[LINK] History of Internet in Australia on Paper
tom.worthington at tomw.net.au
Tue May 4 09:29:19 AEST 2010
The book "AARNet : 20 Years of the Internet in Australia : 1989-2009" by
Glenda Korporaal was launched in November 2009:
But only in the last week have I been able to access it, as the book is
only avialable as a hardback paper book. This is ironic as AARNet is a
pioneer of online information access.
The book is a reasonably well researched, well written and well
presented 128 page, handsome hardback, with numerous historically
interesting photographs. The book could do with an index and seems to
draw more than a little of its inspiration from Roger Clarke's "Origins
and Nature of the Internet in Australia"
The author does not shy away from discussing some of the controversies
in AARnet's history. I recognised many familiar names and faces, some of
whom were memebrs of the "Internet Conspiracy" to get the Australian
Government on the Internet in the 1990s (quite a few are still Linkers).
It is a shame, and symptomatic of the problems which have held back
AARnet, that few people will ever see this work. After making a bold
move into a new technology AARnet tends loose it nerve and fails to
follow up and make effective use of the what it has done. In this case
they have commissioned a book, but ensured almost no one will ever read
it, by not making it available using the technology they advocate.
The message AARnet is sending out to its clients in Australian
universities and to its backers (the Australian Government), is that
AARnet does not think the Internet is suitable for the distribution of
important information: AARnet prefers paper delivery and does not trust
The copy of the book I read will sit on the shelves of the ANU Menzies
Library, several floors away from the nearest student (who will be
tapping away at a keyboard) and on the other side of the campus from the
School of Computer Science: <http://library.anu.edu.au/record=b2384773>.
AARnet could have provided the book online, as a valuable educational
resource, in the form of a free web site and e-book. This would have
cost less to produce than the expensive hardback book (and may have been
profitable). Australian students could have then learned about the role
which Australia played in creating the Internet. Instead Australians
will be educated using materials from other countries and not know
Australia had a role in development of the Internet.
Tom Worthington FACS HLM, TomW Communications Pty Ltd. t: 0419496150
PO Box 13, Belconnen ACT 2617, Australia http://www.tomw.net.au
Adjunct Lecturer, The Australian National University t: 02 61255694
Computer Science http://cs.anu.edu.au/user/3890
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