The Internet proposes many advantages for users and businesses connecting people with resources. The internet bound to a traditional physical form such as a book or map (or even a service delivered by a person) must be distributed through a transportation process and sophisticated systems have been developed to put this into practice. The pricing of physical goods and services is partly attributable to the cost of the materials and production and partly to the cost of moving the goods/service giver from production site to consumer. The economic realities of this environment have defined business decision making for two centuries and led to the establishment of broadly similar production, distribution and marketing systems around the globe.
Distance is one of the most important variables in this system as physical goods and services must be moved through a value chain extending through physical space. An information representation in digital form can be copied and transmitted over computer networks like the Internet very rapidly without any loss of quality or integrity, regardless of distance (Billie 4140). Hence, the Internet makes it possible to distribute information as a good in digital format an extremely low cost, thus changing the economics of information decisively. The Internet and data resources are the glue which binds together documentary and other knowledge resources, but as of now is so little defined outside each of any given traditional divisional boundary as to not only not bind material together but to almost inhibit its effective interoperation. Metadata for internal documents delivered through Intranet systems are largely proprietary though potentially could be standardized at organizational level. “Managing virtually offers many benefits: It’s easy to accommodate differing schedules, schedule meetings on short notice, reduce travel expenses, be more ecologically friendly, and decrease unproductive travel time” (Billie 4140). The biggest impact IT has had on most institutions to date is the simplest: email. And perhaps the second most significant is the application of web technology to the delivery of guides, regulations and so on. All of which are relatively easy to mount within institutional intranets whilst the complexities of copyright surrounding library and similar quality material will inhibit its rapid take up. There is also an interesting aside to the initial dominance of the Web by the university community. Students seem increasingly likely to defect to other home pages and we could well be engaged in promotional campaigns or similar battles merely to get our pages and portals noticed in an increasing sea of competitors (Greenwood 1).
The compilation of courses will also be greatly eased by the importing of material and its customisation-techniques already well documented in developments such as on demand publishing and printing in the US. This suggests academics will be able to tap into educational resource banks and draw content down into development portfolios. Several national and European projects are now seeking to develop just such technologies (King n.d.). Dana The digital network can be present and possibly used in a variety of universes that are defined by the entities that inhabit them and their main functions, as relevant for the impact study. irrespective of the definition or scope used, impact studies have considered the Internet as a self-contained space.
The other possible communication forms have come into the picture almost exclusively from the perspective of their substitution, or as testimony of the past. This might be rather short-sighted. Even when digital communication will have pervaded all spaces and become vastly predominant, one can hardly imagine that there will be no room for analog communications, at least as long as the said spaces will be inhabited by natural, i.e. non-genetically manipulated, human beings and other living organisms. This information landscape can be further analyzed using criteria such as ease of handling and ease of interpretation. Thus hard data is easy to manage, to manipulate and to interpret but very difficult to collect, whilst library material is, when all is considered, easy to collect but very difficult to organize for effective exploitation (Morgan 1). This process is defined as a social space in a given time and location, and operates through analog and digital communication fields.
In sum, the advantages of the Internet are communication at distance, availability of metadata and fats connection with users and resources. In the Internet, the role of personal contacts and physical interaction in Internet mediated communications has been evidenced for some time. Trying to understand the impact of the Internet without making appropriate room in the picture for the other forms of communication which occur in relation to the same needs or events is at least short-sighted. The conjunction of this dual mode communication sphere and the basic spaces is thus the universe to be studied. According to the particular scope and purpose of a study, it may be useful to further specify the universe by indicating some dimensions or attributes. Among these, one may consider that the main functions performed by the actors are likely to be of interest in most instances.
Billie, W. MANAGING AT A DISTANCE. BusinessWeek, 7 (27), 2009, 4140. Web. Academic Search Premier.
Greenwood, Bill, Pew Surveys Tackle Internet’s Future, Online Politics’ Present. By: Information Today, (2009), 26 (3). Web. Academic Search Premier.
King, Dana. “Social Networks, New Media, and Civic Engagement” Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Southern Political Science Association, Hotel Intercontinental, New Orleans, LA, 2009. Web. Academic Search Premier.
Morgan, Eric Lease, What’s More Important: The Questions or the Answers? Computers in Libraries, (1999), 1. Web. Academic Search Premier.