UniServe€ Science News: Newsletter of the Science Software Clearinghouse Vol 1, July 1995

UniServe*Science & the Web


Mick Pope is the Educational Technologist for the Physical Sciences at UniServe*Science

This article will familiarise you with the function and general jargon of the World Wide Web (WWW), and then explain why UniServe*Science has a Web page, and what you can do with it.

The World Wide Web

The official description describes the World Wide Web as a "wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents" [1]. This in-formation is accessed using software known as browsers (eg Mosaic or Netscape). The simplest example of hypermedia is hypertext, which is text on which a mouse-click will link to other documents (this is known as a hyperlink). Thus, a click of the mouse takes you to another document, locally or on the other side of the world. The great advantage of the Web is that it gives the user access to other forms of hypermedia; graphics, animations and sounds. The power of linking text (hypertext) or images (hypermedia), is that this more closely reflects the workings of the human mind than linear text does. It also employs other tools used by the Internet such as gopher, and ftp (file transfer protocol).

Uses of the WWW

What the WWW provides is a large body of information in an easy to use form. This information is available in three ways; (i) search tools, (ii) a `Jumpsite' or starting points document, which is a list of links to sites of particular interest, (iii) random wandering (surfing or cruising the `net), which can be very time consuming. Search tools are powerful: they can search the whole Web, but may take some time, and bring up many links that you are not interested in. A good jumpsite that pertains to the area you are interested in is a good alternative starting point. If you are interested in using software in your teaching, then UniServe*Science's Web site will provide links to sites that may be of interest to you.

UniServe*Science's Web page

One of the functions of the clearinghouse is to inform you what educational software is available. In addition to this newsletter, and our catalogues, the Web will provide you with an excellent means of getting access to information about what material is available. We will (in time) provide a searchable database that will allow you to find the software that best suits your needs. Reviews, evaluations and demo versions will be available at the click of a mouse. We will include references to commercial software catalogues and links to other sites where software is available. This saves you the effort of looking for it yourself. Since we are always looking at ways to improve our service, we welcome additions if you find materials or Web sites of interest. From time to time, re-visit our page to check out the latest interesting links or software reviews. UniServe*Science's Web page is designed to assist you, and we hope that you will find it a useful tool.

Mick Pope

[1] Entering the World-Wide Web: A Guide to Cyberspace, Kevin Hughes.
http://www.hcc.hawaii.edu/guide/ www.guide.html

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