In the relationship between human and computer that underlies the spreadsheet, the human is the repository of knowledge, the smart agent, the active party. The user gives data its shape — places it in columns and rows, expresses the complex relationships between those columns and rows — and eventually turns data into more knowledge. It is the end user who creates information, who gives form to data, who informs the spreadsheet.
The relationship between person and machine is completely reversed on the Internet. The Net is the knowledge repository, and the user can only search it.
Ellen Ullman, Close to the Machine