Because of the age of many documents up here and due to my increasingly limited time, much remains as it looked in the heady days of Mosaic: the Hydra began with a number of "links" when the web was young. In countless hours of surfing, mooing, emailing and so on, I decided to put together myself what I could not find. It struck me as the academic web turned into a global shopping mall that there was a need for "theory" on the web, and that it would have to resist the dominant trends of the medium.
This site was established in December 1994 as part of a non-commercial "hydra" webring dedicated to media theory, which comprised sites in Britain (1995 - 96: www.cee.hw.ac.uk/johnm/ - now defunct), in Florida (1995 - 97: www.cas.usf.edu/fobo/ - now defunct), in Germany (1995 - 98: www.lake.de/home/lake/hydra/ and glas.lake.de - now defunct), in Minnesota (1996-2008: hydra.humanities.uci.edu) and California (from 9/1999 to 12/2000, at www.uweb.ucsb.edu/~hydra) - all now defunct. As of February 2009, this legacy site is now at the University of California, Irvine, but without having been much updated.
Readership of these pages has grown exponentially over the months and years, and currently they clock well over 300,000 visits per year, about 1,000 per day. However, since this is a non-profit site, I don't keep track of everything; there are scripts providing summaries of each 24-hour period and so forth, but watching you watching this, day in and day out, is not as interesting as it sounds - even for a computer. I'm as grateful to those who email updates as I am tired of those who ask for free books or movies, and I am not promising anything to those urging me to redesign the site to bring it into the 21st century.
This site has been available for free since its inception. Because of its steady traffic from parts of the globe where bandwidth has a higher premium than in the new US economy, I have been slow to incorporate graphic complexity, thus much of the Hydra remains largely text-based. Still, it has received recognition from various search portals, as well as multiple listings on other people's sites dedicated to theory, philosophy, and related issues. Thanks for visiting.