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The History of the Web’s Monthly Blogroll, July 2018

Back in the earlier days of the web, some blogs used to have a blogroll. Somewhere on their site, usually in the sidebar, they’d list out a few links from their favorite blogs in no particular order. Before search and social media, the blogroll was key to discovery on the web and connected readers with stories and experiences they would never otherwise get a chance to see.

In that spirit, I’m starting a blogroll of my own. A list of links delivered to you each month. Links I’ve dug up in my research that I think you’d get a kick out of. Some of them are future sources, some of them are just plain fascinating.

Without any further ado, here’s July’s list:

What History’s Female Internet Pioneers can Teach us about Tomorrow
Claire Evans

I seriously can not recommend this talk enough. Drawing on the research she did for her book Broad Band: The Untold Story of the Women who Made the Internet, writer, musician, journalist, and artist Claire Evans takes a stroll through the history of computing (all the way back to 1892), following the women that have contributed to its development and piecing together a much more accurate and complete picture of computers, the Internet, and of course, the web. Evans’ research into the subject is as exhaustive as it is intriguing, and buried in one of the many incredible anecdotes she shares is a look at the evolution of hypertext years and years before the Web, rather amateurishly it turns out, came along.

Ken Li’s Link Archive
Ken Li

When I was doing some research for the pixel art story, I stumbled upon this really old list of links by designer Ken Li. It’s clearly from an older version of his site, late-90’s from the look of it (I’m not sure he even knows its still there), but it’s a treasure trove of links to interesting trends and popular designers from that time. If you’re feeling nostalgic for the early days of web design, it’s worth getting lost in that list for a bit.


Here’s one for a post that’s coming sometime in the near future. It’s a clip from CNN in March of 1994 featuring a story on the Internet Underground Music Archive. For a few minute clip, there’s a bunch of interesting things going on, not the least of which is that the people interviewed in the segment would go on to do some pretty big stuff on the web. But what really drew me in was the way the newscasters talked about the Internet. Keep in mind, this is only 15 years ago, but the Internet was still this foreign thing that was hard to even describe. I love how novel the web feels in the clip, and how hopeful its biggest adopters were for its future.

Web Typography & Layout: Past, Present, and Future
Jen Simmons, Roger Black, Jeffrey Zeldman

I’ve talked a bit about typography before, but only in relation to fonts. This is from an event A List Apart hosted a little while ago, but I found it captivating. It’s a roundtable discussion between some of the biggest influencers in the design industry examining the role of typography in design, and the possibilities for the future.

Florian’s Compromise
Mathew Marquis

If you’re a history wonk like me, you probably know all about primary sources. Well this is just about as primary as it gets in the digital medium. It’s the post that kicked off a compromise for responsive images after a multi-year back and forth between picture and srcset implementations. In the post, Mat Marquis lays out a proposal from developer Florian Rivoal where he asks, why not both?