NET LIBRARY 
BY ALEK TRAUNIC


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ISSUE 1 
 
  I HAVE BEEN WATCHING C-SPAN (HTTP://WWW.C-SPAN.ORG) COVERAGE OF THE BUSINESS SOFTWARE ALLIANCE (HTTP://WWW.BSA.ORG) TRYING TO BRING DOWN CAPITOL HILL. ITíS BEEN GREAT! ITíS A TOTAL GEEK DROOL FEST. THESE PEOPLE ARE THE SHAKERS AND MOVERS OF THE INDUSTRY THAT IS CLOSEST TO MY HEART. DR. ANDREW S. GROVE FROM INTEL (HTTP://WWW.BSA.ORG/CEO/CEOIN.HTM) IS BY FAR THE MOST IMPRESSIVE. HE IS SUPER SHARP AND YET ABLE TO COMMUNICATE WHAT HE IS THINKING IN A WAY THAT EVEN A CONGRESSMAN COULD FOLLOW. I LOVED IT WHEN HE WOULD JUST PUT WASHINGTON IN ITS PLACE. LIKE ONE LADY WAS RANTING ABOUT HOW SHE WAS ABLE TO FIND OUT IS EXPLICIT DETAIL HOW TO MAKE BOMBS. AT THAT POINT IíM THINKING TO MYSELF THAT ALL POLITICIANS LOOK FOR ON THE NET IS PORN AND BOMBS. ANYWAY DR. GROVE RESPONDS THAT HE WAS MAKING BOMBS WHEN HE WAS THIRTEEN FROM THE INFORMATION HE GOT IN BOOKS FROM THE LIBRARY. SOMEBODY COMMENTED THAT INTEL STOCK JUST FELL 20 POINTS (LAUGH). HIS POINT BEING THAT THE INFORMATION IS THERE FOR ANYBODY THAT WANTS IT, HOW TRUE. HE TOOK IT A STEP FURTHER TO COMMENT ON THE ISSUE OF THE GOVERNMENT TRYING TO CONTROL WHAT THE CHILDREN OF THIS COUNTRY CAN SEE ON THE INTERNET. USING THE ANALOGY THAT THE GOVERNMENT DOES NOT DETERMINE WHEN KIDS SHOULD GO TO BED, PARENTS DO, AND WHY SHOULD ACCESS TO INFORMATION BE ANY DIFFERENT. WOW, I WISH I HAD SAID THAT! HE THEN CONFRONTED THE ISSUE OF REGULATION BY TELLING THEM THAT IF THEY THINK THEY CAN CONTROL THE NET THEN THEY ARE JUST WRONG. I COULD FEEL THE BLOOD DRAIN OUT OF THEIR FACES. IT MADE ME SMILE. OUR GOVERNMENT MUST SOON COME TO THE REALIZATION THAT THERE IS NO POINT FIGHTING THE INTERNET. DOING SO WILL ONLY WASTE TIME AND MONEY. THERE IS A DIFFERENT WAY TO BATTLE THIS BEAST, ONE THAT EVERY INDUSTRY ESPECIALLY THE BSA, SHOULD ADOPT. INSTEAD OF THINKING THAT THE NET CAN BE CONTROLLED THEY SHOULD EMBRACE IT. ALTHOUGH IT IS A COMPLETELY NEW MEDIUM THE INTERNET DOES HAVE A PREDICTABLE DISPOSITION. THIS HAS SEEMED TO ESCAPE MANY OF THE PEOPLE AT THE CONFERENCE. THEY ALL COMMENTED THAT THE KEY TO INFORMATION CONTROL IS EDUCATION ON INFORMATION HANDLING. THE NET IS EASILY THE GREATEST SOURCE OF INFORMATION IN THE WORLD. IN OTHER WORDS THE BEST EDUCATIONAL TOOL HUMANITY HAS EVER KNOWN. SO WHY HAS NOBODY REALIZED THAT THE BEST WAS TO EDUCATE NET USERS ABOUT THIS NEW MEDIUM IS BY USING THE NET ITSELF TO GET THEIR INFORMATION OUT? WHY IS THERE NOT A HIGHLY VISIBLE WEB SITE ON HOW TO DISCERN THE GOOD INFORMATION FROM THE BAD? IF THE GOVERNMENT IS SO WILLING TO FUNNEL MONEY INTO REGULATING WHAT I AS A US CITIZEN CAN AND CAN NOT VIEW ON THE NET DO YOU NOT THINK THAT THOSE FUNDS WOULD BE BETTER SPENT ON A TOOL AND NOT A REGULATION. DR. GROVE TOLD THE GOVERNMENT REPRESENTATIVES THAT THEIR REGULATORY MEASURES WOULD BE FUTILE. ANYONE WHO HAS ACTIVELY BEEN ON THE NET FOR MORE THAN A MONTH KNOWS THIS TO BE TRUE. BUT A GOVERNMENT SPONSORED LIBRARY OF USEFUL WEB SITES AND ONLINE INFORMATION COULD ONLY BE GOOD. NOT MATTER HOW IT IS CARRIED OUT THIS MEASURE COULD NOT BE CALLED A FAILURE. MUCH AS THEIR REGULATORY TACTICS SURELY WILL. THIS WAREHOUSE OF ANTI-MISINFORMATION LINKS WOULD BE AN INSTANT HIT. DO YOU WANT PROOF? WELL IT IS A RARE WEB USER THAT HAS NOT USED YAHOO, WEBCRAWLER, LYCOS, ALTA-VISTA, HOT-BOT, OR AT LEAST ONE OF THE MANY SEARCH ENGINES. BUT THERE IS MORE TO BE SEEN HERE. THE YAHOO MODEL HAS TAKEN THINGS A BIT FURTHER THAN A "SEARCH ENGINE". NOT MERELY A PLACE TO FIND A LIST WEB SITES THAT CONTAIN A GIVEN PHRASE THEY HAVE TAKEN IT UPON THEMSELVES TO CATALOGUE THESE SITES INTO AREAS OF INTEREST. THEY LACK THE MANPOWER TO FULL CARRY THROUGH WITH THE MISINFORMATION ISSUE BUT WHAT THEY ARE DOING IS A GOOD START. SO TAKE IT TO THE NEXT STEP AND FORM THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS FOR THE NET. THIS IS A LIBRARY WORLD FAMOUS FOR ITíS WEALTH OF KNOWLEDGE, WHICH SHOWS THAT THE GOVERNMENT CAN ACTUALLY PULL THIS OFF. OK WE HAVE THE IDEA AND THE MODEL TO BASE IT ON, BUT CAN IT ACTUALLY BE DONE? THERE WAS A TIME ANALOGY GIVEN AT THE SBA CONFERENCE THAT THE COMPUTER INDUSTRY MOVES AT INTERNET TIME, 3 TIMES FASTER THAN NORMAL, AND OUR GOVERNING BODIESÖ WELL LETS JUST SAY THAT THEY MOVE 3 TIMES SLOWER. THIS MAKES A 9 TIMES DIFFERENCE IN PACE. USING THIS MODEL THE SITUATION LOOKS GRIM. YET THERE IS HOPE. OUR ELECTED OFFICIALS HAVE LONG BEEN KNOWN FOR THEIR GLORIOUS CONTRACTS FOR BOMBS AND TOYS. THIS IS A NEW AGE; THE COLD WAR IS OVER. SO MAYBE GIVE THOSE GUYS OVER AT YAHOO A CALL ON ONE OF THOSE CONTRACTS. THIS ONLY MAKES SENSE SINCE GOVERNMENT THINKING IS SO FAR BEHIND THAT THE ONLY WAY TO COUNTERACT THIS WOULD TO BE STATING OFF WITH PEOPLE THAT ARE ALREADY DOING WHAT THE GOAL WOULD BE. GIVEN THAT THIS COULD HAPPEN THE TEAM OF POWER SURFERS WOULD HAVE A MONUMENTOUS TASK AHEAD OF THEM. FIRST THEY MUST BUILD THEIR DATABASE OF SITES. THIS TASK IN ITSELF WOULD BE A NEVER-ENDING ONE SO A DEDICATED TEAM WOULD BE NECESSARY. POSSIBLY CONTRACT THIS PORTION OUT TO ANOTHER SEARCH ENGINE COMPANY BECAUSE IT WOULD BE A WASTE OF THE YAHOO RESOURCES. NOT ONLY WOULD THEY FIND THE SITES BUT THEY WOULD HAVE TO CONFIRM THAT THESE SITES REMAIN ACTIVE AND IF NOT REMOVE THEM FROM THE RESOURCE. A NEW APPROACH SHOULD BE DEVELOPED TO ACCOMPLISH AT LEAST A PORTION OF THIS SINCE THE CURRENT BOT SYSTEM IS NOT VERY EFFICIENT. PROBABLY AN AUTOMATED EMAIL SYSTEM THAT WOULD ALLOW WEBMASTERS TO CONFIRM THEIR SITEíS ACTIVITY. NEXT WOULD COME THE CATALOGUE PORTION OF THE PROCESS. THIS IS WHERE THE YAHOO TALENTS COULD REALLY SHINE. I ENVISION SOMETHING SIMILAR TO THE DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM. A UNIQUE SERIAL NUMBER COULD BE ASSIGNED TO EACH SITE; THE REASON FOR THIS WILL BE EXPANDED ON IN A MINUTE. THE REASON I MENTION THE DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM IS THAT IT IS FAMILIAR TO MOST LITERATE PEOPLE IN THIS COUNTRY. IF NOT TAUGHT YOU IN SCHOOL THEN ONE WOULD CONFRONT IT WHENEVER THEY MAKE A TRIP TO THE PUBLIC LIBRARY. THE SUCCESSFUL INTERNET TOOLS WILL BE THE ONES THAT PEOPLE CAN RELATE TO. THEY MUST FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH SOMETHING BEFORE THEY GO OUT AND START TELLING THEIR FRIENDS ABOUT. NOW WE WILL ASSUME THAT WE CAN GET THE PEOPLE, AND WE WILL ALSO ASSUME THAT WE CAN GET THE TEAMS TOGETHER TO CREATE A DYNAMIC WEB SITE DATABASE AND THEN CATEGORIZE THEM. IF THESE THINGS ARE ACCOMPLISHED THEN THE LAST STEP OF THE PROCESS MUST BE PERFORMED. THE THIRD PART IS SOMETHING THAT HAS NOT BEEN ATTEMPTED BEFORE AND THE SHEER SCALE OF WHICH MAY PRESENT ITSELF AS AN IMPOSSIBLE TASK. THE CATALOGUED SITES MUST BE RATED. WHAT I MEAN BY THIS IS THAT THEIR CONTENT MUST BE RESEARCHED AND VERIFIED. FOR EXAMPLE IF A SITE OFFERS MEDICAL ADVICE THEN SEVERAL DOCTORS SHOULD BE CONTACTED AND ASKED TO VALIDATE THE INFORMATION. IF OKED THEN THE SITE WOULD BE INCLUDED IN THE SYSTEM AS A LEGITIMATE REFERENCE. THE RESULT WOULD BE A COLLECTION OF WEB SITES THAT COULD BE TRUSTED AS VALUABLE REFERENCE SOURCES. DUE TO THE DYNAMIC NATURE OF THE WEB THIS VALIDITY TEST WOULD HAVE TO BE PERFORMED ON SEVERAL OCCASIONS BUT AFTER THE FIRST FEW MONTHS A CONSISTENT SITE COULD BE ACCEPTED AS VALID FOR A LONGER SPAN, POSSIBLY A YEAR. THIS PROCESS COULD BE SLOW BUT A STAFF OF FIFTY SHOULD BE ABLE TO RANK AT LEAST EIGHT THOUSAND SITES IN THE FIRST YEAR AND THAT IS BEING CONSERVATIVE. AS FOR THE DECIMAL SYSTEM MENTIONED BEFORE IT WILL BE USED AS A TOOL TO CONFIRM THAT THE SITE YOUR VISITING IS THE SITE IT CLAIMS TO BE. AN HTML META TAG WOULD CAUSE YOUR BROWSER TO CONTACT THE LIBRARY SERVER TO VERIFY THE SITE SERIAL NUMBER WITH THE AUTHOR AND URL. THIS VALIDATION PROCESS WOULD EASILY LEND ITSELF TO A WEB BROWSER PLUGIN THAT ONLY ALLOWED THE SERIAL NUMBERED SITES TO BE VIEWED. A PERFECT MATCH FOR SCHOOLS THAT ARE AWARE OF THE INTERNETíS POTENTIAL USE AS A REFERENCE TOOL BUT WARY OF THE "DANGERS". SUDDENLY IT BECOMES CLEAR THAT WE HAVE TAKEN A MISGUIDED GOVERNMENT ATTEMPT AT REGULATION AND CREATED SOMETHING USEFUL, SOMETHING THAT IN EFFECT CAN ACCOMPLISH THE SAME GOAL. THE NET IS LEFT UNHARMED AND ANY PERSON WISHING TO FIND INFORMATION ON MORE TABOO SUBJECTS CAN STILL DO SO. THERE IS ALSO ANOTHER BENEFICIAL SIDE EFFECT. THIS RESOURCE WILL GENERATE A TRUST IN THE INTERNET THAT WILL BRING MORE PEOPLE TO USE IT. IN TURN ADVERTISING ON THE WEB WILL BECOME AN EVEN MORE VIABLE BUSINESS. I WOULD PROPOSE THAT ADVERTISING ON THE LIBRARY ITSELF NOT BE ALLOWED, BUT ANY OF THE SITES LINKED FROM IT COULD DO SO AT THEIR OWN DISCRETION. SITES WOULD STRIVE TO PROVIDE CONTENT THAT IS MORE FACTUAL IN AN ATTEMPT TO BECOME MORE VALUABLE RESOURCES AND GENERATE MORE VISITS TO PROMOTE THEMSELVES TO THEIR ADVERTISERS. NEW SITES ON ALL THE SUBJECTS YOU CAN IMAGINE WOULD BEGIN TO APPEAR AT AN ASTOUNDING RATE. THE INFORMATION THEY WOULD PROVIDE WOULD BE UP TO THE MILLISECOND IN ACCURACY. THIS TOOL COULD SET IN MOTION A CHAIN OF EVENTS THAT COULD BETTER THE INTERNET, AND SUBSEQUENTLY THE WORLD AS A WHOLE. IT CAN ONLY HAPPEN IF WE AS CITIZENS OF THE NEW DIGITAL SOCIETY LET THE POWERS THAT BE KNOW WHAT WE THINK.