World Wide Web (WWW), computer-based network of information resources that combines text and multimedia. The information on the World Wide Web can be accessed and searched through the Internet, a global computer network. The World Wide Web is often referred to simply as “the Web.” See also Internet, Network.
The Internet and the Web are each a series of interconnected computer networks. Personal computers or workstations are connected to a Local Area Network (LAN) either by a dial-up connection through a modem and standard phone line, or by being directly wired into the LAN. Other modes of data transmission that allow for connection to a network include T-1 connections and dedicated lines. Bridges and hubs link multiple networks to each other. Routers transmit data through networks and determine the best path of transmission.
The Web started to become a popular resource after 1993 when the first widely distributed browser provided a convenient way to access a variety of information on the Internet. The Web uses multimedia, which means that information can be displayed in a wide variety of formats. Users can read text, view pictures, watch animation, listen to sounds, and even explore interactive virtual environments on the Web. A user can move seamlessly from a document or Web page stored on the computer to a document or Web page stored on another computer.
The Web offers a place where companies, universities and other institutions, and individuals can display information about their products, services, facilities, or research, or their private lives. Only a small percentage of information on the Web is restricted to subscribers or other authorized users. The majority of Web pages are available to anyone who can access a computer that connects to the Internet. The Web has become a marketplace for many companies selling products or services, and a forum for people to exchange opinions and information. Museums, libraries, government agencies, and schools post information on the Web to make it available to others.