Cyanosite officially went on-line in August 1995 on a server based in the Department of Biological Sciences at Purdue University. Dr. Louis Sherman, then Chairman of the Department, was and is instrumental in providing a home for Cyanosite. The early versions of Cyanosite were so bare bones that the Yahoo search engine would not list the site. By the spring of 1996, Cyanosite was developed enough to start becoming a valuable resource for cyanobacteria researchers. A link library was started and CyanoNews was put on-line in HTML format. By agreement, CyanoNews was also posted on another new server, the Toxic Cyanobacteria site, on the other side of the globe in Australia. CyanoNews is now on its own server but is not active. The Toxic Cyanobacteria site has been absorbed into Cyanosite.
In August 1997, a major improvement to Cyanosite was made with the first offering of CyBib, a bibliography of cyanobacteria literature. This was several months in the making and again could not have been done without the help of Jeff Elhai. The original database contained over 2500 references that were presented in three different importable bibliographic formats and three different Internet-downloadable file formats. A few months later, CyBib was updated with the addition of over 1500 references. In January 1998, CyBib v3.0 was released. This version had over 5300 citations with better coverage of 1989-90 and several thousand small formatting changes, corrections, and emendments. CyBib v3.5 was released in September 1998 with over 6700 references. CyBib v4.0 was released in June 2000 with over 11,000 references. August 2001 saw the sixth edition of the bibliography, CyBib v4.5, go online with over 12,000 references. CyBib underwent great revision in 2003. The database doubled in size to nearly 25,000 references and the database became searchable on-line. Users no longer have to download the database and search it on their desktop. CyBib v5 was archived in its final form as CyBib Archive with curated tagged cyanobacterial references through 2002.
An image gallery was begun in October 1997 when Roger Burks (UC Riverside) graciously provided nearly 100 images for publication on Cyanosite. The first cyanobacterial video was put on-line in July 1998. The image gallery now has over 250 images and continues to grow through user submissions. Cyanosite has provided images for major textbooks, scientific books and journals, museums, public health materials, businesses, and popular science products around the world.
The links library is a curated collection of vetted websites with information about cyanobacteria. All of the links have been annotated since 2001. Nearly 60 media recipes were added to Cyanosite in April 1998. Late in 2001, Cyanosite was privileged to absorb Ben Long's Toxic Cyanobacteria pages from Latrobe. Announcements for meetings, courses, books, and jobs have been placed on Cyanosite at various times.
Cyanosite continues to be the premier website for cyanobacteria research after more than 15 years on the web. It remains a top hit of Google searches for cyanobacteria. The webspinner's philosophy has always been to keep it simple and include everybody. The pages are coded in simple, hand-written HTML, without frames, banners, applets, sounds, or other distractions. Many users are not fortunate enough to have a hot on-ramp to the Internet or all the latest browsers and plug-ins. Cyanosite is utilitarian and wants to be accessible to everyone worldwide. Even with its simple code and bland design, Cyanosite was recognized as an important site since the early days of the web. Cyanosite was awarded inclusion in Science Central (8/10/97), was chosen Web Pick of the Day by the HMS Beagle (2/26/98), and was selected by the Internet Scout Project (2/13/98). A review of Cyanosite was published in the journal Science on 4/24/98, another review was published in Genetic Engineering News on 9/15/98, and a third in Protist in 2001. Cyanosite has also been included in the Nearctica database (9/29/98), has been given the Argus Clearinghouse seal of approval (10/2/98), was added to ISI Current Web Contents (01/10/01), was given an Artsy Award (06/23/01), and was recognized with the Dr. Matrix Science Excellence Award (05/07/02).
Cyanosite received a financial award in July of 1999 from The Waksman Foundation for Microbiology. The grant supported part-time undergraduate student workers. The students were responsible for maintaining and expanding CyBib. Weblinks also were maintained by the students and short descriptions of each of the sites were added. The traffic on Cyanosite continues to increase and it has been a pleasure to serve the cyanobacteriologist community.