March 1994: CRS4 starts publishing the online edition of L’Unione Sarda, the first newspaper to go online in Italy and among the first in Europe. The idea came up from the collaboration between Pietro Zanarini, who headed the CRS4’s Scientific Visualization team, Reinier van Kleij, Systems Manager at L’Unione Sarda and Francesco Ruggiero, a computer science near-graduate at University of Milano.
While Ruggiero was doing research at CRS4 for his dissertation, Zanarini had the idea of applying the knowledge of the world-wide web to the Cagliari-based newspaper, and on 28 October 1993 he sent a fax to Reinier van Kleij. After a few months, they published the online edition on the CRS4's website. The positive results of this experimentation have been enthusiastically embraced by the editor of the newspaper, Nicola Grauso, who will then have the idea to create a new success story with the Video On Line project.
At a stroke, L’Unione Sarda became the first online newspaper in Italy and among the first worldwide.
The first homepage is built with a basic html (a clickable image) while the contents are the texts and images of the printed edition. The data, initially hosted by CRS4 (because the newspaper lacked a suitable server and internet connection), are sent at night via a 2,400- or 9,600-bit/second modem.
The "TODAY’S NEWSPAPER" section offers a list of the news in the print edition. By clicking on the title it is possible to access the article or the single page of the newspaper. The "PAST ISSUES" area contained the archive of back issues of the newspaper.
In addition to the classic keyword content search function, it is remarkable to point out the prototype of the personalized newspaper ("PERSONAL NEWSPAPER") that allows to visualize the contents of the site created by on the basis of personal profile of the user. This latter system, published in a scientific article in the International Journal of Modern Physics by Francesco Ruggiero and Reinier Van Kleije: On-Line Hypermedia Newspapers: an experiment with “L’UNIONE SARDA” [November 2011 C 05(05) DOI: 10.1142/S0129183194001033], is also appreciated in the following years by Nicholas Negroponte, invited to Cagliari by Grauso.