Late on the afternoon of Wednesday, November 20, 1996, the Editor added the 1000th society to the Scholarly Societies Project on the Web. It was a link to the website of the Mathematische Gesellschaft in Hamburg (founded 1690), the Mathematical Society in Hamburg.
Of course, the exact number 1000 has special significance mainly because most humans have 10 fingers. In point of fact, the number of properly functioning links was rather less than 1000; my sampling suggests that 15% of the links may have changed (I fix them when I have time). But that would still have left around 850 properly functioning links to some important scholarly resources.
To celebrate, I sent electronic mail to the staff of the University of Waterloo Library, and to several close non-Library friends as well. One of the latter responded to the phrase:
the website of the Mathematische Gesellschaft in Hamburg (founded 1690)with the facetious comment:
That's a really old website!
I responded in kind, saying:
Yes, it was one of the first instances of web technology. But back in those days they used Real Spiders, not the automated types. I understand they had some problems last year integrating the arachnotechnology with modern-day Internet technology, but they finally got their webs properly retrofitted, and now they're on the 'Net! [The spiders got a generous early-retirement package.]
But, seriously, I am pleased that the Scholarly Societies Project has reached this milestone. The Project is now large enough that it is reasonable to conclude that virtually all of the major societies are included, and many of the medium size and small societies are included as well.
Unfortunately, since the summer of 1996 the number of changed URLs has increased dramatically. Consequently, the amount of time and energy required to determine when URLs have changed, and then to gather updated information on the society website, and finally to update the HTML code, has consumed most of the personnel resources available to the Project.
As a result, the size of the Project is likely to grow at a much slower rate than in 1995 and early 1996. We will, of course, continue to process all requests for inclusion that satisfy the guidelines of the Project.
Scholarly Societies Project.