History of the ASLO Website
Do you remember Mosaic, the rudimentary web browser that started the public fascination with the internet? The ASLO website was initiated when Mosaic was the state of the art in web browsing, the first version of Netscape had not yet been released, and web surfing was done at modem speeds of 9600 and 14400 baud. While the first draft of an ASLO website was being created, the number of internet web servers skyrocketed from a few tens of thousands to four million, the first macro virus was discovered in a Microsoft Word document, and the word "internet" was formally defined by the Federal Networking Council. In short, we go back a long way!
C. Susan Weiler, the Executive Director of ASLO at the time, issued the following request in the Fall 1994 issue of the ASLO Bulletin:
AN ASLO HOME PAGE???
If you know what that means, read on-I need your help! And if you don't know, plan to attend the ASLO '95 meeting in Reno and learn about Mosaic and electronic data bases! Having used Mosaic once, I know just enough to see that a home page could be very useful to ASLO members. For example, we could use it to transmit through the ether:
- Member names and e-mail addresses
- Job listings
- ASLO (and other) news
- Meeting announcements
- Educational information
- Aquatic science resources
- General information and exchange of ideas
- Other-please let me know what you'd like.
While the system is not yet up and running, we hope to have something operational before June-so we can demonstrate its use at the ASLO '95 meeting in Reno. If you have some experience with Mosaic and Home Pages, and would be willing to apply your talents to the development of an ASLO Home Page, please let me know.
The first ASLO website was housed on a server of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, with the help of David M. Anderson of NOAA's paleoclimatology group in Boulder, CO. The first draft was created by Alan Schussman, then a student at Whitman College, and Paul Kemp, then a Research Oceanographer at Brookhaven National Laboratory. In May 1995, Paul Kemp took over the task of operating the ASLO website with assistance from Alan Schussman.
The first ASLO web page contained many of the same elements as it does today. In the very next issue of the ASLO Bulletin, Sue Weiler wrote:
As of this writing, the ASLO Home Page contains the following:
- Society information
- ASLO meeting information
- Limnology and Oceanography information, including instructions for authors and reviewers
- Bulletin Board for posting items of interest to the aquatic science community
- Job announcements
- Calendar section, with announcements of ASLO and other meetings and courses
- DIALOG Program information and Ph.D. Dissertation citations and abstracts
- Pointers to other WWW aquatic science and job resources, and to other Home Pages
The first version of the website contained a few dozen pages. Since that start, the ASLO website grew enormously and at its peak contained more than 85,000 files. In 2014, ASLO established a new partnership with Wiley Publishing, and moved its publications to their Wiley Online Library platform. Even so, the ASLO website still contains nearly 25,000 files!
In 2014, the website was visited 2.4 million times from 1 million different computers. More people have been introduced to ASLO via its website than by any other means.
Events along the way:
Sue Weiler issues a call for assistance in building an ASLO Home Page.
The first ASLO home page is set up, with server space provided by NOAA.
Limnology and Oceanography Tables of Contents are posted on the website.
ASLO purchases the domain name "aslo.org" and moves the ASLO website to a commercial web server.
The first "web appendix" to a paper in Limnology and Oceanography is published, following a suggestion by Associate Editor Paul Falkowski.
The website is first used to provide information about and help organize an ASLO meeting, the 1997 Aquatic Sciences meeting in Santa Fe, NM.
An ad hoc Electronic Publishing Committee is formed to evaluate the future of ASLO's electronic publishing needs.
Abstracts and registration for the St. Louis ASLO meeting are submitted via online forms.
A staff position of Web Editor is created by the ASLO Board.
The ASLO website is redesigned and moved to a dedicated, independent server.
Complete issues of L&O are posted on the website for the first time.
Past and current issues of the ASLO Bulletin are posted on the website.
Free Access Publication is offered to authors of papers published in Limnology and Oceanography.
The "Public Policy", and "Minorities in the Aquatic Sciences" sections are added to the website.
ASLO elections are conducted online, via the website, for the first time.
The ASLO Board votes to start a new all-electronic journal, Limnology and Oceanography: Methods.
The ASLO website is completely redesigned for the second time.
The first all-electronic paper appears in Limnology and Oceanography: Methods.
The "Education Resources" section is added to the website.
The ASLO website is redesigned for a third time to allow more frequent updates.
All L&O past issues are installed online and are fully searchable.
The "Student Opportunities" list is started and almost immediately becomes a very popular, highly visited part of the website.
The electronic version of Limnology and Oceanography becomes the primary version sold to libraries, and print subscriptions become optional.
The ASLO website is redesigned for a fourth time. The primary purpose is to expand services that can be delivered to ASLO members and subscribing libraries.
The ASLO website is redesigned for a fifth time. Aside from cosmetic changes, the new website provides additional services requested by members. These include RSS feeds for employment, science and funding news, and meetings; social media services and links; improved search capability, and others.
ASLO partners with Wiley to host its publication content, with enhanced functions for subscribers and readers.
The ASLO website is redesigned for a sixth time, both cosmetically and functionally. The revised website includes improved news feeds and use of social media. ASLO videos of award and plenary presentations are posted on YouTube and linked from the ASLO website.