The World-Wide Web has been conceived by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN in 1989 as an information integrator within which all available information on the Internet could be accessed in a simple and consistent way on every kind of machine architecture. The WWW has exponential growth rates. Currently, over 3000 WWW server sites are known. In the US Academic Network, WWW traffic (in byte counts) amounts to 7% of the total network traffic and it has a daily growth rate of 1% ! It is now among the "big three" of academic information systems, besides Gopher and "Usenet News".

A standard WWW browser (i.e. the client program for the WWW) can access at least the following communication protocols: HTTP (WWW's Hypertext Transfer Protocol), FTP, NNTP, WAIS and Gopher. Central for information retrieval is the Universal Resource Locator (URL). An URL (e.g. "http://tecfa.unige.ch/welcome.html") is composed of a protocol indicator (e.g. "http"), an Internet machine name (e.g. "tecfa.unige.ch") and a file name (e.g. "welcome.html"). Your can see part of this page in Figure 1. Usually the file name stands for a document to be retrieved. Sometimes, a program will be launched, e.g. "http://www.ucc.ie/htbin/acronym" will launch a program for looking up Internet Acronyms).

2-1 - The HTML Mark-Up Language
2-2 - Interactive "Forms" pages
Learntec 94 Article - 13 FEB 95

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