The composition of this booklet was originally started because the Computer Science department at Widener University was in desperate need of documentation describing the capabilities of this "great new Internet link" we obtained.
It's since grown into an effort to acquaint the reader with much of what's currently available over the Internet. Aimed at the novice user, it attempts to remain operating system "neutral"---little information herein is specific to Unix, VMS, or any other environment. This booklet will, hopefully, be usable by nearly anyone.
Some typographical conventions are maintained throughout this guide. All abstract items like possible filenames, usernames, etc., are all represented in italics. Likewise, definite filenames and email addresses are represented in a quoted `typewriter' font. A user's session is usually offset from the rest of the paragraph, as such:
prompt> command The results are usually displayed here.
The purpose of this booklet is two-fold: first, it's intended to serve as a reference piece, which someone can easily grab on the fly and look something up. Also, it forms a foundation from which people can explore the vast expanse of the Internet. Zen and the Art of the Internet doesn't spend a significant amount of time on any one point; rather, it provides enough for people to learn the specifics of what his or her local system offers.
One warning is perhaps in order--this territory we are entering can become a fantastic time-sink. Hours can slip by, people can come and go, and you'll be locked into Cyberspace. Remember to do your work! invisible.xbm
With that, I welcome you, the new user, to The Net.
firstname.lastname@example.org Chester, PA
Certain sections in this booklet are not my original work--rather,
they are derived from documents that were available on the Internet
and already aptly stated their areas of concentration. The chapter on
Usenet is, in large part, made up of what's posted monthly to
This guide would not be the same without the aid of many people on The Net, and the providers of resources that are already out there. I'd like to thank the folks who gave this a read-through and returned some excellent comments, suggestions, and criticisms, and those who provided much-needed information on the fly. Glee Willis deserves particular mention for all of his work; this guide would have been considerably less polished without his help.
Copyright © 1998, Software Engineering Laboratory
National Technical University of Athens