It's great to see this discussion started.
A week ago at the Assoc of Research Libraries conference I heard several
speakers state that they were looking at Mosaic as a way of delivering
e journals. Probably true, they are looking at Mosaic, or more
precisely they've seen how rich an HTML document looks through a Mosaic
For some time I've thought that the term "Web" itself may not connote
the image we all want to convey. The Wall Street Journal section on
technology from a week ago Monday (generally a very disappointing use of
newsprint, IMHO) had a banner headline of "World-Wide Web" with a
drawing of a user sitting in front of a workstation and a spider's web.
This didn't strike me as an image that would encourage new uses. There's
a strong perception among many that hypertext is inherently complicated,
and the metaphor of something that ensnares the user may not be the most
helpful in confronting that perception. (By the way, the WSJ piece was a
very breezy overview, expropriating the term "World-Wide Web" without
explaining Gopher versus Web at all.)
It's not clear what the wisest course of action might be, with all the
terms you list in common use; neither World-Wide Web nor Mosaic should
be renamed. But it would be useful to consider minimizing of jargon and
collapsing of terms visible to users whenever possible. For instance,
yesterday someone I know who is quite savvy in Gopher and WAIS was
feeling his way along with Mosaic and the Web; he said he kept wanting
to be able to quickly "gopher" elsewhere. He did not know what "Open URL"
would do; that revelation alone opened things up. Would "Open Network
Resource" be more inviting? What's obvious to a wizard isn't to a newbie.
/Rich Wiggins, CWIS Coordinator, Michigan State U