If you are a regular 'surfer' then you probably don't need to read this.


We want to encourage you to use the Internet because there is a lot of useful information and advice out there in cyberspace! First we define some terms and then we'll give you an idea of how to get started.


If you get addicted and want to do more, then look for a good local course or get a copy of The Rough Guide to the Internet. This inexpensive book is republished annually because Information Technology changes very quickly. We can only give you a taster here – enough to get you started.


The Internet

The Internet started in the late 1960s. It consists of the physical links between computers all over the world and the mechanisms that allow the information to be moved around it.


The World-Wide-Web (www)

The 'web' is one of the services that uses the Internet. Email also uses the Internet.


A web page

When you go to any organisation on the Internet, you will go to their website. This usually takes you to their 'home page'. This is like a contents page and you'll be able to click on what you want to look at. Each click will take you to another web page on that site.


Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)

This is the organisation that you pay to allow you access to the Internet,  though you may get it free through work or college. The following are a few of the many ISPs: BT Internet, NTL Internet, Virgin Net, TescoNet, AOL, etc.


A Search Engine

These powerful tools can search for anything you want through millions of web pages fantastically quickly – in seconds.  There are a number of these such as: Google, Yahoo! and AltaVista.


Your Browser

This is the software on your computer that gives you the 'window' to look at everything on the Internet, e.g. Internet Explorer and Netscape.


The page called Web sites gives you lots of sites that we think you'll find useful. You can try it now. Some of the links will take you directly to a web page on the Internet. And to get back to this page you can use the back arrow at the top left hand side of the screen.


Once you have looked at some of these web sites then try looking for something using a search engine. When you've found something you think you'd like to go back to fairly often, you can save the address in Favourites (Internet Explorer) or Bookmarks (Netscape) so that you don't have to retype the web address again. Your browser will have some standard 'favorites' (US spelling) or 'bookmarks'.


Be aware that some websites do disappear or go out of date. The quality of information on websites various enormously and can be misleading.



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