World Wide Web (WWW) – ABOUT MAG 2020

World Wide Web (WWW)

What is the WORLD WEB?

The World Wide Web (also called WWW or W3) is a hypertext-based information system. Any word in a hypertext document can be specified as a pointer to a different hypertext document, where more information about that word can be found. The reader can open the second document by selecting the word (using different methods, depending on the interface; in a mouse-based system, a user would likely place the mouse over the word and click the mouse button); only the part of the linked document that contains relevant information will be displayed.

The second document can contain links to other documents. The reader does not need to know where the referenced documents are, because they will be obtained and presented as needed.

The World Wide Web uses hypertext on the Internet: linked documents can be located on different Internet sites. WWW can handle different text formats and different methods of organizing information.

The World Wide Web also provides access to many of the other tools described in this guide and is becoming widely used as the primary means of accessing Internet resources.

Special index documents have been created in the WWW information space and can be searched for certain keywords. The result is a new document that contains links to documents selected in the index.

If you were reading this document on a hypertext system, instead of a very short explanation of hypertext, you would have a selectable pointer to a complete web of hypertext information with examples and more pointers to other definitions. For example, in the first document, you can read:

WorldWideWeb (W3) is the universe of information accessible in a network, an embodiment of human knowledge. It is an initiative started at “CERN”, now with many participants. It has a body of software and a set of protocols and conventions. W3 uses “hypertext” and multimedia techniques to facilitate navigation and the contribution of anyone on the web.

Selecting hypertext will display the following explanation for you:


Hypertext is text that is not restricted to being linear. Hypertext is a text that contains “links” to other texts. The term was coined by “Ted Nelson” around 1965 (see “History”).

HyperMedia is a term used for hypertext that is not limited to text: it can include graphics, video and “sound”, for example. Apparently, Ted Nelson was also the first to use that term.

Then you can learn more about links and Ted Nelson. WWW links are not limited to text only; therefore, the term hypermedia is more accurate – for example, the link to Ted Nelson can point to a file that contains a photo of Ted Nelson. The image would be displayed on the screen, if the computer had a suitable screen and an image viewer.

Who can use the WORLD WEB?

You must be on the international TCP / IP network (the Internet) to be able to use a client on your computer to access the WWW. If you are on the Internet, but do not have a WWW client on your computer, you can still log on to the World Wide Web because several sites offer interactive public access to WWW clients (see the Remote Clients section on Getting to the World -Wide Web below).

If you only have access by email or are not on the Internet, you will not be able to fully exploit the vast potential of the WWW. However, a mail robot is available at:, which provides email access to files accessible via the WWW. (see the Accessing Email section in How to Access the World Wide Web below).

How to get to the WORLD WEB

Users access World Wide Web installations through a client called a browser, which provides transparent access to WWW servers. If a local WWW client is not available on your computer, you can use it at a remote site: this can be an easy way to start using WWW.

Local customers

The use of a local client is encouraged, as it will provide better performance and response time than a remote client.

Public domain clients to access WWW servers are available for: Macintosh, MS-DOS, VMS, VM / CMS, MVS, NeXT, Unix, X-Windows. All of these platforms support a single-line browser. In addition, graphics clients are available for: Macintosh, Windows, X-Windows, NeXT and Unix. See the list of client software available for free in Appendix A.

Remote clients

To access a remote WWW client, telnet to the client’s website. If you are new to the WWW, you should telnet to No login is required for this and you will immediately enter the WWW line mode browser.

Some publicly accessible clients have been developed locally. Most remote customers are on websites with WWW servers containing information about specific areas. Telnet to the customer’s website and, at login: prompt, type www; no password is required. The following remote client sites are available:

|                                                                  |
|  Site                   Country          Server Specialization   |
|                                                                  |
|          Finland                                  |
|         Israel              Environment          |
|           Switzerland (CERN)  High-energy physics  |
|  USA                 Law                  |
|       USA                 History              |
|           USA                                      |

Using CERN as an entry point, you will find information about the WWW itself, with an overview of the Web and a catalog of databases classified by subject.

Email access

You can obtain WWW files by mail to using the SEND command. The SEND command returns the document with the provided WWW address, subject to certain restrictions. Hypertext documents are formatted 72 characters wide, with the links numbered. A separate list at the end of the file provides the addresses of the related documents. A good file to start with would be:

Note that, despite the name listserv in the address of this mail robot, it is not a LISTSERV server.
A note of caution from WWW developers and maintainers:
As the robot offers potential access to a vast amount of information, we need to emphasize that the service should not be abused.

Examples of appropriate use would be:

  • Accessing any information about the W3 itself;
  • Access any information related to CERN and / or related to physics or the development of networks;

Examples of inappropriate use would be:

  • Attempting to retrieve binaries or tar files or anything other than directory listings or short ASCII files from FTP archiving sites;
  • Reading Usenet newsgroups that your site doesn’t receive;
  • Repeated automatic use.

There is currently a limit of 1000 lines in any file returned. We don’t want to overload other people’s mail relays or our server. We reserve the right to withdraw the service at any time. We are currently monitoring all server usage, so that your reading does not initially enjoy privacy.


The CERN W3 team (

Using the Internet around the world

The line mode browser:

The line-mode browser is a simple user interface: references are shown as a number in square brackets next to each referenced word. Enter the number and press the RETURN key to follow a reference. For example, here is the beginning of the subject catalog on the CERN server:

World Wide Web Virtual Library: Subject Catalog


This is a catalog of distributed subjects. See also the arrangement of
kind of service[1]and other network information subject catalogs[2].

Send to the maintainers of the specified subject or to add pointers to this list or if you would like to contribute to the administration of a subject area.

See also how to put your data on the web[3]

  • Aeronautics Mailing list archive index[4]. See also NASA
  • LaRC[5]
  • Agriculture See Agricultural information[6]Almanac mail servers[7] the agricultural genome[8] (National Agricultural Library, part of the US Department of Agriculture)
  • Archeology[9] Separate list
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics[10]
  • Separate list.
  • 1-64, for more, Exit or Help:

To access the WWW with the line mode browser, type: www. The first standard document will appear on your screen. From this point on, you can browse the WWW universe by reading the text and following the instructions at the bottom of the screen. If you want to start with a non-standard document or if you want to change some other aspect of the usual interaction, several parameters and command line options are available. The full format of the www command to invoke the line mode browser is:

|  |
|  www  [options] [docaddress] [keyword>]  |
|  |

where: docaddress is the hypertext address of the document where you want to start browsing.
keyword the keywords provided are used to query the index specified by docaddress. A list of matching entries is displayed. Several keywords are separated by blanks.

The options are:

  • -n non-interactive mode. The document is formatted and displayed on the screen. Pages are enclosed with form feed characters (FF).
  • -listrefs adds a list of addresses for all document references to the end. Only non-interactive mode.
  • -pn sets the page length to n lines. Without a number, it makes the page length infinite. The default is 24.
  • -wn sets the page width to n columns. The default is 78, 79 or 80, depending on the system.
  • -na hides references in the text. Useful when printing the document.
  • -version displays the software version number.

The following commands are available when using a line mode browser as a local client or as a remote client. Some are disabled when not applicable (for example, finding is enabled only when the current document is an index). Capital letters indicate acceptable abbreviation; angle brackets ([]) indicate an optional parameter.

  • Help provides a list of available commands, depending on the context and hypertext address of the current document.
  • Manual displays the online manual.
  • Exiting leaves the WWW.
  • type of number in one of the numbers shown in [] and press the RETURN key to follow the link associated with the reference.
  • RETURN press the RETURN key to display the next page of the current document (without a reference number).
  • Up, Down scrolls up or down a page in the current document.
  • At the top, BOttom moves to the top or bottom of the current document.
  • Back, HOme goes back to the first document you were reading.
  • Then Previous goes to the next or previous document in the list of pointers in the document that led to the current one.
  • List provides a numbered list of links to the current document. To follow a link, enter the number.
  • Remember if the number is omitted, it provides a numbered list of the documents you have visited.
  • To display a specific document, reissue the command with number.
  • The keyword (Find) queries the current index with the keywords provided. A list of matching entries is displayed with possible links for more details. The location can be omitted if the first keyword does not conflict with another WWW command. Several keywords are separated by blanks.
  • Go docaddress goes to the document represented by the provided hypertext address, which is interpreted in relation to the current document.

Extra command available only in Unix versions:

  • Print prints the current document, without the numbered references. The default print command is lpr, but can be defined on your local desktop using the WWW_PRINT_COMMAND variable.

Other interfaces:

When using a graphical interface, you access WWW functions by pressing the mouse buttons. Words are highlighted or underlined to indicate where a link exists. To follow a link, click on the word.

The most famous graphical interface is Mosaic, which is the cutting-edge, cutting-edge interface. As a WWW browser, Mosaic displays images and reproduces sounds, with the help of local utilities. Web browsing is intuitive and additional resources (correspondence feedback, personalization, etc.) are easy to use. Mosaic also provides an interface to other information systems (WAIS, Gopher, etc.), providing access to all Internet resources from a single interface. Macintosh, MS-Windows and X-Windows implementations are available for anonymous FTP at in the / Web directory.

A good alternative for users without a graphical environment is Lynx. Lynx is a full-screen browser for the WWW using arrows and tab keys, cursor addressing and highlighted or numbered links to browse the web. Lynx has no image or sound capabilities: any images or sounds are replaced with a tag at the time of display and the corresponding files can be recovered separately. Unlike the line-mode browser, documents that contain embedded images or enhanced document formats (for example, forms) are handled properly by Lynx. A demo version of Lynx is available using Telnet for (login as www). Implementations for various types of Unix and VMS are available for anonymous FTP at in the / pub / WWW / lynx directory.


WWW gives access to a universe of information. Let’s say you want to know how many film versions of The Three Musketeers have been made. You browse the WWW Virtual Library and select Movies:


Cardiff's Movie Database Browser.

CARDIFF'S MOVIE DATABASE BROWSER. UK Postal Quiz [1] There's now a way to set permanent[2] links to specific names and titles. Movie title substring searching.[3] (for non-forms browsers) Movie people substring searching.[4] (for non-forms browsers) Lookup titles by genre.[5] (uses plot summary info. 652 titles so far, many more on the way) List my votes[6]. If you've voted for movies, your votes are here. On this day in history..[7](who was born and who died) The rec.arts.movies top 40 films[8] and bottom 40 films.[9] Top 20[10]s of busy people. Famous marriages.[11] 1-18, Up, for more, Quit, or Help: 3

You select movie titles and then enter three musketeers as keywords:

Movie Info (27/27)
Example, to search for movies with the word ``alien'' in their title, type ``alien''.

This will return details on several movies, including Aliens Note: if the title begins with A or The, leave it out. If you're determined to include it, then put ', A' or ', The' at the end of the of the substring e.g. Enforcer, The Gauntlet, The Searching is case insensitive. [1] Rob.H[2] FIND , 1-2, Back, Up, Quit, or Help: three musketeers ----------------------------------------------------------------- You find that there have been seven film versions of the story: ----------------------------------------------------------------- Movie Info TITLE SUBSTRINGS. Here are the results from the search for three musketeers Three Musketeers, The (1921)[1] Three Musketeers, The (1933)[2] Three Musketeers, The (1935)[3] Three Musketeers, The (1939)[4] Guide to Network Resource Tools page 23 ----------------------------------------------------------------- Three Musketeers, The (1948)[5] Three Musketeers, The (1974)[6] Three Musketeers, The (1993)[7] I haven't found the item you wanted ?, why ?[8] Note titles in quotes (") are TV series. [9] Rob.H[10] FIND , 1-10, Back, Up, Quit, or Help: 1 ----------------------------------------------------------------- You decide to look for more information on the 1921 version: ----------------------------------------------------------------- Movie Info MOVIE DETAILS. THREE MUSKETEERS, THE (1921) 1921 Cast Leon Barry[1] ......Athos Charles Belcher[2] ......Bernajoux Nigel De Brulier[3] ......Cardinal Richelieu Marguerite De La Motte[4] ......Constance Bonacieux Douglas Fairbanks[5] ......D'Artagnan Sidney Franklin[6] ......Monsieur Bonacieux Thomas Holding[7] ......Duke of Buckingham Boyd Irwin[8] ......Comte de Rochefort Barbara La Marr[9] ......Milady de Winter Mary MacLaren[10] ......Queen Anne of Austria Adolphe Menjou[11] ......Louis XIII Eugene Pallette[12] ......Aramis Lon Poff[13] ......Father Joseph Willis Robards[14] ......Captain de Treville George Siegmann[15] ......Porthos Charles Stevens[16] ......Planchet 1-37, Back, Up, for more, Quit, or Help: 11 -----------------------------------------------------------------

You are addicted! You decide to look for more information about Adolphe Menjou, search for more titles, find Oscar winners, etc.

Learn more about the WORLD WEB

The World Wide Web is being developed at CERN (European Particle Physics Laboratory) by the World Wide Web team, led by Tim Berners-Lee. Bug reports, comments, suggestions, etc. should be sent to:

Online documentation is available at, for anonymous FTP or using the remote WWW client.

Mailing lists:
To register, send an email to
Usenet newsgroup: comp.infosystems.www

mosaic is being developed at NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing Applications), Urbana Champain, Illinois, by Marc Andreessen and Eric Bina. Bug reports, comments, suggestions, etc. should be sent to:
Online documentation is available at, for anonymous FTP, or at, using a WWW client.

Lynx is being developed at the University of Kansas by Lou Montulli.
Online documentation is available at, for anonymous FTP, or at, using a WWW client.

Netscape, however, is the clear winner a year or more after this was written. It is the new standard for which everyone is obliged to write and has made its inventor the newest billionaire by making it accessible to almost everyone. Isn’t it nice to know that you don’t need to know much of this FAQ to use the WWW today?

Paula Fonseca