The Internet is a decentralized network of computers located throughout the world. Many of these machines (or servers) contain information which is freely available while others require payment or at least some form of authorization to log in. The growth of the network in recent years has opened up new ways of storing and accessing information and presents a challenge for anyone involved in information work. Improvements in telecommunications will see the Internet develop into a vital piece of information infrastructure through which it will be possible to transmit not just text but images and video. This paper provides a brief overview of the Internet: what it is, where it came from and what it offers. It introduces some of the tools that have emerged in recent years to help find and retrieve information from the many servers throughout the world. It also provides hints on where to look for more information on getting connected. In conclusion some comments are made on the relevance of the Internet for the information community and attention is drawn to some policy developments in the USA and the UK.
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