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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, May 25, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesWORLD WIDE WEB 101: HOW IT ALL BEGAN

WORLD WIDE WEB 101: HOW IT ALL BEGAN

Part 1 of a series
Now that we're all zooming off into cyberspace, it may occur to you to ask how it all began. While most of us became aware of the Internet within the last several years, the development of a set method (or "protocol") for electronic data exchange dates from the late 1960s. This was when the U.S. Defense Department decided to create a communications system that could survive "The Big One," nuclear bomb-wise. Logic now tells us that nuclear destruction would very likely wipe out the infrastructure supporting this system, but you have to applaud the initiative!
The ARPANET, or Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, began to move packets of information among select computers in 1969. By the 1980s, the ARPANET had spawned the MILNET to transfer unclassified military documents and had its other functions taken over by the National Science Foundation's NSFNet. Then there was the BITNET (Because It's Time Network), which mainly linked universities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and South America.
All of this activity took place in relative quiet, serving the needs of those in the military, higher education and big business.
Until 1990, most data available on the Internet was in text format. With the advent of commercial sites in cyberspace (the "com" in "dot-com"), the development of graphics (images) content became essential in the competitive marketplace. Today's Internet features vibrant color graphics, audio, video, animation and interactive components such as feedback forms and guestbooks.
Also, the Internet developers came together on a standard means of developing web text content, called HyperText Markup Language, or HTML. Sharing information is done through the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP.
This is a very superficial overview of how the Internet came into being; a lot more background is available online or at the library. The purpose of this series is to help you get the most out of your Internet experience. As television was once described, the Internet can seem like a "vast wasteland" — but it's not! There is literally something for everybody online!
Editor's note: Anita Davis is a longtime Virgin Islands resident who now lives in Georgia. She is a member of the MindSpring technical support staff. She welcomes your questions and suggestions. To reach her by e-mail, click here.

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Part 1 of a series
Now that we're all zooming off into cyberspace, it may occur to you to ask how it all began. While most of us became aware of the Internet within the last several years, the development of a set method (or "protocol") for electronic data exchange dates from the late 1960s. This was when the U.S. Defense Department decided to create a communications system that could survive "The Big One," nuclear bomb-wise. Logic now tells us that nuclear destruction would very likely wipe out the infrastructure supporting this system, but you have to applaud the initiative!
The ARPANET, or Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, began to move packets of information among select computers in 1969. By the 1980s, the ARPANET had spawned the MILNET to transfer unclassified military documents and had its other functions taken over by the National Science Foundation's NSFNet. Then there was the BITNET (Because It's Time Network), which mainly linked universities in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia and South America.
All of this activity took place in relative quiet, serving the needs of those in the military, higher education and big business.
Until 1990, most data available on the Internet was in text format. With the advent of commercial sites in cyberspace (the "com" in "dot-com"), the development of graphics (images) content became essential in the competitive marketplace. Today's Internet features vibrant color graphics, audio, video, animation and interactive components such as feedback forms and guestbooks.
Also, the Internet developers came together on a standard means of developing web text content, called HyperText Markup Language, or HTML. Sharing information is done through the Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, or TCP/IP.
This is a very superficial overview of how the Internet came into being; a lot more background is available online or at the library. The purpose of this series is to help you get the most out of your Internet experience. As television was once described, the Internet can seem like a "vast wasteland" -- but it's not! There is literally something for everybody online!
Editor's note: Anita Davis is a longtime Virgin Islands resident who now lives in Georgia. She is a member of the MindSpring technical support staff. She welcomes your questions and suggestions. To reach her by e-mail, click here.