Onto the World-Wide Web

Serving The Web

by Peter Flynn (2013)

In removing the document but not notifying Tim, I inadvertently became the first person ever to break a link on the Web.

The first I heard of the WWW was when Tim Berners-Lee mentioned it at a meeting of the RARE WG3 (to which I was Secretary and HEAnet representative and he was CERN representative) in late 1991. As a result of this I downloaded his software to try it out for the CELT project, which was then just starting. Our link entered Tim's original homepage from CERN, at the bottom of the first screen. I couldn't give an exact date, but Tim did confirm to me many years later that there were nine links on that page, so we were the ninth.

At a later meeting of RARE WG3 in Zurich in 1992, Tim demonstrated the whole WWW system to us.

The first CELT document (the Aisling Oenguso) was served to the Web around March 1993, but was later taken down (against our advice) by the then Editor of the CELT project because they didn't want to raise the expectations of the Celtic Studies community — producing the electronic editions of ancient documents is difficult and time-consuming, and having only one document there for a long time was felt to be an indication that nothing was happening. With the benefit of hindsight, this was a major error: we should have persevered.

In removing the document but not notifying Tim, I inadvertently became the first person ever to break a link on the Web.

From 1994 onwards we were serving CELT documents again plus other UCC pages (some Computer Bureau information) and from later that year there were the first departmental and project pages. The Sun workstation which was the CELT project host thus became Ireland's first web server, and continued in action into 2010 when the boot disk was corrupted by a power brown-out. That was fixed for us by Critical Data Services but there remain some problems.

It's currently (Aug 2018) waiting for repairs to the EPROM, whose embedded battery long since died and lost its configuration. 

IT Services Department

Seirbhísí TF

Room 3.34, 4th floor, T12 YN60

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