[SIGCIS-Members] History of 'Home' in internet browsers

Hansen Hsu hansnhsu at gmail.com
Mon May 7 16:01:03 PDT 2012

This is just a guess...
Could it possibly be related to the similar terminology in Unix accounts, the notion of a user's "home" directory?
On the NeXT platform, which had a graphical UI on top of Unix in the late '80s, this was represented by an icon that looked like a house 
in the "Workspace" – the file browser application, equivalent to the Finder on Mac OS X or Windows Explorer on Windows.
It's well known that Tim Berners-Lee developed the web on a NeXT, so maybe this was a natural extension of that Unix concept to the graphical medium of the web?
Here's a screenshot of the NeXT File Viewer:

Scroll down to page 12 to see the screenshot.

Now, where the notion of "home" directory for a Unix user's account came from, maybe that has much older roots someone else might know...

On May 6, 2012, at 5:46 AM, Sue Thomas wrote:

> Hi
> I wonder if anyone can help?  I’m trying to track down when and why it was decided to use the term ‘Home’ and its accompanying icon in web browser design. Does anyone have any information on that?
> We have got so used to it that it’s almost invisible in our consciousness, but Home is not default in every part of the world. In the Middle East for example, that function is called the Main Page, not the Home Page. I’m thinking that ‘home’ is probably an American concept in this context.
> I’d also like to collect more equivalencies from non-English speaking countries, so please do get in touch if your country’s browser features something other than ‘home’.
> I’d be most grateful for your thoughts on the above. Please reply backchannel to sue.thomas at dmu.ac.uk
> Many thanks
> Sue
> _________
> Sue Thomas 
> Research Professor of New Media
> IOCT/Faculty of Art, Design and Humanities
> Clephan 1.01d, De Montfort University, The Gateway, Leicester LE1 9BH, UK  +44 (0)116 207 8266
> w: http://www.technobiophilia.com Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace 
> e: sue.thomas at dmu.ac.uk
> t: @suethomas
> g: +suethomas
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