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Mapping Cyberspace: The Image of the Internet

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1 Author(s)
Tara Krueger ; University of Pennsylvania

Why would anyone try to map the Internet in the first place? What purpose do speculations on the unrealized physical form of amorphous electronic data serve? The straightforward answer is that maps are a handy tool for organizing and communicating large amounts of information. To say one is "on the Internet" today means something much different than it meant 15 years ago, and the rapid pace of change is a staggeringly difficult concept to tackle and absorb, much less to catalogue. A Web surfer looking at the Internet is like an astronomer looking at space: narrow slivers can be observed, but to see the whole requires a much more powerful instrument. Using the Internet is easy (for most of us), but to actually step back and stare at the whole Internet is nearly impossible. Maps of the Internet are an attempt to overcome this difficulty. Moreover, there is a desire among many to document the progression of these changes before it is too late; these snapshots of our Internet through time may serve as a valuable record for future analysis and historic understanding.

Published in:

IEEE Annals of the History of Computing  (Volume:29 ,  Issue: 1 )