Introduction to the Internet

Sections:
1) Introduction
2) Web Directories
3) Search Engines
4) Understanding a URL

5) Five Types of Webpages
6) Evaluation Criteria

Introduction to the Internet
The Internet is a giant worldwide network of computers. This vast collection of interconnected networks is actually a network of networks constantly exchanging information. This giant network of networks not only consists of large corporate and government computers but universities and personal computers are also a part of this large network. Many computers are joined together on the Internet by modems, which are machines that make connections using telephone lines. Most people who use the Internet at home are connected by modems (Guernsey, College.Edu 93).

THE BEGINNING:
In 1960 the U.S. Department of Defense's Advanced Research Projects Agency funded research project involving linking computers together through telephone hook-ups. The Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) was interested in developing a secure military research system that would withstand power outages. In the past the ARPA used one line to link its computers together. If one computer went down the entire network would fail. So, ARPA's researchers developed a new software program called Internet Protocol (IP) to send data in packets along a network of communication lines. Packets carried bits of information from one network node to another until they reached their destination. Once these bits of information reached their destination, computers were able to read this information. These scientists who developed the Internet did most of their work at universities. They discovered new ways to communicate electronically; one of these new ways of electronic communication was e-mail.

HOW IT EVOLVED:
The National Science Foundation developed five supercomputer networks called ARPANet in 1986. However, traffic was so heavy on this network that it soon became overloaded. NSF came to the rescue by providing more communication lines and faster computers. Up to this time only researchers at universities and a few governmental agencies used the Internet. The five supercomputer networks were increased to fifteen and thousands of colleges, research companies, and governmental agencies now had access to the Internet. This new network was called NSFNET. The National Research & Educational Network (NREN) legislation expanded NSFNET to include K-12 schools and community colleges. Vice President Al Gore was instrumental in spearheading this legislation.

THE INTERNET TODAY:
Now there are thousands of people using the Internet everyday. Approximately 96 countries were connected to the Internet as of June 1995. Usage on the Internet has changed no longer are academic and research institutions the sole users. American Online, CompuServe, and Prodigy are large commercial networks that provide Internet services to thousands of people. No one controls the Internet; by 1994 the U.S. government had relinquished the daily maintenance of the Internet. The Internet does not belong to any one person, government, or private entity. Anyone with access to a computer with modem and telecommunication software can connect to the Internet and if they so desire publish on the Internet. The only authoritative body over the Internet is the Internet Society, which is a non-governmental international organization. Its main function is to foster worldwide cooperation in the use of the Internet.

Financing the Internet:
Most of the cost is paid by each network that passes on the cost to their customers. Universities and colleges pay for connection to the Internet for faculty and students from their budgets.

Who Uses the Internet and Why:
Millions of people from every aspect of society and from all over the world use the Internet everyday. They use it for communication, to access information on a host of subject areas and topics, to conduct business, and for education and research. Much of the information on the Internet cannot be found anywhere but some information does duplicate printed material. The Internet is very current and this aspect is very important for people such as research scientists who need access to the most current information. The instant a newspaper is printed it is available on the Internet and so are court cases and federal regulations.

Internet Components
E-mail -- There are numerous ways to exchange information on the Internet. One way is through e-mail. E-mail is a message sent from one person to another via computer. E-mail can also be sent automatically to large numbers of addresses called a Listserv.

World Wide Web -- The World Wide Wed is a unit within the Internet that allows the user to have universal access to an infinite amount of information. Information on the Web comes in various formats i.e. sound, pictures, and text files.

HTML (Hyper Text Mark Up Language) is a coding language used to create hypertext documents for use on the Web. All web browsers i.e. Netscape, Microsoft Explorer can read HTML.

WEB BROWSERS -- Browsers are powerful tools used for reading HTML documents. Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer are the most well known web browsers. Browsers have fields where a person can type in the URL to find a web page. After the URL is typed the browser reveals the web page. Browsers have status bars and scroll bars. The status bars display the address of the URL you are viewing; scroll bars allow you to move quickly up and down pages. Buttons are available to help you to move back and forth between web sites, and bookmark icons are there for you to add your favorite sites. In this course you will learn how to use the Netscape browser (Guernsey, College.Edu 94.)

Works Cited:
Guernsey, Lisa. c 1998. College.Edu: On-Line Resources for the Cyber-Savvy Student. Alexandria, VA: Octameron Associates.

Bolner, Mytle S. and Gayle A. Poirier. 1997. The Research Process: Books and Beyond. Dubuque, Iowa: Kendall/Hunt Publishing Co.