‘The Web is more a social creation than a technical one. I designed it for a social effect–to help people work together–and not as a technical toy. The ultimate goal of the Web is to support and improve our weblike existence in the world.’ –Tim Berners-Lee (1999)
In March 1989, Tim Berners-Lee made history with his original proposal for the World Wide Web – what he described as being an ‘information management system’. Submitting it to his boss, Mike Sendall, the proposal was met with interest, however, never became an official CERN project. Sendall did, however, permit Berners-Lee to work on it from September the following year, and within a month, Berners-Lee had developed ‘three fundamental technologies that remain the foundation of today’s Web‘: Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
By the end of 1991, people outside of CERN had been invited to join this new web community, following the launch of the first web page on the open internet in the previous year. Describing the birth of the World Wide Web, Berners-Lee explained: ‘The project started with the philosophy that much academic information should be freely available to anyone. It aims to allow information sharing within internationally dispersed teams, and the dissemination of information by support groups.’
Since its launch three decades ago, the Web has expanded exponentially, revolutionising our world and developing in ways no one at the time would have anticipated. To date, almost 4.57 billion users are active on the Web, encompassing 59% of the global population. Discussing the original proposal and development of the World Wide Web in his 2009 TED Talk, Berners-Lee also announced his second Web project, one devoted to open, linked data.