Using the Internet as an Information & Referral Provider - The Internet and Its Components
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There is much lingo to learn when using the Internet. You can ignore most of it, but understanding some basics will help you in your search and allow you to take shortcuts when quickly scanning and evaluating information.
Here is a brief glossary and explanation of some key terms and concepts.
- To retrieve a file from a distant computer and store in on your own. When you transfer in the other direction it is called uploading. See also "File Transfer."
- File Transfer
- Retrieving a file from a remote computer (downloading) or sending a files from your own computer to another computer (uploading). See also "Download."
- Mailing Lists
- Combines the Email addresses of two to several thousand Internet users so that a message sent to a mailing list reaches every individual that belongs to that mailing list. Mailing lists are often used to discuss and debate topics, or to publish newsletters.
The Tools You'll Use the Most
- Email or Electronic Mail
- Messages sent from one computer to another computer over communication lines, whether phone, ethernet, wireless, satellite, etc. Email is similar to an ordinary letter; you supply the address of the recipient(s) and the text of the message. It is different in that delivery takes place in minutes or hours rather than days.
The email address serves the same purpose as an address on an envelope. At first glance, email addresses may seem like a random combination of characters. However, once your break down each component of the address, it really becomes logical and straightforward. For example, let s break down an email address for: firstname.lastname@example.org. Everything to the right of the @ symbol relates to the" domain", or the actual location where our account is held, while everything to the left of the @ symbol relates to the user of that address. Reading the domain from right to left you know that the email address is part of the domain "ocasi.org". The left side is just a short form for the user account, in this case the GeneralMail account for OCASI.
World Wide Web: An easy to use standard format for retrieving and publishing information. WWW sites can include text, sound, image, voice and moving pictures. The World Wide Web has fast become the most popular part of the Internet, after email. The Web is where you will find the content of the Internet, information, research, advertising, etc.
When most of us refer to the Internet or the World Wide Web, we generally mean the same thing. But, they're not completely one in the same. They're very closely related. The World Wide Web is one component of the Internet, just like email.
When we look at content on the web, we use a piece of software called a Web Browser that allows us to view the web pages and content.
Over time, these abbreviations have not been used as strongly as identifiers. You'll find non-profits with .com and businesses with .org. But, generally, this can tell you a bit about where the person or web site is coming from.
You may hear of something called a URL or Uniform Resource Locator. Huh? This is the technical name for a web site address. You don't need to remember what it means, but if you hear someone talk about their URL (sometimes referred to as "earl"), they're talking about their web site.
Here's where it becomes useful to understand URLs. They can tell you a bit about a site without even looking at it! This is especially useful when you're scanning through pages of search results when looking for something. Here's an example:
From this, I can tell you that we're on the Settlement.Org web site, in the subdirectory ATWORK. Within that section of the site, we're in another subdirectory called IR (which, in this case is the acronym for the Information and Referral section), and that we're on that section's homepage.
Change the URL to: http://www.settlement.org/ATWORK/IR/pier.asp and now I know that we're in another page in the IR section. This time, we've gone from the home page to the Providing Information and Effective Referrals section.
Here are a few abbreviations for the more common organizations you will come in contact with:
- .com - commercial organization
- .edu - educational facility in the United States
- .gov - non-military government body
- .mil - military concern
- .org - other organization (usually a community or non-profit agency)
- .net - network resource
- .ca - Canadian web site
- .on.ca - Ontario web site
- .biz - business site
- .info - information site
- .museum - museum site
- .aero - aviation community
- .name - individuals
- .pro - certain self-certified professionals
- .coop - Co-operatives
Once you get used to how URLs are created and patterns that similar sites use, you can start guessing what a site might be.
For example if you search for housing toronto in Google, you'll get results on the first page that results like the list below. You can glean some information from the title, description and the URL. See what you can make out and what you might click on first:
- Toronto Short Term Housing - Toronto Short Term Rentals
- Toronto Short Term Housing. Contains a list of short term housing rentals located in the Greater Toronto Area. ...
- www.apartmentcorner.com/short_term.htm - 16k - Cached - Similar pages
- Serviced Apartments Toronto, Corporate Housing Toronto & Furnished ...
- ... accommodation database. Area Corporate Housing Toronto - Luxury Serviced Apartments are available to rent throughout Toronto. Search for ...
- www.arc-corporate-housing.com/city/ corporate-housing-Toronto.html - 35k - Cached - Similar pages
- CHFT - Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto
For thirty years, the Co-operative Housing Federation of Toronto (CHFT) has worked to promote and develop non-profit co-operative housing in Toronto and York ...
www.coophousing.com/ - 9k - Cached - Similar pages
Toronto Social Housing Connections Main Page
... It was set up as a centralized body to make it easier for applicants to find out about social housing in Toronto and how to gain access to it. WHAT WE DO. ...
www.city.toronto.on.ca/toronto_housing/connections.htm - 15k - Cached - Similar pages
Getting to know the tools you use can help you to become both a better web searcher and provide more effective Information and Referral to your clients.