Thinking and Evaluating


The URL is the address where a particular web site lives. Each part of the URL tells you something about that page. For example lets break down the library URL:

Let's take the first part of the URL:
"http://" is the abbreviation for hypertext transfer protocol. It is the standard beginning of all web addresses and will not help you determine anything about a site. The "www" is the abbreviation for world wide web. Back when the Internet first started, every site included a "www" at the beginning. Now that there are so many web sites on the Internet, www is not always part of a URL, so does not help you determine anything about the site.
This tells you on which computer the web site lives. In this case the computer that houses this site is California State University Long Beach (csulb).
This is the most important part of the URL. It indicates the Domain of the web site you are viewing. This will tell you what kind of site you are looking at. Each ending means something different.
A slash mark after the Domain name (.edu, .org) means you are going to a sub-section of the original web site. This means that the more slashes you have the further away you get from the original site. The same is true of the ~ sign. So be aware that sometimes the further away you get from the root, the less affiliated it becomes.

The most common Domains:

.edu .edu is always affiliated with universities, colleges, and other educational sites. Keep in mind that many universities give their students free space to create websites so they are not always created by scholars or do they necessarily cover scholarly topics.
.gov .gov is exclusively used for sites owned and operated by governments. Only government agencies are authorized to use this ending so sites with .gov are reliable data and information providers.
.org .org indicates that a site is run by a non-profit organization like Public Broadcast System (PBS) or the Red Cross. Keep in mind that organizations like the Ku Klux Klan are also eligible to have .org ending in their URL.
.com .com is the most popular kind of site because companies want to advertise their products to internet consumers. Keep in mind that some .com sites that provide medical or "scholarly" information may just be trying to sell you their product.
.biz biz .biz is a new domain dedicated to the business community.
.net .net is used by organizations involved in Internet infrastructure activities.
.us .us is a new domain which indicates "based in the U.S."
.uk .fr .ca Country code or geography abbreviations, [e.g., .uk (England), .fr (France), .ca (Canada)] are frequently used and are only helpful in letting you know the "home" of the web site.

Beware of Personal web sites such as This is a student page of a UCLA student. It does not contain any educational information even though it lives on a .edu site.

Personal web pages are often housed on the computers of commercial internet service providers (ISPs). Some commercial ISPs give free space to their subscribers or sell space for profit so that anyone can have their own web page.

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