William Pickett: Tech professor and web historian launch web-history center

Historians in the News

TERRE HAUTE, Ind.--Imagine the records of Gutenberg's historic printing press and the early books he printed were disappearing from sheer neglect. This is what is happening to many of the discoveries and historical records of the World Wide Web, according to Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology historian William Pickett and technology journalist Marc Weber, co-founders of the new Web History Center

They emphasized that the Web's disappearing legacy holds valuable untapped innovations, as well as the records of one of the great social and cultural transformations of our time.

The Web History Center has recently opened offices at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Ind., and at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, Calif., as a result of a $100,000 gift from California e-commerce pioneer CommerceNet and earlier support from Rose-Hulman alumni Dennis Paustenbach and Christian Taylor.

Founding members of the Center include the Stanford University Libraries, the Internet Archive, the Charles Babbage Institute, and eight others.

The idea for a web history archival had been in existence for some time but the current initiative arose from a conversation Pickett had with Web pioneer Robert Cailliau at a Rose-Hulman conference commemorating the tenth anniversary of the Web in 2004. The conversation led Pickett to contact Weber, co-founder of the Web History Project which had assembled the largest archive of source materials now in existence.
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