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On this page you can find out what the internet is and where it came from, links to recommended search engines and subject directories, information about the 'Invisible Web' and Web 2.0 technologies, and what you have access to through the Library.

Internet Feature

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What is the Internet?

Link to larger image

Caption: A graphical representation of how a 'map' of the Internet might look. Footnote [1.]

The Internet is the millions of interconnected home, business, academic, and government networks around the world linked together by telephone lines, cables or satellites. This "network of networks" carries various services such as email, online chat, online games, and the World Wide Web, a collection of interconnected documents and pages, linked by hyperlinks and URLs.

For a very basic introduction to using the internet try this BBC step-by-step guide

The history of the Internet

The story of how the internet came to be such a widespread and relied upon technology is fascinating. The websites below will give you some background on the beginnings of the Internet:

  • A Brief History of the Internet, version 3.32
    "The most interesting thing about the latest version of The Internet Society's history of the Internet is the list of authors. The history of the Internet is, in great measure, the history of the people who made it. This document is written by many of those people, including Vinton Cerf (TCP/IP), Leonard Kleinrock (packet switching theory), Robert Kahn (ARPANET), Jon Postel (RFCs and IP number assignments), David Clark (simple TCP implementation), and Stephen Wolff (NSFNET), among others. Brief History stresses four areas: technological evolution, operations and management, social aspects, and commercialization aspects." (2006 Internet Scout Project)
  • Nerds 2.0.1: A Brief History of the Internet
    "This fantastic site shines the spotlight on the "nerds" who developed one of the most important technologies of modern day life. It begins with an overview of technologies developed in World War II that would eventually make the Internet possible. A good multimedia animation demonstrates the concept of packet switching, the fundamental communication process involved in decentralized networks. The next section looks at early applications of the Internet in the corporate world, which is followed by the global adoption of the World Wide Web. The last three sections are more references than stories; one highlights many of the founders and key developers that contributed to the Internet's growth. Another briefly defines some terminology, and the last section is a decade-by-decade timeline." (2006 Internet Scout Project)

Invisible web

The invisible or "deep" web refers to web-based material that is not indexed by search engines. It is estimated to be many times larger than the "surface" web. It includes such things as non-text content, unlinked pages, and sites like the Library's mygateway.info subscription databases that require you to login to access their rich content.

Web 2.0

Web 2.0 is a term used to describe the trend to use the World Wide Web not just as a collection of websites, but as a platform for technologies that emphasise creativity and collaboration between and among users and providers. Examples of applications and services that could come under this heading include blogs, wikis, podcasts, RSS feeds, social networking sites such as Facebook, and photo sharing sites like flickr.

For definitions of these, or any other, internet or computer-related jargon search in Webopedia from internet.com.

For more detailed explanations and background try Wikipedia.

Down to the Wire: the story of New Zealand's Internet

Down to the Wire is a website that compiles the history of the internet in New Zealand and how it has impacted on the lives of its citizens. The site features interviews with local internet personalities. It also allows users to browse content, navigate years, and contribute their own stories.

2010 is the latest year in the New Zealand's Internet timeline. It was a year of "Piracy, Privacy, and Pace". Highlights were thriving online businesses, controversy around Paul Henry's comments, hopes for an ultra-fast broadband and more...

Visit Down to the Wire and review the impact of Social Media on our lives, privacy pirates, and Kiwi Websites of the year 2010 .


book coverConnecting the clouds : the Internet in New Zealand, Keith Newman
"Controversial and enlightening, Connecting the Clouds takes us from small beginnings to today's borderless world where fast, pervasive always-on Internet has arrived at our digital doorstep. It backgrounds the evolution of electronic communications in New Zealand from the telegraph and telephone, through to advances in computer and Internet technology which continue to transform government, business, communities and our personal lives...." (description from activitypress.com)


  • Internet, (Te Ara Website)
    "From the late 1990s internet use in New Zealand expanded rapidly. Smaller, nimbler internet service providers like Ihug, Actrix, Econet and others proved popular. By 2006, 56% of New Zealand households had internet access. But individual subscribers' non-work access to high-speed broadband internet remained comparatively low - 14% of the population, 22nd amongst OECD countries...."
  • InternetNZ
    "InternetNZ (Internet New Zealand Inc.) is the non-profit open membership organisation dedicated to protecting and promoting the Internet in New Zealand and fostering a coordinated, cooperative approach to its ongoing development. Our primary objective is "high performance and unfettered access for all" so the Internet continues to operate in an open environment that cannot be captured by any entity or individual for their own ends."


  1. Attributed to Wikipedia user Matt Britt. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License. back

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