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Learning the Library: Using the Internet Wisely

Information Literacy and Library Instruction

Instant information is indeed available if the owners of the information would make it so, and if the seekers were able to gain access to it (Feather, 2011, page 39). Although computers are nearly ubiquitous now, even in libraries, few people understand how they retrieve stored information, so people sometimes have difficulty retrieving information.  Feather's (2011) description below is simple, yet accurate and complete.

The computer can "make perfect matches between identical data....Once data were stored in a form which the computer could read, the machine could, for example, identify all uses of a particular word, and be programmed to show that word (perhaps in some specified context) to the operator. In this way, computers could retrieve words from ... texts, or from bibliographies, and could print the context of the former or the reference for the latter. In a different application, data on individuals could be stored, analysed and retrieved to reveal, for example, information about their spending habits or other aspects of their way of life ( p. 32).

          Feather, John. (2011). The Information Society: A Study of Continuity and Change (3rd ed.). Facet Publishing.

50 years of Electronic Books: a short history by the director of the National Information Standards Organization.

"The Internet"?

OSI protocol stack, via Credo.

Figure 1.

Network protocols. (2003). In E. Reilly, A. Ralston & D. Hemmendinger (Eds.), Encyclopedia of computer science. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley. Retrieved from

               how to spot fake news

How Does the Internet Work?

The Internet, a network of computer networks, is the hardware in which the World Wide Web and other online content resides. Saying "I found it on the Internet" or "on the Web" is only saying you found it in a computer. That means nothing about the reliability, validity, or authority of the information or how someone else might locate it.

Some  concepts explained, from Petr Gazarov of

          Click here for a popular description, written when the Internet was fifty years old.

                    Click for "How Does the Internet work?," an Internet Whitepaper from Rus Shuler via Stanford University (2002).