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Waaaaaaaaay back in 1993, in the days when Mosaic was the sole competitor in the browser wars, back when Yahoo! was just a subliminal notion to a couple of Stanford students, NCSA had a Web site.

Now this just wasn't any web site. It was the home site for the research organization that created the first and (at the time) only graphical web browser available, not to mention the most popular web server, httpd. Gopher and FTP were still plenty popular, and most people read their email using Telnet prompts, if they read it at all. When people found out they could access the entire World Wide Web with just a point-and-click, they fell all over it.

However, the Web wasn't all that big. Most web servers were run by universities and their associated departments. When people wanted to find content, they couldn't just surf to Google or type in "www.whatever.com" and hope they got lucky. So NCSA took it upon themselves, starting in 1993, to compile a day-by-day list of all the new web sites they knew about. Mosaic fans visited it every day, and everyone who successfully installed httpd on their own server happily emailed the NCSA webmaster the day they went online.

And the archives are still there.

When you've been an Internet junkie for as long as I have, when you can remember using Netscape 1.0 while it was still in beta, these archives are a scream. Today, everybody and their cousin has access to a free homepage on AOL, Geocities, or Everything2. It's somehow nostalgic to look back and see headlines like: "Carnegie Mellon has announced their Web server; here's the home page." or "Xerox PARC is now running an experimental public WWW server here; it features a slick world map server."

According to the archive page, NCSA stopped recording "What's New" sites on June 30, 1996. What's just as nostalgic is that they recommended visitors still looking for a daily fix of new web sites go visit the best search engine available at the time: WebCrawler.

Ahh, to be young and in college again....

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