National governments have recognized information and telecommunications technologies as sources of wealth in their national economies. National initiatives to develop computer and communications networks, such as the networking project by the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency in 1970s, eventually can lead to global communication networks (e.g., the Internet). Other countries besides the United States are developing plans to develop national information infrastructures. At the community level, people are also developing information and communications systems called Free-Nets that link valuable community information together. The result of these government and community networking initiatives is an increasingly dense mesh of networks at all levels--community, state, region, nation, and world.
In this chapter, we'll explore webs that support national information infrastructure plans as well as government and community information. While these webs are not necessarily the information infrastructure called for in national information infrastructure plans, the webs themselves demonstrate possibilities for and government commitment to advanced forms of information delivery. We'll look at examples of the range of government information available on the Web, including international organizations, government agencies and a U.S. Senator. We'll examine some community-based networks that have webs and see how people are creating ties among each other and to the world.
Online applications discussed:
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