Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

1.14. So if the Internet is so great, why do I need CompuServe, Prodigy, or another online service?

The Internet is large and vast and wonderful, but when comparing it to traditional online services, there is quite a bit to consider. Some of the information you can find on the Internet is unique; you won't find it on the online services. Similarly, each online service contains a selection of information that you won't find on the Internet. Apple's eWorld service offers articles from back issues from MacWorld magazine. America Online has an online encyclopedia. CompuServe offers the Knowledge Index, a database of articles in the areas of computer science, engineering, business, and science. (Those are just three examples of hundreds of cool resources available on those systems.) Sad to say, you can't find any of those things on the Internet.

Also, online services have a major advantage over the Internet: the information there is organized. Despite advances in indexing and search technology (such as Archie and Veronica, covered later), the Internet is notoriously unorganized, with a smattering of information here and another dollop there. That is hardly an ideal situation if you're rushing to gather information for a project that was due yesterday.

Online services can't do it all, and neither can the Internet. Don't dismiss one just because you already use the other. (I use the Internet as well as America Online. I try to limit my daily use to those two systems lest I never, ever find time to sleep.)

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