The Digital Zoo
While it seems hard to believe now, in the 1990s much of the world was just getting into using computers on a regular basis for daily tasks—and exploring something called the Internet. The Zoological Society of San Diego had been using computers for finance and record keeping, but in 1996, new communication possibilities opened up with the idea of the “digital Zoo.” A public-facing website was created, which provided information about animals, the Zoo, the Wild Animal Park, and research efforts, as Bentley the tree kangaroo helps show here—and sandiegozoo.org was born. The website was rather clunky by today’s standards, but it was a huge advance at the time. In addition, ZOONOOZ magazine began experimenting with digital files for printing; having no typesetting, paste-up, or film of the magazine pages to make the prints from was a whole new world! And the Society’s photographers began looking into digital photo files and digital cameras, which were about to radically change the slides and negatives game. Not to mention that soon, people could see—gasp!—film footage on sandiegozoo.org (although dial-up continued to make that challenging for quite a while yet). It was just the beginning—the possibilities for the “digital Zoo” were endless!