The internet is a global computer network, providing a variety of information and communication facilities to billions of users. Servers on the internet provide access to email, chat, video calls such as Skype, streaming media, social media platforms such as Facebook and the pages and documents of millions of governments, businesses, non-profit organisations, clubs, universities and private individuals. Most people in Australia access the internet every day via their smart phones, laptops or work computers.

The program used to access the internet is known as a browser, e.g. Firefox, Internet Explorer, Chrome. Documents on the internet have a unique address called a URL. This is the string of text that appears in the address bar of your browser.

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The rise of the internet has completely changed the way people search for and access information. For more information see 20 things I learned about browsers and the web by Min Li Chan, Fritz Holznagel, Michael Krantz.

Smartphones and tablet devices such as the iPad have further revolutionised how people interact with the internet. Apps (programs designed for mobile use) can be downloaded to search specific sites and databases. Ebsco and ScienceDirect are two database companies that offer an iPhone app for their users.

iPad Image:Salvatore Vuono/