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EMPOWER: Using the Web: Home

Using the Web

This module covers the Web as a resource for research.

When you have completed this module of EMPOWER, you will be able to:

  • understand the organization of the internet 
  • use library web resources and non-library web resources
  • use search engines efficiently 
  • evaluate the content you find in a website 

About the Internet

Internet Protocols

The Internet is a global network comprised of many smaller networks that connect computers together. The technology behind the internet consists of many protocols that handle different functions.

Some examples of internet protocols are:

  • HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): Used to publish and retrieve web pages through the World Wide Web 
  • SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol): The major protocol for sending and receiving email
  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol): Used to transfer data or files from one computer to another
  • BitTorrent: A peer-to-peer sharing protocol that allows a computer to download a file from multiple computers at the same time


What is a URL?

A URL (Uniform Resource Locator) is like an address for a web page. Much like the address on an envelope with a name, street address, city, etc., each part of a URL provides information about the location of the web page. A web page is usually part of a larger web site, much like a page is part of a book.

Click through each tab below, to learn about parts of a URL.

Parts of a URL

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Domain Names

The domain name of a website (for example: "") is unique to the organization or individual who hosts that website. The top-level section of the domain name (for example: ".edu") will usually depend on the type of organization or the country that is hosting the website.

However, many top-level domains are unrestricted (meaning that they can be used for any type of website). So a website with a ".org" domain is not necessarily a legitimate organization.

There are hundreds of top-level domains. These are the most common ones:

.com - Used for businesses (unrestricted)

.edu - Used for colleges and universities (restricted)

.gov - Used for government entities within the U.S. (restricted)

.mil - Used for military entities within the U.S. (restricted)

.net - Used for network infrastructures (unrestricted)

.org - Used for other types of organizations (unrestricted)