Quick guide to icons in the time-line
|#||For ease of updating reference links, reference numbers are in the format "year:#", where # is a number starting from 1. E.g. the references cited for the year 1963 can be 1963:1, 1963:2 and 1963:3. Clicking on the icon will take you to the particular reference for that year, contained in ref.htm.|
|The green triangles represent previous and next related events respectively. Related events are linked up into threads stretching over the time-line.|
In addition to containing the time, the leftmost column also contains short headings in red, for ease of locating events in time.
File-components of the time-Line
|t-line1.htm||Part 1 of the Time-Line (1969 and before)|
|t-line1.htm||Part 2 of the Time-Line (1970 onwards)|
|manual.htm||This document you are reading.|
Purpose of the time-line
History is seldom clean and isolated. More often than not, it comprises complex jumbles of interrelated events that seldom develop in a linear manner. Books giving their versions of Internet history tend to group events together into related sections, but the true complexity of the interrelations is difficult to bring across satisfactorily in the linear format of a book.
The usefulness of this time-line project, it is hoped, lies not so much in providing a chronological perspective of everything that has happened in the development of the Net, as in giving the big picture of how everything is interacting with and affecting everything else.
The form of this time-line presents the related events tied up by links into interrelated threads. These threads can be followed by clicking on the green triangles in the third column.
Note on historical selection (Limitations of this project)
This project attempts to provide a zero degree account that is, it makes not attempt to interpret the the significance of the events. However the events as gleaned from the sources already contain some degree of interpretation, so some level of subjectivity will inevitably creep in.
Most of the events in the time-line have been gleaned from Hafner and Lyon's Where Wizards Stay Up Late, the most comprehensive account of Internet history which I have been able to find. Other sources have been used to corroborate the facts, as well as to add to the collection.
Although ideally it would have been desirable to include every detail that has anything to do with the Net, of which there must be an infinite number, it is more practical to be discerning in the selection of events to include, due to the limited time and space available to this project. Only pertinent historical details are included, without being too exclusive. Biographical accounts of the people involved have been left out, but technological discoveries, legal and governmental decisions, and political factors have been included as far as possible. For instance, the parallel development of bulletin board systems has been included, as are the war-time American presidents.
There are a number of issues of particular interest which I had hoped to chronicle, but I came to realize that to cover all of these issues would have taken the project beyond its schedule. To name a few of these issues: pornography, privacy, free speech, intellectual property rights, copyright and electronic commerce. However, I have chosen to include encryption (Phil Zimmerman's PGP programme) as it highlights the slippery nature of the electronic form when it comes to attempts at governmental regulation.
Surprisingly, there seems to be little authoritative publicatation on the history of the World Wide Web (maybe because it is such a recent development), so unfortunately it is omitted from the time-line, at least for now.
The time-line can and will be used as a resource to interpret the development of the Internet in light of the tension between design and 'chaotic' evolution.
New: May, 1997 | Now: 15 May, 2015