In 1991, Tim Berners-Lee, the original creator of what we now call the World Wide Web, began the WWW Virtual Library Project at CERN, a Particle Physics lab in France. Berners-Lee wished to present a way of organizing and keep tracking of the web as it emerged. The Virtual Library became a central collection point for different, de-centralized subject-based "libraries" of WWW links. Each subject-based collection is maintained by an individual, or group of individuals, who have knowledge of that particular subject. For example, the non-profit organization, earthsystems.org, maintains the WWW Virtual Library Environment page, while Juliet Casper Smith of the Indiana University School of Law - Bloomington maintains the WWW Virtual Library Law page. The fact that experts in their chosen fields maintain the individual libraries gives the WWW Virtual Library a unique quality over other WWW organization schemes such as Yahoo. The subjects are as mainstream as Literature and as diverse as UFOs and Beer and Brewing.
In 1993, Arthur Secret took over the coordination of the WWW Virtual Library Project and continued to manage it through CERN until late 1995. The WWW Virtual Library resided at the W3 Consortium ("an open forum of companies and organizations with the mission to realize the full potential of the Web".) which Berners-Lee directs until the summer of 1997.