The librarian who coined the phrase “surfing the net” will be the first to tell you that navigating the Internet is nowhere near as easy as changing the channel.
A 2019 Internet Hall of Fame inductee, Jean Armour Polly was among the first librarians in the country to facilitate library patrons’ Internet access after she convinced the Liverpool, New York, public library to buy an Apple desktop for public use.
Polly developed the phrase “surfing the net” in the early 1990s for an article she was writing at the time. In a recent interview with Syracuse.com, Polly acknowledged that the now ubiquitous phrase got some pushback from an unlikely source.
“I got some hate mail from surfers because they thought I was equating it with channel surfing,” she said. “It was not an easy thing to use the internet back then, so...really, I was agreeing with them that their sport is hard.”
Public library users looking for a web fix can thank Jean Armour Polly.
A 2019 Internet Hall of Fame inductee, Polly was among the first librarians in the country to facilitate patrons’ Internet access. After convincing the Liverpool, New York, public library to buy an Apple desktop for public use, she was eventually able to create a bulletin board system available to patrons after hours, then a dialup account for the library.
That, in turn, led to a nationwide tour in an effort to get other librarians to follow suit.
In a recent interview with Wired, Polly acknowledged that many of her peers did not welcome the web with open arms in its early days.
"The Internet was considered a competitor to librarians," Polly said. "There was a lot of skepticism about the authority of people on the Internet trying to tell you facts. Librarians, in general, did not embrace the Internet early on, certainly not for the general public."
Eleven individuals hailing from six countries around the world, including Peru, Japan, Brazil, Netherlands, Togo and the U.S., have been inducted into the Internet Hall of Fame for their pioneering and visionary contributions to the Internet’s global growth, access and security.
The inductees, who were honored at a special ceremony in San José, Costa Rica, have expanded the Internet’s reach into new regions and communities, helped foster a greater understanding of the way the Internet works, and enhanced security to increase user trust in the network.
“The Internet's design has always enabled people to see a problem, and get to work on solving it,” said Andrew Sullivan, Internet Society President and CEO. “This year's inductees have given us all great gifts of their creative approaches to issues they saw on the Internet. We can take inspiration from them to tackle the next round of challenges."
The 2019 inductees:
Adiel Akplogan (Africa) advanced the Internet in Africa and served as founding CEO of the Regional Internet Registry for Africa
Kimberly Claffy (United States) pioneered the field of Internet data...
Fifty years of tech experience have Bob Metcalfe optimistic about the web’s future.
A 2013 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Metcalfe is the author of a 1973 memo that invented Ethernet, of which more than 1.2 billion new ports are shipped each year -- 400 million wired and 800 million WiFi. Prior to that, he built a high-speed network interface, and protocol software between a packet switching ARPAnet IMP and PDP-10 time-sharing minicomputer at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
In an interview with Xconomy, Metcalfe acknowledged that there are still access issues, particularly with respect to infrastructure delays and state censorship. However, his decades of experience leave him optimistic that the access issues will shrink over time rather than be magnified.
“I guess I’ve learned over the years that cynics are often right, but they never get anything done,” he said. “Cynicism and negativity are a dead end. Every once in a while, things look bleak, but then they get better.”...
International and long distance education collaboration has come a long way since Yvonne Marie Andres’ first foray in project-based learning.
A 2017 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Andres was one of the first to develop and utilize online learning programs for students and educators. Among the education initiatives she helped develop are Global SchoolNet, Global Schoolhouse, the International Cyberfair and the U.S. State Department-backed Doors to Diplomacy Program.
Although web-based collaboration has now become second nature for many teachers, it was a challenging sell for Andres in the early days. Few school districts had internet access in the early 1980s and even fewer teachers were trained on how to use the new technology. The handful that did have the necessary computer skills needed additional coaching to be able to fully utilize the new tool at their...