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. Modern Design Dictionary: Internet
Photography Encyclopedia: Internet
US History Encyclopedia: Internet

310808 - 1 - Business Encyclopedia: Internet - Lloyd W Bartholome

The Internet is a technology and electronic communication system such as the world has never seen before. In fact, some people have said that the Internet is the most important innovation since the development of the printing press.

History of the Internet

The Internet was created as a result of the Cold War. In the mid 1960s it became apparent that there was a need for a bomb-proof electronic communication system. A concept was devised to link computers by cable or wire throughout the country in a distributed system so that if some parts of the country were cut off from other parts, messages could still get through. In the beginning, only the federal government and a few universities were linked because the Internet was basically an emergency military communication system, operated by the Department of Defense's Advanced Research Project Agency (ARPA). The whole operation was referred to as ARPANET.

ARPA was linked to computers at a group of top research universities receiving ARPA funding. The first four universities connected to ARPANET were the University of California-Los Angeles, Stanford University, the University of California-Santa Barbara, and the University of Utah. Thus, the Internet was born. Because of a concept developed by Larry Roberts of ARPA and Glen Kleinrock at UCLA, called packet switching, the Internet was able to become a decentralized system, which would prevent large-scale destruction of any centralized system. The system allowed different types of computers from different manufacturers to send messages to one another. Computers merely transmitted information to one another in a standardized protocol packet. The addressing information in these packets told each computer in the chain where the packet was supposed to go.

As the Internet grew, more capability was added. A program called Telnet allowed remote users to run programs and computers at other sites. The File Transfer Protocol (FTP) allowed users to transfer data files and programs. Gopher programs, developed at the University of Minnesota and named after the university's mascot, allowed menu-driven access to data resources on the Internet. Search engines such as Archie and Wide Area Index Search (WAIS) gave users the ability to search the Internet's numerous libraries and indices. By the 1980s people at universities, research laboratories, private companies, and libraries were aided by a networking revolution. There were more than thirty thousand host computers and modems on the Internet. The fore-runner of the Internet was the Bitnet, which was a network of virtually every major university in the world. E-mail became routine and inexpensive, since the Internet is a parasite using the existing multibillion-dollar telephone networks of the world as its carriers.

In 1972 Ray Tomlinson invented network e-mail, which became possible with the FTP. With e-mail and FTP, the rate at which collaborative work could be conducted between researchers at participating computer science departments was greatly increased. Although it was not realized at the time, the Internet had begun. TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) breaks large amounts of data down into packets of a fixed size, sequentially numbers them to allow reassembly at the recipient's end, and transmits the packets over the Internet using the Internet protocol.

After the invention of e-mail, it wasn't long before mailing lists were invented. This was a technique by which an identical message could be sent automatically to large numbers of people. The Internet continues to grow. In fact, it is estimated that almost 65 million adults go online on the Internet in the United States every month. Presently, no one operates the Internet. Although there are entities that oversee the system, "no one is in charge." This allows for a free transfer and flow of information throughout the world.

In 1984 the National Science Foundation (NSF) developed NSFNET. Later NASA, the National Institutes of Health, and others became involved, and nodes on the Internet were divided into basic varieties that are still used today. The varieties are grouped by the six basic Internet domains of GOV, MIL, EDU, COM, ORG, and NET. The ARPANET itself formally expired in 1989, a victim of its own success, and the use of TCP/IP (Transfer Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) standards for computer networks is now global.

If Internet invention had stopped at this point, we would probably still be using the Internet primarily just for e-mail. However, in 1989 a second miracle occurred. Tim Berners-Lee, a software engineer at the CERN physics lab in Switzerland, developed a set of accepted protocols for the exchange of Internet information, and a consortium with users was formed—thus creating the World Wide Web, the standard language for encoding information. Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) was adopted. Berners-Lee proposed making the idea global to link all documents on the Internet using hypertext. This lets users jump from one document to another through highlighted words. Other web standards, such as URL (Universal Resource Language) addresses on the Web page and HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol), are also Berners-Lee's inventions. Berners-Lee could have been exceedingly rich based on his invention, but he left the fortune-building to others because he "wanted to do the revolution right."

As a result of Berners-Lee's invention, in 1993 a group at the University of Illinois, headed by Mark Andreesen, wrote a graphical application called Mosaic to make use of the Web easier. The next year a few students from that group, including Andreesen, co-founded Netscape after they graduated in May and released the browser for the World Wide Web in November 1994. The World Wide Web is making the Internet easier to use and has brought two giant advantages. Until the Web, the Internet communicated text only, but the Web permits exchange of uncoded graphics, color-coded graphics, color photographs and designs, even video and sound; and it formats typed copy into flexible typographic pages. The Web also permits use of hyperlinks, whereby users can click on certain words or phrases and be shown links to other information or pictures that explain the key words or phrases. As a result of the World Wide Web and Web browsers, it became easy to find information on the Internet and the Web. Various search engines have been developed to index and retrieve this information.

Using the Internet

How does one use the Internet? First, one must have a computer with a connection to the outside world either by a modem connection, a fiber connection such as used in local cable television, or a wireless connection, which is becoming more important. The user is then connected to a system of linked computer networks that encircle the globe, facilitating a wide assortment of data communication services including e-mail, data and program file transfers, newsgroups and chatgroups, as well as graphic images, sound, and video of all kinds. One must choose the right tool to accomplish each task. Thus, one needs to understand the tools to travel this information superhighway.

The Internet is in cyberspace; think of it as a number of planets, each with a unique kind of data program or other type of information service. The only hitch is that each planet's communicating language is different, and one needs several communicating applications and tools. A person is responsible for selecting the proper software program or utility to access what he or she wants. Each program performs a specific task, ranging from providing basic connections, to accessing resources, to preparing e-mail. Common Internet tools include the following:

1. Connection and log-on software. This software provides access to logon to cyber-space. The software sets up the connections to the Internet. This software is usually provided by an Internet service provider.
2. Web browser. Web browsers are usually free. The most common Web browsers are Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Netscape's Navigator. These software programs can usually be downloaded free of charge; they also come with office suites such as Microsoft Office.
3. E-mail manager and editor. To communicate by e-mail users must have an e-mail manager and editor. This editor creates, sends, receives, stores, and organizes your e-mail. Again, many of these e-mail editors can be downloaded free from the Web. One of the most common editors is Eudora. However, office suites usually come with an e-mail manager as well.

A custom connect program starts the procedure for logging on to the Internet using TCP/IP. This is a set of standards and protocols for sharing data between computers and the Internet. Once the protocols have connected, a user must establish his or her identity and authorization to use the Internet services. The Internet service provider used has its own identity on the Internet, and this identity is known as a domain. Domain names, as mentioned previously, are all names listed to the right of the @ sign in the address with an extension such as .com or .edu. The computer then sends and receives data from a host computer over the Internet. A program such as Telnet breaks up the data into packets. The protocols specify how packets should be layered, or packaged. Different layers of packets address a variety of software and hardware needs to send information over different networks and communication links. After a user has properly logged on, he or she can begin using the Internet services.

After a user has completed an on-line work session, he or she must logoff the Internet and, depending on the circumstances, disconnect from the Internet service provider. If a user is using an educational service provider such as a college or other educational institution, he or she probably logs off but does not disconnect, since the service is a virtual service provided to many others at the terminal or computer. If one is using a private commercial service provider, one must be sure that a complete disconnection has been made between the computer and provider or one may still be paying fees.

The Internet has spawned an entirely whole new industry called electronic commerce or sometimes electronic business. Businesses sell to other businesses and to consumers on the Internet using secure Web sites. The current market value of U.S. companies with substantial Internet revenue via e-commerce exceeds $3 trillion and is growing annually. It is estimated that by 2003 over 88 percent of all businesses will derive some of their revenue from e-commerce. It has also been said that the growth of the Internet and e-commerce has been one of the main causes of the robust economy in the United States.

Thus, the Internet has been one of the most productive technologies in recent history. The Internet can transport information from nearly any place on the globe to nearly any other place in seconds. The Internet has changed people's notion of how fast things happen. People say now they "did it in Internet time," meaning something was done in a fraction of the traditional or expected amount of time. The Internet is becoming a major cause of time compression.

Future of the Internet

What does the future hold for the Internet? Predictions are that in the future nearly every Internet-connected device will communicate wirelessly. Low-power radio cells rather than fiber or copper wire, will connect and relay information. Before 2010, more than half of American homes will have at least one low power radio cell connected to Internet bandwidth. The future appears to hold a wireless Internet because of bandwidth problems with cable or wire.

The personal computer will continue to evolve, but there will be a lot of other Internet-smart appliances. Predictions are that there will be Internet wristwatches to match the person with the message. Televisions will, when prompted, record our favorite shows. Various kitchen appliances will start by Internet commands. The personal automobile will also be a mobile personal information store. Automobiles will have internal connectivity and easily carry a very large cache of favorite music, talk, interactive games, and pictures, while passengers will have the option of looking out the window at the real world or looking in the window of their in-car display. Like the explorers who discovered new continents, people are just beginning to discover the full impact of the Internet on information, space, and time.


Anderson, John. "Internet History and Perspective." February 28, 2000.

Baylogic. "Net History and Statistics." February 28, 2000.

Berners-Lee, Tim. (1996) "Passing up Fortune-Building 'To Do the Revolution Right'." Investor's Business Daily 13(43)(June 7):1-2.

Reidelbach, Dorothy. (1996). "The Amazing New World Wide Web." Planning for Higher Education 24 (Spring):1-6.

Ricart, Glenn. (2000). "Unofficial Technology Marvel of the Millennium." Educause Review January/February: 38-59.

Rochester, Jack B. (1996). Using Computers and Information. Indianapolis, IN: Macmillan.

2 - Modern Design Dictionary: Internet

By the late 20th century the internet had become the principal global means of information exchange for individuals as well as multinational corporations. Its origins lay in the internal linking of computers in the US Defense Department in the 1960s and research relating to the control of missiles and bombers. These so-called intranets evolved into the internet (a contraction of ‘internetwork’), a term first used in the 1970s but increasingly widely used from the later 1980s and early 1990s. The networking of computers was first publicly seen at the 1972 International Computer Communication Conference (ICCC), the same year in which early applications of electronic mail were being explored. Other developments followed as efforts intensified to build communications between different groups of researchers or military constituencies. The introduction of the internet as it is recognized today was facilitated by cooperation between US federal agencies and other international organizations. The World Wide Web, a term that came into current usage in the 1990s, was a means of accessing information—text, graphics, sound, visual, moving image, and virtual reality. It became a vehicle for a whole range of electronic (or ‘e-’) services such as shopping, banking, travel, and insurance as well as an increasingly prominent means of personal and business communication, e-mail. Its popularity was closely interlinked with the widespread use of Personal Computers (PCs) and the international proliferation of internet cafés, providing individuals with almost limitless possibilities for communication. The design of websites—increasingly important to corporations, public institutions, and organizations as a means of giving them a competitive edge—has become a highly profitable aspect for graphic, communication, and multimedia design consultancies, although it has become increasingly common for individuals and families to design their own.

3 - Photography Encyclopedia: Internet - Nick Lambert

The Internet has become an important medium for photographers because it enables images to be transmitted, displayed, and downloaded to computers extremely rapidly worldwide. Photography on the Internet is possible because scanners (and later digital cameras) have been developed to capture images electronically. The first drum scanner was built for the SEAC computer at the US National Bureau of Standards in 1957 by a team led by Russell A. Kirsch (whose other major contribution was to codify the square ‘pixel’ as the basic unit of a digital picture).

The Internet itself grew out of the ARPANET, a network developed under the direction of Dr J. C. R. Licklider of the Advanced Research Projects Agency to link major research centres in the USA. The key to the network's flexibility was its decentralized design, involving routers sending packets of information via all possible connections. The ARPANET was commissioned by the US Department of Defense in 1969 and continued to grow throughout the 1970s. By the 1980s independent service providers and bulletin boards were continuing to multiply, and the Internet Activities Board was founded in 1983. The ARPANET ceased to exist in 1990, by which time it had been superseded by its progeny.

The Internet developed as a visual medium when the first graphical browsers became available. In 1989 Tim Berners-Lee at the Centre Européenne de Recherche Nucléaire (CERN) proposed a web browser that would display webpages consistently across all computers. With the addition of standardized display formats, the World Wide Web (WWW) came into its own from the mid-1990s. Photographs displayed on the Internet are generally shown as JPEG files (invented by the Joint Photographic Experts Group in 1990), GIF files (Graphics Interchange Format, developed by Bob Berry of Compuserve in 1987), and the non-proprietary PNG format (portable network graphics, a free alternative to GIF, developed by Thomas Boutell from 1995). The JPEG is generally used for photographs whilst the GIF is more suitable for geometric shapes and line art. All these formats involve compression, which means that the image's file size is reduced by simplifying its range of colours. Heavy compression results in obvious image degradation, so there is a trade-off between file size and image quality.

The Internet may be used by photographers in several ways. The most obvious is the online gallery, which can showcase one photographer's work or act as a larger repository (e.g. for agencies or picture archives). It presents photographs in a similar way to its physical counterpart, but with the added flexibility of dynamic links and search options to assist viewers. Its layout and style influence its attractiveness to new visitors. The gallery may also be used to sell photographs directly, acting as an online shop. This is useful to freelance photographers wanting to distribute their work, which may be downloaded as secure files or physically mailed to the buyer as prints. Here, the photograph on the website is only a representation of the print, not a substitute for it. The popularity of web-based diaries and writings (weblogs or blogs) has led to collections of images posted as photo journals. Although these are generally by amateurs, the Internet has become a major outlet for online photojournalism. The net speeds delivery of news and photographs, allowing freelancers and small groups to compete with large news agencies. This has broadened the spread of news photography, although some traditional photojournalists fear their skills are being displaced by low-resolution Internet images.

The web's interactive forums also allow the widespread discussion of photographic issues, and interactive reviews of new equipment. This benefits both traditional and digital photographers who want to raise questions or develop their skills. These forums also bring new techniques and concerns to light in a worldwide community of photographers. Other sites teach online photographic courses. The Internet also enables large and rarely seen photographic archives—and document collections like the Talbot Correspondence—to be placed online, often as part of major academic projects. For instance, the 17 million photographs of the Bettmann archive, spanning the 20th century, are to be relocated to a mine north-east of Pittsburgh for preservation underground. Their digitized contents will be made available online with other Corbis holdings. However, the physical inaccessibility of the archive concerns some historians, even though the storage conditions will preserve its actual substance. Another problem relating to this and other large collections is the time it takes to digitize material.

Copyright is a major issue with Internet photography. As with music files, images can be downloaded from websites and used without their owners' permission. The nature of digital data makes copying extremely easy, and although various technologies, including encryption and digital watermarking, are designed to prevent illegal use of images, most can be circumvented. Additionally, older photographs can be scanned and placed in the digital domain. The resulting problems extend from straightforward breach of copyright to more complex issues such as illegal alteration of images. By 2000 this had become both easy and widespread. In 2004 a widely published composite picture ‘showed’ the US presidential candidate John Kerry with Jane Fonda at an anti-Vietnam War protest. It was not only used without the original photographers' permission, but modified for political purposes and posted on websites under the false imprint of Associated Press: a veritable catalogue of infringements. Another notorious 21st-century problem is the creation of pornography at offshore locations and its distribution via the Internet. However, notwithstanding these and other concerns, it seems certain that the Internet will continue to expand rapidly, and probable that, overall, its utility to photographers will continue to outweigh its dangers.


* Mitchell, W. J., The Reconfigured Eye: Visual Truth in the Post-Photographic Era (1992).
* Hoffman, B. (ed.), Exploiting Images and Image Collections in the New Media: Goldmine or Legal Minefield? (1999).
* Andrews, P., The Photographer's Website Manual: The Indispensable Guide to Building and Running a Website (2003)

4 - US History Encyclopedia: Internet

Arguably the most important communications tool ever created, the Internet connects millions of people to online resources each day. Grown from seeds planted during the Cold War, the roots of the Internet were formed to develop a reliable, national system for communications. Although early pioneers disagree over whether the computer-based communications network was built to withstand nuclear attack, the uneasy tension between the United States and the Soviet Union during the Cold War certainly increased the resolve of the United States to fund and develop relevant scientific and defense-related projects aimed at national security.

Home to many of the preeminent scientists of the time, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) served as the birthplace of the Internet. It was there, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, that President Harry Truman's administration formed MIT's Lincoln Laboratories to begin work on the Semi-Automatic Ground Environment. SAGE's primary goal was to develop an air defense system that involved a network of interconnected computers across the United States. The push for advanced technology received an even larger boost in August 1957, when the Soviet Union test fired its first intercontinental ballistic missile and subsequently launched its Sputnik orbiter in October of that same year. Shortly thereafter, President Dwight D. Eisenhower convened a meeting of his Presidential Science Advisory Committee. From that meeting and subsequent congressional testimony on the progress of U.S. defense and missile programs, it became clear that the "science gap" between the two superpowers had widened. Eisenhower sought funding for the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) late in 1957 and obtained it the following year.

In the early 1960s, the Lincoln Laboratory researchers Lawrence Roberts and Leonard Kleinrock worked on developing a method of digitizing and transmitting information between two computers using a communications method called packet switching. Similar work on systems that used store-and-forward switching was also underway in the late 1950s under the direction of Paul Baran and Donald Davies at the National Physical Laboratory in England. At the heart of both research projects was the development of a communications system in which information would be distributed among all nodes on a network, so that if one or more nodes failed, the entire network would not be disabled. This type of network, in which messages were passed from node to node, with no single node responsible for the end-to-end traffic, was called hot-potato routing.

ARPA's first director, J. C. R. Licklider, moved from Lincoln Laboratory to a small Cambridge, Massachusetts–based consulting firm, Bolt, Beranek, and Newman (BBN), where researchers continued to explore the use of computers as tools of communication. While there, Licklider and his colleagues developed the necessary hardware to connect computers to telephone lines and also researched the collection of data from a wide array of other sources including antennae, submarines, and other real-time sensors. Most of BBN's projects were ARPA supported and sought to achieve ARPA's ultimate goal of helping close the science gap by creating a nationwide network of interconnected computers.

In the summer of 1968, ARPA issued a request for proposals to more than 130 different research centers with the goal of creating a digital network of computers conforming to ARPA's technical specifications. Roberts developed the criteria and served as the chief architect of the network's overall design, which included the deployment of "packet switching technology, using half-second response time, with measurement capability, and continuous operation"—that is, an Internet. Frank Heart and the team of scientists at BBN were awarded the contract in December 1968.Outfitted with specialized minicomputers and interface hardware, BBN set out to connect their "packet switches" or Interface Message Processors

(IMPs), at each ARPA-determined remote location (node), which would then communicate with the host computer at that location. Robert Kahn and Vincent Cerf, with Jon Postel and Charles Kline, developed the software to connect host computers to the IMPs, a host-to-host protocol on how packets would be routed. While America was absorbed in NASA's race to land on the moon in the summer of 1969, BBN air shipped its first IMP computer across the country—no small feat for the time. It arrived safely and was working at the first node, the University of California at Los Angeles, in August 1969.

This phase of the ARPA-BBN project was completed in nine months. Meanwhile, work continued on equipping the second node, the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Palo Alto—some four hundred miles away—to the interface message processor. On 1 October 1969 the Stanford node came online and the first message, "LO," was passed that day. BBN continued to progress, installing nodes three and four at the University of California at Santa Barbara (1 November 1969) and the University of Utah (1 December 1969).Only in March of the following year did BBN connect its Cambridge offices to the newly created ARPAnet.

The ARPAnet continued to evolve through the early 1970s with the addition of more diverse data networks such as the University of Hawaii's ALOHAnet packet radio network and the European-based packet satellite network. During this period, the first terminal interface processor (TIP) was introduced to the network, thereby allowing computer terminals to call directly into the ARPAnet using standard telephone lines. In 1972, the first electronic messaging program (e-mail) that supported incoming and outgoing messages was developed. In that same year, a file transfer protocol specification (FTP) to allow for the transmission of data files across the network was designed and tested. With these additions, ARPAnet truly began to fulfill its mission as an open-architecture network, accommodating a variety of different environments and allowing the free sharing of resources.

As the uses of the network grew, more efficient methods for carrying data were needed, forcing an evolution of transmission protocols—the underlying control layer in which the messages flowed—and addressing schemes. After many refinements, TCP/IP (transmission control protocol/Internet protocol) became the de facto standard for communicating on the network. A naming scheme also became necessary and the Domain Name System (DNS) was developed by Paul Mockapetris of the University of Southern California. DNS allowed for the assignment of names to networks and nodes, supplanting the use of numeric addresses. In 1973, Ethernet technology was developed, allowing for the rapid addition of nodes and workstations to the network. With the birth of the personal computer and local area networks (LANs) in the early 1980s, the network grew at a staggering pace.

The federal government funded the network and its infrastructure through 1995.The work of the National Science Foundation (NSF) was instrumental for under-standing the future evolution of the Internet as a true "information superhighway." However, federal funding of the Internet was terminated as a result of the NSF's privatization initiative to encourage commercial network traffic. Control of the large backbones of the network—the set of paths with which local or regional networks connected for long-haul connectivity—was redistributed to private regional network service providers.

The Internet serves as a vital network of communication in the form of e-mail, news groups, and chat. It also provides unparalleled resource sharing and resource discovery through the World Wide Web. At the end of 2001, the Internet continued its phenomenal annual rate of growth of 100 percent. At its start in 1981, the Internet connected just over two hundred researchers and scientists. By the end of 2002, it is estimated that the Internet had the capacity to reach more than six billion people worldwide.


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