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Internet Help


What is the Internet?

The Internet is a worldwide network of computers.

Although the Internet is commonly referred to as the World Wide Web, these are two different things! The Internet comprises the physical component, the computer network that carries or holds information. The World Wide Web (WWW or Web) is a hypertext information system that links Internet documents and allows users to navigate through the Web, jumping quickly from one source to another. Documents on the Web can include text, sound, video, and images. 

Along with the World Wide Web, other services are available through the Internet, including:
    electronic mail (e-mail) - allows you to send and receive electronic messages
    telnet - permits your computer to log onto another computer and use it as if you were there
    FTP (File Transfer Protocol) - allows your computer to retrieve files from a remote computer
    gopher - a text-only method for accessing documents on the Internet

The Internet contains a wealth of information published by governments, organizations, educational institutions, commercial enterprises, and private individuals. Since there are no standards for quality, users must evaluate all information carefully to make sure it is reliable. You can read more about evaluation criteria for web sources in the section, Evaluating Resources.

What is a URL?

URL stands for Uniform Resource Locator, which is essentially an address for finding a specific page or site on the Web.

How do I read a URL? 

Example: http://www.dilbert.com 

All web addresses start with http://

HTTP stands for Hyper-Text Transfer Protocol, which is the standard for communication between your computer, and the computer at the remote site where the page you wish to access is located.

Most (but not all web addresses) then start with www, followed by domain name or host address. A domain name is the name that identifies the computer on which the Internet site is found.. Domain names always have 2 or more parts, separated by dots. The part on the left is the most specific, and the part on the right is the most general.

Example: protocol://hostname/other_information&Gets more specific - - - - - - - - > 

What does a URL tell you about a site? (Or, Are you Master of your Domain?)

Look at the domain name:

The domain name can help to provide a hint as to who produces the site or the site's origins. 


.com represents commercial or business siteswww.excite.com

.edu represents educational sites (includes home pages created by students and staff) www.runet.edu

.org represents "non-profit" organization sites www.ada.org

.gov represents U.S. federal governmental siteswww.fda.gov

.mil represents military siteswww.army.mil

.net commercial sites or networks www.att.net

Although the Internet provides a vast amount of information, it does not include everything. Books, periodicals, databases, and other publications that are commercially available are not usually available for open access on the Internet. Thus, some of the most reliable information in existence must still be obtained from traditional print sources or electronic sources available by subscription only.

How do I find useful information on the Internet?

Due to the vast and non-centralized nature of the Internet, the information as a whole has no meaningful organizational structure. You can, however, find useful information on the Internet by using: 

 1. Internet Search Systems 

Use an Internet Search Engine or Subject Directory to search for one or more keywords. You may use Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT) and other advanced search techniques to narrow or broaden your search. An Internet search will generally retrieve a large number of hits which will be ranked by relevancy. You can then sift through the most relevant sites for useful and reliable information.

Try searching an Internet Subject Directory (like Yahoo!)
You can browse through web sites arranged by subject area or topic


Try searching an Internet search engine (like Google)
You can enter a search term or terms, and the search engine will return web sites having that term or terms

Remember each Search Engine or Subject Directory offers its own search features and capabilities. It is important to take the time to explore these different search capabilities in order to search and retrieve information effectively!

2. Subscription Indexes or Databases
(Connect to Electronic Resources)

Many indexes that are particularly useful for scholarly research are available on the Internet by restricted access. The LLRC (Library & Learning Resource Center) subscribes to some of these databases. These subscription indexes contain references to books, scholarly journal articles, and many other sources that are of high quality. Some contain full-text information.

3. Finding a Specific Internet Address: 

To locate a specific Internet site if you have the full Internet address:

    1.In your browser, click on File, then "Open"
    2.Type in the full Internet address of the desired site (example: http://www.cnn.com)
    3.Press the enter key

You may have to wait a minute or two for the site you have addressed to load, especially if the site contains large graphics or if you are accessing the site during peak hours when the lines may be jammed by heavy use.

How can I access the Internet?

All you need to access the Internet is a Web browser and an Internet connection. At the Riverside Community College, the Internet is accessible at several sites, including:

    The Reference area of all 3 college libraries
    The computer labs on campus
    Anywhere PCs are available to the public

The Internet for Beginners

RDN Virtual Training Suite - The Resource Discovery Network provides a collection of subject-specific tutorials offering information on key Internet resources, improving Internet search skills, evaluating Internet information, and using the Internet to support learning, teaching, and research.

SeniorNet - provides nonprofit computer & Internet education for older adults & seniors. SeniorNet is the premier senior site for content & community. SeniorNet's mission is to provide older adults education for & access to computer technology to enhance their lives & enable them to share their knowledge & wisdom. The nonprofit SeniorNet teaches seniors (age 50 plus) to use computers & the Internet.

Tools for the Web Users - research on virtual library collections, web searching methodogies and a collection of resources for keeping current with Web-Based resources

Searching the World Wide Web


Bare Bones 101 - Collection of concise lessons designed to help users get their Web searches on the right track quickly and easy. The tutorial is divided into 20 independent lessons, addressing topics such as meta-searchers, subject directories, evaluating sites, Boolean logic, and field searching.

Finding Information on the Internet - a tutorial on how to analyze your information needs, phrase your search, & select the best search engine for the job

How to Choose the Search Tools You Need - U.C. Berkeley Library's Recommended Search Engines and Directories

Internet Glosary

ILC Glossary of Internet Terms - Definitions of common terms (Internet) and technical ones (binhex) from Internet Literacy Consultants in San Francisco.