Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

3.21. What's the World Wide Web?

The World Wide Web (a.k.a. WWW) is like Gopher: a system for organizing, linking, and providing point-and-click access among related Internet files, resources, and services.

WWW employs the hypertext, or "hypermedia", approach, in which cross-references are embedded within documents and other entries. Each cross-reference is a pointer to another document or to other actions, lists, or menus. Think of it as being able to click a footnote and being instantly taken to the corresponding place in another book or to hearing the sound of someone explaining something or to being automatically logged into a corresponding service, such as the Library of Congress.

During 1993 and 1994, the use of WWW rapidly caught up with Gopher as a way to make information available to the Internet community, further spurred by Mosaic and Lynx, two World Wide Web "browsers."

Note: A WWW browser, or front-end is the program that you run to access the information stored in the Web. Two popular browsers are Lynx, an ASCII-based browser, and Mosaic, a multimedia browser for the Macintosh and Microsoft Windows. You'll see the word Mosaic many more times online and in this book: it's a program that has changed the way people use the Internet, by letting them easily access text, sounds, graphics, and use "hypertext links" to navigate through information.

The text-based WWW browser in the following example is a bit of an eyesore, but it harbors a vast amount of information. Graphical browsers like Mosaic make WWW easier--and more fun--to use.

NJIT Information Technology Entry Point (20/20)
   (WWW) software developed at CERN[3] with  modifications[4] by NJIT.
   the NJIT Screen Mode browser use either the cursor keys or the item
   followed by the return key to select the topic of interest.    Goals[5]
   the NJIT-IT.            HELP[6]

        Test[7] menu
  University[9]   Directory[10]   Information Systems  NJIT Police
    Calendar[11]    Faculty[12]       NJIT Library[13] Rutgers Police
      Events[14]      Staff[15]    Other Libraries[16] Newark Police
Publications[17] Phone Book[18] Other Info Systems[19] UMDNJ Hospital
        News[20]      Hours[21]  Computing Systems[22] Health Services
   Information Topic:
     Student[23]   Academic[24]     Administration[25]
        What is new on njIT[27]            Weather[28]        Known


Next  Back  Up  Find  List  Recall  Top  End  Go  saVe  eXit  Query
 Succeeding  Home  Instructions
go Home to initial start-up document         ( ? help, - escape, ++ homebase
Notice that in these Web menus, various words are followed by numbers in brackets. Using this browser, I typed the number of the item that I wished to jump to. In a more elegant browser, like Mosaic, I could simply point-and-click on a keyword.
Available Online
                             NEWS AVAILABLE ONLINE

      News sources include:

      A full list of the news groups available via the Internet and Bitnet

      News Group Frequently Asked Questions Archive are maintained at
      ohio-state[2] and[3] and also available for searching
      WAIS at[4]  Note:  These hosts limit the maximum
      of users.  If you experience a problem please try again later.

      USA Today[5] News via Nova


Next  Back  Up  Find  List  Recall  Top  End  Go  saVe  eXit  Query
 Succeeding  Home  Instructions
Query hypertext links                        ( ? help, - escape, ++ homebase
See Figure 2.1 for an illustration of Mosaic in action.

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