This material has been developed to accompany:

Introduction to the Internet and the World Wide Web 


Key Terms and Concepts Sharing and Copying Information  Error Codes
Guides to the Internet Survey of Information Sources  
First Look at Using a Web Browser to Find Information on the Web

 Activity   First Look at Using a Web Browser to Find Information on the Web

In going through the steps of this activity, we'll start the browser, explain some of the items you'll see on your screen, and then look at one of the subject directories available that give easy access to a lot of information. Finally, we'll exit the Web browser.

1. Start the Web browser.
You start the Web browser by either clicking on an icon for the browser or choosing the browser from a menu. In some cases you may have to select a program group from the list of programs you can run, or you may have a shortcut to Netscape on your desktop. If you're using a different browser you'll probably start it in the same way but by clicking on a different icon. Suppose the browser icon is on your desktop.

    Double-click on the browser icon.
It's important for you to know how to get online help. You may have guessed that one way to get help is to use the pull-down menu item Help. The help menu has a link to an online help.

2. Go to the Yahoo! directory.

Use the mouse to point to the location field and click the (left) mouse button.

    Type in the location field and press Enter.
3. Explore the WWW.

An easy way to explore the WWW, is to follow hyperlinks. Starting with a directory like this one, there's plenty of exploring to do. To be specific,

    Use the mouse to point to the hyperlink Science and click on the (left) mouse button.

    Use the mouse to point to the hyperlink Astronomy and click once with the (left) mouse button.

There are lots of links to follow here, and you can follow these to explore the WWW. You'll find you can move from page to page easily with a little practice. Press the toolbar button Back,to go back through previous pages. Spend some time exploring these topics or others.

This page as well as others from Yahoo! contains a search form that you can use to search Yahoo! for information rather than browse the directory. There are times when you'll want to search rather than brows. Before you start a search here, or with other directories and search tools, be sure to first read what ever material is available online about help, tips, or options.

Tip: You'll see that in the long run, the time spent learning about how to use the search facilities of a directory or search engine will save you time later on.

4. Exit the Web Browser.
    Click on File in the Menu Bar and then click on Exit.

Key Terms and Concepts

bookmark bookmark list
client/server favorite
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) home page
hyperlink hypermedia
hypertext Hypertext Markup Language (HTML)
Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) Internet
Uniform Resource Locator (URL) Web browser
Web page World Wide Web (WWW)

Error Codes and Messages

Occasionally you'll follow a hyperlink or type in a URL and your browser displays 404 Not Found or 403 Forbidden. These are messages from a Web server that indicate some problem in retrieving the requested file.

As amazing as some computer systems are, they generally need very precise instructions. So you have to be careful about spacing (generally there aren't blank spaces in a URL), the symbols used (a slash and a period are not interchangeable), and the case of the letters when you're typing  in a URL. Take a look at the following for more information about the codes and messages

Sharing and Copying Information Found on the Internet and the World Wide Web

Much of what you find on the WWW can be saved in a file on your computer, which makes it easy to share and distribute information on the Web.

Remember that anything available in electronic form on the Internet or World Wide Web is a copyrighted work, and you need to treat it in the same way as a book, magazine, piece of art, play, or piece of recorded music. Just because something is available on the WWW doesn't mean that you may copy it. You are allowed to copy the material for personal use, but in almost every case, you cannot use it for commercial purposes without written permission from the copyright holder.

Selected Web-Based Guides to the Internet

 If you're not familiar with the Web or the Internet, you may want to look at some Web-based guides.

Survey of Information Sources

A number of different types of information sources are available on the World Wide Web. Those include:

bullet.jpg (5676 bytes)Directories of a general collection of Internet and WWW resources, arranged by subject. Yahoo! was one of the first directories on the Web. Others are listed in our Annotated List of Selected Directories and Internet Subject Directories.

bullet.jpg (5676 bytes)Search engines, which are tools that provide keyword searching capability. Google is one example. Others are listed in our Annotated List of Selected Search Engines.

bullet.jpg (5676 bytes)Meta-search tools, which allow you to access databases from one place. Examples of meta-search tools are MetaCrawler, Ixquick, Vivisimo, and the The InvisibleWeb

bullet.jpg (5676 bytes)Virtual libraries, which are directories or subject catalogs consisting of selected Web resources. Two excellent examples are The Internet Public Library,  and Librarians' Index to the Internet.

bullet.jpg (5676 bytes)Specialized databases, which contain comprehensive collections of hyperlinks in a particular subject area, or which are self-contained, searchable indexes made available on the Web. The InvisibleWeb  and direct search list many specialized databases and directories.

bullet.jpg (5676 bytes)Library catalogs accessible on the World Wide Web. Some resources for library catalogs accessible on the World Wide Web are LibDex and Libweb.
bullet.jpg (5676 bytes)FTP archives, which are collections of files in various formats available on the Internet. Several Web sites allow you to search FTP archives and make it relatively easy to retrieve files through FTP. One is Allthe Web FTP Search

bullet.jpg (5676 bytes)Email discussion groups, of which several thousand groups exist to share opinions and experiences, ask and answer questions, or post information about a specific topic. Several services let you search for discussion groups. One is Publicly Available Mailing Lists

bullet.jpg (5676 bytes)Usenet newsgroups, which are collections of group discussions, questions, answers, and other information that have been shared through the Internet. Google Groups has archives of Usenet articles.


Key Terms and Concepts Sharing and Copying Information  Error Codes
Guides to the Internet Survey of Information Sources  
First Look at Using a Web Browser to Find Information on the Web

Visit Searching and Researching on the Internet and the WWW for more information about using the Internet for doing research and finding what you need.

This material has been developed to accompany: by Ernest Ackermann and Karen Hartman, and published by Franklin, Beedle and Associates, Incorporated, Wilsonville OR.

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Ernest Ackermann Department of Computer Science, Mary Washington College, University of Mary Washington