Friday, October 5, 2007

Thing 42: Google Groups/Usenet

Back when the Internet was just getting going, access to the WWW was $8/hour, at least around here. But for $10/month you could get email and something many of us thought was pretty cool called Newsgroups or the Usenet. These electronic bulletin boards on virtually anything were great for getting expert information or finding people of like interests. I set up a job exchange to England using the Usenet and it’s had a soft place in my heart ever since. Here’s the Wikipedia article on Usenet.

Anyway, I thought the Usenet had gone the way of the Dodo but no, it’s alive and well and accessible through Google Groups. Google bought the archive resource for the Usenet brilliantly named DejaNews back in 2001 and has expanded the whole operation.

Now you don’t have to use Google to get to the Usenet. In fact it’s more fun if you don’t. Here’s a complete tutorial and almost everything you’ll want to know.

One thing’s for sure, if you’re going for a merit badge in Geekology, using the Usenet is one way to help you get it. And oh! Librarians, here’s a good newsgroup just for you!!

Discovery Exercise:


  1. Go to the Google Groups site Society.libraries.talk

  2. Click on the About this group link on the right hand side.
  3. Note the usage for this site as the www has taken over.
  4. Click on the Google Groups link above.
  5. Search for something your interested in like the Minnesota Vikings, or Reincarnation, or maybe Dr Demento.
  6. Check out some postings.


Have Fun!

- by RA Meyer