The Voice of the Shuttle is the original (and oldest), web-based humanities index and search engine. Founded in late 1994 by Alan Liu at the University of California, Santa Barbara as an introduction to the Web for humanists, VoS became publicly accessible on March 21, 1995, when the Humanitas server on which it resided opened to global Web access. From its origin to October, 1999, VoS stayed at the same address on the Humanitas server. It grew in that period to over 70 pages of links to humanities and humanities-related resources on the Internet. Its mission has been to provide a structured and briefly annotated guide to online resources that at once respects the established humanities disciplines in their professional organization and points toward the transformation of those disciplines as they interact with the sciences and social sciences and with new digital media. VoS emphasizes both primary and secondary (or theoretical) resources, and defines its audience as people who have something to learn from a higher-education, professional approach to the humanities (which in practice has included students and instructors from the elementary school, high school, and general population sectors).
As a graduate student and later Research Assistant, Carl Stahmer coded VoS’s original database, years before the proliferation of SQL database platforms for web servers–a modified B-Tree database written from the ground up entirely in Perl. He also constructed a web-based link submission and management system for the site.
While VoS is currently not actively maintained, it remains live on the web as an act of historical preservation to bear witness to our digital humanities history.
Visit VoS at vos.ucsb.edu.