Internet Quick Guide
-- a university of arizona course on methods and approaches for studying the future

Note: this file is about 29K or about 4-6 printed pages equivalent (depending on your browser settings).


This guide will help you understand the basic concepts and how to navigate Internet. The approach here is toward understanding key principles with only a few actual addresses. Internet capability and specific addresses change fairly rapidly, so it is important to understand the framework of how Internet operates.

Accessing Internet

Skip this section if you do not access Internet from your own computer.

Getting Started for New Users

Begin by using a public access computer rather than your own to avoid complexities due to setup issues or proper software.

Working With Your Browser

Take time to get familiar with your browser. It gives you ways to access almost everything. In addition to serving as the primary navigation tool, the browser allows you to:

Use various search services.

Try out the browser:

Some things you can learn later:

Definitions and Abbreviations

Dissecting and Understanding the URL

Understanding the format of the URL (the page address) helps you recognize errors in URL's and to take care in copying these addresses. Some have no file name or directory names (Example 1). Some have a specific file name and include several directories (Example 2). Often, the address includes www in the beginning (for world wide web), but the trend is to omit it, so increasingly sites are registering the address with and without the www (for clarity of communication, leaving off the www improves the address).

It is important to use the full address and pay attention to the ending (endings can be htm, html, or even other forms designating the type of file). Also note the case (upper or lower case) of each letter.

Example (and useful) URL's

A good way to find relevant locations is to use the subject indexes of the search device incorporated into your browser. Once you gain some familiarity with Internet subjects and formats you can find things on your own and use your preferred search device. Some examples of locations (URL's) are:

How to Function in an Internet World by Thinking Differently

Internet is just a new way of finding information. To be an efficient user you need to find only what you want and to determine the good from the bad.

The ways to become an effective user are to learn to think differently and to learn a few new tools.

Hypertext base - non-linear thinking is the key.

Distributed Information - link to anything, anywhere, anytime.

A New Toolbox but Not New Ideas - Learn to use the new tools for old applications.

Building Your Confidence

Start slowly and learn only what you need to barely function

Increase your knowledge by building on what you already know from other contexts.

Keep Learning -- change is happening very quickly.

Tuning Yourself into an Efficient (or Expert) User

Even the experts can use more understanding of Internet features.

Being an expert on Internet use is a transient activity. It is so large and it changes so rapidly that you can never know everything. It is easy to get comfortable in a routine that addresses your everyday needs and think you are an expert. You need to keep on you toes so you can be ready to look into new areas. Continue to explore and try new things even after you feel you know how to use Internet.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

The FAQ listing is a common Internet term. A number of sites will have a "faq" about there site. Here is one on Internet in general, showing the general format.

Short Cuts

Potential Pitfalls

Practice Time - Problem Sets

Try a search device to do these problems. There are many such devices and you can start with the ones linked to your browsers "search" button. Solutions are given on the bottom of page (some solutions have more than one address). Hints are given along with the answers.

  1. The world population for "today" (the day you search)
  2. The toll free number of a company of your interest
  3. A listing of earthquake information and events
  4. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory

Solutions for problem sets (or use a good search engine to look for other answers - e.g., - notice I left off the http:// and the www, as google is registered for the sort and simple name)

  1. (hint: look up U.S. Bureau of Census (
  2. (hint: look in search device directories or try
  3. (hint: look for earthquake and lists)
  4. (hint: look for "national renewable energy laboratory)

Updated January 2002 by Roger L. Caldwell -
Return to "Anticipating the Future" course home page
Prepared by Roger L. Caldwell