This research is concerned with co-operative authoring and content/document management and collaboration about those documents, specifically over the World Wide Web. Secondary to this is whether the research can be generalised to support content management and co-operative authoring using systems of communication other than the Web, to allow for future expansion. This purpose is supported by Berners-Lee's original intentions for the Web, which includes support for collaborative authoring, content management and collaborative design of something other than hypertext itself. Because of this we shall therefore review the original vision that drove the development of the Web, and the Web, as it is today.
Berners-Lee initiated the creation of the Web in 1989, when he wrote and circulated for comment a project proposal [Berners-Lee 1989] for a networked Hypertext system for CERN (Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (French), European Organisation for Nuclear Research, now known as the European Laboratory for Particle Physics). The project proposal was based on the need to enable people to share documents, work, and ideas across groups, and allow interaction between those groups.
Although the Web has been spectacularly successful in its current form, has it really lived up to its original goals? Is the current form of the Web all that it was intended to be, or was it intended to be something more? To answer these questions, we need to go back in time to both some initial stirrings about the possible use of technology, and of course the conception of the Web by Berners-Lee in 1989, not that many years ago.
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