To College Division Homepage Writing Online: A Student's Guide to the Internet and World Wide Web
 CROSSLINKS: Chapter 1—Writing Online

Chapter 1 of Writing Online offered a brief look at what it is like to write online and surveyed different issues that will affect how we might write online in the future. The Crosslinks for this chapter are in four sections: Internet history, privacy/copyright, technology news and updates, and writing online.


| History | Privacy/Copyright | Technology | Writing | Crosslinks by Chapter |
History of the Internet 
  • All about the Internet offers links to the best Internet timelines, first-person accounts from the people who helped design the Internet and WWW, and papers and essays from early Internet and WWW designers. This site is maintained by the Internet Society, whose mission is "To assure the open development, evolution and use of the Internet for the benefit of all people throughout the world."  
  • Flashback: Prophets of the Computer Age, published by The Atlantic Unbound, the online incarnation of the venerable Atlantic Monthly Magazine, features early articles and essays about the formation of computers. Most famous among these is Vannavar Bush's 1945 contribution, As We May Think, generally regarded as the first essay to imagine hypertext and to forsee what we now know as the World Wide Web.
  • <w3history> is an ongoing project that chronciles the history and development of the WWW. It is maintained and sponsored by the Online Department of Deutsche Welle, Cologne, Germany's international broadcaster. This is currently (December 12, 1999) a work in progress, but one worth noting and keeping an eye on.  
  • Yahoo! Internet Life. Published by ZDNet, this online magazine reports on Internet and World Wide Web trends and events. It's a good place to go for leads on new and useful web sites, profiles of people who work and play on the WWW, and tips on how to use the WWW to improve your pages. It's history in the making.
  • Tim Berners-Lee Interview from Internet World, an online magazine. Berners-Lee invented the protocols used in the World Wide Web, and in this interview he talks about his idea of the semantic web, where "meaning itself is embedded in the framework of the Web, and its infrastructure reflects and communicates the relationships among Internet resources." 
  • "history of the Internet" is a phrase search in AltaVista. This will give you a list of pages that use the phrase "history of the Internet." Once there, you can modify the phrase or try a different one altogether. 
  • Research Idea: Choose a moment from the Internet's history and place that moment in the fuller context of events of its day. What was going on with other computer developments at the time? What was happening on the political scene? Look for connections and overlaps. What was the connection between research and war efforts in the development of the Internet? A good starting place for this type of research is the <w3history> site, which includes references to other events going on at the same time as the Net's history evolved.

| History | Privacy/Copyright | Technology | Writing | Crosslinks by Chapter |
Privacy and Copyright Issues 
  • Copyright overview by Nolo Legal Encyclopedia. This site provides understandable overviews of copyright, trademark, fair use, and intellectual property, all legal concepts you will need to be familiar with as you work online. 
  • Illustrative Scenarios for Fair Use from the Consortium for Educational Technology in University Systems (CETUS) offer examples of the kinds of uses of material on the WWW and Internet that affect fair use. After consulting Nolo above, visit these scenarios to see one way the law might play out in practice. 
  • CCCC-IP Page offers an overview of copyright from the Conference on College Compositon and Communications Caucus on Intellectual Property and Composition Studies. The site offers a rough guide to determining when a work is in the public domain, as well as a page of links to copyright and IP resources 
  • Intellectual Value, an essay by Esther Dyson that appeared in Wired Magazine's Online Edition, suggests that because it "allows us to copy content essentially for free, the Net poses interesting challenges for owners, creators, sellers, and users of intellectual property."
  • Selling Wine without Bottles, written by John Perry Barlow in 1992, predicted that the WWW would cause us to radically rethink copyright and IP law. So far Barlow's predicitons have not come to pass, but his essay remains compelling. 
  • Information That Wants to Be Free, the online papers of Laura Fillmore, President, Open Book Systems (OBS), offers innovative takes on the way publishing, copyright, and intellectual property rights may evolve. Of special use to students on this page will be her considerations of censorship, which, although not directly related to copyright, offer useful insights. 
  • Research Idea: Choose either the Dyson or the Barlow essay, both of which received lots of commentary and criticism. Include the author's name and/or the essay title in a search engine, and try to find as many of those comments or criticisms as you can. Read through the material and write an essay that evaluates the larger issues and arguments made.

| History | Privacy/Copyright | Technology | Writing | Crosslinks by Chapter |
Technology News and Updates 
  • IACP's Technology Updates and Tips. Offered by the International Association of Computer Professionals, this site offers a range of computing tips and updates, including computer software tips for your everyday writing needs. Best thing about the site: the advice is not too jargon heavy. 
  • CNET's News.com offers technology news from more of a business angle, but it's a good place to follow trends and announcements of new technology products as well.
  • Salon Technology offers comprehensive technology coverage with a fair amount of wit. Archives of coverage of major stories (Microsoft Antitrust case and Open Source Software, to name but two) provide good starting places for researchers.
  • New York Times Technology coverage includes their special Cybertimes section. Cybertimes offers regular coverage of the Internet and WWW, including weekly features on how the Net will affect and by affected by cyberlaw, the arts, and education. The site requires you to register, but registration is free and you can choose not to get emails.
  • The Atlantic Unbound, Technology coverage is smart and includes content that can only be found online. Of special interest are their Flashback: Prophets of the Computer Age selections, which place online articles on computers and technology that orginally appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, a magazine that's over 100 years old.
  • Research Idea: Compare an older technology that had a dramatic effect on history: the railroad, the telegraph, the printing press, the plow, the stirrup, gunpowder—to the Internet or World Wide Web. Use this comparison in an essay where you present your thoughts on a particular issue facing writers, students, or society. (For example, many critics of computer technology in schools compare the promises computer advocates make to the promises advocates of cable television used to make about how that technology would revolutionize teaching and learning. See Oppenheimer's "The Computer Delusion" for example.) 

| History | Privacy/Copyright | Technology | Writing | Crosslinks by Chapter |
Writing Online 
  • Using the Internet: Why Bother and One Way to Get Started by Jennifer Jordan-Henley, a writing center director and online scholar, describes how the Internet can help both students and teachers become better learners and professionals. This short piece provides a good rationale for using the Internet, no matter what your career and academic goals may be. 
  • The Importance of Writing: Past Present and Future by Joe Kelly, a Writing Tutor at Roane State Community College, presents a cogent view of the role writing has always had and will continue to have as our writing technologies continue to evolve. As you write online, perhaps the best thing to remember is the suggestion that "written words leave an account" of our ideas and of who we are. 
  • The Writer a la Modem is a 1993 essay by Julian Dibbell that begins most tellingly with "I became a writer the day I bought my first computer, and that, by no coincidence, was the last day I knew with any certainty what a writer was." The piece describes how he yearned to be a writer in a print-based world, but learned to make the sometimes awkward adjustment to writing online. 
  • What is Hypertext? by Charles Deemer, describes the author's first encounter with hypertext by recalling a time he had writer's block and the way his mind began to associate and form a constellation of ideas around his writing topic. 
  • Refections on the Computer Screen, Part One is the first of a three-part essay written by Michael Heim in 1990 that takes a critical and philosophical look at the effect computer technologies will have on the humanities and on writing. Parts Two and Three are also available.
  • The Message Is the Medium, by Wen Stephenson, is a reply to Sven Birkerts's Gutenberg Elegies. Birkerts argued that there's a big difference between reading on the page (Gutenberg invented the printing press recall) and screen, and that as we move to reading and writing online, we risk losing much of what was best about how we wrote and thought on the page. Stephenson counters this view and says new online forms of writing will add new ways of thinking. 
  • Research Idea: Examine writing online by breaking out of the usual places—sites sponsored by brandname sites such as Salon or the New York Times. Try to find 'zines, personal home pages, and other less traveled roads by searching for a topic or insight that you care about. Read what everyday people have to say—see writing online that you coudn't find in print. Write a summary and response to three of the best pieces that you read where you incorporate your own thoughts on the subject as well. Place your work on the WWW, and link to those sites that you consider. 

| History | Privacy/Copyright | Technology | Writing | Crosslinks by Chapter |
CROSSLINKS START   HOME

Crosslinks by Chapter