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Web 25

Histories from the First 25 Years of the World Wide Web

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Edited By Niels Brügger

Web 25: Histories from the First 25 Years of the World Wide Web celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Web. Since the beginning of the 1990s, the Web has played an important role in the development of the Internet as well as in the development of most societies at large, from its early grey and blue webpages introducing the hyperlink for a wider public, to today’s multifacted uses of the Web as an integrated part of our daily lives.

This is the first book to look back at 25 years of Web evolution, and it tells some of the histories about how the Web was born and has developed. It takes the reader on an exciting time travel journey to learn more about the prehistory of the hyperlink, the birth of the Web, the spread of the early Web, and the Web’s introduction to the general public in mainstream media. Furthermore, case studies of blogs, literature, and traditional media going online are presented alongside methodological reflections on how the past Web can be studied, as well as accounts of how one of the most important source types of our time is provided, namely the archived Web.

Web 25: Histories from the First 25 Years of the World Wide Web is a must-read
for anyone interested in how our online present has been shaped by the past.

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Introduction: Histories from the first 25 years of the World Wide Web (Niels Brügger)

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Introduction

Histories from the first 25 years of the World Wide Web

Niels Brügger

Web 25: Histories from the first 25 years of the World Wide Web celebrates the 25th anniversary of the web. Since the beginning of the 1990s the web has played an important role in the development of the internet as well as in the development of most societies at large, from its early grey and blue web pages introducing the hyperlink for a wider public, to today’s uses of the web as an integrated part of our daily lives, of politics, of culture, and more.

Taking as point of departure that the World Wide Web was born between 1989 and 1994 (cf. Brügger, 2016, pp. 1061–1062), this volume presents some of the histories of how the web started and how it has developed. In 2010, in the epilogue “The future of web history” web scholars were encouraged to “engage in discussions about the theoretical and methodological foundations of web historiography” and to “launch concrete studies of the history of the web” (Brügger, 2010, p. 349). The contributors to Web 25: Histories from the first 25 years of the World Wide Web have taken up this challenge, and the book constitutes one of the first book-length steps towards the establishing of web history as a research field, and it is the first to look back at 25 years of web history.1

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