XENON was established by AVW in 1999 as an intranet newspaper cuttings archive. The project was led by Stew Chester and the database was formally launched on 1° January 2000. The brief was promptly expanded to include online and broadcast news material as well as print. Data harvesting was conducted by the Babelsoft team.

In 2004, following the acquisition of ACNC and the establishment of Æ, XENON was repurposed as an all-encompassing knowledge base and wiki for the newly expanded company. The original news archive service, rebadged as XENON Archive, was retained and extended as part of the nascent Rhiannon Project.

Following the Star Wars debacle of 2011, AView journalists took to the comparative privacy and stability of XENON as a mechanism for covert communication. It is generally understood that a number of entries were bastardized to incorporate coded messages, though the precise quantity and nature of such encryptions remains undetermined. In 2017/8, while conducting her investigation into the death of Kate Whitchurch, Eve Harper-St.James found "a most-concerning catalogue of errors, discrepancies and omissions" in the archives, which formed the subject of her 2019 work: Scintillations.

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