October marks the 44th Anniversary of the Birth of the Internet!

On October 29, 1969, the first connection of what would become the Internet was made when bits of data flowed between computers at UCLA and the Stanford Research Institute.  Nearly a half century later, the Internet has become a ubiquitous part of our daily lives, an "interconnection of computer networks" that enables its billions of users to share information and communicate with one another.
The Mercer County Library System holds an extensive collection of resources about the Internet, including the following titles:

By John R. Levine and Margaret Levine Young
The latest update to a perennial bestseller gets you up and running on the Internet! Now in its thirteenth edition, this peerless book provides an updated road map to both the online tools and resources that have defined the Internet for years, and all the new things that keep Internet users interested. You will not only find a lot of the basics presented in a straightforward and friendly style, but will also get the latest on social networking, security, and much more. The authors begin with an overview of all things Internet-related and branch into vital topics such as keeping personal information secure and protecting your kids online. You will gain valuable insight to web browsers, search options, online shopping, and personal finance tools. Before you know it, you will know how to use Internet tools to find, stream, download, or share music, video, and photos. You will learn how to set up and use online e-mail, chat, and social networking sites; deal with annoyances like spam and spyware; control what your kids see and do online; pick a provider, get hooked up to the Internet, and share a connection in your home or with other devices;  use the popular web browsers and get good search results; and much more.  Get going and get online with this easy-to-understand, helpful guide!

By Eli Pariser
The hidden rise of personalization on the Internet is controlling--and limiting--the information we consume. In 2009, Google began customizing its search results. Instead of giving you the most broadly popular result, Google now tries to predict what you are most likely to click on. According to MoveOn.org board president Eli Pariser, this change is symptomatic of the most significant shift to take place on the Web in recent years--the rise of personalization. Though the phenomenon has gone largely undetected until now, personalized filters are sweeping the Web, creating individual universes of information for each of us. Data companies track your personal information to sell to advertisers, from your political leanings to the hiking boots you just browsed on Zappos. In a personalized world, we will increasingly be typed and fed only news that is pleasant, familiar, and confirms our beliefs--and because these filters are invisible, we will not know what is being hidden from us. Our past interests will determine what we are exposed to in the future, leaving less room for the unexpected encounters that spark creativity, innovation, and the democratic exchange of ideas.

By Randolph Hock
An essential guide for anyone who conducts research on the Internet, this fully revised handbook details what users must know to take full advantage of internet search tools and resources. From the latest online tools to the new and enhanced services offered by standbys such as Google, the major search engines and their myriad possibilities are thoroughly discussed. This revamped fourth edition also features chapters on fact-checking sites and popular social networking sites as well as a collection of up-to-date screenshots for visual reference. For those with little to moderate searching experience, friendly, easy-to-follow guidelines to the world of Web research are provided, while experienced searchers will discover new perspectives on content and techniques.

“Hock has been dubbed the Mario Andretti of web surfing; his clear and useful guide will help anyone interested in going beyond Google, explaining when, why, and how best to use various search tools and other web resources. Chapters on creating an Internet reference shelf, finding multimedia content, and using specialized directories are particularly helpful; a brief discussion of publishing an online resource, a glossary, and a URL list round out the title. Appropriate for both circulating collections and librarians training their customers on Internet search strategies.”—Library Journal

By William H. Davidow
The author argues that the success of the Internet and World Wide Web has also brought about a variety of unique hazards, including being overconnected, which has a negative impact on economics, politics, and one's day-to-day life.

“Social media observers and economic historians will be most intrigued by Davidow’s thesis regarding the perils of our overconnected world. Shying away from the typical focus on Facebook or Twitter, he offers a serious, thought-provoking study that looks at everything from Three Mile Island to the Iceland banking crisis, and explains how they are related. Davidow points out that financial “booms, busts, swindles and contagions” are nothing new, but with the role of the Internet in our personal and professional lives, the connected way we do business means that financial markets are far too dependent on each other to separate in moments of crisis. From automated underwriting of mortgage loans to instant loan approval, the financial sector has not only become more efficient, it has also speeded up to a degree that allows no time for care or caution. We are literally moving faster than our ability to control what we do. While it might seem overly simple to blame technology for our current woes, Davidow builds a solid case for the price we pay for super-efficiency.”—Booklist

By Ted Claypoole and Theresa Payton
This book helps readers, young and old alike, understand the implications of their online personas and reputations. The authors offer a guide to the many pitfalls and risks of certain online activities and provide a roadmap to taking charge of your own online reputation for personal and professional success.

By Andrew Blum
 When your Internet cable leaves your living room, where does it go? Almost everything about our day-to-day lives--and the broader scheme of human culture--can be found on the Internet. But what is it physically? And where is it really? Our mental map of the network is as blank as the map of the ocean that Columbus carried on his first Atlantic voyage. The Internet, its material nuts and bolts, is an unexplored territory…until now. In Tubes, journalist Andrew Blum goes inside the Internet's physical infrastructure and flips on the lights, revealing an utterly fresh look at the online world we think we know. It is a shockingly tactile realm of unmarked compounds, populated by a special caste of engineer who pieces together our networks by hand; where glass fibers pulse with light and creaky telegraph buildings, tortuously rewired, become communication hubs once again. From the room in Los Angeles where the Internet first flickered to life to the caverns beneath Manhattan where new fiber-optic cable is buried; from the coast of Portugal, where a ten-thousand-mile undersea cable just two thumbs wide connects Europe and Africa, to the wilds of the Pacific Northwest, where Google, Microsoft, and Facebook have built monumental data centers—Blum chronicles the dramatic story of the Internet's development, explains how it all works, and takes the first-ever in-depth look inside its hidden monuments.

Tubes is a book about real places on the map: their sounds and smells, their storied pasts, their physical details, and the people who live there. For all the talk of the "placelessness" of our digital age, the Internet is as fixed in real, physical spaces as the railroad or telephone. You can map it and touch it, and you can visit it. Is the Internet in fact "a series of tubes" as Ted Stevens, the late senator from Alaska, once famously described it? How can we know the Internet's possibilities if we don't know its parts? Tubes combines on-the-ground reporting and lucid explanation into an engaging, mind-bending narrative to help us understand the physical world that underlies our digital lives.

 “Blum… reflects on his travels and recounts conversations with people who founded, helped understand, maintained, or developed the Internet's physical presence.”—Library Journal

By Nicholas G. Carr
 As we enjoy the Internet's bounties, are we sacrificing our ability to read and think deeply? Carr describes how human thought has been shaped through the centuries by "tools of the mind"--from the alphabet to maps, to the printing press, the clock, and the computer--and interweaves recent discoveries in neuroscience. Now, he expands his argument into a compelling exploration of the Internet's intellectual and cultural consequences. Our brains, scientific evidence reveals, change in response to our experiences. Building on insights of thinkers from Plato to McLuhan, Carr makes a case that every information technology carries a set of assumptions about the nature of knowledge and intelligence. The printed book served to focus our attention, promoting deep and creative thought. In contrast, the Internet encourages rapid, distracted sampling of small bits of information. As we become ever more adept at scanning and skimming, are we losing our capacity for concentration, contemplation, and reflection?

Carr provides a deep, enlightening examination of how the Internet influences the brain and its neural pathways. Computers have altered the way we work; how we organize information, share news and stories, and communicate; and how we search for, read, and absorb information. Carr's analysis incorporates a wealth of neuroscience and other research, as well as philosophy, science, history, and cultural developments. He investigates how the media and tools we use (including libraries) shape the development of our thinking and considers how we relate to and think about our brains. Carr also examines the impact of online searching on memory and explores the overall impact that the tools and media we use have on memory formation. His fantastic investigation of the effect of the Internet on our neurological selves concludes with a very humanistic petition for balancing our human and computer interactions.”—Library Journal

By Robert Waterman McChesney
McChesney looks at the relationship between economic power and the digital world, encouraging readers to fight back against the monopolies that are making the Internet less democratic.

“Presents a thorough and alarming critique of the corruption of one of the most influential inventions in human history.  [McChesney] deconstructs capitalism through its historical trends before painting a grim portrait of corporate concentration and monopolization; it reads like dystopian science-fiction where giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, and Amazon further entrench their market dominance, attempting to own consumers' ‘every waking moment,’ aided and abetted by lax government enforcement and deregulation. Such concentrated power brings with it a host of concerns; however, as McChesney cites, very little public opposition to such power can be expected as, ‘people care more about what unjustly harms them than what unjustly benefits them.’ Instead, we face the very real possibility of discovering the ‘digital revolution... to have been a revolution in name only’; the consequences of which are already revealing themselves.”—Publishers Weekly

- Lisa S.


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