Timeline of cornell.edu
Cornell establishes a presence on the World Wide Web. At this time, the "Cornell Home Page" most closely resembles what we now think of as CUInfo and was owned and maintained by Cornell Information Technologies (CIT).
University Relations determines that there is a need for a home page that is geared toward an external audience; namely parents, prospective students, and alumni. Another site is established for this purpose. www.info.cornell.edu is owned and maintained by Campus Information and Visitor Relations on a desktop Macintosh server in Day Hall. A redirect is established from www.cornell.edu that sends users to the "internal" or "external" home page based on their IP address and whether they are coming to the site from on or off campus. Internal users are pointed to CUInfo, while those from the outside are sent to what is referred to as "The Cornell Welcome Page". The external site saw 1,079,298 hits during the course of the year. By comparison, the current iteration of cornell.edu averages over thirty million hits per month.
The Cornell Live View is put into place in the tower of Barnes Hall. It was one of the first such web cams and continues to be one of the most popular on-line destinations at Cornell. Students frequently use the camera as a way to send messages to loved ones around the world; including marriage proposals, birth announcements, and requests for emergency cash. The Live View saw a total of 207,802 hits in 1997. It now averages approximately sixty thousand visits per month.
Traffic to the site continues to grow to the point that a new server is necessary to maintain a stable web presence. A Macintosh G4 server (the top of the line at the time) is purchased by Campus Information and installed in the campus server farm. Even this state-of-the-art machine is quickly overcome with traffic and requires frequent re-starts.
Exponential growth continues and the site is moved onto the main server owned by Cornell Information Technologies. At this point, the external site absorbs the www.cornell.edu address completely and the redirects are turned off.
The site is redesigned to incorporate the new Cornell logo (the infamous "Big Red Box"). These efforts prove unsatisfactory to the campus at large, but resources are limited. Despite these obstacles, content is added and updated on an as-needed basis, and traffic continues to grow.
The newly created division of Communications and Media Relations charges the Office of Web Communications (OWC) with a full-scale redesign of cornell.edu.
CIT's Web Production Group is engaged to design and construct the new site on an extremely tight deadline. As part of this process, the OWC embarks on a quest to re-define the image of Cornell online. Partnerships are forged with content providers across campus. Thousands of images are examined and processed in order to reshape the face Cornell presents to the world. Communcations and Marketing Services is brought onboard to draft new text and edit exisiting content. A redesign blog is launched to facilitate conversations with users and the Cornell community. This effort proves extremely successful for obtaining valuable feedback.
Ninety-some days later, the site is re-launched. But the project is not finished. As we move into 2005 and beyond, the site will continue to grow and change, evolving on a daily basis to better serve Cornell and our users.
We welcome any and all feedback and comments.