What is the Information Superhighway?
The part of the Information Superhighway
that is most often referred to in the popular media is the
Internet. "Going online" refers to getting connected
to the Internet or other commercial service, usually
via a telephone line.
*Boldface terms are defined in the
The Internet, sometimes called the Net,
is a vast group of interconnected computer networks that spans
the globe. It has many features, but is generally a way to
communicate, use information tools, and find boundless amounts
of information from an unlimited number of sources.
The Internet makes possible a number of
online functions such as e-mail, a way of sending messages
electronically from one computer user to another; chat
rooms, which are places online where you can communicate
with others instantaneously using your keyboard; and discussion
groups, places where you can read and post information
about particular topics.
There is unlimited information on the Internet,
but it can be like a big library without a card catalogue
to help find the books you might be looking for. Search
engines exist to help with this. With a search engine
you can sort through vast amounts of online information to
pinpoint the material you want. Search engines work
by matching words you enter into the computer with the same
words found in various information sites on the Internet.
World Wide Web
What has helped the Internet become more
popular is the development of the World Wide Web. The
World Wide Web (WWW or the Web) is a network of sites on the
Internet which have words, sounds, and pictures. It is its
visual quality that distinguishes the Web from the rest of
the Internet. Here, commercial companies, nonprofit organizations,
the government, and individuals supply lots of information
on just about any subject imaginable. In fact, many organizations
and commercial outlets are creating "content" or information
aimed directly at kids of all ages, and kids are spending
a lot of time on the Web.
A necessary tool for exploring the Web
is a browser, a program that lets you view what's on
the Web. Examples of popular browsers are Netscape Navigator
and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Browsers make it very easy
to move from Web site to Web site and back again. You
can use a browser to visit Web sites with search engines that
help you find what you want to see. Examples of sites with
search engines include: www.Yahoo.com,