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Chapter 49. Internet Basics > What Is the World Wide Web?

What Is the World Wide Web?

The World Wide Web has become extremely popular because it is easy to use and provides many different types of information. The key to the Web is hypertext, which was developed in 1989 by Tim Berners-Lee at CERN, the European Laboratory for Particle Physics in Geneva, as a way to coordinate information around the world. It's a system that uses what we now call hyperlinks or just plain links, which transfer users from one Web page to another with the click of a mouse.

As the Web developed, graphics were added to the hyperlinked documents, and Web browsers were introduced that made accessing documents easier still. Creating the documents, or Web sites, however became more difficult, so that an entire industry grew up around it. Now a Web site can be as little as one page or a vast number of pages, containing enormous quantities of information. The Encyclopedia Britannica, for example, is a single Web site (www.eb.com) that contains as much information as the multivolume printed edition. Still, every Web page has its own unique address or URL (for “uniform resource locator”).


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