We've seen that FTP allows you to login to a remote computer for the purpose of transferring files. A program called Telnet allows you to actually log in to a remote computer. Telnet has two applications; if you have an account on another computer on the Internet, you can log in to your local account and then use Telnet to log in to your other account. More often, however, you'll use Telnet to connect to a public system of some kind: for example, the weather service at the University of Michigan, DELCAT--The University of Delaware Library's catalog, or other library systems.

Why would you want to log in to a library system when you cannot physically check out or read the books/magazines in that library? It is very helpful as a preliminary search technique when you are preparing to write a paper. Also, if the University of Delaware's library does not have a book that you locate in another library, you can request that our library get the book via inter-library loan.

CAVEAT: Systems that allow public access via telnet often allow only a limited number of users at any one time. This can prove frustrating if you try to access popular sites during rush hour (e.g., during the business day at that site).

The Internet Tutorial on telnet has an illustration of using telnet to access DELCAT.

Index to Demystifying the Internet UD Home Page
Index to Internet Tools Index to Internet Tutorials

The University of Delaware
August, 1996