Early computer networks in Japan, 1984-1994
Teaching Internet histories to a cohort of today's students, the large majority of whom constitute "digital natives"-that is, young people who have grown up with a close familiarity with computer-meditated communication (CMC), can prove challenging. To students who complain about broken links on course outlines, or corrupted files among the e-readings, I sometimes recount the trials of my own undergraduate career, where a bicycle was a necessary prerequisite for the successful completion of any assignment. This was because I studied at a university where the central campus library was some way out of town, and if a copy of the required book or article was unavailable there, the only option was to cycle round the different college and faculty libraries scattered around, in the hope that a copy could be tracked down elsewhere. Of course, it was impossible to find out in advance whether the library held the relevant text or not-or even if a copy was available-without searching through a card catalogue and then checking the shelves. It could take an entire morning to track down a reading. All this cycling about kept me fit, but also led to some pretty close deadlines. However, when I recount this, my students just look at me blankly, rather as I might regard a medieval monk who would no doubt complain that in his day if you wanted a copy of a book you had to write it out by hand.