is the Internet?
The Internet is a worldwide network of computers. At any given time, up
to 15 million users are connected to the Internet in over 50 countries.
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
electronic mail (e-mail)
- allows you to send and receive electronic messages
permits your computer to log onto another computer and use
it as if you were there
Transfer Protocol) - allows your computer to retrieve
files from a remote computer
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
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?
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
.gov represents U.S. federal
.mil represents military
.net commercial sites or
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
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
(Connect to the Internet Search Tools page)
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 AltaVista)
You can enter a search term or terms, and
the search engine will return web sites having
that term or terms
Try searching a meta-search
engine (like MetaCrawler)
Searches many search engines all at the same
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
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
To locate a specific Internet site if you have the full Internet address:
1.Click on File, then "Open" (in
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, such as Netscape,
and an Internet connection. At the Riverside Community College, the Internet
is accessible at several sites, including:
If you haven't used a graphical browser before, an online tutorial may
Tutorial - From Burlington County Library (NJ).
Tutorial - From The AIM Lab Group
The Internet for Beginners
Basic Tutorial on Searching the Web - A bare bones
introduction to searching the web, with basic search
tips and information on search engines, subject directories,
portals and gateways. The information contained in the
lessons is truly "bare bones," designed to get you started
in the right direction with a minimum of time and effort.
the World-wide Web
Gentle Introduction to the Internet - This
short introduction explains what the Internet
is, gives several reasons why people might want
to use it, and compares the Net to commercial
services such as CompuServe.
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.
of Web Tutorials - The Bibliographic Instruction
Committee of the Community & Junior College
Libraries section of ACRL has complied a list
of reviewed web tutorials appropriate for two
year college students which describes & rates
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.
for the Web Users - research on virtual library
collections, web searching methodogies and a
collection of resources for keeping current with
and Using the Internet--from PBS
the World Wide Web
the NoodleQuest section of this site provides Web
search strategy assistance by leading you through
a series of twelve short questions designed to
lead you to the best search engines for your needs
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.
Information on the Internet - a tutorial
on how to analyze your information needs, phrase
your search, & select the best search engine
for the job
to Choose the Search Tools You Need - U.C.
Berkeley Library's Recommended Search Engines
Matrix of Internet Catalogs and Search Engines -
Information on and evaluation of the most-used
catalogs and search engines on the Web.
More Internet Information
Internet Timeline - Robert H. Zakon's detailed
chronology of the development and growth of the
Internet, from the establishment of the Advanced
Research Projects Agency in 1957 to the present
Glossary of Internet Terms - Definitions
of common terms (Internet) and technical ones
(binhex) from Internet Literacy Consultants in