While many of these computerized networks existed at various universities, the real precursor to the web was the famous ARPANET, a network created by scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Department of Defense.
By the 1990s, the Internet consisted of ARPANET, NSFNET, and later CSNET - all networks that linked Universities and government organizations around the country.
While there were many ways to find and share information via ARPANET and the successive networks, searches were notoriously slow and inefficient.
Arpanet was a network of phone modems which connected military (and eventually academic) organizations together from across the country.
Before the moniker 'Internet', they were going to call it the Advanced Research Projects Agency Network, or ARPANET.
Roberts created ARPANET and the first working computer networks in the mid-1960's.
The ARPANET architecture eventually became the Internet.