Siteseeing States Put World of Resources On-Line
Natalya Shulyakovskaya Of the Post-Dispatch, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
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 of information.
Other icons in the Courtyard include databases of Missouri laws on economic development, Missouri-made products and industrial land site information.
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. …