| Lesson 2 || Information and the Web |
| Objective || New power in your hands |
How Web technologies have changed the Way we use Information
Describe how Web technologies have changed the way we use information.
People often talk about the World Wide Web (WWW) as something concrete, sometimes describing it as if it were a place or a physical resource. However, you should remember that the Web is not a thing: it is a virtual phenomenon.
The Web is an experience that is made possible through the interaction of numerous technologies and millions of users.
The fundamental change that the Web has brought to using information is that it enables you to develop your own methods for obtaining and distributing information. Add to that the fact that this virtual platform allows for infinite combinations of integrating text with myriad graphics, and you end up with an exciting way to develop and share information quickly on a scale larger than any other medium allows.
The Internet has developed an incredible power to share, link, search, update, and personalize the information you receive and your options for re-distributing it.
Sharing and linking
Web interactions occur via a network called the Internet. The Internet is capable of much more than traditional, self-contained networks because of the ease with which diverse resources can be linked and shared.
Sharing and linking technologies are changing the ways people create, provide, access, process, and use information. When you read
paper-based information, it is usually a linear, sequential process. However, on the Web, hypertext or
hyperlinks permit readers much greater freedom to determine their own paths through information.
Additionally, links to other sites provide instant access to related resources online.
Searching and updating
Search tools allow you to find the exact information you want and bypass relevant but unneeded data.
For example, a person looking for specific product information on a commercial Web site can use a search engine to go directly to the product.
From the design point of view, consider how quick and economical it is to update online information versus updating printed information, like catalogs or software manuals! And for business applications, instant online updates, in some cases in real time, such as stock quotes or auction bids have created new opportunities and markets.
Question: What are some of the ways that reading a book is different than getting information from the Internet?
Answer: When you read a book, you usually go from beginning to end, the same as anyone else who reads the same book.
On the Internet, hypertext links give you dozens of choices about what you want to read or see next. Also, once a book is published, the information stays the same unless a new edition is printed.
On the Web, information can be updated every day, every hour, or every minute for fresh, current information.
Tracking and personalization
Tracking and personalization technologies allow information to be customized for the consumer.
For example, if you make a purchase using an e-commerce Web site, the site will store your transaction information, saving you from having to re-enter data if you make a purchase there on a later visit.
The Internet is not the only Web-based network system. Intranets and extranets allow businesses to share and customize information.
You will learn more about these networks later in this course, but to see how they compare to the Internet, read this
The next lesson compares various models for conceptualizing the components of the Web.