Born: December 16, 1994, 1:55 pm
Size: 19 bytes (but by the end of the day it had grown to 200 bytes)
On December 16th 1994 a little website was born. Its first words were, "Can you see me?"
Thanks to the Wayback Machine we were able to capture home page screenshots as far back as 1997.1997 home page (click to enlarge)
1998 home page (click to enlarge)
2000 home page (click to enlarge)
2001 home page (click to enlarge)
2002 home page (click to enlarge)
On this day, the City of Albuquerque was one of the first governments in the state of New Mexico to "give birth" to a website. In fact, based upon our research, Albuquerque's website appears to be the 3rd oldest municipal website in the country, just behind the City of Palo Alto, CA (Feb 1994) and the City of San Carlos, CA (May 1994).
Impression: A hit to any file classified as a page.
Visit: A Visit begins when a person views their first page and ends when the person leaves the site or remains idle beyond 30 minutes.
In 1994 a lot of people still hadn't heard of the world wide web and few websites existed. Today, cabq.gov receives nearly 4 million visits a year and the world wide web is home to nearly 8 billion webpages. *
"In the early days, we always had to explain what the web was and few people had access to web browsers," says Information System's Manager Dan Jones. "Studies at the time showed that the majority of internet users were well educated and affluent males. We had to be very careful about appearing that we were elitist, catering to a very small portion of the population. Therefore, we had no budget. Our first web server was a small, obsolete HP UNIX server with free web server software from the University of Illinois (NCSA). This configuration served us for many years. We were very excited when we got our first recorded visit of a 'well behaved' internet spider for very early versions of search engines. We had been discovered! The spider was from the CIA."
And what was the world like in 1994? According to Wikipedia in 1994 ...
- the sit-com Friends premiered on NBC;
- the North American Free Trade Act (NAFTA) took affect;
- Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the leg by an assailant under orders from figure skating rival Tonya Harding;
- Kurt Cobain, lead singer of Nirvana, committed suicide in Seattle, Washington;
- a Boeing 737 carrying USAir Flight 427 crashed on approach to Pittsburgh International Airport, killing all 132 people aboard;
- OJ Simpson fled from police in a white Ford Bronco live on television;
- and Nelson Mandela was inaugurated as South Africa's first black president.
Some of the first information on cabq.gov was about the KiMo Theatre. The KiMo manager in 1994 reported that the facility was visited by a group of Japanese Architects who had "discovered" the KiMo and its unique pueblo deco architecture on the web and added the KiMo to their itinerary for a US tour.
City Audits were the first reports on-line. After awhile, the content wasn't regularly updated and became stale. Nevertheless, the pages were visited regularly. After the original author had left City government, the content was removed from the website, sensing that no updates were forthcoming. We quickly learned that an audit class (out of state) had regularly used the site for homework assignments and were upset with this decision.
Albuquerque's Environmental Story also had an early appearance on cabq.gov. It followed (and still does) the original style guide developed at CERN (European Institute for Nuclear Research) in Switzerland, the birthplace of the web and html. We learned early on that the web was about community-- not a physical community, but rather communities of interest. We still have teachers and students alike all over the world who use this material for lesson plans, classroom assignments and homework assignments. We have received comments from places like the Bronx, Tasmania, and Nova Scotia thanking us for the assistance we provided in preparing lesson plans or homework assignments.
The City website gives Councilors an opportunity to highlight projects within their Districts, and I appreciate that.
Councilor Debbie O'Malley
We also attracted international dreamers who stumbled on our site early on and were inspired in some fashion. A student from Denmark writes: "In the school year 1971-72 I was (sic)a exchange student at Highland Highschool and living with the Heady family at UNM. Needless to say, I lost my heart to the land of enchantment. Your web side has given me a fine but short visit back to Albuquerque in a (sic)coffie break between preperations for my lectures tomorrow."
(Morten Lund, Copenhagen, Denmark - December 8, 1997) From Israel:
"Thank you for the information, I am going to relocation to Albuequerque for a while, and now I feel I've got the information where i am going." (Julia Upart, Araf, Israel - June 3, 1997)
A British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) producer contacted our Environmental Health Department about coming to Albuquerque for a segment on a piece they were doing on the plague. The producer had learned about Environmental Health's plague surveillance program on our website and was amazed. (They never came.)
"What first began as a static listing of city department phone numbers or email addresses on a typical web page has grown to include more interactive features and content, with many government sites numbering hundreds or thousands of pages," says the non-profit organization Public Technology Inc.
The City has added hundreds of pages of new information over the years. Just a few of the highlights include: water conservation tips; business incentives to spur economic development; incentives for film production in Albuquerque; emergency preparedness tips; bus routes; Albuquerque A-Z; information on our wonderful City facilities museum, zoo & aquarium, and much more. The City has added popular interactive features over the years such as the GIS mapping, the library book catalog, apply for City jobs, real-time airline flight information, lost and found pets, current news & events, water bill pay, easy access to elected officials (the Mayor & City Council), and restaurant inspections.
Dedicated to Andrew Selby
The City of Albuquerque Web Team would like to dedicate this day and celebration to Andrew Selby, the City of Albuquerque's Webmaster from 1996-2000, and most recently Webmaster at Albuquerque Technical Vocational Institute. Andrew passed away Tuesday, July 6, 2004, at University Medical Center in Tucson, Arizona, after a yearlong battle with acute lymphocytic leukemia. He's survived by his wife, Lori and daughter, Olivia.
An accomplished graphic artist and designer, a cartoonist of exceptional repute, and an all-around swell guy blessed with limitless creativity and a truly wicked sense of humor, Andrew was a joy to have as a colleague and comrade, and we are privileged to have shared him with his family, friends and co-workers up the hill at TVI.
Andrew's artistic work can be seen in several of the screen shots above, including the image in the 1997 screenshot of the Sandias. Andrew had taken the photograph in high school and added pine trees in the foreground because he thought it would make the photo "prettier."