ARCHIVED: What is the World Wide Web?
The World Wide Web is a way of exchanging information between computers on the Internet, tying them together into a vast collection of interactive multimedia resources. Thousands upon thousands of computers around the world are connected to the web and offer a tremendous variety of information and services.
The web is built around hypertext and hypermedia. A hypertext document has certain keywords or phrases linked to other online documents. A person reading a hypertext document about dogs, for example, might be able to select the highlighted word "beagle" and call up another document for more information about that particular breed. With documents intertwined by links into a web of information, you can select paths to browse online resources, a process often referred to as surfing.
Hypermedia extends the concept of hypertext to other forms of information, including images, sounds, and video clips. A person reading a hypermedia document about dogs, for example, might select a picture of a beagle and watch a video clip about beagles.
The web subsumes previous Internet information systems such as Gopher and FTP. These resources can still be accessed through the web, but the web provides a wealth of additional capabilities not previously offered by these more restricted connection methods.
To use the web, you need a web browser, a program that lets the computer you're using communicate in the web's language with other computers on the Internet. For more, see ARCHIVED: What is a browser, and what browsers are available?
Creating a web page
You can also use the web to provide information to other people around the world. At Indiana University, you can make your own web pages that anyone with access to the web can read. Web pages are generally sets of text files coded with special notation called Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) that is interpreted by a web browser program reading the file. For more, see:
- At IU, how can I publish on the web?
- At IU, what is Mypage, and how can I publish a web page there?
- At IU, who can have an account on Webserve, and how do I get one?
Last modified on August 12, 2009.