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

Sue Thomas Sue.Thomas at dmu.ac.uk
Mon May 7 23:08:09 PDT 2012

Thanks this is a great find! I really like the cottage image. Judging by
the number of responses I've had along these lines, the Unix origin
seems very strong so now the question  now is, as you say, where did
that notion come from?


Thanks to all who replied - I'll get back to each of you backchannel.





From: Hansen Hsu [mailto:hansnhsu at gmail.com] 
Sent: 08 May 2012 00:01
To: Sue Thomas
Cc: members at sigcis.org; aoir list
Subject: Re: [SIGCIS-Members] History of 'Home' in internet browsers


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:



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 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 <http://www.technobiophilia.com/>
Technobiophilia: Nature and Cyberspace 
e: sue.thomas at dmu.ac.uk <mailto:sue.thomas at dmu.ac.uk> 

t: @suethomas <http://www.twitter.com/suethomas> 

g: +suethomas <https://plus.google.com/110733806086330324299/> 


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