Using A Web BrowserIn order to explore the web you will need a special
piece of software known as a web browser. The two most commonly used web
browsers are Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer. They both operate in a
similar manner using menus and buttons to help you navigate around the web.
You can try these Webhints for some specific help with using your browser or
see What To
Expect for an explanation of the major functions of the browser. If you are
using Netscape try this Tutorial
Some Tips Before You Start SurfingDon't be overwhelmed by Cyberspace!
Feeling lost is normal and should be anticipated. Much like journeying to a
foreign country you know there are many things to see and do, but everything at
first will seem so--well, foreign. When you first arrive, you'll have trouble
reading the street signs. You'll get lost. And don't be timid! As you travel the
Net, your computer may freeze, your screen may erupt into a mass of gibberish.
The Net and your computer are hardier than you think, so relax. You can't break
the Net! If something goes wrong, try again. If nothing else, you can always
restart your computer.
Finally, a warning---this territory is addictive and there is so much to see
and do. It can become a fantastic time-sink. Hours can slip by, people can come
and go, and you'll be locked into the Internet. Happy Surfing!
What To ExpectOn any web page you'll normally find text, images and
Hyperlinks allow you to move from page to page just by clicking on them with
your mouse. Effectively a hyperlink can take you to pages on the same computer
or other computers all around the world. Text hyperlinks will normally be
differentiated from the rest of the document by a different color or underlined.
Images can also be hyper-linked but are sometimes a little more difficult to tell
immediately if they are hyper-linked, except that for any hyperlinks, whether it
be from text or an image, when your mouse is over the hyperlink it will change
from an arrow to a hand, letting you know if you click then, you will move to a
new web page or a new part of the current web page, or even to audio and video files that you
click on in the same way to hear or see them. When you have visited a link and
return to the page you accessed it from, most times the link will change color
allowing you to see which links you have already visited on that page which is
helpful when you are looking through a long list of links.
The operation of the web relies mainly on these hyperlinks as its means of
linking resources from a range of locations.
A web page can have many hyperlinks to other web pages sitting on web servers
all around the world. When you select an item on a web page by clicking on it
with your mouse, a copy of that item will be retrieved by your browser. You
don't actually see this movement, only the document or image appearing on your
Sometimes images and programs can take some time to travel down the telephone
to your computer. This is one of the greatest bug bears of the WWW. All we can
do though in the interim is be patient, and wait for internet connections to be
Now you can simply browse the web going from link to link but you may not
find the information you want. The search button on your web browser will take
you to a site that has a collection of search
engines which compile databases of web pages. You select the search engine
and then type in keywords, you can be very specific about the resources you're
are another way to find what you want on the WWW. They are collections of
resources organized into categories. They can focus on one subject area and some
may collect and organize resources in a number of areas like the SOFWeb Resource
Centre. Through your web browser you can also gain access to Electronic Mail and
If you like a page you have visited and would like to revisit it at a later
date you can save it's location by clicking on the favorites button in
Explorer or the bookmarks menu in Netscape. You select add to , then the
next time you open the menu this page has been added to the list. You are also
able to sort your
favorite pages into directories.
You can use your back button on your browser for moving back through web
pages you have previously viewed, this helps when you are viewing several links
from one web page. You can also move forward through that same selection.
You could also use Go on the Menu Bar which contains a history list of all
the pages you have visited. You can select a particular page without having to
move through all the pages in-between.
If a web page is taking too long to load up you can use the stop button and
try an alternate site. This sometimes happens if there are a lot of graphics on
The refresh or
reload button gets you a new copy of the page from the WWW. You can use this
for pages that update regularly.
button will take you back to a page you have pre-selected to be your start
up page. Don't confuse this with an actual home page which is the
introductory page of a website that normally has a master menu of documents on
that site. You can also send and receive email
through your browser but it is not as sophisticated as the specialised
electronic mail packages. As the range of materials on the web gets more
complex and exciting it sometimes is necessary to add special add-on programs to
the browser or your computer. There are two basic types, plugins and
players. Plugins add new features to your browser and players to your
computer or outside of your browser.
With the latest versions of Internet Explorer and Netscape Navigator you will
have much of what you'll need to enjoy multimedia formats on the web like sound and
video but occasionally
you will across a file that won't work unless you get the appropriate plugin or
Interactive MultimediaBesides the obvious Sounds and Movies available for
viewing on the web there are other types of interactive multimedia involving
java, shockwave and cgi programs all written for the web for you to interact
You can try this list of interactive
shockwave games to see how shockwave works. Make sure you try this mudball game
- it's excellent.
Visit Magnet's 1000
Questions About Australia This project, which was developed and is
coordinated by Magnet, aims to develop student skills in the use of e-mail,
World Wide Web publishing techniques and multimedia authoring. Students
construct multiple choice questions on the web and also provide clues to assist
in choosing the correct response. This is done through the use of a web page,
audio and online video using video streaming technology.
Uniform Resource LocatorsAll of the documents that you will find on the
Internet are differentiated by a unique address which is technically referred to
as a URL which stands for Uniform Resource Locator. Think of it as a networked
extension of the standard filename concept: not only can you point to a file in
a directory, but that file and that directory can exist on any machine on the
network, and can be served via a several different methods.
They can look complicated but are easier to understand when you divide it
into its component parts. Understanding how URL's are composed will enable you
to locate and remember document locations with greater ease.
A URL is always a single unbroken line with no spaces. For Example:
The first part http:// indicates that you wish to retrieve a document
via the world wide web and stands for HypterText Transfer Protocol.
Most resources that you will access are located on World Wide Web servers and
are thus named www at the beginning of the address. Each world wide web
server will have a domain name.
This is the domain name for SOFWeb - sofweb.vic.edu.au. Web pages can be organized
into directories. This web page sits in a directory called
internet. Lastly each web page has its own file name - this document is
called intro.htm. All web pages end in .htm or html because
they are documents prepared for viewing on the web through a web browser.
To access a URL you only need to click on the Open Location button on your
browser and type in the URL and press enter. All URL's or Web pages that you
visit can be saved into your bookmarks file in your browser so that you don't
have to remember them all. For more information
on saving bookmarks.
Sometimes you may come across a url that starts with ftp:// instead of
http:// this means that the file is located on an FTP server instead of a WWW
server. FTP servers are sometimes used for downloading files as they are a lot
quicker than the standard WWW server.
When you are accessing Newsgroups the urls will always start with news. eg.
These are the most common type of URL's you will come across. You can find
more information on URLs here.
© State of Victoria
(Department of Education, Employment & Training)
Initiative of the
Last Updated: August 11, 2000