Now, a closer look at the inner workings of the Web
So now we know that the Internet is the publicly available worldwide system of interconnected computer networks that transmit data by packet switching using a standardised Internet Protocol (IP) and many other low-level protocols. Here, we'll elaborate, again, on inner workings - this time looking at one of the Internet's most prominent applications: The World Wide Web.
The Internet uses low-level protocols to exchange data. These few words are key to understanding the role of the Internet and they will help us to make a distinction between it and the Web.
Here, by low-level we mean something that has been broken down into essential parts. In contrast, high-level would mean something more sophisticated that consists of many composite parts and taken together, really mean something greater. Take our telephone system for example. Telephone lines exchange low level data in the form of electric impulses. The high level content of our telephone system, human conversation, is broken down to transmit electrical impulses to a receiver on the other end of the phone line before it is, in the blink of an eye, reassembled to create a meaningful communication link. Or take language itself as an example. The meaning of our conversations is high level information which in fact consists of many essential elements which can be broken down into increasingly more atomic or low level data, paragraphs, sentences, words, letters, in order to make exchange more efficient.
Now think of the Internet as the network plumbing that is required just to exchange low level data like a postal service routes letters. And think of the web as one example of an application which uses this plumbing, but which is more concerned with managing high-level information, or content. Remember....the Web is created by a special application; it's an information space created by distributed software and coordinated by shared protocols. It too contains a method of exhange but instead of data packets (which the Internet exchanges), the Web exchanges instructions and documents with text and pointers to rich, meaningful content like sound, images, software programs, and video. And it is more. Think about that term information space. Unlike the Internet, which by itself is concerned only with communication for the purposes of exchange, the Web is also concerned with high-level purposes like managing and collaborating upon these documents; of creating a persistent environment for using information: discovering it, presenting it, interacting with it, exchanging it between devices, and so on.
Tim Berners-Lee (TBL) set out to create a universal document collaboration system. He had the Internet and hypertext to work with, and SGML, a precursor of his HTML to work from. He invented the Web by developing a few simple distributed applications (web browser, and web server), an addressing system, and a basic set of rules for requesting resources.
What is a web browser?
What is a web server?
What is HTML? It's not as complex as you might think.
How is communication on the web governed?
How are web resources identified?
How does it all come together?
Posted by Mark Hemphill on January 17, 2006 | Permalink
Speaking of standards, if wikipedia can be edited by anyone, wouldn't it create the "standard" view on every topic? and not necessarily the truth? If true, this big "ooh ahh" may not have much real value.
Posted by: David McGuigan | Jan 18, 2006 11:21:14 PM
I have been using wikipedia for a long time and I personally don't see it as not having value. By having the site be more interactive and allowing for discussion and editing of pages it helps form a larger picture of the topic and a range of ways to look at a topic so it can be easily grasped by any reader.
That is one of the most exciting things about technology, the information you are able to receive is so wide spread and in so many different forms. But everything still comes down to the golden rule of not believing everything you read. You have to look at definitions on wikipedia as a starting point to learning a term and grasping the concept.
If a standard is being created as you suggest it still must be adopted by a global society due to the global availability to actually be considered the standard. Which in my mind makes the information more valuable then just a small group of people dictating the information to me.
Posted by: Laura Cauty | Jan 19, 2006 7:32:22 AM
In addition, I am sure that there must be a group of experts who checks the wikipedia site every so often to ensure that the website is credible. I found wikipedia to be a vital resource while completing the scavenger hunt.
Posted by: Tian | Jan 20, 2006 1:22:51 PM
I agree with Tian. As a personally I found it very healthy resources. Usually I didn’t check it before that much. But as a close look I found it wikipedia such a good resource for everyone.
Posted by: md romiz uddin | Jan 20, 2006 1:51:48 PM
I just started checking wikipedia after enrolling this course .And I found it as a vast area of gathering information.
Posted by: A.K.M TAZUL ISLAM RIAD | Jan 20, 2006 11:59:56 PM
David, Wikipedia belongs in it's own class.
The process it poses for managing knowledge is already controversial but many are hailing it for it's open democratic principles. Articles that stand the test of time result in a sort of "negotiated" truth. If the truth of an article is questioned that too is declared and in theory two competing truths can co-exist for the same topic.
Try to use wikipedia for an unfolding event. It is incredible how fast it builds and shapes itself. There was no better resource for accuracy or timeliness to learn about the Tsunamai or Hurricane Katrina for instance....as the events were unfolding.
Personally I think wikipedia shouldn't be mistaken for a personalized view of truth, or history. It's an online encyclopedia. By it's nature it's HUGE. But wikipedia could spawn a thousand localized wikis on different topics that, managed openly, could do a much better job of negotiating truth than our static text books (which are authored by a closed inner circle, and are out of date as soon as they are printed).
Posted by: Mark | Jan 21, 2006 11:20:23 AM
I justed started using wikipedia for the scavenger hunt assigment. I found it very helpful. I acatully would not have been able to do the assigment without it. I think it is a very useful website.
Posted by: Amanda Walsh | Jan 21, 2006 8:08:12 PM
There is no such thing as two competing truths. There is truth. A child who uses "wiki"s for a particular event, may find one perspective of truth and accept it as standard. If the child is jargon savy, they may click on the other version of "truth", but there is no telling which version of truth the child will accept. Therefore, Wikipedia is not apt for truth telling or education, and it is merely a form of entertainment.
Wikipedia may be usefull for locating standards, but it is not usefull for identifying truth.
Posted by: David | Jan 22, 2006 2:44:00 AM
I too used wikipedia for the first time while doing the scavenger hunt assignment. I found it very helpful, however as with everything on the internet I found it difficult to judge whether or not I should trust the information at face value or try to verify it with something else to ensure its accuracy.
Posted by: Lisa D | Jan 22, 2006 2:20:02 PM
Wikipedia is a great site for gathering up to date information. But like anything you have to be carefulof what you read and what you believe. It is a starting point to developing an understanding and following development of ideas and events as more can be added at any time.
Posted by: Garrett Hay | Jan 22, 2006 4:07:06 PM
I think that the internet is a great wealth of knowledge. One proof of this is Wikipedia. I have used this web site only a couple times in the past but now finding myself referring to it quite often when I don’t fully understand a topic. I also used wikipedia a few times during my scavenger hunt. One has to realize to not believe everything you read but I think wikipedia is such a valuable resource because of the fact that so many people use it, keeping this encyclopedia up to date on current events. Like Mark said by the time a book is produce it is out of date, the simple fact that this site is never outdated makes it priceless!
Posted by: Michael MacDonald | Jan 22, 2006 7:20:35 PM
David >>No such thing as two competing truths?
Do you think the text books the world over are the same? Take something like the war of 1812. Canadian history books read a little differently than American history books on that one.
Posted by: Mark | Jan 22, 2006 7:28:29 PM
I too used Wikipedia to complete the scavenger hunt, but not without comparing the info to several other sites (found through Google, Yahoo, Excite, etc.) so that I could determine the "best" answers (in my limited opinion). I often found that the wikipedia information was the simplest and most direct way of answering the questions on the hunt - did Mark specifically design it that way?
Anyway, an interesting assignment to say the least. The discussion in class on Wednesday was also interesting, as I didn't realize there was a major difference between the Internet and the World Wide Web - a new one on me.
One other thing that amazed me on the scavenger hunt was the number of IT companies found on the netvalley site - whoa!! I suppose that makes it easier to understand why each company is fighting so hard to stay in the front of technological advances, so that they can stay "alive" in this highly competitive market.
Posted by: Michelle Neill | Jan 22, 2006 7:45:37 PM
Actually i don't know much about wikipedia before.i am using this now for doing the scavenger haunt assignmnt i use a lot and its great.its helping me more than i thought about it.But we have to be patient for finding the proper information from the wikipedia.
Posted by: MD.GOLAM MORTOZA | Jan 23, 2006 11:12:30 AM
I agree with Garrett's perception of wikipedia. It is a starting point to understanding ideas and events. I find that the biggest problem with websites is you can never be too sure the information you are reading is 100% correct. Yet I found wikipedia to be very useful resource in the scavenger hunt. I for one had never heard of the website, but after i used it once, I began to use it for more than just our assignment. It think wikipedia is easier to understand than some textbook that may be outdated and which has less general views. I wouldn't use the website as my only means of understanding an idea, but it sure helps.
Posted by: Brodie Carter | Jan 23, 2006 8:05:06 PM
What do you think of Wikipedia's collective reporting on yesterday's election. See anything more accurate, more timely than this?
Posted by: Mark | Jan 24, 2006 10:35:35 AM
I also find wikipedia a very helpful tool. I used it for at least half of the on-line scavenger hunt. This is the easiest way for the overload of information on-line to be displayed, whether it be right or wrong. The greatest thing about wikipedia is how up to date it is. Textbooks and slowly updated websites can't compete with an on-line resource than can be renovated instantaneously. The fact that information can be added to this research method at any time makes wikipedia a very useful tool. I think the site is more credible than any pessimist may think, as people would not continue using the site if the information was often incorrect.
Posted by: Shane Kelly | Jan 24, 2006 4:54:28 PM
I find wikipedia a great way to access information online, but sometimes I am doubtful of its results. I too, like many other students in this course have used it for the scaventure hunt, but even after using its information I went to other related site to make sure that it was accurate. With that being said I found that all the information that I used from wikipeida to be very accurate. The only problem is that with everyone able to make changes this opens wikipedia to unwanted scrutiny and vandalism. How often does this occur? All and all I think wikipedia is a great tool and offers very useful information to its users.
Posted by: Jordan Fraser | Jan 24, 2006 5:09:19 PM
I think Wikipedia is a fantastic idea! Just imagine, this could be well on its way to be the collective knowledge of millions and perhaps someday billions of people contributing all over the world. With that many possible contributors and authors just imagine the possible additional content that does not make it to print today.
It's unfortunate that I have never seen it before the scavenger hunt.
Here is an interesting link in regards to a comparison between Wikipedia and Britannica which is generally referred to as the standard for quality information.
I strongly commend the people that have been contributing to this.
Posted by: Serge | Jan 24, 2006 9:14:51 PM
Wow, I never knew that the Encyclopedia Brittanica had so many errors. Just goes to show that not even the experts know everything. Thanks for posting that site Serge it was a really interesting article. I too have never used Wikipedia before this class and was skeptical about how accurate the information was. I double checked the answers with a couple of other searchs and typically found the Wikipedia answers to be easier to read and understand, especially with the links to other technical terms used within the articles. I will definetly be using it for more projects in the future.
Posted by: Melissa | Jan 25, 2006 8:58:24 AM
Jordan thanks for the link!
Jordon asks > how often does vandalism occur on wikipedia? I think it occurs often.....but the process to clean it up works well. It often only takes seconds for a "gardener" to notice it a restore the previous entry. The whole moderation process behind wikipedia is incredible.
The knock I have for wikipedia is its shear ambition which is the same ambition of any encyclopedia to summarize in one monolithic world resource. I see wikis being more effective on a smaller, more local scale. It is however nice to see wikipedia offer so many languages....
See this demonstration of how a wikipedia article evolves.
Posted by: Mark | Jan 25, 2006 9:59:31 AM
I believe that Wikipedia is a very useful tool, mostly for students. It’s easy to access, navigate and understand. Of course, we have to be careful on what we accept as a pure true, but we make such decisions in our every day lives. It might be useful to double check other sites on the same topic.
The language option is very useful for many international students. For example, by using two languages English and Russian, I can see how the same topic is interpreted in both languages.
The website provides us with a huge amount of information that can be accepted of rejected, it is our choice.
Posted by: Anya | Jan 25, 2006 11:16:05 AM
I love having the web at my disposal every day, I also take it for granted, I have thought about how it actually works, but I think more of how everyone uses it. The communication that is used or sent every hour is remarkable. Since taking MIS I have been more concience of how much work is actually involved in one single action. It is not just Internet Explorer popping open a page, it is my homepage, the server, the browser, the electric impluses, and a lot more just to allow me to do day to day activities. The inner working of the web is critical to how the world is functioning.
Posted by: Tiffany | Jan 26, 2006 11:28:01 PM
I also wikipedia very useful. i first came a cross it on a google search it is a great way to find info and was very easy to find info on. the comments about double checking are a good idea because the info might not be right but almost all of the info i have found on wikipedia was correct and very useful. As for the scavenger hunt i never even thought of useing wikipedia untill i seen it on google when i was looking for one of the questions.
Posted by: Nick Somers | Jan 27, 2006 3:48:12 PM
Wikipedia is incredible, i remember when the movie Munich was coming out, i went on there to check a brief biography of the israeli femaile prime Minister called Golda Meir, since she was the one that gave the go ahead for the assinations(or so the movie said) whilst ready her biography, they were many links to other information regarding Israel during that time i ended up reading about everything regarding the world during that time. there is a bombardment of information on this site, it was very useful also during the assignment.the wed is replacing all traditional ways of learning nowadays people go to the library to sit and read, but most information are taken from the web
Posted by: Gid | Jan 29, 2006 3:15:00 PM
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