|Member of the Internet Link Exchange|
In this chapter, we're going to go on a tour of the global online networks which comprise the Internet. That could itself be the subject of a book -- in fact, most books about the Internet do precisely this. They are tours of the various things one can do with the Internet.
Here, I'll be doing something much more modest. I'll begin by going over, very briefly, the history of the Internet. (I think that to understand what something is, you should understand where it came from.) Then I'll look over the five things trade unionists (and everyone else) can do with the Internet, those being: email, databases, discussion groups, online chat, and electronic publishing. These are what I call new tools for a new internationalism.
If the terms on that list didn't make any sense, don't worry. Throughout this chapter, I'll try to define each new term used. I'll explain the differences between the various technologies, even if these are sometimes a little blurry (for example, there are discussion groups that are based on email). And this book will always try to focus on how the labour movement can use the technologies described.
My emphasis will be on practical information for the novice (and not only the novice), answering questions like "What do I need to use email?" or "How to I produce a home page for the World Wide Web?"