As I’ve spent time looking over portions of the http://www.mit.edu domain, I’ve noticed that some websites are located at web.mit.edu and some are mit.edu. Just based on looks, the web.mit.edu websites seemed to be older and as sites were updated the URL was also updated. But why was web.mit.edu ever in use? Well, a librarian colleague who has been part of the MIT community for many years helped solve this mystery for me!
The story goes that when the World Wide Web arrived on the scene in the 1990’s the MIT student group SIPB snagged www.mit.edu URL right away! SIPB, which is a volunteer student computing group (around since 1969), created a wonderful site that you can view via the Internet Archive (snapshot from 1997).
It’s hard to say if this IA playback of the site is completely accurate in design, but the information is fun to look through (like this timeline – web fever has hit!). Only later did the group give over the www.mit.edu domain to MIT… thus the mix of web.mit.edu and mit.edu URLs. I don’t know the exact date when MIT started using http://www.mit.edu as the hompage URL (or at least redirecting http://www.mit.edu to web.mit.edu), but in the Wayback Machine the change seems to occurs around late 1999 – 2000.
Web history, it’s fun!
While perusing the archived webpages, I noticed that the MIT homepage used to featured some really fun and pretty designs and logos. Sometimes the homepage was designed by someone from the MIT community. This isn’t something the current website does. So glad IA captured the homepage over the years.