Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet

Go to Table of Contents. Visit Gifcom.

By Mitchell Kapor,
Co-founder, Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Welcome to the World of the Internet

        The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) is proud to have sponsored
the production of the Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet.  EFF is a
nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C., dedicated to ensuring
that everyone has access to the newly emerging communications technologies
vital to active participation in the events of our world.  As more and more
information is available online, new doors open up for those who have
access to that information.  Unfortunately, unless access is broadly
encouraged, individuals can be disenfranchised and doors can close, as
well. The Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet was written to help open some
doors to the vast amounts of information available on the world's largest
network, the Internet.
        The spark for the Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet was ignited in
a few informal conversations that included myself and Steve Cisler of Apple
Computer, Inc., in June of 1991.  With the support of Apple Computer, EFF
engaged Adam Gaffin to write the book and actually took on the project in
September of 1991.
        The idea was to write a guide to the Internet for people who had
little or no experience with network communications.  We intended to post
this guide to the Net in ASCII and HyperCard formats and to give it away on
disk, as well as have a print edition available.  We have more than
realized our goal.  Individuals from as geographically far away as Germany,
Italy, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Scotland, Norway, and Antarctica have
all sent electronic mail to say that they downloaded the Big Dummy's Guide
to the Internet.  The guide is now available in a wide array of formats,
including ACSCII text, HyperCard, World Wide Web, PostScript and
AmigaGuide.  And the guide will be published in a printed format by MIT
Press in June of 1994.
        EFF would like to thank author Adam Gaffin for doing a terrific job
of explaining the Net in such a nonthreatening way.  We'd also like to
thank the folks at Apple, especially Steve Cisler of the Apple Library, for
their support of our efforts to bring this guide to you.
        We invite you to join with EFF in our fight to ensure that equal
access to the networks and free speech are protected in newly emerging
technologies.  We are a membership organization, and through donations like
yours, we can continue to sponsor important projects to make communications
easier.  Information about the Electronic Frontier Foundation and some of
the work that we do can be found at the end of this book.
        We hope that the Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet helps you learn
about whole new worlds, where new friends and experiences are sure to be
yours.  Enjoy!

Mitch Kapor
Chairman of the Board
Electronic Frontier Foundation

For comments, questions, or requests regarding EFF or the Big Dummy's Guide
to the Internet, send a note to