The CBC Archive launched an interesting new feature today titled Inventing the Internet Age. The feature includes about 20 television and radio stories that trace the development of the Internet in the 1980s and early 1990s. The television stories from the early 1990s are particularly interesting as they include Bill Cameron reporting in October 1993 on "a computer network called internet" and Kevin Newman marveling over freenets and the ability to listen to music on something called the World Wide Web.
It is great that the CBC has pulled this together as it brings to mind just how much has changed in twelve years. The Internet has grown so dramatically in such a short period of time that we sometimes need these features to remind ourselves what we are experiencing in real time. I also think we need these features to remain humble about how much remains to be done. I suspect that the CBC Archive in 2015 that looks back at today's concerns such as file sharing will leave us shaking our heads wondering what all the fuss was about.
I also hope that the archive in 2015 will give Canadians far more rights to work with the content. The problem with today's archive is that all you can do with the content is watch or listen to it. Unlike the effort underway at the BBC, you can't use their stuff to create your stuff. This is an important historical record and it would be made that much better if the CBC would at least take some baby steps toward providing Canadians with greater access to the work that they have largely funded through their tax dollars.