Based on the interviews of 18 people in Finland in 2001-2, conceptions of the Internet as an information source were explored. In general, the conceptions reflect the acceptability, accessibility and usability of Internet sources. Most conceptions appeared to be quite impressionistic, reflecting the basic difficulty of describing the constantly changing nature of the Internet. Two major kinds of Internet conceptions were identified. First, in metaphorical conceptions, the Internet was primarily conceived in terms of space or place, for example, a library or a bazaar. Second, conceptions based on actual use experiences of the Internet significantly drew on quality judgments of the networked services. Since a growing number of information sources of various types are competing for people’s attention, general level conceptions of sources and channels will gain importance as a criterion by which sources will be accepted or rejected. This seems to be a particular characteristic of networked information environments.
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