The WWW Virtual Library (VL) - vlib.org - is the oldest catalogues of the Web, started by Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of HTML and of the Web itself, in 1991 at CERN in Geneva. Unlike commercial catalogues, it is run by a loose confederation of volunteers, who compile pages of key links for particular areas in which they are expert.
Even though it isn't the biggest index of the Web, the VL pages are widely recognized as being amongst the highest-quality guides to particular sections of the Web.
The VL was first conceived and run by Tim Berners-Lee, and later expanded, organized and managed for several years by Arthur Secret, before it became a formally established association with Gerard Manning as its Council's first chairman.
The central affairs of the VL are now co-ordinated by an elected council. The first council took office in Jan 2000, following elections the previous year. Major decisions, including a set of bylaws are decided by the membership at large.
Of the 15 programmes of GDRC, four have been designated as Virtual Libraries, providing vital information to visitors of the Virtual Library. A common search engine covering all virtual libraries helped in furthering the virtual libraries.
The programme on Microcredit and Microfinance became the first of the four to be designated as a Virtual Library way back in 1996. Urban Environmental Management followed in 1998, and the NGO Cafe in 1999. These three milestones happened even before GDRC was born in its current set up in May 2000. The fourth GRDC programme to be designated as a WWW Virtual Library was on Information Design in 2002.