Reading & Review

One goal of OU Create is to help participants develop a deeper understanding of how the Web actually works. We’ve chosen a set of readings/videos/resources for you to review prior to your first cohort meeting that, we hope, will give you a better understanding of the the history and underpinnings of the Web.

Required Readings

You’ll notice that the readings & resources for this week cover a fairly large swath of time. Bush’s article from 1945 predates the web by almost six decades. It’s still worth reviewing and reflecting upon, however, in that it brilliantly foreshadowed the systems that ultimately became the Internet and the Web.

Weinberger’s piece (a preface to a longer book that examines the Web) is a great introduction to how the Web was different from anything that came before and how its inherent qualities of openness (and, perhaps, democratization) have ultimately informed what it has become.

Udell’s short piece is a bit more theoretical – but it proposes a number of suggestions about how we should be thinking about and interacting with the Web. Udell is known for advocating that we become more nuanced and critical users of the Internet. This article summarizes some of the reasons why he thinks that we need to be more self-aware about our interactions with these technologies and spaces.

Suggested Readings

As you review the home of the first Web site, we encourage you to explore it via the Line Mode Browser Simulator, to get a real sense of how we first interfaced with the Web. Take a moment and reflect upon the incredible degree to which those interfaces have changed in the last 20 years.

The two short videos by Chelius and Cutts are pretty basic introductions to the concept of the Web and of Search Engines. Understanding how Search Engines work, even on a basic level, is critical to developing a literacy around and about the Web – after all Search Engines mediate a vast amount of our interaction with the Web. When was the last time you thought about how the algorithms that build your search result ultimately effect your experience of the Web (and your ability to find what you’re looking for on it)?

Other Work

In addition, prior to the first meeting, we encourage you to think about what domain name (e.g. yourname.net) you might want to establish as part of this project. Below are some suggestions and guidelines to help you begin that thought process.

Choosing a Domain Name

Choosing your domain name is the first step in getting started on OU Create. Your domain name is really just a unique Web address that can be used to build out your own digital presence. As you make your choice, there are a few considerations to keep in mind:

Your Domain Name Must Be Available: Domain names must be unique, which means in order for you to claim your own, you need to be sure that it is currently available (and not being used by any one else or any company or organization). There are lots of tools to check on domain availability, and when you sign up on OU Create, we’ll actually check the availability of your choice for you. If you’d like to spend some time thinking about your choice and checking availability before you actually sign-up, we recommend using whois.net.

You Must Choose a “Top Level Domain” or TLD: The TLD is the suffix (or ending part) of your domain name. On OU Create, we only allow you to choose from 5 TLDs: .com, .net, .org., .info. and .us. You must choose which one you want to use (and the availability of your domain may depend upon the TLD you choose). Historically, .com domains were meant for businesses and commercial entities. On the other hand, .org domains were usually used by non-profit organizations. The .net domain was mean to be used by internet service providers. All of that said, the “historic” uses of these TLDs means very little anymore. You may find that .com domains are easier for people to remember, or you may like the “non-commercial” message of using a .org. The bottom line is that your choice of a TLD is entirely personal: just make sure that you choose one of the TLDs allowed by OU Create.

You May Wish to Include Your Name in Your Domain: There is no requirement that your domain reflect your specific identity in the form of your first and last name. However, choosing a domain name that includes your name may make it easier for you to achieve higher rankings in search engines when someone queries your real name.

Pick a Domain you Like: At the end of the day, your domain should reflect you. Pick a domain you like and are proud of. It can reflect your interests, sports you play, or your hobby. Or it could just be your name. The “right” domain for you is the one you’re comfortable with.