Friday, May 1, 2009

Introduction to the Internet: Internet Applications


  • Internet service allowing one computer to log onto another, connecting as if not remote. Commands you enter from your own computer are executed exactly as if you were seated at the remote machine.
  • Used for online library catalogues prior to WWW.
  • Some examples of telnet catalogues still exist

Mailing lists aka Listservs
  • Group communication
    o One message sent to many members
    o Subject based
    o Automated distribution systems
    o Many uses
    § Discussion, disseminating info, surveys & questionnaires, electronic meetings

An automatic mailing list server. When e-mail is addressed to a LISTSERV mailing list, it is automatically broadcasted to everyone on the list. The result is similar to a newsgroup or forum, except that the messages are transmitted as e-mail and are therefore available only to individuals on the list. LISTSERV is a commercial product marketed by L-Soft International. Although LISTSERV refers to a specific mailing list server, the term is sometimes used incorrectly to refer to any mailing list server.


Finding mailing lists

CataList [the catalog of LISTSERV lists]

  • Search for a mailing list of interest
  • View lists by host country
  • View lists with 10,000 subscribers or more
  • View lists with 1,000 subscribers or more


  • A commercial email service with a free service for mailing lists
  • Directory of thousands of newsletters and mailing lists
  • Can be searched or browsed


  • Can browse by name, description, or domain

Library-Oriented Lists & Electronic Serials

  • A compilation of electronic discussion lists, distribution lists and serials which are if interest to library professionals and staff.

**This site was accessed via the Wayback machine at the above link. It is possible to still browse the lists via the alphabetical lists, but to access the individual lists they must be searched.


  • A worldwide bulletin board system that can be accessed through the Internet or through many online services. The USENET contains more than 14,000 forums, called newsgroups that cover every imaginable interest group. It is used daily by millions of people around the world.
  • Webopedia

Usenet newsgroups

  • Usenet newsgroups are the oldest collection of message boards on the Internet.
  • They date to the original newsgroups created in 1979 at UNC
  • Newsgroups are public bulletin boards
  • A new newsgroup is created for each topic

Newsgroups aka Usenet News

  • Have nothing to do with news
  • Discussion groups where anyone can read messages sent to them
  • Thousands exist
  • Wide range of subjects all divided into groups
    o Most common category “alt.”

Usenet news categories

  • Newsgroups are organized and named in a topic hierarchy
  • Original Usenet News had 7 categories
    o comp computer science related
    o news network news related (about groups)
    o rec hobbies, sports, recreational activities
    o sci scientific research
    o soc social issues, politics
    o talk debate on controversial topics
    o misc other topics
    · Important other categories include
    o alt controversial or unusual topics
    Note: alt groups are not carried by all sites
    o bionet for biologists
    o biz business related groups
    o humanities literature, art, etc.
    o k12 for educators and k-12 topics
    · Names are read from left to right
    o Examples
    § biz.comp.hardware
    § humanities.classics
    · There are thousands of newsgroups

How to access usenet news

  • Dedicated reader application e.g. NewsWatcher, WinVN Newsreader
  • Newsreader programme in browser e.g. Messenger in Netscape Communicator, Microsoft Outlook in Internet Explorer
  • Through search engines e.g. Google Groups
  • Tile.Net includes listing of usenet news groups

Internet protocols

  • TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
    o A set of rules that allow computers that are connected to a network to interact with each no matter their platform e.g. PC, Mac, UNIX
    o a tool which allows files to be transferred from “computer A” to “computer B” or vice versa
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
    o The protocol, or set of rules, which enables files to be transferred from one computer to another. It is part of the TCP/IP protocol suite.
    o With FTP you can find a lot of files, that cannot be found in normal search engines. Instead of searching for pages you can search for files
    o FTP is the most widely used form of file transfer used to upload WebPages to the Internet.
    o One of the oldest Internet services (1971)
    o Rules used to copy files on the Internet
    § copy from remote servers to desktop computers (called downloading)
    § copy from desktop computers to remote serves (called uploading)
    o Essential Internet tool
    o Anonymous FTP allows a user to access a wealth of publicly available information. No special account or password is needed.
    o However, an anonymous FTP site will sometimes ask that users login with the name “anonymous” and use their e-mail address as the password.
    o There is a wide variety of files that are publicly available through anonymous FTP:
    § Shareware – software that you can use free for a trial period but then pay a fee for
    § Freeware – completely free software, for example fonts, clipart and games
    § Upgrades & Patches – upgrades to current software and “fixes” for software problems
    § Documents – examples include research papers, articles and Internet documentation
    o Files on FTP servers are often compressed. Compression decreases file size. This enables more files to be stored on the server and makes file transfer times shorter. In order to use a compressed file it needs to be decompressed using appropriate software.
    o It is a good idea to have current virus checking software on the computer before files are transferred to it.

Ways to FTP

  • Use Web browser
    o Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox
    · Use dedicated FTP client
    o WS_FTP Limited Edition, free version (Windows), Fetch (Macintosh)

Finding FTP Files

  • The file search engine combines a FTP search engine and an eDonkey search engine. It supports the list of public FTP servers. To search for files on free FTP sites or eDonkey/Overnet enter parts of the filename or other file searching criteria.
  • TILE.NET http://www.tile.netAnonymous FTP sites listed by country and site name
  • Rated links to ftp and mp3 search sites
  • OthNet Provides a search for music files in FTP server.

File compression

  • Freeze-dried food files are smaller
  • Several files can be grouped together taking up less space on ftp server
  • Transfer quicker since they’re smaller
  • Must be compressed in order to use
  • Win Zip is shareware compression software

Blogs and blogging

  • Blog
  • (n.) short for Web log, a blog is a Web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of an author.

Library blogs

Finding Weblogs

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