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Digital archaeology: Ten websites that changed the world

Story Worldwide (Story Worldwide) - 03 November 2011

Digital archaeology: Ten websites that changed the world


“The 1990s are in real danger of becoming a digital dark age” – Jim Boulton, partner at Story Worldwide, calls for urgent industry-wide action to preserve the building blocks of the web before it’s too late

London: Digital Archaeology, the exhibition that charts the world-changing moments of the early web, comes back to Internet Week Europe 2011. From November 8th, for one week only, Story Worldwide presents “Ten websites that changed the world“.

Following a sensational debut at Internet Week Europe 2010, Digital Archaeology went on to be one of the central events at Internet Week New York 2011, gaining sponsorship from Google and attracting 12,000 visitors. The Internet Week Europe 2011 event showcases ten of the most significant sites of the early web, each selected because they re-invented how we play and interact, pushing back boundaries and creating new possibilities. The exhibition, running from Tuesday 8th November to Friday 11th November, also includes interviews with the visionaries behind those sites on display, discussing their inspirations, the challenges, the highs, the lows, and lessons learned along the way.  

Websites featured at the show include the first ever website, called “The Project”, built by Tim Berners-Lee in 1991. When Berners-Lee launched this site, of course he also had to create a browser. He called this browser, World Wide Web (later changing the name to Nexus when he realized the World Wide Web was much more than a browser) that only worked on the now obsolete NeXTstep Operating System. Jim Boulton, the curator of Digital Archaeology, has tracked down an original version of this browser and re-united it with a Next Cube, the machine the web was invented on, and the oldest existing copy of the original web page.

Other inspirational sites in the show include Antirom’s seminal interactive experiments from 1994, The Blue Dot, created by Razorfish founder Craig Kanarick in 1995, the incredible from the same year and culminates with 2000’s awe-inspiring “Requiem for a Dream site” by HiRes!.
Jim Boulton, partner at Story Worldwide and curator of Digital Archaeology says: “Since its invention 20 years ago, the web has totally transformed the way we live our lives. Yet, tragically, many of the early websites, the building blocks of today’s always connected world, are in real danger of being lost forever and with them the stories of the unsung heroes behind them - the visionaries that invented modern culture.”

 “What’s different about this show is that it’s not just about the websites themselves.” continues Boulton,  “Archiving sites do exist, like, The Library of Congress’ digital preservation site and The British Library’s web archive but the sites are by necessity presented on today’s browsers, on today’s monitors and at today’s processing speeds. The context of the original site is lost. The Digital Archaeology exhibition shows the complete package, reuniting the website with the browser, operating system, monitor, computer and processing speed they were designed on and for.”

“The web has become an integral part of our lives, and to not start historically archiving the defining sites of the first 20 years of its existence is tantamount to neglect.  If we don’t act, many of the websites that shaped today’s world could disappear forever.”  

Those who were inspired by the first wave of web designers are encouraged to visit to submit their own views on significant sites that need to be resurrected.  Boulton and his team will then endeavour to unearth them and include them within the forthcoming book and next generation of the event.

EVENT: “Digital Archaeology – Ten Websites that Changed the World”
VENUE: 91-94 Saffron Hill, Clerkenwell, London, EC1 8QP

DATES: 8-11 November

Notes to Editors

About Story Worldwide

Story Worldwide ( is the world’s first post-advertising agency. Pioneering the use of storytelling, it has grown into a global content marketing business with offices in North America, Europe and Asia, and a range of blue chip clients in the automotive, fashion, healthcare and travel sectors. Major clients include Estee Lauder, Johnson & Johnson, TM Lewin, Unilever and Wyndham Worldwide, to name but a few. Significantly, Story’s reputation has developed almost entirely through repeat business, word of mouth and the strength of its portfolio.
Story also runs the Digital Marketing Masterclass for the Chartered Institute of Marketing. Delegates have included marketing and branding personnel from BMW, American Express, Cambridge University, Camelot, Kodak, Lloyds TSB and HM Revenue & Customs.

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