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The Internet & Navigation Tools Guide

The goal of this guide is mainly to provide those unfamiliar with the Internet with the tools necessary to navigate this new world. Section I contains a short list of other guides available on the Internet. The guides selected are frequently updated to maintain their usefulness. Section II provides a brief explanation of the Internet and describes several key Internet tools that will help new users productively use the Internet.

I. Other Internet Guides

II. The Internet & Internet Tools

  1. Internet Tools
  2. FTP
  3. E-Mail
  4. Telnet
  5. World-Wide Web
  6. Gopher
  1. Search Tools
  2. Archie
  3. Einet Galaxy
  4. Finger
  5. Jughead
  6. Veronica
  7. WAIS
  8. WebCrawler
  9. WWWW Worm

I. Other Internet Guides (alphabetically)


II. The Internet and Internet Tools

Given the media obsession with the Internet in recent years, it is unlikely that anyone has not heard of the Internet. "A world-wide network of computer networks" is an adequate description of the Internet. The Internet is a massive, heterogenous collection of interconnected computer networks encompassing the world. Still in its youth, it continues to rapidly evolve.

Why the Internet continues to generate such interest is because it:
1. provides global electronic communication
2. contains an inconceivable amount of accessible information
stored on the computers that comprise the Internet.

The Internet tools briefly covered in this guide either help provide electronic communication (email, voice, video...) or the exchange of information (text, graphics, software...).

These tools, also known as client applications, are located on the user's computer. A client application contacts and submits a request for information to a server application that resides on an often distant host. If access is permitted, the server (application) will attempt to comply with the client's request. Each client application is designed to work with one or more specific kinds of server application. E.g. WinGopher, a windows client application, works with Gopher server applications.

Acquiring the Internet tools presented is straightforward. Freeware client applications are likely to be already provided/ installed. If not, Internet tools can be acquired by using WS_FTP, a windows client application that uses the file transfer protocol ( FTP), to retrieve a copy of the application. An Archie search is a reliable method of locating client applications on the Internet. In Section I The Consumate Winsock Applications List contain a list of where these Internet tools/ client applications can be located. Also, the icons in Section II are clickable images that point to additional information and sites where the tools can be found.

To remove some confusion surrounding the Internet tools, many of the tools are named after the protocol they employ. For example, WS_FTP is a windows client application that uses the FTP protocol. A protocol is basically a standard of communication, a way of exchanging information, between computers often separated by great distance.

The Transmission Control Protocol/ Internet Protocol (TCP/IP) is the main communications protocol for the Internet. In 1982, it displaced the Network Control Protocol (NCP). TCP/IP is suite of protocols that enables reliable and efficient transmission of data across the Internet. Other protocols, such FTP, SMTP (email) and Telnet, rely on TCP/IP to provide the network and transport levels (layers) for communication as seen in the diagram on the right.



Internet Tools

1. FTP

As previously mentioned, FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol. It enables users to exchange files between computers. FTP is an efficient way of transferring (uploading and downloading) files. Using their userid, users can connect (login) to remote computers. However, Anonymous FTP is the more common method of exchanging files (e.g. text, graphics, software...) across the Internet. There are hundreds of anonymous ftp sites (host computers that permit anonymous ftp). On these sites, users type "anonymous" instead of their userid and give their email address as the password. Don't mistakenly type your password for your system.

Providing access is given, users can ftp by using either the host computer's system name or its Internet address. For example, Microsoft's ftp site's system name is "ftp.microsoft.com" and its internet address is "198.105.232.1". Most users prefer using system names because they are easier to remember.

WS_FTP, freeware, a client FTP application is already installed and easy to use.

WS_FTP Tutorial

2. E-Mail

Email or electronic mail is likely to be the most useful and used feature of the Internet. It enables users to communicate quickly with each other. In a matter of minutes (or seconds) email can be reliably delivered via the Internet to any email account in the world.

Just as the normal postal system (snail mail), email requires the recipient's email address. Email addresses are determined by the Internet's addressing scheme, Domain Name System (DNS). DNS is a multi-segment address that combines geographic and network information. DNS translates numeric Internet addresses into string segments addresses denoting user names and locations.

The structure of an email address is:

username@subdomain.domain.type of organization.country

For example, Lance Grant's email address is:
lgrant@hsdcf.uvic.ca

    user name:     lgrant    
    subdomain:     hsdcf    
       domain:     uvic (University of Victoria)
      country:     ca   (Canada)

Another benefit of email is being able to join electronic discussion groups: newsgroups and mailing lists. Newsgroups share information and commentary on defined topics. Although participation is encouraged, newsgroups tend to become unfocussed. To access a newsgroup(s), users need a Network News Transport Protocol (NNTP) client (reader) and access to a NNTP server. Mailing lists are, in general, more focussed forums. List servers maintain the mailing lists and automatically redirect mail to the appropriate (mailing list) subscribers; list servers act like giant message redirectors for discussion groups. To join/ subscribe to a mailing list, a user sends an email message with his/her email address to a list server maintaining the mailing list. Caution. New users should be selective in subscribing; some electronic discussion groups generate hundreds of messages per day. Should a discussion group prove unsatisfactory, users can simply send an email to unsubscribe and have their email address removed from the group's mailing list.

Pegasus Mail
One of most popular email applications is Pegasus Mail for Windows. File(s) may be sent with (attached to) email. Pegasus Mail, freeware, includes sufficient online help that a user can productively use the application. Pegasus Mail's author supports development by charging for manuals.

Improving Email Messages
Netiquette

3. Telnet

Telnet is a terminal emulation protocol that allows users to login a remote host computer on the Internet. The user's computer acts a dumb terminal attached to the remote host. This protocol enables a user to, for example, check his/her email remotely. More than a thousand libraries around the world allow free remote access to their electronic catalogues and occasionally, specialized databases. An increasing number of commercial services, such the Dow Jones New Service, are becoming available via telnet.

EWAN
EWAN is a Windows freeware terminal emulation application based on the Telnet protocol.

EWAN Tutorial

QWS3270
QWS3270 enables users to connect to IBM mainframe computers by providing the necessary 3270 terminal emulation. QWS3270, freeware, should already installed. To customize the application, see Options and Printer in the Setup menu within the application.

QWS3270 Overview

4. World-Wide Web (WWW)

The WWW is a hypermedia-based distributed information retrieval system. With WWW, documents contain hypertext links to other documents or files (text, images, audio...). WWW documents are written in a language called "Hypertext Markup Language" or html for short. http, HyperText Transfer Protocol", is the protocol enables the transmission of html documents across the Internet. Documents usually point to other documents or files by referencing their URL (Uniform Resource Locator) or address. A URL is the exact location (address) of a document or file. The syntax of a URL is:

1. protocol :// hostname or
2. protocol :// hostname/ directory/sub-directory/ ... /filename

For example, http://www.cous.uvic.ca is the URL of UVic's Computing User Services homepage. ftp://risc.ua.edu/pub/network/tcpip/qws3270.zip is a URL pointing to the telnet client application QWS3270. URLs are an attempt at creating a universal system for accessing information on the Internet whether it is software on an anonymous ftp site; an image on a WWW server or a specific Gopher site.

WWW client applications
WWW client applications are referred to as browsers. Of the many WWW browsers available, Netscape is the most widely used. According to a study reported in INFORMATION highways, in January 1995 77% of Internet users browsed the WWW via Netscape.

Because WWW browsers can handle other protocols, such as FTP, Gopher, News, Telnet and WAIS, in addition to HTTP, they can used in place of FTP, Gopher... client applications. This ability and browser's graphical interfaces, have contributed to accelerated growth of the World- Wide Web. Netscape, as with other browsers, can load and display WWW documents, but requires help to process graphic, audio and video files. Netscape uses helper (external) applications to process these files. Once the helper application are installed, in Netscape under the Options menu, select Preference, Helper Apps to configure these external applications.

Welcome to Netscape
Other WWW Browsers
WWW Virtual Library: Subject Catalogue
Useful WWW Sites on Hypertext
HTML Developer's Resources

5. Gopher

Gopher is a distributed document retrieval system which originated at the University of Minnesota. Gopherspace, the collection of gopher servers around the world, provides users with a menu of documents. A document may be a text, audio or an image file or submenu pointing to other documents. Gopher is being eclipsed by the World-Wide Web (WWW), since most WWW browsers can handle gopher documents.

HGopher
HGopher is a Gopher+ client for Windows; Gopher+ is an extended version of Gopher.

Searching Gopherspace
GN Server - A Httpish Gopher server
Gopher Jewels 1
Gopher Jewels 2



Search Tools

Archie is a complete search system that automatically gathers, indexes and serves (responds to search requests) information on the Internet. Archie indexes all the filenames of all anonymous FTP archives on the Internet. It is ideal for locating software.

Archie Request Form
Welcome to ArchiePlex (Hypertext Archie)

Einet Galaxy maintains six indexes that encompasses a large part of the Internet. Complexboolean keyword searches with restrictions are possible. For example, "classic or jazz notcountry" is an acceptable boolean phrase. Also the number of search results returned can be set.

Galaxy Search Tutorial

Finger is a tool used to locate internet users.

WWW Finger Gateway

Lycos searches and indexes a limited, but critical area of the Internet. Lycos focusses on Gopherspace, FTP sites and HTTP documents. It continuously searches the Internet and updates its existing index.

Lycos HomePage
Lycos Search Form

Jughead, a more selective gopher search tool, stands for "Jonzy's Universal Gopher Hierarchy Excavation and Display." Fairly new (1993), Jughead allows users to limit the area of Gopherspace searched. Instead of searching all of the indexed Gopherspace, like Veronica, Jughead can efficiently limit its search to only a few gopher servers.

How to Use Jughead
Jughead Search

Veronica, a gopher search tool, stands for "Very easy rodent-oriented, net-wide index to computerized archives." It indexes the titles of most of gopher servers and users are able to keyword search Veronica's indexes. If successful, Veronica returns a menu listing titles containing the keyword or keywords searched.

Veronica Servers
Veronica Search Tutorial

WAIS stands for "wide area information servers." Users submit a keyword(s) and WAIS returns a list of documents, ranked by the frequency of occurrence of the keyword(s) in the search.

WAISGate
WAIS FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
WAIS Help Page

Webcrawler maintains a large half a gigabyte index referencing over 150,000 documents. To keep the index a manageable size, certain common words are not included. Webcrawler returns query results in order of the relevance numbers calculated for each document found. A document with a relevance score of 1000 (highest possible) contains many incidence of the keywords searched.

WebCrawler Search Form


Conclusion

The Internet continues to rapidly evolve. Hopefully, new tools being developed will keep pace and help bring some order to the Internet. Some parting advice on learning how to navigate the Internet and eventually, use the Internet productively. Have patience; learning takes time. If possible, seek the help/advice of an experience user. Focus on the tools/ applications most useful to your situation. Pegasus Mail (email) and Netscape (WWW browser) are probably two of most useful Internet tools/ applications to learn. Finally, feel free to explore the Internet; it is impossible to break it.


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