The characteristics of the Internet that affect its usefulness in service can be divided broadly into Information and Connectivity. “The advantages arise from the Internet’s enormous capacity to link participants with information and with each other. The Information and Connectivity of the Internet have unique characteristics: Information:
•Information on the Internet is multimedia--capable of having coloured images, sound and video. These can be expensive to produce, but increasingly there are open sources of these types of content that are free of charge. Once produced, the price of distribution of the information is nominal compared to that of producing hard-copy books, CDs and films.
•Information on the Internet can be hyperlinked. This permits both tutors and learners to assemble large bodies of information from a wide variety of sources without actually having to store the information in one place; e.g., on paper or a hard disk. Hyperlinks within information on the Internet enables users to find or cite additional sources of pertinent information.
•Information on the Internet is searchable. Search engines such as Google enable users to find information on every imaginable topic.
•Intelligent agents can be programmed to search the Internet for particular information and inform the user of the existence and location of that information. In fact, these agents can harvest pertinent information and deliver it to the user's desktop.
•Information on the Internet originates from world-wide sources. Users are no longer limited to the library, gallery, museum or video or record store in their locale. Connectivity:
•Probably the most powerful characteristic...