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Guide to the Internet

Welcome to the Internet Age! Many people now depend on the Internet for personal and professional tasks, from sending messages to family, friends, and colleagues to booking airline tickets or filing income tax. With so much information available online, it’s hard to know where to begin. Navigating the cyber-highways can be overwhelming without the right map.

The Internet is a worldwide network that connects computers together. The Internet is used to send and receive email, transfer files, or participate in newsgroups and chat services. It is also the home of the World Wide Web (WWW). The WWW incorporates all of these Internet services (and more!) and is made up of thousands of Web pages.

Log on to the Web and the world is at your fingertips. Retrieve documents, view images and video, listen to sound files, and explore many subject and services through these web pages. A computer with Internet access and a web browser is required. Visit the Westerly Public Library and use our public computers to surf the web.

Getting Started
Let’s begin at the Westerly Public Library’s webpage. Each webpage has a unique address, or URL. The URL for the library’s main webpage is http://www.westerlylibrary.org.

Using a Search Engine
Not sure where to go? Use a search engine, like Google, to locate websites on a specific topic. A search engine is website that is used to find information using keywords.

To begin a search, type in words describing a specific topic, or search terms, into the search box and hit the 'Enter' key or click on the Google Search button. For example, type Medicare Part D into the search box to locate information on the prescription drug benefit for seniors.

In response, Google produces a results page that lists web pages related to the search terms. The results are ranked, with the most relevant page appearing first. Search Engines index hundreds of thousands of Web sites, so chances are good that the results pages will include thousands of Web sites match the selected keywords. Search several relevant keywords to narrow the results.

To view web pages in the results list, click the blue website title link. This will open the URL for the particular site. Most search engines have a Search Tips section that will provide more detailed information and help guide a search.

Remember to evaluate all information found via Internet for accuracy and dependability. Anyone can publish a website, so it’s important to review the source and currency of the site before accepting it as fact.

Read the District of Columbia Library’s Guide to Evaluating Internet Resources for more information.

Call or visit the Information Desk at the Westerly Public Library for more assistance. Happy surfing!