About the Internet
What is the Internet?
The Internet is a collection of computer networks, the main public area is known as the “World Wide Web”, it consists of many millions of websites.
Websites can be used by people to find information, share pictures, download music, read news, buy goods, arrange services, manage bank accounts, play games and much more.
The Internet is growing rapidly with millions of new web pages created every day.
The web is used by all ages from pre-school children, school pupils, university students, employees, families, businesses and retired people.
Websites are groups of web pages containing text, pictures, sound and video.
They can be designed and managed by international companies, public organisations, charities, small businesses or individuals.
Each website has a unique web address (URL) which you just type into the address box at the top of your Internet browser to find the site (by the way, URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locator”. Every page on the web has its own URL.).
This website has the address www3.hants.gov.uk/computer-skills.
You can do this with any web address that you know of. For instance, you’ll find that organisations (including Hampshire County Council) are increasingly making sure that the address of their web site is included in all their publications. You’ll also notice that a growing number of adverts carry a reference to the company’s website.
Examples of web addresses
Hampshire County Council
* Hampshire County Council is not responsible for the content of external websites.
To move around the Internet, you will use 'links', these will take you to another page in that site, to a different website or sometime to information on a different part of the webpage you are on.
As you move around a web page the cursor will change from an arrow to a pointing hand, see the picture.
Links are often indicated by underlined text, sometimes the text is just shown in a different colour.
Try this link
Move your mouse pointer over the underlined text below
Tip When the pointer changes to a hand, left click once - sometimes you need to wait for the page to load (do not keep clicking!).
At the top of the screen, you will see a toolbar, which will look something like this (please note the buttons can vary).
Toolbar buttons will help you move around. The ones above are used in Internet Explorer, but most browsers use similar looking buttons:
Go back one page at a time through the pages you have just looked at.
If you use the back button and want to revisit a page, Forward will take you to the page again.
Click on Refresh if a page or site is taking a long time to appear on screen.
This will take you back to the homepage for the browser.
Click to see a list of the websites you’ve saved as favourites or add a new favourite (see below).
Display a list of recently viewed webpages.
Save your favourite websites, so that you can find them again quickly. Note that computer programs use the US spelling 'favorite'.
The Web is available to anyone – not just to find information, but to publish it as well.
Reliable, respectable and worthy organisations publish their public information on the Web, but so do a great many others, including individuals who may have personal opinions or views on topics.
You need to be able to judge the quality and the authority of any information you find. This is nothing new, of course. If you go into a newsagents you may well find newspapers with articles about the latest sighting of Elvis, or stories about visitors from outer space. You use your knowledge of the publishing organisations to decide which papers to take seriously and the same principles apply to the Web.
Most good websites will provide information about themselves at the bottom of all their pages. If you look at the bottom of any Hantsweb page, you’ll find a pointer to information about Hampshire County Council, an e-mail address and other contact information for the people responsible for that page. You’ll also find a date when that page was last changed, which will often give you a clue as to how much you can rely on it. You should expect to find similar features on all well-managed websites.
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