This document, written around 1994, has been preserved for historical reasons only.

What is WWW?

WWW stands for World Wide Web, and it is an advanced information retrieval system. Currently it is mostly in an experimental stage, but it is being developed rapidly. In a sense WWW competes with the Gopher information system. Notice that using WWW you can also access information in Gopher (and in FTP servers, Usenet news, etc.).

WWW supports more kinds of information than Gopher, for instance pictures, graphs, colours and fonts, provided that the user's device supports them. Voice can also be delivered, if the user's device has a sound generator. WWW can also be used on a simple terminal, but then pictures are replaced by just a notation like [IMAGE].

WWW is based on hypertext, which means, among other things, that when the user is navigating on the ocean of information he can pick up an interesting word or expression within a text and request for more information about it. This does not apply to all words in a text but only to those who have been properly designated as such by the producer of the information and which are displayed on screen e.g. as underlined. In practise the use of WWW is still largely similar to the use of simpler, menu-driven information systems.

In most Unix machines of the Computing Centre, WWW can be started by the command

which selects the proper mode of operation (actually, the proper program, viz. lynx or Mosaic) according to the characteristics of user's device.

You will first see the HUT home page in Finnish. To access information in English, select (in the manner described below) the item HUT information in English. Alternatively, you can start WWW so that it gets you directly to the home page in English:

How to get started: Some words of warning: You may have to wait, while WWW starts or retrieves a large amount of information from somewhere far away. It may happen that some information is accessible just when you need it, because some computer on the globe is not working or some cable has been cut off. The available information is not a representative sample from the pool of information known to mankind but the result of efforts of a set of people who wish to make information available in this way.

Some hints, or appetizers: If you select the item Information Resources outside HUT on the starting page, you will have access to information in the worldwide WWW system, in which you can perhaps best navigate by selecting by Subject. Then you can find for instance a course on Esperanto, a large collection of international agreements on protection of environment, more than you will probably ever want to know about Unix, or fresh research reports on high energy physics.

Jukka K. Korpela