First North American website launched at SLAC 20 years ago

December 15th, 2011

Bebo White, left, and Les Cottrell, original members of SLAC’s ad hoc Web development and support group the "WWWizards," reminisced last week over the NeXT computer that hosted North America’s first website.

Its creators saw it as a great way to share information among the world’s widespread particle physics community. But World Wide Web creator Sir Tim Berners-Lee calls it the Web’s first “killer app.”
On Monday, Dec. 12, North America’s first website – the first site opened outside of Europe – celebrated its 20th anniversary. Intended to ease access to the Stanford Public Information Retrieval System, or SPIRES, the early site has since been outdone by a replacement high-energy physics literature database known as INSPIRE. But its debut on Dec. 12, 1991, got a warm welcome from a physics community starved for a simple way to share research results through a worldwide database of scientific paper abstracts.


Read the full story on the SLAC News Center.

By Janet Rae-Dupree