1. Introduction

Networking the library (summary)

In the age of digital technology each one of us could, and should, have free access to as good information and communications facilities as have big businesses, armies,governments and universities. From its base in a branch of Helsinki City Library, located in an old cable factory, the "Knot at the Cable"-project is attempting to fulfill some of the Net's great promises of informational equity and social horizontality. The public library may turn out the ideal anchorage for Everyman's Internet.

In February 1994, the inhabitants of Helsinki got a new public library with a new public service, access to Internet. During the opening hours of the library, four PC:s are at the disposal of those visitors who wish to use the Internet, or who have only learned about its existence and are keen on making their own first-hand experiences. From the other sites of the Net the "Knot at the Cable" is reachable day and night.

The Knot at the Cable has a leased line Internet connection from a commercial provider. The primary services offered are World Wide Web browsing and telnet access to patrons, email and WWW publishing to library staff and partners.

The World Wide Web (WWW), which structures Internet as hypertext, was initiated as the internal information service of the European research center CERN. WWW ties togehther many Internet services and makes them available for browsing with graphical or character-based client applications (NCSA Mosaic,Lynx etc.). Therefore, WWW has rapidly spread in academia and industry.

The WWW-server of "The Knot at the Cable" runs on a 486/50 PC with Linux, a free version of Unix. The public access terminals (3 MS-Windows PC:s and 1 Linux PC) in the library use NCSA Mosaic as a graphical user interface.

Creating a library without walls

The Net is often seen precisely as another extension of literacy, comparable to the printing press, and even as one huge, integrated "library without walls". Therefore, it was somewhat surprising for the persons who started "The Knot at the Cable" to realise that theirs may well have been the very first public library with a World Wide Web-server, in the whole world. So far, the nearest colleagues (to exchange email with!) have turned up in South Bend (Indiana, USA), where the Saint Joseph's County Public Library had its own WWW server up and running in March 1994.

"The Knot at the Cable" (fi: Kaapelisolmu; se: Kabelknuten) combines three things. It is, firstly, a pilot project in the field of equal access to electronic information. The Knot at the Cable exemplifies the need to extend the public sphere itself by means of new interactive electronic media, especially the Internet.

Secondly, the Knot at the Cable functions as an electronic "publishing house" for a hundred or so members of the cooperative society Katto-Meny which maintains the technical system of "The Knot at the Cable". The membership of Katto-Meny includes authors, poets, makers of comic-strips, publishers, politicians, environmental organisations, adult educators and otheractive "information producers".

Finally, the Knot at the Cable is developing into the Internet link of the old Cable Factory, nowadays taken over by painters, artisans, musicians, dancers, writers,museums, schools, theaters - and the library. The Cable Factory is a massive industrial building which used to serve the Nokia corporation. (Incidentally, Nokia installed some of the first computers in Finland in the same building!). At the end of the eighties,it was sold to the City of Helsinki.

During the first half year, there were 60.000 WWW page accesses at "The Knot of the Cable", half of which were from the library's system. The other half were from other Internet sites in Finland and in 30 other countries.



From jkp@katto.kaapeli.fi Thu Sep 15 05:33:59 1994


July 15, 1993
		Memorandum outlining a public-access Internet
		infostation located in Helsinki City Library,
		with possibility for publishing mentioned
		as an option

Autumn 1993

		Negatiations and preparations between possible cooperating
		organizations to lay out organizational plans on what
		exactly to do and how to do it

December 8, 1993

		An agreement to start the project

February 4, 1994

		Opening of the new library where the Internet access
		point was to be situated

January-February 1994

		Installing the Linux machine to function as the
		router, WWW server and email server for the project

February 18, 1994

		www.kaapeli.fi became connected to the Internet

February 28, 1994

		Opening of the Knot at the Cable, both as a WWW
		server to be accessible from the Internet and
		an Internet access point for Mosaic and telnet use
		by library patrons

June 1994	Announcement on the NCSA What's New list

August 1994	Number of public access PC machines climbs to four,
		three MS-Windows w/ Mosaic for Windows, one running
		Linux with Mosaic for X


1) WORLD WIDE WEB PAGE ACCESS 23.2. - 15.8.1994

                                                    Accessed pages

    From within the system                              23.385
    From other Internet-sites                           36.449
    Total                                               59.834
 domain (country)                                 

       fi (Finland)                                      26245
       com (Corporate, USA and int'l)                     1372
       edu (academic & educ'l; USA)                       1175
       ca (Canada)                                         571
       se (Sweden)                                         235
       uk (UK)                                             179
       de (Germany)                                        167
       gov (Gov't, USA)                                    143
       jp (Japan)                                          139
       net (misc.)                                         125
       ch (Switzerland)                                    124
       no (Norway)                                         110
       org (organisations, USA and int'l)                   85
       fr (France)                                          69
       us (USA)                                             57
       mil (USA, military)                                  54
       it (Italy)                                           44
       pl (Poland)                                          42
       au (Australia)                                       39
       nl (Netherlands)                                     37
       dk (Denmark)                                         36
       ee (Estonia)                                         25
       nz (New-Zealand)                                     23
       arpa (USA)                                           22
       be (Belgium)                                         18
       il (Israel)                                          18
       es (Spain)                                           17
       mx (Mexico)                                          14
       at (Austria)                                          8
       pt (Portugal)                                         7
       tr (Turkey)                                           6
       sg (Singapore)                                        5
       su (Russia)                                           5
       cl (Chile)                                            4
       hu (Hungary)                                          3
       cz (Czechia)                                          2

  domain  (organisation)

       kaapeli  (The Cable Book/Katto-Meny)              11175
       helsinki (Helsinki univ.)                          2916
       hut      (Helsinki univ of Tech)                   2476
       nokia    (Nokia Inc)                               1189
       utu      (Turku univ.)                              911
       jyu      (Jyväskylä univ.)                          690
       tut      (Tampere univ. of tech.)                   575
       uta      (Tampere univ.)                            517
       pp       (Individual users, by Personal EUnet etc.) 431
       oulu     (Oulu univ.)                               363
       vtt      (Tech. research center)                    360
       funet    (FUNET)                                    296
       gsf      (Geological survey)                        287
       tele     (Finnish Telecom)                          283
       martis   (Martis Inc.)                              252
       joensuu  (Joensuu univ.)                            226
       uku      (Kuopio univ.)                             194
       shh      (Swedish business univ.)                   157
       unda     (UNDA Inc.)                                123
       ttl      (Turku Telecom)                            114

3) LOGINS (19.2. - 15.8. 1994)

Anonymous logins (i.e. the possibility to enter the system without a personal password) are allowed from Free-Net Finland (educational network) and via TeleSampo (a public service of Finnish Telecom). Logging in with username "lynx" lets the visitor browse the WWW-pages of the Knot at the Cable with the character-based Lynx-browser. The anonymous user "kirjasto" can find library resources.

Anonymous logins

         username  "lynx"                                   2990
         username "kirjasto"                                 415
         Total                                              3405
Login totals:
         Total number of logins from 247 hosts              7657



The costs of setting up and running the Knot at the Cable during 1994 have been covered by grants from The Finnish Ministry of Education (telecommunication costs and training), Hewlett Packard (computer equipment), Katto-Meny Coop Soc (Computer equipment, salaries voluntary work).

Estimated costs 1994:

Internet-services; leased line (1800 FIM/month)      ca  20.000 FIM
Training                                             ca  60.000 FIM

Open questions

The following list of questions was compiled by Erkki Lounasvuori for the purpose of a lecture given by the writers of this report at the Turku Book Fair 22.10. 1994:

Does the public library need Internet? In what way does Internet change the library? How to classify and categorizise the Internet-information? Searches, browsing, reading and interactivity? Anarchy and chaos of the Net - is this the situation? Should text-books (eg. university text-books) be published electronically? Solutions to the copyright issues? Other juridical, moral and ethical questions? Commercial services of the Internet in the library? Is Internet difficult to use? How to set up an Internet-node in your library -- technical problems? Publishing information via the library - is this a priority? What can libraries do with electronic mail? Should the libraries distribute/ sell email accounts? How to involve librarians in library-related discussion on the Net? Will the Net transform the library into a pay-service? What is the minimum of needed computer equipment? Must we offer a graphical interface to the Net? Cooperation with the city or municipality?