A couple of mouse clicks away from sex and bombs - Internet
topics that Washington lawmakers seem to devote the most attention
to - lies a web of valuable resources developed by state and local
governments and universities.
Slowly but surely, Missouri and Illinois are moving on-line,
onto the World Wide Web, the most popular part of the Internet
global computer network.
Want to move or move your business? Go to the Show-Me Missouri
web site run by the state's Department of Economic Development and
check out "Cyberspace Tradeshow Courtyard." Click on the icon for
Missouri community profiles. Whether you look for Seymour or St.
Louis or hundreds of other cities, you can get at least six pages
Other icons in the Courtyard include databases of Missouri laws
on economic development, Missouri-made products and industrial land
Debbie Wells, an Internet administrator at the Department of
Economic Development, says that since the department's web site
went up, a lot of people have called asking for more information -
like maps and lottery numbers - to be put on-line.
Do you want to call your child's school and complain, or just
chat? The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary
Education's on-line directory will tell you whom to call. The site
also provides links to Missouri universities.
Mary Anne Horvath, of the University Extension's computer
network in Clayton, is one of many extension employees getting
ready to train others in how to use Internet-related technology.
Jim Summers of the University Extension Service said that
within five years, the agency plans to establish eight regional
telecomunication centers that will offer the public satellite
connections for teleconferencing as well as Internet access.
These centers will help communities develop their their own on-line
databases of events and other information, Horvath said.
Not everybody in Missouri has to pay a commercial provider for
Internet access. More communities are establishing their own
public access systems like Columbia Online Information Network
(COIN) in Columbia. Lebanon, Springfield, St. Charles and St.
Peters have established Internet services for their communities.
COIN is a joint effort by the city of Columbia, Columbia Public
Schools, Daniel Boone Regional Library and the University of
Missouri-Columbia. Its purpose is to maintain a "community
computing service." The university provides hardware, software and
system programming. Any resident can fill out an application and
with a modem and computer at hand get hooked up to the Internet.
But COIN has a rule: it's only for personal use - not business.
COIN recently upgraded its server to provide Web access, but
gopher and e-mail have been available through COIN for several
years. (A gopher is a tool for searching for information on the
Internet. It's also a format to organize information.) By the end
of summer, residents will have full Web-browsing capabilities,
promises Bill Mitchell, executive director of the Missouri
Research and Educational Network. …