Librarian's Introduction to the Internet
NOTICE: THIS IS A DRAFT.
SEND ANY CORRECTIONS OR SUGGESTIONS
TO DAVID BIGWOOD,
In the beginning there was ARPA Net. This was followed by other networks,
SPAN, NSFNET, JANET, MILNET and many more. In time these networks joined and
the Internet was born.(1) The Internet is a network of computer networks, the
NASA Science Internet being but one part, all using common communication
protocol. This allows a user on one network to access computers on other
networks. The size of the Internet is staggering and constantly growing as new
networks are added. There are well over 1000 networks connected each with
numerous, separate computers. NSI has over 12,000 users(2) and it is but one
of the networks. The result is a great information resource which is
The Internet is not a library network. Issues such as governance, standards
and membership are not affected by the library community. Just as with the
phone companies, major policy decisions are decided outside the library, and
like telephone communication it is an important resource to the library.
The Internet is, however, a computer network used extensively by libraries. It
has become an informal network for libraries. Each library making information
available for use according to their resources and using information according
to their needs. Catalogs, indexes and full text materials are all available.
The purpose of this paper is to provide an introduction to the Internet for
librarians on the NSI, formerly SPAN. This system uses VAX machines almost
exclusively. If you have another brand of computer, an IBM for example, there
will be some subtle differences. This paper will not be a catalog or
directory, of the Internet resources, rather, it will introduce the means of
obtaining such information. The NSI is not officially a part of the Internet,
it is a part of DECNET. Most sites also have TCP/IP capability. If you find
you can not use the directions given below you are at one of the few sites
which do not have Internet protocols. Ask your computer center to install
The most basic function is telnet, or remote login, or remote terminal
connection service. This allows a user to interact with the information in
another computer as if the user was directly connected to the remote computer.
It is difficult to move information from one computer to another when using
telnet. It is, however, possible to use the "print screen" key to capture the
information. Your computer may be able to capture a log file of your session.
Check with your computer department for this feature.
Many library and union catalogs may be accessed on the Internet. These
catalogs are useful in verifying information for acquisitions, copy
cataloging, reference, and inter-library loan. At least one library has used
this access to test various automation systems before making a purchase.
Researchers may also consult a remote catalog prior to a research trip.
One of the largest and accessible is MELVYL, the union catalog for the
University of California System and the California State Library. It contains
well over six million records, most in MARC format. To access MELVYL type
"telnet 184.108.40.206" or "telnet melvyl.ucop.edu" (do not include the quotation
marks) at the $ prompt. The remote computer will then ask for terminal type.
Most new terminals use VT100, if you do not know what you have, try that.
From here it provides menus. You may search all or only part of the catalog,
you may branch to other libraries, there are even some journals you may read,
such as Hott off the Tree and Current Cites. To see them type "see hott" for
excerpts and abstracts of articles about information technology, or "see
current cites" for annotated citations about computer technology and
librarianship. There are help screens to aid in the use of MELVYL.
Another important feature of MELVYL is its access to NODIS, the NASA Online
Data and Information Service. Chose the selection "other" and then "NASA".
Many technical databases reside in this area. One database of non-technical
information is a directory of NASA researchers. This includes their address,
affiliation, e-mail address and other information.
The inventory of the book store at Stanford may be searched from MELVYL. With
over 25,000 titles this could be a backup source for acquisitions. To search
select "other" then "Stanford" at the Melvyl introductory screens. Type "yes"
to proceed then enter your terminal type again. Choose selection "8" from the
Socrates menu. Stanford also has an extensive catalog of technical reports
which may be selected from the main Socrates menu.
CARL, the Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries, is another excellent
resource. To access CARL type "telnet pac.carl.org" or "telnet 220.127.116.11".
This system also begins by asking for terminal type. Select the number from
the menu which matches your terminal. From here follow the menus.
In CARL each library's holdings are separate, this is not a union catalog.
There is much more here than library catalogs. CARL contains the Monthly
Catalog since 1976, book reviews from Choice, CONSER, the journal Online
Libraries and Microcomputers, the Internet Resource Guide(3) and many other
Many other sites have important information. The complete MARC tapes are
available at "dra.com" or "18.104.22.168". NASA Space Link may be reached at
"22.214.171.124". The National Science Foundation may be reached at
"stis.nsf.gov" or "126.96.36.199"; at the login prompt enter "public". The
NSF has full text documents of their directory, bulletin, proposals and other
materials. Texas A & M University, which has the Wilson indices on-line, is
reached at "venus.tamu.edu" or 188.8.131.52; at user name enter "vtam", and at
the first menu select "notis".
Foreign library catalogs may also be accessed via the Internet. For the
library at the Universitaet Erlangen- Nuernberg telnet to 131.188.143 or
faui43.informatik.uni- erlangenden.de, the user id is gi. For the Universitaet
Zuerich telnet to rzutso.unizh.ch choose "dobis". This system has instructions
in both German and English. The University Library of Utrecht in the
Netherlands also provides for searching and help in English. Telnet to
ruut.cc.nl; at request enter "brunet", then enter "druk daarna op"; enter an
"e" for the English session. Catalogs are also available in England, Slovania,
Spain, Australia and other countries.
The publisher Meckler has made information from their material accessible on
the Internet. Meckler is a publisher of library and information science books
and journals, which makes this a useful current awareness tool. Full
conference proceedings for four conferences, indexes to some of their
journals, tables of contents for the remainder, and MeckJournal are available.
These may be searched by keyword. Telnet to "nisc.jvnc.net", at the login
prompt type "nicole", then select "MC2" from the menu.
Astronomy information is also available on the Internet. NED, the NASA
Extragalactic Database, which provides information for extragalactic objects,
may be reached at 131.215.319.35 or ipac.caltech.edu, login as "ned". The
solar system is covered by the data bases of the Lunar and Planetary
Institute. Telnet to 184.108.40.206 or lpi.jsc.nasa.gov. The bibliography, the
library catalog, an index to the Benchmarks in Geology Series and other files
are accessed by the password "patron".
The Cleveland Freenet may be reached by "220.127.116.11" or "18.104.22.168" or
"22.214.171.124". This rather unique resource, provides access to numerous
bulletin boards, databases, and other features. A bulletin board is a shared
file where users may enter information for others to read or download. The
Freenet has been arranged to resemble a city with areas for a library, arts
center, city hall and other places common to an urban area.
Of particular use is the NASA section in the Science and Technology area. This
area contains a bulletin board, and a place to ask NASA questions with the
staff at NASA Langley Research Center responding. The library area also is
useful. The Freenet includes the catalogs of Case Western Reserve and the
Cleveland Public Library. An area for the Cleveland Chapter of SLA has
selections for job listings, news notes and a directory.
A user of the Freenet may register at the introductory screen. A registered
user may do more than read the information. They may also contribute, either
by posting items on the bulletin boards or replying to an author by e- mail.
Help is available in all areas.
Campus wide information systems, CWIS, may contain much unique information.
The Socrates system at Stanford was a good example containing the library
catalog, bookstore inventory, a file of technical reports and other files.
Most of these systems also contain staff directories. MIT has an important
CWIS for scientific and technical resources. Telnet to "techinfo.mit.edu" and
login as "techinfo". The University of North Carolina may be reached at
"info.acs.unc.edu" with a login of info. New Mexico State University has full
text documents on-line available for searching, as well as many other
features. Telnet to "info.nmsu.edu" and login as 'technet" to access this
Several services exist which act as white pages for users on the Internet by
providing their e-mail addresses. The WHOIS system is available at
nic.ddn.mil; type "whois" at the main screen. The White Pages at PSI is a
similar service. Telnet to wp.psi.com and login as "fred". Neither of these
systems are comprehensive, a person or institution may be on the Internet, yet
not listed here.
The Internet also provides access to commercial databases. OCLC's EPIC Service
can be reached this way.(4) OCLC is presently studying access to the Online
Union Catalog by Internet connection. NEXIS may also be reached on the
Internet. UNCOVER, an indexing and document delivery system is another
commercial service available on the network. In the future more databases will
be accessible in this way. Check with the vendor of the database for details.
This will lower the cost of searching since the dial in charges will be
eliminated. The Internet is much faster than phone lines, so an added benefit
will be quicker retrieval.
Electronic mail, or e-mail, is "a store and forward service for the
transmission of textual messages transmitted in machine readable form from a
computer terminal or computer system. A message sent from one computer user to
another is stored in the recipient's mailbox."(5) Libraries use e-mail to
refer a reference question to a specialized library, place an order with a
vendor, claim missing issues of journals, pass along information, make ILL
requests, and many other functions.
There is no comprehensive directory of e-mail addresses but both WHOIS and the
White Pages at PSI provide some coverage. Asking your colleagues and vendors
if they have an address is the easiest method. BITNET is an important network
for librarians using e-mail. While not a part of the Internet it is available
through various gateways which allow the passage of e-mail from one to the
other. This network connects about 2500 educational institutions and libraries
in 32 countries.(6) BITNET does not have the ability to telnet or ftp, so
users have found ways for e-mail to mimic these abilities.
Mail exploders or Listserv Software allows a person to send a message once and
have it received by numerous people. A message is sent to a special mailbox
which sends the message to all the subscribers. This is the method used by
computer conferences. For forwarding information this is a quick method, and
an important current awareness tool. Position openings, wrong ISBN numbers,
reference questions, queries on new CD-ROMs, and details on where to find
information on the Internet are some of the messages received. Most of these
computer conferences are specialized and focus on one aspect of a library.
There are conferences for cataloging, Geac systems, bibliographic instruction,
government documents and maps and many others.
An important computer conference is PAM-Net, the Physics, Astronomy, and Math
Network. This is run by the PAM Division of SLA, but is open to anyone with an
interest in this area. Messages consist of news notes, bibliographic and
reference questions, warnings of printing errors in journals and monographs
and information concerning CD-ROM products. To subscribe send the message
"subscribe pam-net your first name, your last name" to [email protected]
HULINTRO is a computer conference designed to introduce librarians to the
Internet. Messages concern where to find materials, and how to access the
material once found. Updates to information sources are noted. This is a good
place to learn what exists on the Internet and how to find it. To subscribe
send the message "subscribe Hulintro first name, last name" to
PACS-L, or Public Access Computers in Libraries, is an excellent conference.
Topics concern the usage of computers in libraries from the practical to the
theoretical. How to reuse ink cartridges for printers, which systems support
searching by ISBN, computers for the handicapped and news on the purchases of
Ameritec have been some of the recent topics. To subscribe send the statement
in the body of an e-mail message "subscribe pacs-l your first name your last
name" to [email protected] You will receive acknowledgment and instructions on
how to use various features of the conference. This is an active group and you
can expect about 10 messages a day. This conference regularly updates and
makes available "Library-oriented Computer Conferences and Electronic
Closely related to the computer conferences are electronic journals and news
letters. These appear less often and are more substantial than the messages
received from a conference. Some journals are refereed, others merely
collections of messages received. MeckJournal is a good example of a more
scholarly journal. It is devoted to the new information technologies. To
subscribe send the e-mail message:
your e-mail address
to "[email protected]".
Members of the PACS-L computer conference are on the mailing list for two
serials. Public Access Computer Systems News contains short items on current
topics. Public Access Computer Systems Review contains more substantial
articles which examine trends and problems in this area. Many of the
conferences, do more than pass along new messages they also archive them. With
the instructions you receive on joining a computer conference you will receive
instructions on how to search and retrieve the information in these files by
e-mail. This can be useful for finding information concerning CD-ROM
databases, library software or computer equipment. This may be useful before
committing a sizable amount of funds for purchase. If you do not find the
information in the archive send a query to the conference.
Some Listserv sites archive longer documents than previous messages. Listings
of libraries on the Internet are available. To retrieve OPACS in the UK : a
list of interactive library catalogues on JANET(8) send the message "GET
LIS-INFO JANET OPACS" to [email protected] A more complete directory
of library OPAC's is the Internet- Accessable Library Catalogs and
Databases.(9) To retrieve this file send the message "GET LIBRARY PACKAGE" to
Details for other resources on the Internet are also accessible. The Directory
of Scholarly Electronic Conferences(10) is available at [email protected]
by sending the message "Get acadlist.file5". For a similar list which has
broader coverage, Directory of Electronic Journals, Newsletters and Scholarly
Discussion Lists(11), send the message "GET EJOURNL1 DIRECTRY GET EJOURNL2
DIRECTRY" to [email protected] Each entry describes the serial, how to
subscribe, submissions, back issues and contact information.
Many files exist which provide assistance to new users of BITNET. To retrieve
BITNET Userhelp send the message "GET BITNET USERHELP"(13) to
[email protected] To find a directory of all the BITNET conferences send
the message "Send list global" to [email protected] For a copy of the
Inter-Network Mail Guide(14) send the message "Get network guide" to
When sending messages to either a person or a listserve conference remember to
use courtesy, common sense and plain English. This is a new and evolving form
of communication in which standards are still developing. Misinformation
travels fast along these electronic highways and is difficult to correct. Be
careful with humor what is funny to one person may be taken seriously by
FILE TRANSFER PROTOCOL - FTP
FTP is a standard file sharing protocol. This gives users the ability to move
files from one node on the internet to another node, quickly and effectively.
FTP has many advantages over e-mail for moving files. It does not limit the
size of the file being sent; unlike e-mail which often breaks up files into
smaller segments. FTP is faster and has greater flexibility. A file may be
directed to any directory on the user's computer. Mail must go to the mailbox,
be extracted and then moved to an appropriate area.
UNT's Accessing On-line Bibliographical Databases(12) is available using FTP.
Move to the directory where you want this listing. At the $ prompt type "ftp
vaxb.acs.unt.edu". The remote computer responds with "username", you reply
"anonymous". The remote site then responds "password", you enter your internet
address. Now type "cd library", this moves you to the library directory on the
remote computer. Last, enter "get libraries.txt", the file has now been moved
to your computer in the directory you desired.
This is the normal routine for FTP. Access the remote site by "ftp address",
next login as anonymous. For the password use your internet address, if that
does not work use the password "guest." Once connected you use either "li" or
"dir" to list the files in the current directory. To move to another directory
"cd" is used. Once the desired file is found to transfer the file enter "get
filename". To end the remote session enter "quit" or "stop" or "exit" or
"logoff" or "logout".
Many files useful to a librarian exist on the Internet and are available by
FTP. To retrieve Library Resources on the Internet: Strategies for selection
and Use(16), ftp to "vaxb.acs.unt.edu". Change to the directory "library" and
"get libcat-guide". Libraries and Information Resources Networks: a
Bibliography(17) is available at "hydra.uwo.ca" in directory "libsoft" with
the file name "internet_biblio.txt"
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an organization established to protect
Constitutional freedoms on the new electronic networks. The EFF has many
documents concerning free access to information and privacy rights of
individuals available for anonymous ftp. The Library Bill of Rights, for
example is available here. To acquire the material ftp to ftp.eff.org change
directory to pub/academic/library. The file "Readme" is a detailed description
of the items in this directory.
The Network Information Center has many useful documents concerning the
Internet. To receive these ftp to nic.ddn.mil, change to directory rfc. FYI on
Where to Start: a Bibliography of Internetworking Information has the file
name RFC1175.txt. The Glossary of Networking Terms is called RFC1208.txt. The
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Internet is a good introduction to the technical
aspects of the Internet and has the filename RFC1118.txt. FYI on Questions and
Answers: Answers to Commonly Asked "New Internet User" Questions is called
Many useful directories exist on the Internet and are available for anonymous
ftp. The Internet Resource Guide(18), which is usable via telnet on CARL, may
be acquired from nnsc.nsf.net directory resource-guide, filename
"chapter*/**". The Listing of the Internet Sites Accepting Anonymous FTP is
quite long and does not provide enough details concerning what resides on the
remote computers. Still, it has some uses and may be received by anonymous ftp
to pilot.njin.net in directory pub/ftp-list, file name "ftp.list".. Zamfiled's
Wonderfully Incomplete, Complete BBS List, gives access information to a great
number of bulletin boards. This may be acquired at hydra.uwo.ca in directory
libsoft with the filename Internet_BBS.txt. Interest Groups which provides
information about computer conferences may be acquired at ftp.nisc.sri.com in
directory netinfo, file name interest- groups. For information on accessing
the campus wide information systems and their contents get CWIS - Campus Wide
Information Systems. It is available at "oit.unc.edu" in directory
pub/docs/cwis with the file name "cwis.txt".(19)
Computer software, as well as text files are available via anonymous ftp. The
Library Software Archive (LIBSOFT) at the School of Library and Information
Science at the University of Western Ontario has an excellent collection. This
site has only library software more general applications are available
elsewhere. FTP to hydra.uwo.ca or 126.96.36.199 in directory pub/libsoft. A
computer based tutorial for teaching on-line searching of Dialog has the file
name Dialog.exe. The Learn_to_Search.Com file has seven lessons on on-line
searching and a quiz. A thesauri construction program which assists in
creating, modifying and printing a small thesaurus has the name Thesauri.exe.
Other programs provide a hypertext format directory and access to OPAC's on
the Internet while another does the same for CWIS. The file descriptions are
in the file index.txt. These are machine specific, most using DOS, so check if
they will work on your system before receiving.
Technical and scientific information is also available on- line. Magellan data
is available on Washington State University's public computer archive,
WUARCHIVE. To acquire the information ftp to WUARCHIVE.WUSTL.EDU, move to
directory graphics/magellan. The file "readme.1st" gives a brief introduction
to the scope and contents of the archive.
The information given provides a sample of what is available on the Internet.
Places to gain additional information have also been given. However, the
Internet is not static it is constantly growing as new networks are added. Any
of the directories showing what is available quickly goes out of date. A year
may make a great difference. Networks, already part of the Internet are adding
institutions one by one. Networks joining the system often add great numbers.
For instance, in the past year JANET joined the Internet. This brought over
fifty additional libraries on-line. Institutions on the system are changing,
by adding new features. No longer is the library catalog the only item
available. Institutions have full text files, directories, indexes and even
graphics. This growth shows no sign of slowing.
The Internet may be a mixed blessing for established networks. Lower
communication costs may make networking less costly and so more attractive.
However, with increased competition from massive union catalogs some libraries
may find the need for the bibliographic utilities less necessary. The Internet
will change the traditional networks, how remains to be seen.
The Internet may impact several areas of library operations. For the reference
librarian it provides increased access to resources, such as indexes and
bibliographies, outside the walls of the library. The librarian in
acquisitions may use the Internet to verify bibliographic data, find prices,
place an order or even acquire the material electronically. The cataloger will
find numerous places for copy cataloging. All members of the staff will
benefit with the access to current awareness materials.
This will in turn benefit the patron. Faster acquisition and processing of
materials will make information more current. Increased access to information
will better satisfy the wants and needs of the researcher. Libraries which
make intelligent use of this computer network should reap the benefits which
1. Krol, E.; The Hitchhikers Guide to the Internet. Network Working Group,
Request for Comments 1118. 1989; [Available by anonymous ftp at
2. Ames Research Center; The NASA Science Internet. Ames Research Center,
Moffett Field CA, 1990. [Available via anonymous ftp at DFTNIC.gsfc.nasa.gov]
3. National Science Foundation Network Service Center; Internet Resource
Guide. Cambridge, MA: NSF Network Service Center 1989. [available by anonymous
ftp from nnsc.nsf.net directory resource-guide, file name chapter */**]
4. Notess, Greg; "Searching EPIC on the Internet" MeckJournal v.1(2), Nov.,
1991 [available by sending the e- mail message: Subscribe MeckJournal your
e-mail address to "[email protected]".]
5. Newton, Harry; Newton's Telcom Dictionary. New York, NY: Telcom Library,
6. Malkin, Gary Scott and April N. Marine; FYI on Questions and Answers:
Answers to Questions Commonly Asked "New Internet Users". Network Working
Group RFC 1206; Feb., 1991. [available via anonymous ftp at nic.ddn.mil,
directory rfc filename RFC1206.TXT.]
7. Bailey, Charles W.; Library-oriented Computer Conferences and Electronic
Serials. 1991. [available to subscribers of PACS-L computer conference.]
8. University of Sussex Library; OPACS in the UK : a List of Interactive
Library Catalogues on JANET. Brighton, U.K.: JANET User Group, 1991.
[available via anonymous ftp from vaxb.acs.unt.edu, directory library, file
9. St. George, A. and Larsen, R.; Internet-Accessable Library Catalogs and
Databases. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico, 1991. [available via
anonymous ftp at ariel.unm.edu directory library filename internet-library]
10. Kovacs, D.K.; Directory of Scholarly Electronic Conferences. 1991.
[available by anonymous ftp at ksuvxa.kent.edu, file name ACADLIST.FILE5]
11. Strangelove, M. and Kovacs, D.K.; Directory of Electronic Journals,
Newsletters and Scholarly Discussion Groups. Washington: Association of
Research Libraries, 1991. [available via e-mail from host
12. Barron, B.; UNT's Accessing On-line Bibliographical Databases. Denton, TX:
University of North Texas, 1991. [available via anonymous ftp at
vaxb.acs.unt.edu; directory library; file name libraries.txt]
13. Condon, C. BITNET Userhelp, BITNET 1990. [available by e-mail message "get
bitnet userhelp to [email protected]]
14. Chew, J.J.; Internetwork Mail Guide. 1990. [available by e-mail to
[email protected] with message "get network guide".]
15. Goode, Joanne and Maggie Johnson; "Putting out the Flames: the Etiquette
and Law of E-Mail" Online 15(6) Nov., 1991 p. 61-67.
16. Stanton, D.E.; Libraries and Information Resources Networks: a
Bibliography. 1991. [available by anonymous ftp at csuvax1.csu.murdoch.edu.au;
directory pub/library; file name stanton.bib]
17. Farley, L.; Library Resources on the Internet: Strategies for selection
and Use. Chicago: ALA Reference and Adult Services Division Machine Assisted
Reference Section, Direct Patron Access to Computer-Based Reference Systems
Committee, 1991. [available by anonymous ftp from dla.ucop.edu, directory
pub/internet; file name libcat-guide]
18. National Science Foundation; Internet Resource Guide. 1991. [available via
ftp to nnsc.nsf.net directory resource-guide, file name chapter */**]
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anonymous ftp at oit.unc.edu, directory pub/docs/cwis with file name
Arms, C.R.; "Using the National Networks: BITNET and the Internet" Online
14(5) 1990, p.24-29.
Britten, W.A.; "BITNET and the Internet: Scholarly Networks for Librarians"
College & Research Library News, 1990, 51(2) p. 103-107.
Frey, D. and Adams, R.; !%@:: a Directory of Electronic Mail Addressing and
Networks. Sebastopol, CA: O'Reilly and Assoc., 1990.
Kalin, S.W.; Beyond OPACs ... the Wealth of Information Resources on the
Internet" Database, 1991, 14(4) p. 28-33.
LaQuey Tracy; The User's Directory of Computer Networks. Bedford, MA: Digital
Lynch, C.A. and Preston, C.M.; "Internet Access to Information Resources."
Annual Review of Information Science and Technology. 1990 v.26 p.263-312.
Malkin, G.; "Answers to Commonly Asked New Internet User Questions : Network
Working Group, Requests for Comments 1206". 1991. [available via anonymous ftp
from host nic.ddn file name
Nielsen, B.; Finding it on the Internet: the Next Challenge for Librarianship"
Database, 1990, 13 p. 105-107.
Quaterman, John S.; The Matrix: Computer Networks and Conferencing Systems
Worldwide. Bedford, MA: Digital Press,
Rockman, Ilene F.; "Reference Uses of Campus Computer Networks" Reference
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Veihland, Dennis W.; A Resource Guide to Listservers, BITNET, and Usenet. 1991
[available from [email protected] with command get listserv guide.]