By James Coates, Chicago Tribune Knight-Ridder/Tribune Business News
Apr. 9--On Monday Chicago will add another player to da Bears, da Bulls, da Sox and da Cubs.
Monday comes da Internet. Mayor Richard Daley plans a press conference at the Harold Washington Library Center, where he will give a point-and-click tour of the city's new Internet on-line service, to be called Chicago Mosaic.
For the initiated, the service can be reached by pointing World Wide Web browser software to the address http://www.ci.chi.il.us.
The less technically inclined can view the city's new on-line presence by visiting any one of seven libraries that, starting Monday, will offer visitors access to computers that are hooked up to the Internet.
These are the downtown Washington and the Kelly, Mt. Greenwood, Portage Cragin, Uptown, Sulzer and Woodson branch libraries.
Once linked to Chicago Mosaic, either at home or at the library, a computer user encounters a barrage of images and information that includes everything from photographs of landmarks like the Water Tower and Sears building to performers dancing at Fiesta del Sol in the Pilsen neighborhood.
There also is a map of the city divided into the 25 police districts. When a user clicks on any of them with the mouse, information is called up showing how to contact individual beat officers under the new Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy.
The service also serves as a city directory, listing every city department, giving phone numbers and information about where to go to get a variety of services ranging from removing abandoned cars to obtaining zoning permits.
There also are plenty of pictures of Mayor Daley as one moves from one area to the next. And from the starting point of Chicago Mosaic, called a home page, one can click on a picture of the mayor and go to an area where it is possible to send his honor e-mail.
The city thus becomes the first of the nation's larger cities to put itself in the role of an on-line host on the worldwide computer network that now is enjoying explosive growth.
Chicago follows in the footsteps of smaller places such as Palo Alto, Calif., Cambridge, Mass., and even tiny Sedona, Ariz., in allowing all those with Internet access to acquire whatever information the mayor and his staff care to publish.
Chicagoans, suburbanites and tourists alike can use modem-equipped personal computers to search Chicago Mosaic and find a wide variety of information about the city, its cultural attractions, its landmarks and its leaders.
Planners of the project said that a major reason for putting the city on- line was to court tourism, which has become one of Chicago's major sources of income.
Eric Schmidt, chief of technology for Sun Microsystems Inc., the company that provided the computers that hold the data for Chicago Mosaic, said, ``These things are win-win deals for politicians and computer companies.''
He said that Sun has sold hundreds of its Netra Internet Server machines to various government agencies that are rushing to put information on the Internet.
``We have discovered that governments have an enormous load of constituent services, things like requests for street repairs or sewer cleaning that can be dealt with on-line.
``The Internet lets the city publish helpful information, to promote good will, to serve the tax payers and even to put a picture of the mayor in front of the constituents,'' said Schmidt. END!B&$3?TB-INTERNET
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