About this page
On this page you can find out what the internet is and where it came from, links to recommended search engines and subject directories, information about the 'Invisible Web' and Web 2.0 technologies, and what you have access to through the Library.
What is the Internet?
Caption: A graphical representation of how a 'map' of the Internet might look. Footnote [1.]
The Internet is the millions of interconnected home, business, academic, and government networks around the world linked together by telephone lines, cables or satellites. This "network of networks" carries various services such as email, online chat, online games, and the World Wide Web, a collection of interconnected documents and pages, linked by hyperlinks and URLs.
For a very basic introduction to using the internet try this BBC step-by-step guide
The history of the Internet
The story of how the internet came to be such a widespread and relied upon technology is fascinating. The websites below will give you some background on the beginnings of the Internet:
- A Brief History of the Internet, version 3.32
"The most interesting thing about the latest version of The Internet Society's history of the Internet is the list of authors. The history of the Internet is, in great measure, the history of the people who made it. This document is written by many of those people, including Vinton Cerf (TCP/IP), Leonard Kleinrock (packet switching theory), Robert Kahn (ARPANET), Jon Postel (RFCs and IP number assignments), David Clark (simple TCP implementation), and Stephen Wolff (NSFNET), among others. Brief History stresses four areas: technological evolution, operations and management, social aspects, and commercialization aspects." (2006 Internet Scout Project)
- Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet
"This fantastic site shines the spotlight on the "nerds" who developed one of the most important technologies of modern day life. It begins with an overview of technologies developed in World War II that would eventually make the Internet possible. A good multimedia animation demonstrates the concept of packet switching, the fundamental communication process involved in decentralized networks. The next section looks at early applications of the Internet in the corporate world, which is followed by the global adoption of the World Wide Web. The last three sections are more references than stories; one highlights many of the founders and key developers that contributed to the Internet's growth. Another briefly defines some terminology, and the last section is a decade-by-decade timeline." (2006 Internet Scout Project)
The invisible or "deep" web refers to web-based material that is not indexed by search engines. It is estimated to be many times larger than the "surface" web. It includes such things as non-text content, unlinked pages, and sites like the Library's mygateway.info subscription databases that require you to login to access their rich content.
Web 2.0 is a term used to describe the trend to use the World Wide Web not just as a collection of websites, but as a platform for technologies that emphasise creativity and collaboration between and among users and providers. Examples of applications and services that could come under this heading include blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds, social networking sites such as Facebook, and photo sharing sites like flickr.
For definitions of these, or any other, internet or computer-related jargon search in Webopedia from internet.com.
For more detailed explanations and background try Wikipedia.
Down to the Wire: the story of New Zealand's Internet
Down to the Wire is a website that compiles the history of the internet in New Zealand and how it has impacted on the lives of its citizens. The site features interviews with local internet personalities. It also allows users to browse content, navigate years, and contribute their own stories.
2010 is the latest year in the New Zealand's Internet timeline. It was a year of "Piracy, Privacy, and Pace". Highlights were thriving online businesses, controversy around Paul Henry's comments, hopes for an ultra-fast broadband and more...
Visit Down to the Wire and review the impact of Social Media on our lives, privacy pirates, and Kiwi Websites of the year 2010 .
Connecting the clouds : the Internet in New Zealand, Keith Newman
"Controversial and enlightening, Connecting the Clouds takes us from small beginnings to today's borderless world where fast, pervasive always-on Internet has arrived at our digital doorstep. It backgrounds the evolution of electronic communications in New Zealand from the telegraph and telephone, through to advances in computer and Internet technology which continue to transform government, business, communities and our personal lives...." (description from activitypress.com)
- Internet, (Te Ara Website)
"From the late 1990s internet use in New Zealand expanded rapidly. Smaller, nimbler internet service providers like Ihug, Actrix, Econet and others proved popular. By 2006, 56% of New Zealand households had internet access. But individual subscribers' non-work access to high-speed broadband internet remained comparatively low - 14% of the population, 22nd amongst OECD countries...."
"InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc.) is the non-profit open membership organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the Internet in New Zealand and fostering a coordinated, cooperative approach to its ongoing development. Our primary objective is "high performance and unfettered access for all" so the Internet continues to operate in an open environment that cannot be captured by any entity or individual for their own ends."
What is a search engine?
A search engine is software that scours the internet collecting data about every web site and web page that it can, and then stores it in a huge list. When you use a search engine you are actually searching its own database and not the whole internet. We recommend the above search engines.
How do I choose?
Most search engines are similar but they do have some variations that it is useful to know about. For more information about the features of different search engines and how they work, have a look at Berkeley University's Search Engine Tutorial.
Note: These sites are not accessible from the Library's free internet PCs.
A web directory is like a guide to websites which records a few details about sites and orders them by subject and/or location. Similar to the Yellow Pages but covering everything, not just shops. You can search within a directory just like a search engine, or you can browse by subject. Try these:
- Te Puna Web Directory
Selected New Zealand and Pacific Island web sites
- Google Directory
About 5 million sites listed. Selected by the Open Directory Project and enhanced by Google searching and ranking.
- Librarians' Internet Index
Compiled by public librarians. Highest quality sites with reliable annotations.
For more recommended directories and their features, have a look at Berkeley University's Subject Directory Tutorial.
|Better business writing on the web, by Rachel McAlpine (NZ)||808.066|
|Designing & creating websites (also includes blogging and wikis)||005.72|
|The Internet and how to use it||004.67|
|Markup languages & Cascading Stylesheets||006.74|
|Multimedia (including YouTube)||006.7|
|Programming for the Web||005.276|
|Search engines & using the Web for research||025.04|
|Social networking (Facebook, MySpace etc.)||004.678|
At the library:
Try this Computing Magazines Search for general titles on the library catalogue.
Through our databases:
Designed specifically for public libraries, this huge EBSCO database provides full text for nearly 1,950 general periodicals covering a range of subjects including current affairs, business, computing, entertainment, education, health, general science, multi-cultural issues and much more. In addition to the full text, it provides indexing and abstracts for nearly 2,600 other titles.
Try a publications search, by Subject & Description for "Computers & software" for a list of computing titles available through this database.
Important: To access this database you'll need to log in with your library card details.
Can I use the internet at the library?
We provide both a free and paid internet service.
Our free internet service in all libraries offers access to websites we think are useful for information or research. These include websites such as online newspapers, government websites, many NZ websites, plus links recommended in our Kids Catalogue and many more. MS Office (Word, Excel) is also available. Sessions last 30 mins.
On these computers, we also offer a "paid internet" service which allows general internet use such as search engines and email.
This is a charged-for service: $1.50 for 15 minutes computer use, $3.00 for 30 minutes and $6.00 for 60 minutes.
If you don't use all of your time in one session, you can use the remaining minutes within 30 days. You will need to sign an Internet Use Agreement before using these computers.
This page is written and maintained by Central Enquiries staff.
I'd be pleased to hear from you about this page - you can email us with any feedback.