Two years before the World Wide Web emerged as a household phrase, former Computer Science staffer John Demco was busy helping to put Canada on the Internet map.
And this week, the Demco Student Learning Centre in the Department of Computer Science will be named after the former computing facilities manager for his volunteerism and foresight in conceiving the dot-ca domain in 1987.
"John administered the dot-ca registry using UBC facilities and equipment for more than 10 years and played an important role in the establishment and governance of the Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA)," says Computer Science head Bill Aiello. "His vision and dedication is an inspiration to students, faculty and staff at Computer Science and UBC."
Most of the first dot-ca domain name applications came from universities, including University of Prince Edward Island, McGill, Ryerson, University of Western Ontario, Carleton, Queens and UBC. The first registration was for upei.ca on January 12, 1988.
"It's gratifying to be recognized by my community," says Demco. "I'd like to acknowledge those who worked with me on this project and the department for creating an environment that fosters volunteerism and innovation."
"We applaud UBC for naming the Learning Centre after John Demco," says Byron Holland, President and CEO, CIRA. "Thousands have benefited from his foresight and commitment to protect, promote, and develop the Canadian Internet identity."
Demco not only conceived the dot-ca domain name, but managed a group of volunteers who recorded requests and granted applications by hand. By 2000, almost 100,000 dot-ca domain names were registered by UBC volunteers. In December 1998, CIRA, a not-for-profit corporation was created to manage the registry.
This April, the number of dot-ca domains reached more than one million. In addition to helping establish and serving on the Board of Directors of CIRA, Demco co-founded Webnames.ca, a UBC spin-off company that was created from the original dot-ca registry.
An April 2008 CIRA survey found that 76 per cent of Canadians doing business online trust the dot-ca domain more than they do the ubiquitous dot-com domain because registrants must demonstrate a strong Canadian connection before being granted a dot-ca domain name.