originally published over at NMC…. Me playing web paleontologist!

As an appendix to the history of the NMC, I've been researching the evolution of its web site. With the aid of the invaluable Internet Archive Wayback Machine I've been able to identify, like in Geology, the major stratigraphic layers that marks this history. Join me on this journey (and let me know if something is wrong, as much of this was before my time!)

Paleolithic Period (circa mid 1990s)

NMC web site mid 1990s

The very first NMC web site was very much a single HTML file and an image. Carbon dating has not been definitive in identifying the exact page it appeared (best guess is 1994), and this copy was found at a URL from Wayne Carlson at Ohio State University.The organization was described as:

The New Media Centers program is a non-profit* organization committed to helping institutions of higher education enhance teaching and learning through the use of new media. Bringing together pioneers in the new media field from academia and industry, the program creates individual centers of excellence and a collaborative network of schools serving as catalysts to integrate new media into education. New Media Centers identifies colleges and universities around the world best suited to serve as models for innovation, both on campus and in their communities. By coordinating special relationships between these schools and industry leaders, the program helps them acquire and use state-of-the-art new media technology to create hands-on laboratories.

In the interest of preservation, we have placed a permanent copy at http://archive.nmc.org/web1.0

The California Years (1998-2000) newmediacenters.org

Like many other specimens from this time frame, the NMC web site was simple layout with iconic navigation. The original website address was http://www.newmediacenters.org/ which was a few static pages linking to the web site that was hosted at CSU Long Beach.

At this time, the current web domain, nmc.org was owned by the National Music Foundation (we are not sure how they arrived at "nmc" but they got there first).

At this time, we have been unable to locate the original web site as a set of files, so the reader is left to track its path via the Internet archive

Towards July 2000, the site evolved towards a slightly ore colored, albeit square blocked, design:

but as you can see, there are familiar themes like Digital Storytelling, Virtual Reality, and the Five Minutes of Fame:

Feature your project incorporating new media technologies and solutions while enjoying 5 minutes of FAME!

We carry a gong and know how to use it!

The "Green" Period: Flash+DHTML (2000-2002)

It was still quite some time before Web 2.0 arrived, with this site being designed for the NMC in a period of the emergence of Flash (there was a spash screen, of course, with "skip intro") and some dynamic HTML for the header navigation.

NMC web archeologists uncovered the entire web site lurking ina deeply buried directory on the office file server, and with careful use of modern HTML forensics, restored the "green site" to an archive at http://greensite.nmc.org/

Pre-Modern Era: The Dynamic "Squares" Site (2002-2007) www.nmc.org

A long stable period of design was this HTML tables-based layout that featured some amount of dynamic content appearing in random images used on the front page. Online registration for events was managed with a remotely hosted Filemaker database, but the rest of the site was crafted by hand out of raw HTML.

It was in 2002 when the current domains first www.nmc.net and finally www.nmc.org became our home.

This site is preserved as it was at retirement age in April 2007 at http://archive.nmc.org/

The Modern NMC (for now) April 2007 – present

The current NMC web site was unveiled in April 2007 as the current web site. Powered by open source content management tool (drupal) and running on MySQL databases, the web site is flexible, dynamic, and offers user generated content and customizations. Of course, it continues to evolve.

Scientists are unable to predict what the next era will look like….

The post "Web Site Stratigraphy" was originally squeezed out of the bottom of an old rusted tube of toothpaste at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2009/09/website-stratigraphy/) on September 15, 2009.

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