Reference Shelf

Tips for Better Browsing

Bookmark sites that interest you

Use the "bookmark" or "favorites" feature of your browser to add interesting sites to a permanent address list inside your computer. Later, you can simply click on the name of a site in your list, and your computer will automatically take you to the correct URL.

Because browsing can often lead you along a complex path of links from one site to another, it's usually better to bookmark anything of interest rather than expect that you will be able to find your way back. Start making this a habit by adding EDSITEment to your list of favorites!

Take advantage of plug-ins

Your browser may need an additional piece of software, called a "plug-in," to handle some of the more sophisticated materials available on the Internet, such as video clips, audio clips, and interactive games. Some browsers notify you when a plug-in is needed and offer to find and download it for you automatically. In addition, many websites contain links that will lead you to the plug-ins you need.

An excellent source for plug-in help and a host of resources and useful tips is Thinkfinity, EDSITEment's consortium sponsor.

Because most plug-ins are free, there is no reason not to use them, but you might want to be careful about download times, which can run nearly an hour in some circumstances. If you're in a hurry, bookmark the plug-in page and return to it at a more convenient time. Check too that your computer has enough memory to run the plug-ins you want.

Double-check your URLs

Although EDSITEment and its featured websites offer you convenient links to abundant resources, there will come a time when you must type in a URL to access information. Be careful to type a URL exactly as it is shown, shifting to upper-case where necessary and including all periods, tildes (~), and other characters. Like most marvels of the computer age, the Internet is intolerant of typographical errors.

Forget about "File Not Found"

Occasionally when you click on a link you will come to a very grim-looking page that announces "File Not Found." This is simply the Internet's way of letting you know that the page you wanted is no longer available. It's also a reminder that the Internet is a growing and changing information environment, with new content being added and old content being removed constantly. Don't be surprised or disappointed if you run into the "File Not Found" message, and certainly don't worry that you have done something wrong! Just use the "back" button on your browser to step back a page in your quest for knowledge and launch out in a new direction.