The Internet offers exciting new opportunities for chemists. The collaboratory concept is just one illustration of how Internet-mediated science may affect the relationship of researchers to instruments and data, of colleagues to each other, and of teachers and advisors to students. While Web-based tools may alter much of the current familiar landscape of practice and pedagogy, it is important to recognize what the Web cannot do. Specifically, simply “surfing" for information is not a replacement for learning. Amidst the temptation to browse endlessly among an ever widening array of online resources, students and researchers must still take time to absorb and reflect on ideas in order to master and understand key concepts.
Thanks to James Finholt, Albert Finholt, Peter Murray-Rust, and James Penner-Hahn for feedback from the chemistry perspective. Thanks to Dan Atkins for his ideas on the reality gap in information technology. And finally, thanks to Stephanie Teasley for helpful comments and suggestions on earlier drafts. Requests for reprints should be addressed to (a) Thomas A. Finholt, Collaboratory for Research on Electronic Work, C-2420, 701 Tappan St., Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1234; or (b) <firstname.lastname@example.org>.