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Internet Use

Learning Objectives
• Discuss ways the Internet is used by library users and library professionals.
• Define data network and client-server network.
• Define basic Internet and web terminology.
• Define TCP/IP.
• Identify the various ways to connect to the Internet.
• Define Internet2 and discuss it’s implications.
• Define Virtual Private Network (VPN) and provide examples of use.
• Define web browser and provide examples.
• Define HTTP and discuss how it is used.
• Define URI, URN, and URL.
• Distinguish an absolute from a relative URL.
• Identify and provide examples of shortened URLs.

The Internet has dramatically increased the use of many library resources. Users can now access the library’s online catalog, electronic databases, and many other collections and services from anywhere, anytime through the library’s website.

Library and information professional are involved in developing and managing access to electronic resources and collections.


A data or telecommunications network allows computers to exchange data.

The best known network is the Internet.

Client-server networks began when computers were being hooked to mainframe computers using network software applications. The client computer accesses files stored on the network server.

A network server is a computer designed to process request for data from client computers.

Today, most people are familiar with computers and mobile devices being connected to web servers to access web pages.

Go to Vimeo to watch a video about the History of the Internet.

The Internet

The Internet is a global system of interconnected network based on a set of standards.

An Internet Protocol (IP) address is a number assigned to each device on a computer network. It serves to identify the host and the location.

The Domain Name System (DNS) is a naming system for electronic devices connected to the Internet or a private network. Because numbers are difficult to remember, characters are used instead. The topic level domains are .com, .edu, .gov, .org, and others. The next level are names purchased such as google, apple, or iupui. The DNS server translates the domain name like into an IP address like that computers can identify on the Internet. Each computer is assigned an IP address to facilitate communication with with DNS servers.

In the example below, both the IP and domain name will take you to the same location on the Internet.

Think of the IP and DNS like a phone number and a person’s name. The IP address is associated with the domain name.

TCP/IP & Connecting to the Internet

TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. This set of networking protocols enables computers to communicate over a network.

There are many ways to access the Internet.

Most schools, homes, and libraries use a local area network to access to a modem through a wired or wireless connection. The term Wi-Fi is used to describe a wireless local area network. A modem is used to convert digital data to analog for transmission over networks such as DSL, and cable lines. Bookmobiles often use a satellite system for access.

Mobile devices often have two options: cellular access and wi-fi access.

To learn how to connect to IU various ways, go to

Internet 2

Internet2 is not the same as Web 2.0.

Internet2 is a nonprofit comprised of hundreds of universities, corporations, educational networks, government agencies, and other partners who are collaborating on the next generation of innovations in technology.

An Internet Protcol network using optical fiber provides network services for research and education.

Watch the video at

Virtual Private Network

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) provides a direct connection across a public network as if it were on a private network. The VPN allows you to temporarily create or join a private network across an existing public network. It does so by creating an encrypted tunnel between two hosts (your computer and the desired network) while the connection is needed. This tunnel allows you to securely transfer information and to access remote resources. In order to use VPN, you need a high-speed cable modem, DSL, or existing Internet Service Provider on your computer.

This point-to-point connection ensures functionality and security. It allows employees to work securely while traveling and students to work from home without being concerned about security issues found on the open Internet.

Because the use of some IUPUI resources is restricted to faculty, students, and staff, your computer(s) and mobile devices must be properly configured to access some resources on IU’s campus network. As a student, a VPN connection allows access to library databases otherwise restricted to on-campus use.

To access a VPN, you need to configure the VPN using your computer’s network options. Or, download and install a network connection client.

To set up VPN on your computer, go to

Web Browsers

A web browser is software used to access and display web pages through an Internet connection. The browser reads HTML documents and refers to Cascading Style Sheets (CSS). The results are shown or heard on the web browser.

Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome are examples of popular web browsers.

Internet Explorer is only available for Windows.

Apple’s Safari and Google Chrome are available for Mac, Windows, as well as many mobile device operating systems.

Firefox is a free and open-source web browser for both Mac and Windows operating systems. Google Chrome is freeware that contains both open source and proprietary features. The others are proprietary.

Web Browser Recommendations

Different versions of web browser software are available for different operating systems such as Mac and Windows. They are also available for the operating systems of mobile devices.

It’s a good idea to have multiple web browsers on your computer or mobile device. In some cases, a particular browser will handle a specialty activity such as animation or forms better than others. If one web browser doesn’t work well, try another.

It’s important to keep your browsers up-to-date with the latest software to reduce problems with security and increase the likelihood of error-free surfing.

Explore a great infographic focusing on the history of web browsers.

Accessing the Web

A Uniform Resources Identifier (URI) is used to identify the name of a web resource for interaction over a network. The syntax of URI includes http, ftp, mailto, and file.

HTTP stands for HyperText Transfer Protocol. It’s an application protocol used to serve HTML documents as well as images, sounds, and other content. The protocol is used to let the web browser know how to handle the content.

A Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is a specific string of characters that reference a resource. It’s like a person’s address. In web browsers, the URL of a web page is placed in the address bar.

A URL consists of a scheme name followed by a colon and two slashes such as http://. Next the IP address or domain name and path are listed such as

A Uniform Resource Name (URN) is like a person’s name. The ISBN system for identifying books is an example of a URN. The ISBN number represents the book.

Absolute vs Relative URLs

An absolute URL would be stated as protocol://domain/path.

An absolute URL contains the entire address including the protocol such as http://, the domain such as and the path to the document such as /electronic/index.htm.

An absolute URL would be stated as

In HTML code, it might look like this:
<a href=””>Go to the Home page.</a>

A relative URL only provides the relative location of a file in relationship to the referring page. For instance, a file in the same directory would just be stated as frog.htm or if the file is a subdirectory, it might be listed as pets/frog.htm. It’s important to note whether the file is a higher or lower directory.

In HTML code, it would look like this:
<a href=”../index.htm”>Go to the Home page.</a>

URL Shorteners

URL shorteners is a technique used to substantially shorten a long URL using an HTTP redirect.

They are useful when sharing long URLs in a display, handout, or anywhere else where a short URL would be useful.

Examples of URL shortening tools include,, and TinyURL.

An example of a URL Shortened address for is


The Internet has become an important part of lives of both students and professionals.

To use the Internet effectively and efficiently, users need to be aware of how information is accessed on the Web.

| eduscapes | IUPUI Online Courses | Contact Us | 2014 Annette Lamb (Adapted from earlier s401 materials)

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