A Beginners Guide to the World Wide Web
Before you start to use the World Wide Web there are a few things you need to familiarise yourself with:
- Addresses on the World Wide Web
- Finding information and Search Engines
- On-line tutorials
This page has enough information to get you using the World Wide Web. It takes some time to get to grips with all the peculiarities of computers and the Internet, so don't worry if it doesn't all make sense to begin with. After a bit of practice you'll be "surfing" the net as if you had been doing it all your life! If you want to have a more in depth introduction to the Internet try one of the listed online courses.
When you use a "Leicestershire Libraries and Information Service" internet connection, you will be using the Microsoft "Explorer" browser.
A Web browser is simply the software that enables a computer to download and view pages from the Web. Modern browsers are sophisticated tools with lots of functions and facilities, however you don't need to know about them all, to use the internet.
The Browser has a number of sections including:
For now, the most useful of these is:
This is the navigation tool you will use most often. Let's look at what each button does.
The Back Button
When you start an Internet session neither the back nor the forward buttons will be highlighted. This is because the only page open at that point is the current page.
When you have looked at a second page or followed a link, the back button will become highlighted and by clicking on it, you will return to the previous page you looked at. The back button will take you back through your session one page at a time.
The Forward Button
Once you have looked at a few pages on your Internet session and gone back using the back button, you can go forward again using this key. Once again you will advance through you pages one at a time.
The Stop Button
If you start to download (or transfer) a page and you discover that it is not what you want, or it's taking too long to load, you don't have to wait until the whole page has been loaded to do anything else.
If you press the stop button, downloading will stop more or less straight away, at which point you can go back to the previous page or try a new site.
The Refresh Button
If a page is taking too long to download, pressing the refresh button will clear the screen and start loading it again. This may speed the process up, because it will take a different route to and from the page you want - but it might not!
The Home Button
The home page is the page the computer is set to visit when the browser is launched.
The Search Button
Pressing this opens a search box in the left hand portion of the screen. It's linked to the Microsoft Search Engine on the Microsoft site. There is more about search engines below.
The quickest way to a web page is by it's address. Internet addresses are everywhere these days - in adverts, on cornflake packets, in magazines, on stationery etc. If you are copying an address down, please be very careful - The address is case sensitive and the slightest mistake will mean the browser will not be able to find the page you want.
A web address is sometimes called an URL (Uniform Resourse Locator) and usually, but not always, begins http://www. you don't need to type the http:// bit as most modern browsers will recognise a web address without it. So the County Council web address is http://www.leics.gov.uk - but you only need to type www.leics.gov.uk
This is where you can type in the address of a Web site if you know it.
If there is already text in the box, highlight it by moving the mouse pointer over it and clicking once, then start typing the address you want.
When you have finished typing, either press the return key or left click your mouse and the browser will start looking for the site.
If the address is correct the appropriate Web page will start to appear in the main browser window.
If you have got it wrong, you will get a message to that effect.
If this happens, check that you have typed it correctly, and that you have used the correct case.
If that's not the problem, go back and check your source of information.
LINKS are what make the Web go round. A link can be anything - a piece of text, an icon or an image. All of the following are links:
Text links are usually blue and underlined like this, once a link has been used it changes colour, often to a sort of purple.
When you move the cursor over a link it changes from an arrow to a pointing finger. Whenever you have a pointing finger as your cursor on a web page clicking the left hand mouse button will take you to that link
Click a link and see what happens
If you don't know the address of the site you want to visit or if you're not even sure if there is a site - then you will have to search for it.
Search engines and directories have been set up to help you. They are web sites that have been designed to help find information.
Search engines like Google AltaVista or Fast give you a box, into which you can type your search terms or key words. They then give you a list of results which will link you to relevant web sites.
Directories like Yahoo or Excite offer a series of subject headings and sub-headings under which they organise information. This is very useful if you are new to the web.
Click for a list of, and more information about search engines.
Becoming Webwise - the new BBB becoming webwise site
Go-On - Free short interactive courses aimed at beginners, intermediate and advanced that interest you
TONIC - An online tutorial hosted by Newcastle University
Webwise - the BBC Internet training site
Page Last Updated: 29 June 2011