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The Web and Science: the First Twenty Years


The Web and Science: the First Twenty Years

Twenty years ago this month, Tim Berners-Lee, ayoung scientist at the European Laboratory for Particle Physics (CERN), worked on a better way to communicate and share research information stored on computers at the CERN facility. The result was a browser and editor that could enable information sharing through a common hypertext language. The result was the world’s very first website.  The project was started to allow high energy physicists to share data, news and documentation, and it quickly spread. Now, it touches nearly all aspects of our daily life.

The Web has radically changed how we access information, products, services and applications. Prior to the Web, we stored paper documents in file cabinets.  We went to libraries to look up information and went to bookstores to buy books. Twenty years ago, we got our news at 6 pm on network television or in the morning newspaper. Twenty years ago, if you wanted to buy an item, you drove to the store to purchase it.  The web has changed the world!

The Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the DOE office that collects, preserves and disseminates DOE-sponsored R&D results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.  OSTI has performed this service since the 1940s, but over the years it has evolved and pioneered techniques to make scientific information more readily available to a growing audience.  Today OSTI provides access to scientific and technical information using web-based searchable databases offering ever-expanding sources of R&D information to DOE, the research community and the science-attentive public. The number of information...

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