---------------How to Access Electronic Information---------------
A communication system that links two or more computers.
Many people are using the Information Highway or the Internet. This section explains how it started, and how you too can "surf the net".
More and more people are interested in using networked information resources. You need time to learn, try things out, ask questions. It's fun, frustrating and time-consuming. You'll need to read more and learn more than we will be able to describe to you in this section. See the bibliography for some suggestions about books and magazines.
The Internet refers to the world's largest network of networks. It is made up of local, regional, and national networks. The Internet started when the United States Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency Network (ARPANNET) began to communicate using four computers. Gradually, other networks joined in, and today an estimated 12,000 networks make up the Internet. The Internet is expanding exponentially both in the number of users and the amount of information available. And as people use the Internet, information comes and goes-what is there today, may not be there tomorrow!
Access to the Internet
There are lots of ways into the Internet. People at universities and colleges, with specialized research needs, have used the Internet for a long time. More recently, many campus library systems have provided access through their OPACS.
A number of commercial vendors provide access for a monthly or annual fee which depends on the services you use. To find commercial vendors in the Yellow Pages, look under "Computers". Another good source for commercial vendors is Canadian Internet Handbook by Jim Carroll and Rick Broadhead.
Some public libraries already provide Internet access to the public. (See Appendix 2 for a statement from the Canadian Library Association.)
Freenets also provide access to the Internet. They are community-based computer networks made available at no cost by dedicated volunteers and public-spirited sponsors.
What do freenets give you?
- community information
- bulletin board services
- access to the information highway-the Internet
- worldwide electronic mail
- online public access resources
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