Petaluma’s first community-wide web site was called PEN (Petaluma Electronic Network), and designed 17 years ago by a high school student, Eric Silverberg (August 28, 1996.) This new information and communication application was made possible with the invention of the World Wide Web (WWW) in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee, about 20 years after the first connection was established over what is known today, as the Internet. His proposal to CERN identified three technologies that made the Internet accessible and useful to people like you and me. These technologies are still the fundamental foundation of the WWW today. They are:

HTML- Hyper Text Markup Language
URI – Uniform Resource Identification
HTTP- Hypertex Transfer Protocal

As we all know, the web has changed the world over the past 20 years. Personally, it was the potential uses of the WWW that motivated me to create PetalumaNet in 1995, and promote greater use of ICT (Information and Communication Technology) in our schools. Over time, other volunteer projects like the CyberCity Roundtables and the SSU Cyber Institute were initiated to help all community sectors: government, business, and non-profit NGOs to learn how the WWW could be utilized in order to improve the operational effectiveness and efficiency of these organizations and agencies. The evolution of Telecom Valley in the 1990s is a perfect example of how Petaluma and Sonoma County were impacted by this new technological development.

Many writers and researchers believe that the “best is yet to come.” With over one trillion public pages and two billion Internet users on the web, the WWW has a long way to go before it reaches its full potential as an agent of empowerment world-wide.
Happy 20th Anniversary WWW.


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