up a project to restore and preserve the first URL, which is sadly no longer active: http://info.cern.ch/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

We are in the process of selling the project to internal stakeholders and starting to build a team – and quite a few of us are really excited about this. We are also working with our design partners Mark Boulton Design to see how we can provide a better experience for visitors ┬áto http://info.cern.ch/

I got in touch with my colleague, Anita Hollier, the CERN archivist, for help. She told me about the presence of this group, and I’m now turning to you for your help, input, guidance and ideas.

What does ‘restoring the first URL’ mean? At its simplest it could be just making sure that CERN hosts the HTML files that have been mirrored here for some time, at their original URL: http://www.w3.org/History/19921103-hypertext/hypertext/WWW/TheProject.html

But it could also be so much more than this. For instance:

  1. CERN has two of the early WWW team’s NeXT machines. We really think the ones and zeros on those computers should be preserved, and, if possible, shared.
  2. We should document the NeXT browsing (and editing) experience. There is a lot of TBL’s original vision for the web in there that is as new and exciting now as it was circa 1990. These machines will not be usable forever.
  3. I’d love to see the line-mode browser experience somehow preserved – a browser-based emulator?
  4. There are IP addresses and machine names in the original WWW documentation mentioned that we could (p)reserve, and protocols such as telnet and FTP put back in place on certain servers.
  5. The original code packages that were available for download could be restored.

The next step is that we are going to outline our intentions via a blog, which will be available at http://info.cern.ch towards the end of April.

Anyone here want to get involved? If you have ideas, suggestions, offers of help, then please get in touch.

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