The Web, the World Wide Web, W3 or the Net as it's variously known has been one of the major reasons for the massive expansion of the Interrnet in recent years. The development of standards for hyper text files (or web pages) and the software to read them (or web browsers) means that multimedia documents can now be sent round the world as easily as plain text.
The fact that these files contain "hypertext", text which does something when clicked on, means that many different files held on different computers around the world can be simply linked to from a single document. These new documents may then link to further documents, creating a virtual "Web" which spans the globe.
Every page on the web has a unique location, called a unique resource location or URL. For example, this page is www.partnerships.org.uk/connect/www.html. Reading backwards, we can decipher this as file name www.html in directory connect on the united kingdom organisation "partnership online's" computer on the www.
The information stored in the documents, be it audio, video, still pictures or plain text is available from anywhere else, and is quickly, easily and cheaply updated. This ease of use as a publishing medium means that many people have taken advantage of the web to promote their organisation, or just tell the world about themselves. However, this can also mean the quality of information on the web is not what it might be, and maybe out of date. As much care needs to be taken with electronic information as with more traditional sources.
! The fact that web pages may contain large amounts of information or media which are space-hungry and the rapid expansion of the web (there are now estimated to be well over 100 million sites) means that the speed of the Internet, and web in particular, is a cause for concern. Prolonged use of the web can be frustrating and there tools for downloading documents to your local computer for reading later, offline.
The W3 Consortium facilitates the shared standards for the WWW.