Internet and its Capabilities and Services
In this Unit, an attempt has been made to expose you to the concept of the Internet, its capabilities and services.
It has been stated that the Internet is a series of linked networks, which operates on the basis of standard network protocols. It was explained to you that the World Wide Web is an important component of the Internet and services and resources available over the Internet include; listservs and discussion groups, subject databases, community information, government resources, library catalogues, bulletin hoards, document delivery and commercial transactions and others. It was also emphasised that since there is a vast array of resources and databases available through the Internet, there is a need to design interfaces that help users search the information resources and services available. It has been mentioned that two types of tools, browsers (subject directories) and search engines are used to search the Internet. It was explained that browsers support browsing and moving between sites and pages on the basis of hyperlinks, but the identification of specific resources requires a search engine. Potential library applications of the Internet have been enumerated and explained. These include: new ways of accessing library facilities, interactive home pages, linking to remote information, staff development, acquisitions, cataloguing and classification. The Unit also briefly discusses the concept of Intranets and their benefits in the design of an internal communication system. In this connection, it was mentioned that the Intranets use Internet technology for an organisation's internal communication system. The types of applications depend upon whether flat-content Intranets or interactive intranets are in use. The issues that need attention to support further development of Internet technologies are the World Wide Wait, security, ownership and structure of the Internet. If the Internet is going to be used extensively by the librarians, a number of steps will have to be taken to make it more useful. The most important step in this direction would be to develop and implement a standard for organising and evaluating information on the Internet.