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April 1, 1994
Vol. 51
No. 7

Review: The Whole Internet

      As with any works on rapidly changing technological resources, The Whole Internet: User's Guide & Catalog was in danger of being out of date the second it was published. That it is not is a testament to the author's knowledge and organization—and the vast resources of the Internet. Moreover, Ed Krol has attempted to make this book as user friendly as possible and still provide a comprehensive guide to the “Net.”
      As he recommends in the preface, you should approach the book in various ways, depending on your level of expertise and interest. I suggest that you go to the end of the book first and browse “The Whole Internet Catalog” to get an idea of the wealth of information at your fingertips. As Krol states, he compiled the entire catalog without leaving his house—using his PC, connected to a powerful “remote” computer by modem.
      If you have a computer, a modem, and software such as Procomm that lets you use the modem, you can access a local service for a modest fee (similar to a cable TV fee) and soon find yourself at CARL, the Colorado Association of Research Libraries, exploring all the library catalogs in Colorado, indexes of model school programs, and connections to other resources all over the world. Or you can send electronic mail (E-mail) to other Internet (or even Compuserve or Prodigy) users. Or you can subscribe to a newsgroup of your interest—everything from recipes to recreation to research. You can “download” (transfer from another computer) free software or even whole books. You can read electronic versions of various magazines, or look at current weather maps.
      College students, especially in the sciences, have been using the Internet for years to do research (and, it must be said, to play games, conduct “real-time” conversations, and otherwise waste time). In many elementary, middle, and high schools, students and teachers are beginning to correspond with other students and teachers around the world and to work on projects together.
      The Whole Internet is a masterful guide into the maze of telnet, ftp, gopher, WAIS, Wide World Web, and The Well. Read this book to find out what these strange terms mean, hook up your modem, and learn by doing.
      Available from O'Reilly & Associates, Inc., 103 Morris St., Suite A, Sebastopol, CA 95472, for $24.95.

      Carolyn R. Pool has been a contributor to Educational Leadership.

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