WWW Introduction - Web Browsing

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Lynx - a non-graphical web browser

Lynx is a program which allows you to access the World Wide Web without graphics. It's faster than Netscape but has no pictures and is not as friendly to use. If you have a GMU computer network account,  telnet into the mason server.  Then type "lynx"at the mason.gmu.edu prompt :
mason.gmu.edu> lynx

Scroll up or down with the up or down arrows. Hyperlinks are highlighted words and graphics which, when selected, lead to a new thread of discussion, a picture (from a graphical browser), other Web sites etc. To select a " link" in lynx, press down the right arrow. To go back, select the left arrow. You will then be taken to a series of choices, with a menu of options at the bottom. If you know a particular site address you can press the G key and the address. For example, you will be taken to a "search engine" to help you find Web sites in various categories if you type at the mason.gmu.edu>: lynx http://www.altavista.com

There are a series of menu commands at the bottom of the screen. If you want to send a copy of the information you found, you can send it to your directory in osf1/mason by selecting the P (rint) option. Then select the MAIL A FILE option. You will be prompted to give the file a name or you can keep the same name. The file will then reside in your osf1 directory. To find it, at the mason> prompt, type ls.

Graphical Web Browsers:

Netscape and Internet Explorer are the major graphic Web browsers

They are much more user friendly Web browsing software programs.  They require more memory than a system on which lynx can run.  These Web browsers allow people to explore the Internet (a worldwide network of sites from which people can read information, view graphics, hear sound (if the computer is equipped with the appropriate technology).

You can print information, download it to your computer or disk, save your favorite Internet sites as a "bookmark" which can reside in a folder on your computer or save your bookmarks on a disk to have a portable list of sites.

To use bookmarks saved on a disk, select the Open a File option in your Web browser, then select your A: drive, then click the mouse on these bookmarks and access the sites while in a graphical web browser like Netscape.

It is impossible to explore all the possibilities and sites on a World Wide Web. New ones are added every day. The quality of the information varies widely (as does the quality of information in newspapers, on TV, and in books). There is a wealth of scholarship and good information out there on the Internet. There is also a lot of junk. My web page has a section on evaluating web sites.

For a sampling of the WWW using Netscape on a lab computer at GMU:

  • Click on the Netscape icon.
  • Go back to a site you previously selected by clicking on the BACK "button" on the menu;
  • Go forward by clicking on the FORWARD button.
  • Search by clicking on the netsearch button; scroll down the "page" until you come to the space to type in your keywords. Click at that space, write in your key words, then click the search button. Wait until the possible choices appear. Select one by clicking on the highlighted link. Try one of the search engine addresses like AltaVista (http://www.altavista.com) or Yahoo: (http://www.yahoo.com).
Try to search some Internet sites by using the Internet URL address. Internet "addresses" are a string of characters which begin with http://. For example, my Web page is at the address: http://mason.gmu.edu/~montecin. The George Mason University home page is http://www.gmu.edu. To enter either of these addresses, you can replace the present address in the Location box by deleting the present address or highlighting the old address and typing over it. Or you can click on the FILE option and select Open Location.

You can print out a file (see under the FILE menu item) or mail a file or an http address to yourself or someone else (if the mail option is set up under Preferences). Some of the files are quite long, so be careful you don't overload your e-mail account.

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