Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 with CD-ROM

Overview

With the latest release, Netscape not only adds exciting new features to its famous Navigator Web browsing software but also gives it a whole new name: Communicator. Now, with Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4, you can master Communicator step by step, at your own pace, and at your own convenience.

In Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4, renowned ...For Dummies® authors Hy Bender and Margaret Levine Young ...

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Overview

With the latest release, Netscape not only adds exciting new features to its famous Navigator Web browsing software but also gives it a whole new name: Communicator. Now, with Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4, you can master Communicator step by step, at your own pace, and at your own convenience.

In Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4, renowned ...For Dummies® authors Hy Bender and Margaret Levine Young offer clear lessons showing you techniques to put the curl in your Net surfing. You can discover how to

  • Download files
  • Find just the information you need on the vast World Wide Web
  • Exchange e-mail messages with Netscape Messenger
  • Participate in Usenet newsgroups with Netscape Collabra
  • Create and publish your own Web pages with Netscape Composer
  • Receive "push" content from Internet broadcasters
  • Make conference calls -- even video conference calls -- with Netscape Conference
  • Conveniently access and manage your schedule with Netscape Calendar

Plus, Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 comes complete with a Dummies 101™ Companion CD containing valuable software, such as AT&T WorldNetSM Service (for access to the Internet) and Web browser plug-ins for multimedia and Internet telephony.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764501623
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/1997
  • Series: Dummies 101 Series
  • Edition description: BK&DISK
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 8.56 (w) x 9.88 (h) x 0.91 (d)

Table of Contents

Introduction

You, the Reader
How the Book Works
How the Book is Organized
Part I: Browsing the World Wide Web
Part II: Communicating via E-Mail, Newsgroups, and Web Pages
Appendixes
Icons Used in This Book
About the Dummies 101 CD-ROM
Send Us E-Mail

Part I: Browsing the World Wide Web

Unit 1: Getting Started with Netscape Communicator

Lesson 1-1: Preparing to Go Online with Netscape Communicator
Understanding what equipment you need
Getting an Internet account
Getting and installing Netscape Communicator
Understanding a few basic terms
Lesson 1-2: Jumping onto the Web
Opening Netscape and connecting to the Net
Moving up and down a Web page
Finding links on a Web page
Identifying a link's electronic address
Lesson 1-3: Cruising the Web by Using Links
Moving back and forth on the Web
Using the Go menu and History window
Recess
Unit 1 Quiz
Unit 1 Exercise

Unit 2: Searching for Information on the Web

Lesson 2-1: Cruising the Web by Using Bookmarks
Installing a bookmark file
Leafing through bookmarks
Using bookmarks to sample the best of the Web
Creating bookmarks
Deleting bookmarks
Lesson 2-2: Organizing Bookmarks
Copying and moving bookmarks
Adding and revising bookmarks on the Personal Toolbar
Recess
Lesson 2-3: Entering URLs
Lesson 2-4: Searching a Web Page for Information
Lesson 2-5: Searching the Entire Web for Information
Using a category-based Web searcher
Using an open-ended Web searcher
Using multiple Web searchers
Recess
Unit 2 Quiz
Unit 2 Exercise

Unit 3: Saving Web Information and Downloading Files

Lesson 3-1: Printing and Saving Web Information
Printing the contents of a Web page
Saving the contents of a Web page to disk
Lesson 3-2: Downloading Files from the Web
Searching for and downloading a file
Poking around Web sites for files
Recess
Unit 3 Quiz
Unit 3 Exercise

Unit 4: Fine-Tuning the Browser

Lesson 4-1: Enhancing Netscape's Performance
Cruising without pictures
Using multiple browsers
Lesson 4-2: Adjusting Netscape's Appearance
Hiding the browser window's Toolbars
Rearranging the browser window's Toolbars
Moving the Component Bar
Changing fonts, colors, and other Netscape settings
Recess
Unit 4 Quiz
Unit 4 Exercise

Part I Review

Unit 1 Summary
Unit 2 Summary
Unit 3 Summary
Unit 4 Summary
Part I Test
Part I Lab Assignment

Part II: Communicating via E-Mail, Newsgroups, and Web Pages

Unit 5: Receiving and Sending E-Mail

Lesson 5-1: Telling Netscape How to Get Your Mail
Can Netscape get your mail?
Finding out where your mail is
Setting up Netscape to handle your e-mail
Telling Messenger your e-mail password
Lesson 5-2: Sending a Message
Composing, spell-checking, and sending a message
Exiting the Messenger window
Recess
Lesson 5-3: Reading E-Mail Messages
Picking up and reading your e-mail
Checking your e-mail from the Messenger window
Lesson 5-4: Replying to, Forwarding, Printing, and Deleting Messages
Replying to a message
Forwarding a message
Printing a message
Deleting a message
Recess
Lesson 5-5: E-Mail E-tiquette
Unit 5 Quiz
Unit 5 Exercise

Unit 6: More Mail Moves

Lesson 6-1: Using Your Address Book
Adding names to your Address Book
Addressing messages using the Address Book
Recess
Lesson 6-2: Filing Messages in Folders
Creating folders
Transferring messages to other folders
Filtering messages
Lesson 6-3: Sending Files Along with Your Messages
Lesson 6-4: Receiving an Attached File
Unit 6 Quiz
Unit 6 Exercise

Unit 7: Joining Usenet Newsgroups

Lesson 7-1: Listing and Subscribing to Newsgroups
Listing newsgroups
Exploring your newsgroups list
Subscribing and unsubscribing to newsgroups
Recess
Lesson 7-2: Reading Newsgroup Articles
Lesson 7-3: Searching for Newsgroups of Interest
Lesson 7-4: Replying to Newsgroup Articles
Posting a test article
Reading the article that you posted
Forwarding, printing, and saving articles
Recess
Unit 7 Quiz
Unit 7 Exercise

Unit 8: Creating Your Own Web Pages

Lesson 8-1: Creating a Web Page
Opening a Netscape Composer window
Composing text for your Web page
Saving your Web page
Recess
Lesson 8-2: Editing Your Web Page
Retrieving a Web page
Adding Web page links
Making a bulleted list
Lesson 8-3: Adding Pictures to Your Web Page
Getting electronic pictures
Choosing and preparing your pictures
Placing a picture on your Web page
Lesson 8-4: Publishing Your Web Page
What's a Web server?
Getting your Web pages onto a Web server
Copying your Web pages to a Web server
Unit 8 Quiz
Unit 8 Exercise

Part II Review

Unit 5 Summary
Unit 6 Summary
Unit 7 Summary
Unit 8 Summary
Part II Test
Part II Lab Assignment

Appendix A: Answers

Part I Test Answers
Part II Test Answers

Appendix B: Using the CD-ROM

Programs on the CD-ROM
Document and Exercise Files on the CD-ROM
System Requirements
Installing the Programs
CD-ROM Program Descriptions
Acrobat Reader
Anarchie
AT&T WorldNetSM Service
BBEdit Lite
Disinfectant
DropStuff with Expander Enhancer
Eudora Light
Formula One/NET plug-in
Free Agent
FreePPP
GraphicConverter
ichat plug-in
InterNews
Ircle 246
mIRC
Netopia Virtual Office plug-in
Paint Shop Pro
Quick View Plus plug-in
Shockwave Director plug-in
Shockwave Flash plug-in
StuffIt Expander
ThunderBYTE Anti-Virus
Trumpet WinSock
VDOLive plug-in
WinZip
WS_FTP LE
Removing Icons and Programs
Removing the CD-ROM's Windows icon
Removing Windows programs
Removing Macintosh programs
If You've Got Problems (Of the CD-ROM Kind)
A Final Reminder about Shareware


Index

License Agreement

Installation Instructions

IDG Books Worldwide Registration Card

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First Chapter

Unit 2
Searching for Information on the Web

Objectives for This Unit

  • Using bookmarks to move to Web pages
  • Creating and deleting bookmarks
  • Organizing bookmarks
  • Typing in a URL
  • Searching a Web page for information
  • Searching the entire Web for information


The World Wide Web encompasses tens of millions of Web pages -- a mind-boggling amount of information. To help you navigate your way through this sea of data, Netscape provides you with several invaluable tools. These include bookmarks, which let you easily create pointers to your favorite Web pages; a Location box that allows you to type in Web addresses directly; a search command that helps you quickly locate information on a Web page; and access to powerful search programs that help you locate information anywhere on the Web. This unit teaches you how to use these tools to cruise the Web like a pro.

Lesson 2-1: Cruising the Web by Using Bookmarks

As you saw in Unit 1, links give you an intuitive, rambling way to explore the Web and discover information you didn't even know you wanted. When you find a Web page that you consider especially useful, however, you may want some way of returning to it easily and repeatedly. The navigation tools you've learned about so far -- such as Netscape's Back and Forward buttons and its Go menu -- let you return to pages that you've visited during your current session, but they don't maintain a permanent record of those pages for future sessions.

Fortunately, Netscape also provides a nifty feature called bookmarks. Just as a physical bookmark helps you quickly go to a particular page in a book, Netscape's bookmarks let you jump to particular Web pages. These electronic bookmarks are stored on your hard disk, and they remain there until you explicitly delete them. Therefore, you can use a bookmark at any time during your Web session to move to a specific Web page.

This lesson shows you how to use predefined bookmarks, create your own bookmarks, and delete bookmarks. By the time you're done, you'll be able to create a Web page library that's tailored to your personal tastes and needs.

Installing a bookmark file

Bookmarks are normally stored in your Netscape folder in a file named Bookmark.htm (under Windows) or Bookmarks.html (on a Macintosh). The .htm and .html extensions stand for HyperText Markup Language, which is the computer language that both Web pages and bookmarks are written in. (For more information about HTML files, see Unit 8.)

The bookmarks file is typically near-empty until you add bookmarks to it yourself. To jump-start your ability to get around the Web, however, we've created a substitute file crammed with bookmarks for what we consider to be many of the best sites on the Internet. To take advantage of this predefined collection of bookmarks, which is stored on your Dummies 101 CD-ROM, follow these steps:

  1. Insert the Dummies 101 CD-ROM that came with this book into your CD-ROM drive. If you're using Windows 3.1, you're set.

    Be careful to touch only the sides of the CD-ROM and to insert the CD-ROM with its printed side up.

    If you're using Windows 95, the CD-ROM's Installer program is set to run automatically, so after about a minute, you probably see an initial Installer screen. You'll be installing your bookmarks directly from Netscape, though, so follow the on-screen prompts until you see a Do Not Accept or Exit button and then click the button to close the CD-ROM program.

    If you're using a Mac, a window will open containing icons for the CD-ROM's various files and folders. Click the window's Close button to exit it.

  2. Run Netscape (but don't connect to the Internet).

    You see the Netscape browser window. If you're using Windows, notice that a button in the upper-left section of the browser (directly below the Back and Forward buttons) is named Bookmarks. This button lets you access both bookmarks and bookmark commands.

    If you're using a Macintosh, you don't have a Bookmarks button. Instead, you have a Bookmarks menu, which appears directly to the right of the Go menu and is represented by an icon that looks like a green bookmark. Whenever this book instructs you to click the Bookmarks button, click the Bookmarks icon on your Mac's menu bar instead.

  3. Click the Bookmarks button.

    If you're using Windows, you see a menu with three options at its top: Add Bookmark, File Bookmark, and Edit Bookmarks. If you're using a Mac, you see the single option Add Bookmark.

    Below the command(s), you may see a few bookmarks supplied by whichever company provided your copy of Netscape (for example, your ISP or Netscape Communications itself). Before you load the new bookmarks, you should save your current ones so that you have the option of switching back to them later.

  4. If you're using Windows, click the Edit Bookmarks option. If you're using a Mac, release your mouse button and then press Command Key+B.

    A Bookmarks window opens that displays all your bookmarks. You can use the Save As option under this window's File menu to save your bookmarks.

  5. Choose File-->Save As from the Bookmarks window's menu bar.

    A Save As dialog box like the one in Figure 2-1 appears. The top of the box shows you the name of the folder Netscape is currently set to. Write this folder name down somewhere handy (such as the Cheat Sheet near the front of this book) in case you ever want to return to your old bookmarks.

    Also notice that near the bottom of the dialog box is a text box with a blinking cursor and (if you're using Windows) a highlighted filename. This text box lets you assign a new name to your bookmarks file.

  6. Type the filename Bookold (to indicate that these are your old bookmarks) and press Enter.

    Your bookmarks are saved under the name Bookold.htm (if you're using Windows) or Bookold.html (if you're using a Mac). Now switch to the bookmarks we created for you, which are stored on your Dummies 101 CD-ROM. You can do so using the command Open Bookmarks File from the File menu.

    Note: The Open Bookmarks File command may be grayed out as a result of a bug in some versions of Netscape. If the command isn't available, either obtain a more recent version of Netscape or see the note at the end of this excercise.

  7. Choose File-->Open Bookmarks File from the Bookmarks window's menu bar.

    A dialog box opens that looks and operates very much like the Save As dialog box. To load your new bookmarks, first select the appropriate file from the CD-ROM.

  8. Locate and click the bookmarks file on your CD-ROM.

    • If you're using Windows, click in the Look in box near the top of the dialog box, click the Dummies 101 CD-ROM icon (which looks like a shiny round disc) from the list that pops down, and then click the filename bookmark.htm after it appears in the big list of files in the middle of the dialog box.

    • If you're using a Mac, click the Desktop button on the right side of the dialog box, double-click the Dummies 101 icon (which looks like a shiny round disc) after it appears in the list of files in the middle of the dialog box, and then click the filename bookmarks.html after it also appears in the list of files in the middle of the dialog box.

  9. Press Enter.

    Your new bookmarks appear in the Bookmarks window. There are lots of them (220, to be precise), and you'll have a chance to examine them all shortly. First, though, set Netscape to look for these bookmarks on your hard disk from now on rather than from the CD-ROM. To do so, save the file to your hard disk and then load it from your hard disk.

  10. Choose File-->Save As, select any folder on your hard disk, type Book101 in the bottom text box, and press Enter. More specifically, after choosing File-->Save As:

    • If you're using Windows, click in the Save in box near the top of the dialog box, click your hard disk icon -- which is probably named Hard Drive (C:) and looks like a sealed disk drive -- from the list that drops down, and double-click any folder you see listed in the middle of the dialog box that would be appropriate for storing your new bookmarks file. After you've selected a folder, click in the File name text box near the bottom of the dialog box, type Book101, and press Enter. Your new bookmarks are saved to your hard disk in a file named Book101.htm.

    • If you're using a Mac, click the Desktop button on the right side of the dialog box, double-click your hard disk icon (which is probably named Macintosh HD and looks like a sealed disk drive) from the list that drops down, and double-click any folder you see listed in the middle of the dialog box that would be appropriate for storing your new bookmarks file. After you've selected a folder, click in the Save bookmarks file text box near the bottom of the dialog box, type Book101, and press Enter. Your new bookmarks are saved to your hard disk in a file named Book101.html.

  11. Reload your new bookmarks by choosing File-->Open Bookmarks File, clicking the Book101 file listed in your current folder, and pressing Enter.

    Your new bookmarks are loaded again, but this time from your hard disk rather than the CD-ROM.

  12. Click the Bookmark window's Close box.

    The window exits.

    You can also eject your Dummies 101 CD-ROM now. Be sure to store it in a safe place, though; you'll need it again in Unit 6.

    Note: If for some reason the preceding exercise doesn't work properly for you, repeat Steps 1 through 9, but for Step 7 choose File-->Import rather than File-->Open Bookmarks File. Instead of switching you to a different bookmarks file, this command copies all the bookmarks from the CD-ROM into a folder in your existing bookmarks file.

    You now have a bunch of interesting new bookmarks. Proceed to the next section to check 'em out!

    Leafing through bookmarks

    To examine the new bookmarks you just installed, follow these steps:

    1. Launch Netscape (if it isn't already running) and connect to the Internet.

      Your Netscape browser window should be maximized and displaying a Web page.

    2. Click the Bookmarks button.

      You again see the commands Add Bookmark, File Bookmark, and Edit Bookmarks (or, on a Mac, Add Bookmark) at the top of the menu. This time, however, you also see a long list of bookmark categories (or folders) below the commands, as shown in Figure 2-2.

    3. Move your mouse pointer over Books.

      You see the names of book-related Web sites, including The Internet Classics Archive (offers full-text translations of nearly 400 classic Greek, Roman, and Italian works, such as the Iliad and the Odyssey), The Complete Works of Shakespeare (provides all the plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare), BookWire (supplies book news, reviews, and handy guides to book resources on the Net), and Amazon.com (an online bookstore with more than two million titles in its searchable electronic catalog).

    4. Move your mouse pointer over Newspapers and Magazines.

      You see the names of more Web sites, including The New York Times on the Web (a searchable version of the daily "newspaper of record"), USA Today (a searchable version of the visually splashy daily newspaper), The Wall Street Journal Interactive Edition (a source for up-to-date stock prices, business news, and other timely financial information), and Time Warner's Pathfinder (which lets you search for and read articles from a variety of Time-Warner publications, including Entertainment Weekly, Fortune, Money, People, Sports Illustrated, and Time Magazine).

    5. Move your mouse pointer over Job Hunting.

      You see the names of additional Web sites, including America's Job Bank (lists over 250,000 jobs from 1,800 state Employment Service offices), CareerPath.com (lets you search through the employment ads of dozens of major newspapers, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times), and Online Career Center (lets you search for work by job category and region, and lets you post your resume online).

    6. Move your mouse pointer over Travel.

      You see the names of yet more Web pages, including City.Net (provides extensive information on virtually any city or region in the world), Microsoft Expedia (makes it easy to find and book the best airline ticket, hotel, and car rental for virtually any destination), and Epicurious Travel (helps you locate great vacation spots and gives you tips on how to best enjoy them).

    7. Click the Edit Bookmarks option near the top of the menu. (If you're using a Mac, release your mouse button and press Command Key+B.)

      The Bookmarks window you used in the preceding exercise opens again, and you see the names of the bookmarks within each folder, as shown in Figure 2-3. (If you don't see the bookmark names, double-click each folder to display the Web page names that it contains.) Because you have scores of bookmarks, you can't see them all in the window simultaneously.

    8. Click the vertical scroll bar arrows or press the PgDn and PgUp keys to examine all your bookmarks.

      The window contains 220 bookmarks covering a wide range of topics.

    9. Click a bookmark.

      The URL the bookmark is associated with is displayed in the window's message bar, similar to the way a URL is displayed in Netscape's message bar when you point to a link on a Web page.

    10. Click the Bookmarks window's Close button (or press Ctrl+W or Command Key+W) to exit.

      The list of bookmarks closes, giving you an unobstructed view of the browser window again.

    The Bookmarks window can actually be opened in a variety of ways. If you use Windows, any of the following methods will work:

    • Press the keystroke shortcut Ctrl+B.

    • Click the Bookmarks button and click Edit Bookmarks.

    • Choose Communicator-->Bookmarks-->Edit Bookmarks.

    If you're on a Mac, you can use either of these techniques:

    • Press the keystroke shortcut Command Key+B.

    • Choose Communicator-->Bookmarks. (The Communicator menu is the lighthouse icon directly to the right of the Bookmarks icon.)

    Intrigued? Good, because your next step is to use the bookmarks that you just viewed to actually visit some of the best sites on the Web.

    Using bookmarks to sample the best of the Web

    Using a bookmark to visit a Web page is just as easy as using a link -- you simply point to it and click (unless you're in the Bookmarks window, in which case you need to point and double-click).

    Keep in mind, however, that everything on the Internet changes rapidly, including Web addresses. Therefore, if a bookmark that you try in the following exercise no longer works, just select a different bookmark.

    1. Click the Bookmarks button and choose Books-->The Complete Works of Shakespeare.

      You're greeted with information about the Bard and his works. If you're so inclined, delve deeper into this Web site by choosing to read scenes from a particular play. You don't have to rush; we'll wait for you. (After all, his work is timeless. . . .)

    2. Click the Bookmarks button and choose Newspapers and Magazines-->USA Today.

      You see the latest headline news from USA Today (complete with full-color photographs!).

    3. Click the Bookmarks button and choose Travel-->City.Net.

      You're met by a map of the world and an invitation to click the name of the area in which you're interested. Follow the prompts and click progressively more detailed maps until you zero in on information about the country, state, or city you're seeking.

    Pretty cool, huh?

    If you enjoyed visiting those Web sites, you may want to take some time to explore a few of the other pages linked to the predefined bookmarks. In each case, move to the page that you want by clicking the Bookmarks button, moving your mouse pointer over the appropriate category, and then clicking the bookmark. After you're done, go on to the next section, which explains how to create your own bookmarks.

    Creating bookmarks

    Using predefined bookmarks is a fun and easy way to get started exploring the Web. However, because nobody else can judge which Web pages are of the most interest to you, get in the habit of creating your own bookmarks. If you do so regularly and thoughtfully, you'll soon build up an extremely useful Web page library tailored to your particular tastes and needs.

    Creating a bookmark is easy, and you can do it in a variety of ways. First, move to the Web page that you want to bookmark. You can then click the Bookmarks button and click the Add Bookmark option. Or you can simply press Ctrl+D or Command Key+D. In either case, the bookmark is added to the bottom of your list of bookmarks.

    If you're using Windows, you also have a slick third option. Notice that to the right of the Bookmarks button is a small icon that looks like a green bookmark. This icon is called the Page Proxy because it acts as a stand-in for the Web page being displayed. Specifically, you can click and drag the Page Proxy over to the Bookmarks menu and then "drop" the bookmark into any folder you want; so using the Page Proxy lets you both create and file a bookmark at the same time. (Plus, it's fun!)

    After you've created a bookmark, you can use it in exactly the same way you use a predefined bookmark -- that is, by displaying it via the Bookmarks menu and clicking it.

    1. If you aren't still connected to the Internet, log on again now.

      Your Netscape browser window should be maximized and displaying a Web page.

    2. Locate a link to a Web page that interests you.

      When you point to the link, your mouse pointer turns into a hand and the link's URL appears in the message bar.

    3. Click the link.

      You move to the Web page associated with the link.

    4. Repeat Steps 2 and 3 until you reach a page that you think you'd enjoy visiting repeatedly in the future.

      You're on a Web page that you've reached through a series of links.

    5. Click the Bookmarks button.

      You see the option Add Bookmark as well as a list of bookmark categories. Make note of the last item on the menu's list.

    6. Choose Add Bookmark.

      The menu closes, and (although you can't see it right now) a bookmark pointing to your current page is added to the bottom of the bookmarks list.

    7. Click the Home button to move to a different page.

      You move to your default home page (typically, the Netscape Communications site).

    8. Click the Bookmarks button.

      The menu drops down and shows that the last item on the bookmarks list is the bookmark that you created in Step 6.

    9. Click the bookmark that you created.

      You move to the Web page associated with the bookmark, proving that your bookmark works.

    If you're running Windows, now create a bookmark for the same page using the Page Proxy (that it, the small bookmark icon to the right of the Bookmarks button):

    1. Click the Page Proxy and, while keeping your mouse button held down, drag the icon to the Bookmarks button.

      The Bookmarks menu automatically opens.

    2. Drag the Page Proxy down the menu until the folder most appropriate for your bookmark is highlighted, then release your mouse button.

      Your bookmark is both created and filed in the folder that you selected.

    3. This time, move to a different page by clicking the Netscape N logo in the upper-right section of the window.

      You move to the Netscape Communications page! That's because, in addition to its function as an activity indicator, the logo acts as a bookmark that always points to the Netscape site.

    4. Click the Bookmarks button and then move your mouse pointer over the folder you selected.

      You see the new bookmark that you created stored inside the folder.

    5. Click your new bookmark.

      You move to the Web page associated with the bookmark, proving that your second bookmark works perfectly, too.

    Nice work! The two bookmarks you've just created will remain on your bookmarks list until you explicitly delete them. You learn how to remove bookmarks that are redundant or have outlived their usefulness in the next section.

    Creating bookmarks is quick, easy, and even fun. Therefore, as you continue to cruise the Internet and discover interesting Web pages, don't hesitate to take advantage of this great feature.

    Creating Web page shortcuts

    Creating a bookmark isn't the only way that you can set a pointer to a Web page. If you use Windows 95, you can also create a shortcut, which is a file that you can keep directly on your desktop. To do so, simply move to a Web page that you want to access frequently, click the Page Proxy and, while keeping your mouse button held down, drag the Page Proxy to your desktop. Lastly, release your mouse button. The shortcut to the Web page appears as an icon on your desktop.

    If you double-click the shortcut when Netscape is running, Netscape responds by moving to the page. More important, if you double-click the shortcut when Netscape isn't running, Netscape and your dialer program automatically open and, after you connect to the Internet, Netscape moves to the appropriate Web page. The latter is more efficient than double-clicking the Netscape Communicator icon, clicking the Bookmarks button, and then clicking a bookmark. It's best to avoid cluttering your desktop with a lot of icons, however, so we suggest that you create shortcuts for no more than two or three Web pages that you access constantly.

    Deleting bookmarks

    As you add more and more bookmarks, your bookmark collection may become too cluttered for you to use easily. You can reduce the muddle by eliminating bookmarks that have outlived their usefulness.

    To remove a bookmark, highlight it in the Bookmarks window and then either choose Edit-->Delete or press the Del key (named Delete on the Mac). For example, follow these steps to remove the first bookmark that you created in the preceding exercise:

    1. Press Ctrl+B or Command Key+B.

      The Bookmarks window opens and displays all your bookmarks.

    2. Press the End key.

      You move to the bottom of the window, which is where the first bookmark that you created resides. That bookmark should now be highlighted. (If it isn't, click it to highlight it.)

    3. Press the Delete key (or choose Edit-->Delete).

      The bookmark that you selected is eliminated.

    After you delete a bookmark, you can bring it back if you immediately choose Edit-->Undo or press Ctrl+Z or Command Key+Z. Still, it's best to think twice before deleting to ensure that you don't accidentally remove a bookmark you meant to keep.

    Lesson 2-2: Organizing Bookmarks

    Just as you should keep your hard disk organized by grouping your files into folders, you should keep your bookmarks organized by grouping them into folders. Doing so helps to ensure that you can always find the bookmark that you need quickly and easily.

    Copying and moving bookmarks

    To put your bookmarks in order, first open the Bookmarks window. You can then use the File menu's New Folder option to create new folders and use your mouse to move bookmarks to and from folders.

    For example, to create a Favorites folder and then move some of your favorite bookmarks into it, follow these steps:

    1. Press Ctrl+B or Command Key+B.

      The Bookmarks window opens.

    2. Press the Home key to move to the top of the window.

      The main bookmark folder, which contains all the other bookmarks and folders, is highlighted.

    3. Choose File-->New Folder from the Bookmarks window's menu bar.

      A dialog box like the one in Figure 2-4 appears. Near its top is a Name box that contains the highlighted text New Folder.

    4. Type the name Favorites for your new folder.

      The name that you typed replaces the previous text in the Name box.

    5. Click the OK button.

      The dialog box closes, and a new folder named Favorites appears in the window. The folder is pictured as open to indicate that its contents are displayed automatically.

    6. Click any bookmark that you consider a favorite and, while keeping your mouse button pressed, drag the bookmark up until the Favorites folder is highlighted; then release your mouse button.

      The bookmark instantly moves to your Favorites folder.

    7. Click and drag another bookmark you especially like to the Favorites folder.

      The second bookmark also moves to your new folder.

    If you like, you can continue repeating Step 7 until all your favorite bookmarks are grouped together in your Favorites folder.

    Alternatively, you can let bookmarks stay in their original folders and place copies of them in the Favorites folder using standard copy and paste commands. Give it a try!

    1. Click a bookmark that you like to highlight it and then press Ctrl+C or Command Key+C.

      A copy of the bookmark is invisibly inserted in your Windows or Mac Clipboard, while the original bookmark is unaffected.

    2. Click your Favorites folder.

      The folder is highlighted.

    3. Press Ctrl+V or Command Key+V.

      A copy of the bookmark is inserted, or pasted, into your Favorites folder.

    Placing copies of a bookmark in one or more folders can be useful if the bookmark is important and you want to be sure you can find it easily when you need it.

    If, despite your best organizational efforts, you occasionally have trouble locating a bookmark, choose Edit-->Find, or press Ctrl+F or Command Key+F. This action opens a dialog box that lets you find a bookmark based on a word or phrase contained in its name and/or URL.

    Adding and revising bookmarks on the Personal Toolbar

    If you expect to use a certain bookmark constantly, you may prefer to access it directly from the browser window rather than have to search for it each time from the Bookmarks menu. For this reason, Netscape allows you to create special bookmark buttons for display on the Personal Toolbar, which is the gray bar running directly below the Bookmarks button.

    At the time we write this, the Personal Toolbar feature is available only for Windows. If you use a Macintosh and your copy of Netscape doesn't have a Personal Toolbar, skip this section and go directly to Lesson 2-3.

    If you use Windows, though, adding a bookmark button to the Personal Toolbar is as easy as creating a conventional bookmark. Simply move to a Web page that you expect to visit often, click the Page Proxy, drag the Page Proxy to the Personal Toolbar (as opposed to the Bookmarks button), and release your mouse button. A button is created on the Toolbar with the name of the Web page. You can then move to the Web page at any time just by clicking the button!

    To take advantage of this nifty feature, follow these steps:

    1. If you aren't still connected to the Internet, log on again now.

      Your Netscape browser window should be maximized and displaying a Web page.

    2. Move to a Web page that you expect to visit often (by using an existing bookmark and/or by clicking links).

    3. Click the Page Proxy and, while keeping your mouse button held down, drag it to the Personal Toolbar (the gray bar running below the Bookmarks button); then release your mouse button.

      A button is automatically created on your Personal Toolbar with the name of the Web page. (Only the first word or two of the name fits on the button, but if you hold your mouse pointer over the button for a second, the entire name is displayed.)

    4. Click the Home button to move to a different page.

      You move to your default home page.

    5. Click the bookmark button you created on the Personal Toolbar.

      You move to the Web page associated with the button, proving that your new bookmark button works.

    That's all it takes to add a Toolbar button! To keep your Personal Toolbar useful, however, you should treat it like prime real estate -- that is, a space to be kept well-ordered and free of clutter. You can delete obsolete buttons and reorganize buttons through the Bookmarks window. Give it a try:

    1. Press Ctrl+B or Command Key+B to open the Bookmarks window and then press the Home key.

      The top section of the Bookmarks window is displayed.

    2. Locate a folder named Personal Toolbar Folder.

      If you don't see the folder right away, scroll through the window until you find it. You should see the name of the bookmark that you just created directly under the folder.

    3. Click the bookmark to highlight it and then press the Delete key.

      The bookmark disappears.

    4. Click the Bookmarks window's Close button.

      The window exits -- and the Personal Toolbar no longer displays the button that you created.

    In other words, what's displayed on the Personal Toolbar is controlled by what you delete, add, or move in the Personal Toolbar Folder of the Bookmarks window. Therefore, any time that you want to revise the buttons on your Personal Toolbar, simply edit the contents of the Toolbar's folder in the Bookmarks window.

    As you've seen in this lesson, you have a lot of freedom in choosing how to organize and reorganize your bookmarks. Play around with different options until you find an ordering scheme that works best for you.

    Recess

    You've done a fabulous job of learning how to use cruise the Web with bookmarks, so take some time to brag to your friends about the new skills you've mastered. When you're refreshed, forge ahead to the next lesson, which teaches you how to jump directly to any Web page.

    Lesson 2-3: Entering URLs

    Cruising the Web using links and bookmarks is fast and fun, but it takes you only so far. For example, if a friend tells you the addresses of some hot new Web pages, or if a favorite magazine prints a list of great Web sites that you'd probably enjoy, how can you get to the Web pages unless you happen to have access to links or bookmarks that point to them? To take advantage of such recommendations, you need to know how to jump directly to a Web page by entering its URL (which, as we explained in Unit 1, is an electronic address that tells browsers such as Netscape precisely where on the Internet a particular Web page is located). By typing a page's URL, you can move straight to the page without passing Go!

    Fortunately, typing a URL isn't very hard. To begin, click anywhere inside Netscape's Location box, which is directly below the Navigation Toolbar and to the right of the Bookmarks button (see Figure 2-5). Your click highlights the text in the box, which is typically the URL of your current Web page. Start typing the URL of the new Web page that you're after; the first letter that you type automatically replaces the entire old URL. Finally, press Enter to activate your new URL. If you typed the URL correctly, Netscape jumps to the Web page you want.

    The only tricky part is that URLs are about as easy to remember and type correctly as social security numbers. You must remember to type a URL carefully. If you get even one number, letter, or punctuation mark wrong, the URL won't work and you end up with an error message rather than a new Web page.

    Note: Whether you type the characters in a URL in lowercase or uppercase usually doesn't matter, but using the capitalization that you're provided is the safest way to go.

    On the upside, though, you seldom need to type a particular URL more than once. After the URL takes you to the Web page that it's associated with, you can click and drag the Page Proxy (or press ÔD on the Mac) to create a bookmark for the page and then simply click your bookmark in the future to return to the page.

    Maybe we're a tad biased, but the first URL that we want you to type goes to the Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 home page, which has the URL http://net.dummies.net/ncomm101.

    Tip: The first part of the Dummies 101 Web page URL, http://, is the prefix for all Web page URLs, so you can skip typing it; when you press Enter, Netscape fills in the http:// prefix for you automatically.

    1. Run Netscape and connect to the Internet.

      Your Netscape browser window should be maximized and displaying a Web page.

    2. Click anywhere inside the Location box (the text box directly beneath the top Toolbar buttons).

      The text inside the box -- which is the URL of your current page -- is highlighted.

    3. Type n.

      The first letter that you type (n) immediately replaces the highlighted text.

    4. Type et and a period.

      The box contains net., which is the beginning of the Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 URL (following the standard http:// prefix, which you don't have to type). A URL can begin with anything, although many start with www, which, of course, stands for World Wide Web.

    5. Type dummies and a period.

      The box contains net.dummies. The word dummies provides the first clue that the page may be devoted to an IDG Books book (or to the musical group Crash Test Dummies).

    6. Type net and a forward slash -- that is, the / on the ? key.

      Note: Be sure to not confuse / with the backslash ( \ ), which you use to specify file locations on your hard disk.

      The box contains net.dummies.net/. The latter net text is a three-letter code that tells you the page is published by a person or group running a bunch of networked computers. (A list of other three-letter codes used in URLs appears in the sidebar "The wacky world of URLs" in Lesson 1-2.) You've now typed enough to specify the Internet For Dummies Central home page, which provides information about various Dummies 101 books and their authors. Internet For Dummies Central is a perfectly nice page and you should be sure to visit it later, but at the moment you want a different page, so you have one more piece of text to type.

    7. Type ncomm101 to finish up.

      The box now contains net.dummies.net/ncomm101. The ncomm101 text tells Netscape that you want the Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 home page, so you've completed typing the URL.

    8. Press Enter.

      You are on this book's home page, which looks similar to Figure 2-6. If you examine the Location box, you see that Netscape has automatically filled in the prefix and added a final slash so that the URL now reads http://net.dummies.net/ncomm101/.

      Note: If you didn't connect properly, double-check your URL to make sure that you typed it correctly. If you did type the URL exactly as you see it in this book and you still don't reach the page, technical problems with the Dummies site may be blocking your progress -- for example, the page may be too busy at the moment to accept your connection request -- so just try again a little later until you access the page.

    9. Create a bookmark or bookmark button to access the page easily.

      • If you're using Windows, click the Page Proxy (that is, the small green icon next to the Location box) and, while keeping your mouse button held down, drag the icon to the Personal Toolbar. Finally, release your mouse button. A bookmark button pointing to the Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 page magically appears on your Personal Toolbar.

      • If you're using a Mac, press Command Key+D. A bookmark for the page is created at the bottom of your Bookmarks menu.

    Congratulations! You successfully typed a URL. You can now take advantage of any recommendation that you receive about the latest and greatest Web pages.

    While you're on the Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 home page, take a few moments to look it over. We use it quite a bit in subsequent exercises, so you may want to take some time to get to know it.

    URL typing tips

    If you'd like to practice your newfound URL typing skills, try them on some of the hot Web sites listed on the Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 page. The list includes most of the Web sites in your bookmarks file (with up-to-date links), as well as exciting new Web sites that have popped up since you created your bookmarks file. Flex your fingers and get typing!

    Tip #1: If a Web URL begins with www and ends with com, you can simply type the middle portion of the URL to get to the appropriate page; Netscape fills in the rest of the URL for you automatically! For example, to jump to the first site on this list, www.amazon.com, you can just click in the Location box, type amazon and press Enter. Try it!

    Tip #2: Netscape checks the History window (which normally stores all the Web pages you've visited within the last day) whenever you type a URL. As a result, if you click in the Location box and begin to type the URL of a page you've recently visited, Netscape will recognize the URL's initial letters and type out the rest of the URL for you! If Netscape guesses incorrectly about the URL you want, just keep typing; the program will automatically withdraw its suggestion in favor of your new Web page address.

    Copying URLs into the Location box

    If a URL is printed on paper, you've gotta type it to use it. If a URL appears on your screen, though -- say, as a result of a friend e-mailing it to you or the URL appearing in an article that you're reading online -- you can simply copy the URL to the Windows or Mac Clipboard and then paste it into Netscape's Location box. Here's how:

    1. Click in front of the first character of the URL that you want to copy.

    2. While holding down your mouse button, drag the mouse's cursor over the URL until the entire electronic address is highlighted and then release your mouse button.

    3. Press Ctrl+C or Command Key+C to copy the highlighted text to the (invisible) Clipboard.

    4. Click anywhere inside Netscape's Location box to highlight its current text.

    5. Press Ctrl+V or Command Key+V to paste in your URL.

    6. Press Enter to activate the URL and jump to its Web page.

    Copying URLs saves your fingers a lot of energy that they can use to do more exploring on the Web.

    Lesson 2-4: Searching a Web Page for Information

    When a Web page consists of only a few paragraphs, you can pick out the facts that you want from it pretty easily. If a page is long and contains lots of text, though, you may appreciate some help locating the information you seek.

    That's why Netscape provides a Find command. Like the Find option in a word processor, it lets you search for a word or phrase in an electronic document. To invoke the Find command, choose Edit-->Find in Page or press the keystroke shortcut Ctrl+F or Command Key+F. Any of these actions pops up a Find dialog box. After you type your search text in the dialog box and press Enter, Netscape looks for occurrences of your text on the current Web page.

    To try out the Find command, follow these steps to access and search through excerpts from William Shakespeare's classic play Hamlet:

    1. If you aren't still connected to the Internet, dial in again now.

      Your Netscape browser window should be maximized and displaying a Web page.

    2. Click either the Personal Toolbar button or the bookmark that you created in Lesson 2-3 to move to the Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 home page.

      You can also jump to the page by clicking inside Netscape's Location box, typing the URL net.dummies.net/ncomm101, and pressing Enter.

    3. Choose Edit-Command Key+Find (or press Ctrl+F or Command Key+F).

      A Find dialog box like the one in Figure 2-7 appears. The dialog box contains the following elements:

      • A Find what text box (named Find on a Mac) that lets you type the word or phrase you're looking for.
      • A Match case option (named Case Sensitive on a Mac) that locates exact uppercase and lowercase matches of your search text.
      • Direction buttons to specify whether to search Up or Down from your current position on the Web page. (On a Mac, click the Find Backwards option to search upward.)
      • A Find Next button (named Find on a Mac) to execute your search.

      For this exercise, accept the default settings. For example, if you use Windows, leave the Match case box unchecked and the Down button selected.

    4. Drag the Find dialog box to the bottom of the screen so that it doesn't block your view of the page.

      The Find what box and Find Next button should still be visible, but the rest of the dialog box can be hidden behind your Windows 95 Taskbar, or the bottom of your Windows 3.1 or Macintosh desktop.

    5. Type Hamlet in the Find what box and then press Enter to execute the search.

      The page jumps to the first (and, in this case, only) occurrence of the word Hamlet. This word is part of a link, so you can use it to move to a different page.

    6. Click the Shakespeare's Hamlet link.

      The link is activated, and you move to a page containing excerpts from the Bard's immortal drama.

    7. If you're using Windows, double-click in the Find what box; on a Mac, press Command Key+F.

      The text in the text box is highlighted.

    8. Type life to search for the various ways Shakespeare used this word to weave poetic phrases in Hamlet.

      The previous text (Hamlet) is replaced by the word life.

    9. Press Enter to execute the search.

      The page jumps to the first occurrence of life, which is in Hamlet's bold proclamation concerning his pursuing a ghost: "I do not set my life at a pin's fee,/And for my soul, what can it do to that,/Being a thing immortal as itself?"

    10. Click Find Next or press Command Key+G to continue searching.

      The page jumps to the second occurrence of life, which is in this terrible revelation by the ghost of Hamlet's father: "But know, thou noble youth,/The serpent that did sting thy father's life/Now wears his crown."

    11. Click Find Next or press Command Key+G to continue searching.

      The page jumps to the third occurrence of life, which is in Hamlet's fearsome reply, "You cannot, sir, take from me anything that I will more willingly part withal -- except my life, my life, my life."

    12. Continue clicking Find Next or pressing Command Key+G to locate more matches.

      You should find life in several more places, including this section from Hamlet's most famous soliloquy: "To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub,/For in that sleep of death what dreams may come/When we have shuffled off this mortal coil/Must give us pause. There's the respect/That makes calamity of so long life."

      After you've found all the occurrences of life, if you use a Mac, you get beeped at to indicate that your search has been completed. Skip to Step 14.

      If you use Windows, a dialog box appears with the message Search String Not Found!.

    13. Press the Esc key to close the dialog box and press Esc again to exit the Find box.

      The message box and Find dialog box disappear.

    14. Click Netscape's Back button.

      You return to the Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 home page.

    That's all there is to searching for any type of text on a Web page. (We should probably add that you'll find most Web material to be considerably cheerier than Hamlet . . . though not nearly as well written.) The Find command can save you a lot of time, so make ample use of it when examining text-intensive Web pages.

    Lesson 2-5: Searching the Entire Web for Information

    Just as you can use Netscape's Find command to search a Web page for a word or phrase, you can use Internet search programs to scour the entire Web for pages dealing with a particular topic. Because literally tens of millions of Web pages exist -- giving a whole new meaning to the phrase "information overload" -- such search programs are indispensable for zeroing in on the data that you need.

    Happily, these Web searchers (also called search engines) are available on the Web itself and can be accessed with just a few mouse clicks. Further, most of them are free! (The publishers of Web searchers generate revenue by selling advertising space on their search sites or by selling related products.)

    Because the Web is so enormous and ever-changing, no single search program can do a perfect job of finding the most appropriate pages dealing with your topic. A number of excellent Web searchers are available, though, so if you aren't satisfied with the results that you get from one, you can simply turn to another.

    Two different kinds of search programs exist. The first relies on human editors who attempt to bring order to the Web's chaos by organizing Web pages into broad categories (for example, Government, Business, or Arts) and narrower subcategories (for example, Arts-->Art History-->Artists-->da Vinci, Leonardo--> Leonardo da Vinci Drawings on Web page http://banzai.msi.umn.edu/~reudi/leonardo.html). This type of category-based Web searcher (represented by such programs as Yahoo!) is best when you're researching a broad, popular topic that human editors are likely to have assigned a subcategory.

    The second type of search program is open-ended -- that is, it doesn't rely on any kind of predefined structuring or categorizing of Web pages. Instead, programs such as HotBot and AltaVista try to match your search text to their enormous databases on the fly, and depend entirely on their own intelligence (or, to be more precise, on a number of sophisticated programming tricks) to come up with the most appropriate Web pages for your topic. Using an open-ended search program is best when you're researching a narrow or obscure topic. You'll learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of each approach shortly.

    New Web searchers are constantly popping up on the Net. As we write this book, the following are some of the best search programs available:

    • AltaVista (www.altavista.digital.com): Provides extremely fast, accurate searching of more than 40 million Web pages. AltaVista is one of the two most comprehensive Web search programs (the other being HotBot), and it's among our favorites.
    • Excite (www.excite.com): Offers three fine services: a search program named Excite Search, a guide named Excite Web Reviews that lists evaluations of sites organized by topic, and a set of links named Excite NewsTracker that leads you to articles from over 300 newspapers and magazines.

    • HotBot (www.hotbot.com): Provides extremely fast, accurate searching of more than 40 million Web pages. HotBot is one of the two most comprehensive Web search programs (the other being AltaVista), and it's among our favorites.
    • InfoSeek (guide.infoseek.com): Produces highly accurate results within the confines of its database. InfoSeek is excellent at matching your search topic with relatively new Web pages, but sometimes at the price of ignoring older Web sites.
    • Lycos (www.lycos.com): Furnishes sophisticated search options (for example, letting you search for Web pages that mention Dean Martin but don't mention Jerry Lewis) and a huge Web page database. Lycos also offers a Web guide organized by category (a2z.lycos.com) and recommendations of top Web sites (point.lycos.com/categories).
    • Yahoo! (www.yahoo.com): The oldest major category-based search program and a great place to start when researching broad topics. Yahoo! isn't as comprehensive as some of the programs in this list, but it's likely to produce more targeted matches. Yahoo! also offers great features such as Picks of the Week (www.yahoo.com/picks), a savvy list of the best of the Web (www.yahoo.com/Entertainment/Cool_Links), a weekly listing of new Web sites (www.yahoo.com/weblaunch.html), and a search program devoted to finding Web sites for kids (www.yahooligans.com).
    • Savvy Search (www.cs.colostate.edu/~dreiling/smartform. html): A high-level or "meta-search" program that, instead of scouring the Web directly, plugs your search term into several popular Web searchers and then gives you all the initial matches together on the same page, organized by search program! Use this tool to avoid the time and effort of entering text into each search program separately.

    At this point, you're probably thinking, "Sounds great, but how can I easily get to all these different search programs?" Well, by an amazing coincidence, you can access them with a mouse click from the Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 home page!

    Because there's no way to predict what will change on the Web, a Web searcher that we discuss in this lesson may no longer be available (or available for free) when you try to access it. If a search program becomes unavailable, don't sweat it -- simply use a different search program. At the same time, keep an eye on our Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 Web site for links to fabulous new search programs.

    Using a category-based Web searcher

    To get started on your Web research skills, try using Yahoo! -- a category-based Web searcher -- to find Web sites dealing with movies.

    1. If you aren't still connected to the Internet, dial in again now.

      Your Netscape browser window should be maximized and displaying a Web page.

    2. If you aren't on the Dummies 101: Netscape Communicator 4 home page, click the Personal Toolbar button or the bookmark that you created in Lesson 2-3.

      You can also jump to the page by clicking inside Netscape's Location box, typing the URL net.dummies.net/ncomm101, and pressing Enter.

    3. Locate and click the link that contains the phrase Web search.

      You move to a page with text entry boxes linked to popular Web search programs (see Figure 2-8).

    4. Create a bookmark or bookmark button to access the page easily.

      • If you're using Windows, click and drag the Page Proxy (the small green icon next to the Location box) to the Personal Toolbar and then release your mouse button. A bookmark button pointing to the Searching the Web page pops out of thin air onto your Personal Toolbar.
      • If you're using a Mac, press Command Key+D. A bookmark for the page is created at the bottom of your Bookmarks menu.

    5. Locate the Yahoo! search box and click inside the box.

      A blinking cursor appears inside the Yahoo! box to indicate that you can now enter your search text.

    6. Type movies to research movie-related Web sites and then press Enter.

      Your search request takes you to a Yahoo! page like the one in Figure 2-9. This page lists the first batch of categories in Yahoo!'s Web catalog that best matches your search phrase movies. (You can display additional categories by clicking a link near the bottom of the page that says something like Next 20 Matches.)

      Notice that all the topics listed on the Yahoo! Category Matches page are links. To explore a topic, simply click it.

    7. Locate the Entertainment: Movies and Films category and then click it.

      If you don't see this topic, simply pick out and click a different broad movie category. You move to a subgroup of categories within your selected category. Press PgDn once or twice to view the entire list.

    8. Pick out a listed category that interests you -- say, Actors and Actresses, Screenplays, Genres, Box Office Reports, or anything else -- and then click it.

      You again move to a subgroup of categories within your selected category.

    9. Continue picking out and clicking categories that interest you until you work your way down to a list of specific Web sites.

      After you're done clicking through subcategories, you find yourself on a page listing the names and descriptions of Web sites that deal with the particular movies subtopic that you selected.

    10. Click a listed Web site name (which is a link).

      You arrive at a Web page. (All right!) Explore the page at your leisure and then click Netscape's Back button to return to your Yahoo! list of sites. Continue by clicking any other Web site link that interests you, examining the page, and clicking the Back button to return to your Yahoo! list until you've visited all the Web pages that appeared relevant to what you were searching for.

    As you just saw, a category-based guide to the Web such as Yahoo! (or, as another example, Excite's Web Reviews site) is especially useful for kicking off research on a broad topic. That's because the categories let you quickly see what kinds of information are available. Also, human editors make sure that the Web pages listed under each category are directly relevant, thus sparing you from wasting time with false leads.

    However, category-based search programs also have a few disadvantages:

    • They force you to do some work before arriving at a list of Web pages.
    • They're less likely to help you discover pages that aren't directly relevant but that you may find interesting anyway.
    • They're not as helpful for researching narrow or obscure topics because they tend to include fewer Web pages and center on popular subjects.

    Because of these shortcomings of category-based searchers, you should also get in the habit of using open-ended search programs -- which we discuss in the next section.

    Using an open-ended Web searcher

    Open-ended Web searchers don't depend on human editors and don't list categories. Instead, these programs immediately present you with the names of Web sites related to your topic and ordered by relevance (based on a number of clever programming tricks, such as checking how often your search phrase appears on a particular Web page). Because they don't require people to help them organize information, these programs are free to include a lot more information; in fact, popular open-ended searchers such as AltaVista and HotBot cover tens of millions of Web pages, making them powerful tools for turning up raw data.

    On the other hand, search programs still aren't nearly as smart as humans are, and so may sometimes give you useful and useless sites mixed together, leaving you with the job of sifting through the list and identifying the pages you really need. Open-ended searchers are therefore best when you're looking for a wide range of sites, need information about esoteric topics, or simply want a quick list of Web pages (as opposed to having to first wade through a bunch of categories and subcategories).

    To get a feel for how open-ended searches work, use AltaVista to find Web sites devoted to Elvis Presley:

    1. Click the Personal Toolbar button or bookmark you created in the preceding exercise to return to the Searching the Web page.

      You move back to the page that you used to launch your Yahoo! search. (You can also reach this page by clicking inside Netscape's Location box, typing the URL net.dummies.net/internet101/search.htm, and pressing Enter.)

    2. Locate the AltaVista search box and then click inside the box.

      A blinking cursor appears inside the AltaVista box to indicate that you can now enter your search text.

    3. Type Elvis Presley to locate Web sites about the King of rock 'n' roll and then press Enter.

      You move to an AltaVista page that lists an initial batch of Web pages it considers most relevant to your topic (as in Figure 2-10). Notice that each entry in the list includes the Web page's name and URL (both of which are links that you can use to jump to the page), and the first two lines of text from the page, which give you a sense of the page's contents.

    4. Use the PgDn key to read through the first batch of matches. To see more matches, click the number 2 (for page 2) or the word Next near the bottom of the page.

      You move to the second set of matches. Similarly, you can move to the third, fourth, and fifth batch of matches by clicking the numbers or Next at the bottom of the page. You can go on like this for some time because AltaVista has generated thousands of matches. Instead, try narrowing your search a bit by centering on Elvis's movie career.

    5. Click your Personal Toolbar button or bookmark to return to the Searching the Web page, click in the AltaVista box, type Elvis Presley movies, and press Enter.

      You move to a new AltaVista screen that identifies Web pages dealing with Elvis Presley movies. This list of pages is a little more focused than the preceding list because it concerns a narrower topic.

    6. Click Netscape's Back button to return to the Searching the Web page, click toward the end of the AltaVista box, use the Backspace key (on a PC) or Delete key (on a Mac) to delete the word movies, type the word stamps instead, and press Enter.

      You jump to a new AltaVista screen that lists Web pages dealing with Elvis stamps (such as the famous one issued by the U.S. Post Office in 1993). The results of this search are much more focused because this time your topic is quite narrow.

    Using multiple Web searchers

    Because an open-ended Web searcher has to guess at the relevance of a page to your interests, the quality of a program's matches can depend largely on luck. If you aren't entirely satisfied with the sites that one search program generates, though, don't give up; simply run your search through one or two other programs.

    1. Click your Personal Toolbar button or bookmark to return to the Searching the Web page.

      This time, pick a different search program to use, such as HotBot or InfoSeek.

    2. Click in the search box of a different search program you'd like to try, type Elvis Presley, and press Enter.

      You move to an initial list of Elvis Web pages generated by the program that you selected. Notice that the list is different from AltaVista's initial list (though you may see some overlap).

    3. Click Netscape's Back button to return to the Searching the Web page.

      Pick another search program to try out, such as Excite or Lycos.

    4. Click in the search box of another search program you'd like to try, type Elvis Presley, and press Enter.

      Again, you move to an initial list of Elvis Web pages that's different from any of the others you've generated. You always

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