Internet E-Archeology

Google recently completed a project to archive the past 20 years of Usenet messages within their free Google Groups service. These are text messages posted on newsgroups (kind of like electronic bulletin boards) since the early days of computer networking. Usenet predates personal computers, DOS, the World Wide Web (WWW), and Internet browsers; in essence, most of the Information Age. Usenet eventually became accessible through the web interface after the first web browsers began to appear in the early 1990’s.

The messages are a unique historical record on a wide range of topics. For example, there is an announcement by Tim Berners-Lee’s regarding the World Wide Web project way back in 1991, two years before another post announcing a beta version of Mosaic, the ancestor of Microsoft’s Internet Explorer and Netscape’s Navigator web browsers. Google provides a fascinating Usenet timeline covering the two decades between 1981 and 2001.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a writer and poet living in Tucson, Arizona. His poetry has been published in Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey and Fairy Tale Review’s “Fairy-Tale Files“.