Introduction to the World Wide Web

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					                                                                                                   HS 24
Introduction to the World
Wide Web
The Internet is a network of computer networks, linking millions of machines throughout the
world. It has many uses but the most popular are email (electronic mail) and surfing the
World Wide Web.

The Web is a system of billions of ‘pages’ that are accessible – via the Internet - to a type of
software program called a web browser (e.g. Internet Explorer or Firefox). Most web pages
are connected to other pages by hypertext links (or, hyperlinks): words or images that do
something when you click on them. Usually links open other related pages, but they can
also download files, play songs or movies, and do many other things. Groups of web pages
maintained by a person or an organisation are known as websites.

Email, job hunting, academic research, shopping, listening to music, checking the
London pub guide, accessing dictionaries or encyclopedias, getting the latest sports
score, banking, booking hotels and flights, finding government information - and much
more besides!

Computers for Internet searching can be found in the Learning Resources Centre
(LRC), the Perry Library (for information searching only), the libraries at East London
and Essex Campuses, and departmental computer centres.

All use of the Internet at London South Bank University must comply with JANET (Joint
Academic NETwork) Acceptable Use Policies, which prohibit the use of the network for
viewing, creating or publishing material that is designed or likely to be libellous, racist,
sexist or pornographic. Use of the network for commercial purposes is also prohibited.
Contravention of these policies may result in disciplinary action.
Help is available in various forms:
•                printed help sheets, such as this one
•                online help in web browsers
•                help desks in the LRC, libraries and other computer areas within the
•                training sessions - these 1 hour training sessions offer the basics in
web searching and are recommended if you have never used the Web before. Ask
about course availability at the LRC or Perry Library.

Every page on the World Wide Web has its own unique address, known as a URL
(Uniform Resource Locator). For example, the Library Services home page is
(Tip: In most browsers you don’t need to type the full address. You can omit http://.)

You can find information on the Web in three ways.
    • Go straight to a page whose URL you know
    • Surf
    • Search, using search services to find information

1.       Enter a URL
If you know a web address, simply type it into the location box at the top of the web
browser window, then press RETURN:

2.       Surf - follow links
Web links are usually designed to stand out. Depending on the designer’s choices,
links may appear as underlined or highlighted text or as images. When you see a link,
place the mouse pointer over it and the arrow will change to a pointing hand. Click
once with the left mouse button and wait for the document to load. The URL of the
current document can be seen in the location box at the top of the screen. Make a note
of the URL if you want to find the page again.

3.       Search services
If you have a query, you can use a search service to help you find what you need.
There are essentially two types: search engines and specialised services.

Search Engines
Search engines use software ‘webcrawlers’ rather than human surfers. They aim to be
comprehensive – indexing the entire Web! - so your queries will sometimes produce a
large number of irrelevant results. For example, using some engines a search for
“britney spears” will return more than a million results (and even “britnee speers” can
produce several hundred!). However, search engines are very often excellent for ‘quick

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and dirty’ searches, when you need fast access to simple information or known
resources. An example of a search engine is Google (

Specialised services

Not everything on the Web is accessible to search engines, and very often the results
they find are neither comprehensive nor well-organised. Hence the need for
specialised services such as databases and gateways.

Databases tend to concentrate on a single area - such as news, medicine or law - and
aim to provide definitive results. LSBU subscribes to many online databases which you
can use via the Library Homepage (Click on E-resources).

A gateway is a website that gathers together links to selected resources. Gateways
aim to provide high-quality links, chosen by experts. Three highly recommended
academic gateways are:

As a rule of thumb, use search engines to find specific information quickly, and use
specialised services for in-depth study, especially academic research.

If you’re using a University computer, you’ll need to use your I: Drive (LSBU-supplied
network storage) or a removable USB drive. When saving information, you must first
decide if the text alone is sufficient, if you need the page as it appears on screen
including graphics or if you just need an image from the page.

Saving text
    • click on File / Save As
    • at Save in, select your select your I: Drive or removable USB drive
    • type a suitable name for the file, then at Save as type, select Plain Text or
        Text File
    • click on Save
    • the saved file can then be opened and edited in any word processor

Saving as HTML (i.e. as the document appears on screen)
Please note that this method may take up a lot of space on your floppy disk.
    • click on File / Save As
    • at Save in, select your select your I: Drive or removable USB drive
    • type a suitable name for the file, then at Save as type, select Web Page or
        HTML Files
    • click on Save
    • the saved file(s) (a web page may be composed of more than one file) can
        then be opened in a web browser and in many word processors

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Saving graphics / images
    • place the mouse cursor over the graphic you wish to save
    • click on the right mouse button
    • select Save Image As... or Save Picture As…
    • at Save in, select your I: Drive or removable USB drive
    • name the image if necessary (e.g. flower.jpg)
    • click on Save
    • the saved file can then be viewed in a web browser, inserted into a word-
        processor document or edited in a graphics program

You should be aware of the possibility of copyright restrictions when you download
files, and of the rules on using other people’s work if you use downloaded material in
an assignment.

Search terms: Be as specific as possible when choosing the words you type into
search boxes. For example, searching for ‘computer’ may generate millions of hits.
Search tools: No search service can list every resource and services vary in their
coverage, content, quality and ease of use. Try several directories and indexes and
choose those that best suit particular search needs. Look at the search service’s online
help for tips about broadening or narrowing your search.
URLs:              If you find a page you might want to visit again, write down the URL
from the location box, making sure that you note capitals and other characters
Page size:         A page may be several screens long. A website may hold many

The Internet and World Wide Web have thrown open the doors to a vast store of
information. There is an increasing number of good quality sites out there, but you
need to be aware of the limitations of the Internet and Web.
Change:              The Web is dynamic, which means that information changes, moves
and frequently even disappears. The individual or organisation running a site may go
bust, change URLs, or simply delete its pages. Ensure you save or print material you
may wish to cite in assignments.
Delays:              As the Internet becomes busier, response times can be slow. Surfing
is usually speedier early in the morning (before the USA has woken up and logged
on!). Finding equivalent resources at European sites may save you time.
Barriers:            Congestion and network problems may prevent you from visiting
certain sites - try again later, or look for alternative sources. (Tip: If a page won’t load,
try searching for it using Google and clicking the ‘Cached’ hyperlink beneath the result.
Google takes a snapshot of each page examined as it crawls the web and caches
these as a back-up in case the original page is unavailable. If you click on the ‘Cached’
link, you’ll see the web page as it looked when Google indexed it.)
Authenticity:        Consider and evaluate the origins, authenticity, date and quality of
the material you find. An individual can design web pages that look just as good as an

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international publisher or research institution, but the content may not match the
Legal issues: Be aware of copyright implications whenever you use material found
on the Web. The person who supplies it may not have the necessary permission to do
so, and then you may not have the legal right to use it either. Ensure you cite your
references accurately to avoid being accused of copying, plagiarism or worse.


Browser              Software that allows you to        Page A web page is a document that has its
view pages on the Web. Firefox, Safari, Opera           own unique URL. A page may be composed of
and Internet Explorer are examples of browsers.         many separate files and may be equivalent to
Home page            The introductory page of a         many A4 pages.
website; also the page that loads when a                Surfing Following a series of web links, not
browser is first opened.                                necessarily knowing where you will end up.
Hypertext            Text that provides links           URL        Uniform Resource Locator - the
between different documents. Clicking on a link         unique identifier that describes the location of
initiates retrieval of the document at other end of     each Internet document or resource. You can
that link.                                              think of it as an address on an envelope!
Internet             A global network of computer       World Wide Web               A system of
networks. It is defined by a set of                     hyperlinked documents that uses browsers
communications protocols such as HTTP (for the          to interpret and display text, graphics and
Web) and FTP (for transferring files).There is no       other media. It is only one part of the Internet
central control of the Internet but in practice it is
controlled by the owners of individual networks
and associated committees.

Useful web pages!
Library Services homepage – your starting point! -
Netskills (online tutorial and interactive training course in Internet skills) –
Intute Virtual Training Suite (self-paced tutorials on using the Internet) –
TONIC (practical guidance on a range of Internet topics) –
Internet Detective (helps you to evaluate information found on the Internet) -

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