The paper examines the user's requirements from an online host, from the point of view of the inexperienced or non‐user and the experienced information specialist. The historical reactions of users who came early to online are recounted with the manner in which information on online was passed on to new users at that time. The article goes on to examine the needs of non‐users who are not information specialists and inexperienced users with some retrieval knowledge, before examining the experienced information specialist's expectations from an online host today.
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