What Popular Online Reference Tool Predates The First Web Browser?
Answer: The Internet Movie Database
Before the first web browser was even invented (let alone long before the average person would even know what a web browser was or use it to access online databases) there was the beginning of The Internet Movie Database (IMDb).
In 1989 on rec.arts.movies (a Usenet discussion group), Col Needham (who would go on to be the founder and CEO of IMDb) began curating a list of actresses on the discussion group. Other participants began creating their own lists. By late 1990, the lists had grown exponentially and Needham developed a series of Unix shell scripts to search through the lists so that users could query the Usenet group for information about actors, actresses, and so on. By 1993, the lists were growing far too unwieldy and impractical to keep on Usenet and the entire affair was shifted to the website where it now resides, imdb.com.