The Internet began approximately 30 years ago as a small US network called Darpanet (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency-net) which was intended to support military research, particularly the construction of electronic networks which could resist enemy attacks. This was four years before the Apple II was invented and eleven years before the IBM PC. The network began in 1969 as four computers on-line at different sites and grew to 37 computers by 1972 and became known as Arpanet. It was used for research but began to be used for mail and games. Concerns grew for greater security and Milnet was founded. In 1973 the US National Science Foundation established NSFnet. Gradually this network was opened up to more and more agencies and people till by 1987 it became jammed with users. It was overhauled and made available to just about anyone and became known as the Internet. Everything was on the Net in text at this stage with very few illustrations.

What is the World Wide Web? The World Wide Web (WWW or the Web) is a network within the Internet which gives access to documents that can include graphics, sounds and even animation. In 1994 came Mosaic and later Netscape and the world was changed. These made work on the Internet much easier and accessible to the less technologically able. These programs are tools for browsing or navigating (surfing) the Web. Each time you view a web page you are looking at a document that was created using HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language). You can move easily between related documents through the use of hypertext links. Most WWW pages have key words or phrases highlighted, usually in a different color or underlined which link to other documents suggested by the highlighted text.

The World Wide Web is growing exponentially. In June of 1993 there were 130 sites and it took 2 1/2 years for the first 100,000 sites to be created. The next 100,000 sites were created in only 4 months. The millionth site appeared in April of 1997, the next million were created in the following 11 months, and there were almost 40 million sites on the Web as of March 2002. Each site can have multiple pages, just like a book, which results in over 2 billion pages of information available to the world. With all of this information available you can easily see that searching (or surfing) for what you need can be overwhelming. So how can you make this search easier?