If you're new to surfing the Web, or just don't do a lot of it, you may not appreciate the prevalence of the website counter, which is simply a readout of the number of people who have accessed that particular web page. Think of the website counter like a turnstyle: Every time someone passes through it, the number in the little window increases by one. However, as web pages have become more creative, the demand for more stylish and clever counters has steadily increased, giving rise to a new cult art, as well as a number of websites devoted entirely to the display and collection of these "virtual turnstyles."

To implement a website counter on your web page, you need two things: a set of ten digits (0 to 9) in a graphic file format (such as "gif" or "jpg") and a "script." The script, which consists of a series of programming commands and subroutines, runs invisibly in the background, and is responsible for keeping track of the number of times a particular web page is called upon. When the web page is accessed, the script automatically "wakes up" and opens another file containing the current count of visitors. Let's say it's 1000. The script adds "1" to this number, bringing it to 1001, closes the file, and tells the counter on the web page to display "1001."

Click here to see the script used to run all the counters in the Counters Exhibit.

Click here to see a set of digits.
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