A Class on the Net for Librarians with Little or No Net Experience

LESSON 1: WELCOME / SYLLABUS

"O brave new world, That has such people in't!"

--William Shakespeare, _The Tempest_, 1611-12


Welcome to "Back-to-School," the electronic library classroom, a series of instructional sessions designed specifically for librarians and library staff who have had little or no experience with the Internet, who possess little or no technical knowledge, who may be accessing the Net from dumb terminals connected to mainframes or from hand-me-down PC's of limited power manufactured in the "ancient past" (that's anywhere from 2-5 years ago), and who are admittedly much more comfortable with books on their laps than with computers.

Do not despair. You *can* and *will* learn to surf through cyberspace. After all, I did it, and, like many of you, I come from the old card catalog-based library school tradition; in fact, I only began exploring the Net a few years ago, with an IBM 286 PC and a shell account on our University's mainframe system. What motivated me to start is the same thing that motivates you.

As librarians, we recognize a professional responsibility to manage information in all forms and formats, which includes information on the Net -- not, I might add, an easy task. Speaking at the 1995 South Carolina Library Association's annual meeting in February, Jean Polly, Director of Public Services, NYSERNet, pointed out that the Internet was created by teckies who like to group information in files under headings such as "Neat Stuff," and "More Neat Stuff." Add to this the fact that the Internet itself is so vast and so volatile, and you'll see right away what librarians are up against.

Rick Gates, creator of the Internet Hunt, has described the Internet this way:

If the Net *is* a library, then it's adding a new wing today (overnight) while removing another; and all the books at the Reserve Desk are being moved to a new location; the online catalog is being augmented by three new tools, (one of which is free, one of which was written by the new person in Dept. A); the entire phono disk collection just disappeared; any number of users can simultaneously check out the latest issue of the Journal of Obscure Chemistry; the reference department works at home now, and we just discovered 10,000 new books in a part of the library that we swear wasn't there yesterday. And tomorrow will be different . . .

In the world of cyberspace, there is little doubt that the skills of the library profession are needed more than ever before. But who will teach us how to manage information on the Net? Unfortunately, most of us will have to assume the responsibility for teaching ourselves, and that's the purpose of this electronic classroom. I want to share with you some of what I've learned about locating and retrieving electronic information.

In the lessons that follow I'll be introducing you to the Internet; I'll explain what it is and how it got started, and I'll take you down some interesting pathways in a variety of information-packed fields. We'll talk about how to use the basic tools of the Internet, how to find the information we need, and how to transmit data electronically from site to site.

All you will need for the trip is a computer with access to email and telnet and, as we prepare to journey into the realms of gopherspace and hyperspace, a sense of kinship with Steven Spielberg or Gene Roddenberry.


The following is an outline of the topics we'll be covering:

Lesson 1: WELCOME / SYLLABUS
Lesson 2: HISTORY OF THE NET
Lesson 3: INTERNET CONNECTIVITY
Lesson 4: EMAIL, PT.1: OPTIONS
Lesson 5: EMAIL, PT.2: ADDRESSES
Lesson 6: EMAIL, PT.3: LOCATORS
Lesson 7: LISTSERV, PT.1: OPTIONS
Lesson 8: LISTSERV, PT.2: ADDRESSES
Lesson 9: LISTSERV, PT.3: COMMANDS
Lesson 10: SEARCHING IN THE HUMANITIES AND FINE ARTS
Lesson 11: NETIQUETTE
Lesson 12: GOPHER, PT.1: CLIENT / SERVER
Lesson 13: GOPHER, PT.2: GOPHERIN'
Lesson 14: GOPHER, PT.3: SUBJECT TREES
Lesson 15: SEARCHING IN THE SOCIAL SCIENCES
Lesson 16: VERONICA, JUGHEAD, WAIS
Lesson 17: TELNET, PT.1: THE UPSIDE
Lesson 18: TELNET, PT.2: THE DOWNSIDE
Lesson 19: USENET: THE WILD SIDE?
Lesson 20: SEARCHING IN THE SCIENCES
Lesson 21: SPAMMING
Lesson 22: FTP, PT.1: FILE COMMANDS
Lesson 23: FTP, PT.2: FILE RETRIEVAL
Lesson 24: FTP, PT.3: ARCHIE AND FTP FILE COMPRESSION
Lesson 25: SEARCHING IN GOVERNMENT AND THE LAW
Lesson 26: WWW, PT.1: HYPERTEXT
Lesson 27: WWW, PT.2: THE URL AND SEARCH ENGINES
Lesson 28: WWW, PT.3: THE FUTURE
Lesson 29: FINAL EXAM
Lesson 30: SEARCHING IN "NEAT STUFF": LIBRARY CORNER
ADDENDA:


Before we begin, I'm going to give you your first assignment. Find the name, telephone number, and email address of your local Internet "support desk" and/or service provider.

Once you get this information, do *not* send it to me. I have no need for it, but you will. Keep it handy next to your computer terminal and remember, the best thing you can do right now is to begin developing a friendly relationship with your local Internet service provider. When you come up against technical or operational roadblocks, it is he or she - not me - who will have the answers for you.

Remember, there is no uniformity of networks and connections among us. Because basic commands differ from one software package to another, what works for you may or may not work for me. For example, because of the variety of software packages being run at the eight campuses of the University of South Carolina, we cannot always share "cheat sheets" or instructional guides among the various sites; folks at each location have to learn particulars given their campus setup (and, yes, of course there are different setups from department to department as well, even on the same campus!).


TALKING BACK

As you read through the BCK2SKOL lessons, you may come across errors that need correcting or URLs that need updating; you may have an interesting site or useful information you'd like to see included in the lessons; you may have an informational question for me to answer or a technical problem for my collaborator, Miriam Mitchell, to solve. We don't make promises, and we don't deal in miracles, but if you wish to communicate with either of us about any aspect of the course you can reach us at our BCK2SKOL email address:
bck2eln@sc.edu

Last, but certainly not least, I would like to thank these folks for their knowing (and unknowing) assistance and support in putting together the BCK2SKOL course.

Patrick Crispen, creator of the "Roadmap for the Information superhighway Internet Training Workshop," who has graciously permitted us to quote him and to borrow from the basic format of his workshop. He's the one who got me started and I cite him frequently.

Miriam Mitchell, Sr. Systems Analyst, Academic Research Support, Computer Services, Division of Libraries and Information Systems, University of South Carolina Columbia, my colleague and collaborator, mentor and electronic "hand-holder", who got sucked into this project before she realized how much time she'd have to devote to it. Although she manages to maintain a low profile in the text, Miriam has co-authored much of it; she rescues me when I get in over my head (a frequent occurrance) and she does it all via email from a great distance away. Without her daily guidance and oversight, this course would never have become a reality.

Tobias Brasier, USC's Computer Services WebMaster, who is responsible for serving BCK2SKOL pages and doing all the "behind-the-scenes" HTML markup magic and Hee Chiat Chew, a recent USC graduate, who spent many student hours "on-task" before moving on to greener pastures.

Bob Cummins, Tom Odom, and Mark Palombo of USC Beaufort; Rebecca Feind of USC Columbia; and Inara Turkopuls of USC Spartanburg -- all of whom have contributed in various ways to the creation and maintenance of the BCK2SKOL course.


* "BCK2SKOL" is a free electronic library classroom created by Ellen Chamberlain, Head Librarian, University of South Carolina Beaufort, and Miriam Mitchell, Sr. Systems Analyst, USC Columbia. Additional support is provided by the Division of Libraries & Information Systems, University of South Carolina Columbia.


Your feedback and support for BCK2SKOL are appreciated; please email link updates, suggestions and comments to: bck2eln@eechambe@gwm.sc.edu

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Links checked 19 October 1999. See the BCK2SKOL homepage for course update details.
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URL: http://www.sc.edu/bck2skol/fall/lesson1.html