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What Should We Call the Net?
Friday, January 1, 1999
Political discourse about the Internet is dominated by three metaphors that serve as competing visions of the role of technology in the information society: information superhighways, virtual communities, and digital libraries. How well do these three metaphors work to guide the transformation of the Net from an invention into an innovation? What new kinds of names might we use to renew the vision of the Net as a medium for education and research? How can we move the debate from an "information policy" that focuses narrowly on digital markets to a more encompassing "innovation policy" that envisions the new roles of the university in a networked society? To answer these questions, we need to explore a deeper and more interesting question: What kind of innovation is the Net?