I was scanning a bookshelf at my parents’ house when my eyes fell on a hefty volume entitled ‘The Whole Internet – User’s Guide and Catalog’. Imagining this to be a work of satire, I pulled it from the shelf.
Satire, no. It was published in 1992. One chapter is titled ‘What If I Don’t Know Unix?’; another, ‘What Is Allowed on the Internet?’ It is at once hilarious and heartbreaking to flick through. But what is quite astonishing is the second half of the book, the catalogue. Consider this: In 1992, it seemed a reasonable idea to catalogue in print the internet. Were those the days? I can’t decide.