From the Editors; March 1997; Scientific American Magazine; by Rennie; 1 Page(s)
"Conan the Librarian"? No, that doesn't fit the profile. Librarians are mousy, bespectacled fussbudgets, as faintly musty as the books they curate, at least in the popular stereotype. They certainly aren't the sort who should be trying to conquer a bold new frontier. For that job, one wants fearlessly independent explorers and tough, two-fisted cowboys in the John Wayne mold, fair but quick on the draw. You can count on them to tame badlands and carve out a safe niche for the simple, civilized townsfolk.
Cowboys, in the persons of hackers, crackers and other members of the plugged-in elite, have been among the most colorful occupants of cyberspace ever since people other than researchers and defense wonks began roaming the Internet. With the invention of e-mail, and later of the World Wide Web, the value of networked communications on a global scale became clear and attractive to masses of humanity. Many of the Net's early denizens, however, who love the terrain's wild beauties, are not happy to see the throngs of newcomers arriving in their Winnebagos. They correctly see the encroachment of civilization as spelling the end of their fun.