T214: Case Study 1 – the World Wide Web

Block 1 section three requires me to look at three case studies: the World Wide Web, malicious software (sometimes called ‘malware’) and music and file sharing.

Considering my rampant Internet use since the late 90s I should find this part of the course easier than I will some of the later blocks. I believe there’s some criminal law to come and I can’t say that I know a huge amount about that.

Anyway, the first case study is about the World Wide Web – that thing that Tim Berners-Lee invented with some of his colleagues over at CERN all those years ago. I’m going to be learning as I go from some supplied resources, along with my own searching on the web. I’m also going to be asking myself the following questions:

  1. What can you glean from the resources (and any other sources you uncover) about the origins of the web in terms of (a) the number of people involved and (b) the process by which it evolved?
  2. How did the web grow between 1991 and 1996?
  3. Why was there a sharp increase in web traffic from 1993–94 onwards?
  4. Was the web a proprietary or non-proprietary system?
  5. How large is the web now? What are the difficulties in measuring its size?
  6. What are the dominant sites on the web in terms of traffic and reach? List the top ten and say what each provides.

Note that this will be a “living” blog entry: I’m going to be updating it as I go so don’t be surprised if it looks generally incomplete, confusing or otherwise unfinished. I’ll be getting there in the end.