[Gerard posed an interesting challenge for this article. He loaded his original article with many World-Wide Web links, far more links than we can reasonably include. Given that TidBITS originates in straight text in order to be accessible to so many tens of thousands of people, our current method of giving links, though explicit, is a bit clumsy when the links come in large doses. Our solution to his challenge, at least for the moment, is to present visibly what his article looks like in a Web browser (one question that comes to mind is, how many links is too many?), and to provide the URL to the full article on the Web, replete with links. Enjoy. -Adam]
Funny thing about being online. You get to wondering where everybody is. We all have electronic addresses that say who we are in about the same way our postal addresses do. Maybe that’s why the Second International World-Wide Web (WWW) Conference to be held in Chicago, Illinois this October 17-20, 1994 comes less than six months after the First International World-Wide Web (WWW) Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland last April. The next one is already announced for Darmstadt, Germany in April of a rapidly approaching 1995. Of course, the dates only matter for people planning to attend the event. For the rest of us, the entire conference is online in a way that we have never seen before.
The theme of the conference is "Mosaic and the Web" and the conference is among the first to utilize in any grand capacity the potential of the Hypertext Transport Protocol (HTTP). (The 37th IEEE Midwest Symposium on Circuits and Systems held last August in Lafayette, Louisiana is believed to have been the first conference to completely utilize the media rich potential of World Wide Web hypermedia – click here for Cajun music!) For example, the entire conference preparation-in-progress is one giant compound Web-space document. Every day heralds new additions to the event that promises to attract over one thousand Web-surfing enthusiasts. This convention is not about hardware and software, as the online variation of the press release will quickly inform you. Indeed, this conference is "about a revolution as significant as that engendered by the printing press."
So how does one preview the upcoming World-Wide Web conference this Fall? That part’s easy. Simply click-link your way to the WWW Conference ’94 Information Homepage.
The home page addresses a myriad of different interests. Want a better view of the careful unfolding of the conference preparation? Defer to the Dates and Deadlines Calendar. Want to read the best overview of the exploration into information metaphors that I have ever read? It’s there too. In true carpe diem fashion Birds of a Feather (BOF) online advance discussion groups are already preparing for the day when they can meet face to face to hem and haw over issues involving, among other things, real-world publishing and the extensions and auxiliaries of Web-based content, retrieval, and mixed media display. There is even a category featuring proposals for additional BOF topics. With intermittent offline sessions every six months or so, I see no end to these discussions of vision and conundrum that greet the basic online existence.
For those planning to attend the conference, information on theatre, restaurants, nightlife, and other activities is included. International visitors are extended quick access to important numbers in case of diplomatic need. Just as easily available are other important numbers for concerns ranging from cellular phone rental to medical emergency referral. This is Chicago – where to go and what to see offers entrance into these and other places of interest to the Chicago-bound Web-surfer.
For those not planning to attend the conference, virtual participation is not only possible but invited. In addition to BOF’s response index and Daniel LaLiberte’s HyperNews, feedback is requested for the purpose of choosing the conference topics and events. For those who simply wish to familiarize themselves with the latest reflections and developments, there are the received papers online, which fall under categories ranging from Arts&Humanities to Publishing. It’s the makings of something for everybody – and in a medium that no one has quite experienced before (and one which doesn’t require the respiration of the oxygen-poor air provided for your convenience by the airline of your choice)!