This module is developed by SatlLife and reproduced with permission
- Netscape

  • Table of Contents



    1. Introduction

  • A Course Objectives

  • B Conventions Used in this Manual

    C About this Manual

    2. Familiarizing Yourself with Netscape  
  • A Information on the Web

  • B Opening Netscape and a Web Site

    C The Main Toolbar

    D Menu Commands

    E Understanding Web Addresses

    F Understanding URLs in Netscape

    3. Navigating the World Wide Web
  • A Hyperlinks

  • B Scrolling

    C Back, Forward and Home Buttons

    4. Searching the World Wide Web
  • A Searching the Net with a Search Engine

  • B Search Do's and Don'ts

    C Searching the Web for Health Information

    5. Saving Data from the World Wide Web
  • A Bookmarking a Web Site

  • B Saving Information from a Web Site

    6. Technical Problems
  • A Dealing with Error Messages

  • B Drawbacks of Using Electronic Sources

    C Deleting a Message

    7. Extras
  • A Shortcuts Using Netscape

  • B Internet Security

    8. Recommended Web Sites

    Welcome to Using Netscape! This course is an introduction to using Netscape Navigator to browse and search the World Wide Web.

    A Course Objectives

    In this course you will learn:

    1. basic terminology and concepts of the World Wide Web
    2. to use Netscape to browse the World Wide Web
    3. to use icons on the toolbar and items in pull-down menus
    4. to interpret and deal with basic Netscape Navigator error messages
    B Conventions Used in this Manual
  • Italics:



    are used for Internet addresses, such as Web site addresses and e-mail addresses.



    This icon indicates that the accompanying text is a tip about some aspect of software or the Internet.

    This icon indicates an activity or exercise for you to complete.

    C About this Manual

    Using the World Wide Web – Navigating with Netscape is an instruction manual prepared for the Regional Information Technology Training Centre (RITTC) in Nairobi, Kenya by SATELLIFE and SATELLIFEHEALTHNET KENYA. It is part of a series of training manuals on the use of information and communications technology for health professionals.

    We gratefully acknowledge the ITrain Collective training materials developed by the UGANISHA Project at the International Development Research Centre in Canada. Under The Open Content License, the ITrain Navigating the Web- Netscape 3 course was modified for the purposes of the Regional Information Technology Training Centre to train novice users of information and communications technology. Changes have been made to the sequence of activities, text, and graphical images. All the materials produced for the RITTC are for non-commercial purposes and are available at no charge.

    The RITTC is funded by the World Bank under the infoDev initiative, which supports the use of information technology in development.

    Familiarizing Yourself with Netscape

    You will need to familiarize yourself with some terminology and concepts in order to learn how to use Netscape more effectively.

    A Information on the Web

    The Internet or 'Net' is a network of computer networks and is a delivery mechanism, like a highway. The World Wide Web is a part of the Net that has content or information. You have probably heard of the term the 'Information Superhighway.'

    There are large amounts of information on the Web very much like a library. However there are no rules governing the quality of the information or who can publish it. Information can be very useful or very poor. The user has to be able to evaluate the quality and validity of the information.

    Most information on the Web is recent. If you are looking for the latest discussion paper in 1995, you may find it. If you are looking for material from the 1970s you probably will not find it. You will find there is a predominance of information from the United States and in the English language. The Internet is not yet a fully global service

    B Opening Netscape and a Web Site

    In order to experience Netscape first-hand we are going to open the application. Do this now by double-clicking on the Netscape Navigator icon or image. You will see the SATELLIFE Web site or Homepage which contains information about the organization and its services.

    You will also see many different elements on the top of the screen: a toolbar, scrollbar, pull-down menus, etc. You'll learn how to use the different components as you continue through the module.

    C The Main Toolbar

    The main toolbar is a group of buttons or icons that gives you easy access to your frequently used Netscape commands.

  • The toolbar in Netscape Navigator
  • The nine icons on the main toolbar of Netscape Navigator
  • Icon
    Displays the previous page in the history list — if there is a previous page.
    Displays the next page in the history list. Especially useful after you have used the back icon explained above.
    Redisplays the current Netscape page, reflecting any changes made prior to the original loading.
    Displays the home page.
    This displays a page offering access to Internet search engines and other search services.
    My Netscape
    Displays your personal start page.
    Prints the current Netscape page.
    Displays the Security Info window. This page lets you view and interact with elements such as encryption status, personal and site certificates, security-related applications, and passwords.
    Halts any ongoing transfer of page information.

    D Menu Commands

    The icons on the toolbar that we have reviewed above will help you perform main tasks in Netscape. However, there are additional commands that you will use. You can access over 60 commands from pull-down menus.

  • Pull-down menus in Netscape
  • Icons or menus?

    We will use both icons and menus as we learn about Netscape Navigator. If you understand icons and pull-down menus you have more options. At the end of the course we will give you a third option: shortcut keys. Try not to become overwhelmed by the number of ways to accomplish the same task -- decide which one you find easier and use it.

    E Understanding Web Addresses

    A URL, or a Uniform Resource Locator, specifies the location or Web address of a page on the World Wide Web. Each Web page resides on a computer or a "Web server." When you are viewing a Web page, your computer has received the information on the page, through your modem, from that server. Every item on the Net, whether it be a page of text, a graphic item or a sound file — has its own URL. A URL is made up of four different components, the protocol, the domain name, the directory path, and the file name. Take, for example, the following address: following address:

  • 1. Protocol: http:// is the protocol or computer language that allows one computer to share information with another computer. http stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol.



    2. Server Name: is the domain name which refers to a physical machine or server.

    3. Directory: The third part of the URL programs/ is the directory path, which shows the location on the server where the page can be found.

    4. File: The last part of the URL, procor.html is the file name. In this case, it is a Web page, but it could also be an image file or a sound file. 'html' stands for Hypertext Markup Language and is the computer language in which the page is written.

    As you will see, it is not necessary for you to know all of these pieces of information to locate a particular Web site.

    F Entering URLs in Netscape

    The URL can be found in the Netscape Navigator location window as shown.

  • Location window showing a URL
  • In order to view another Web page, you need to delete the current URL so that you can enter the new URL. Using your mouse, highlight the URL and then press the 'delete' key. You can then type the new URL in the location window.

    Navigating the World Wide Web

    The main ways of navigating in Netscape are by hyperlinks, scrolling and buttons (forward, back and home).

    A Hyperlinks

    Any item on a Web page can be formatted as a link to another Web page; these links are called hyperlinks or just links. A single Web site may contain any number of linked Web pages. Hyperlinks also allow pages to be linked to pages at other sites, so that by following a series of links, you can view a series of different pages, posted at different sites or even in different countries. Clicking on a link will connect to more information at the same Web site or at another Web site. Each link contains Internet location information that serves as an address of the Web site.

    Links are designated by colored underlined words or sometimes by an image. Also, when your mouse is over a link, it will change from an arrow to a pointed hand. Clicking on the underlined text (or image) will initiate the connection to the linked Web site.

    When you click with the mouse cursor over a highlighted word, picture, or menu link, you bring another page of information to your screen. The entire network of pages can be potentially interlinked, one pointing to another. In the example below, all the underlined text represent hyperlinks. In addition the two buttons in the upper right hand corner are hyperlinks.

    Location Window Showing Hyperlinks

    B Scrolling

    Most Web documents contain more information than can be presented on one screen. To see the rest of the document you use the scroll bar on the right-hand side of the window. Clicking on the downward pointing black triangle will scroll down. Clicking on the upward pointing black triangle will scroll up. You can also pick up the sliding button in the middle of the triangle buttons and reveal more of the screen that way.  To do this, position the cursor over the sliding button, left click on the mouse, and hold it down while you drag the button up or down.

    C Back, forward and home buttons
    You can move backward and forward through links you have just visited using the Back and Forward buttons.

    If either Back or Forward are "greyed out" you do not have access to them because you have not visited sites that you can return to.

    Clicking on the Home icon will always take you to the page that was been designated as your start up page.

    Searching the World Wide Web

    A Searching the Net with a Search Engine

    When a library has a large number of books to store and retrieve, the organizers set up a cataloguing system. Using the catalogue, users can find the information they need. It is the same with the WWW. There are hundreds of millions of Web pages available to you. Undoubtedly, some of these pages contain information you could use in your work. But how do you find what you need? That is why we have search tools! On the Web search tools are called search engines. They act like information retrieval tools and techniques used in libraries.

    Summary of Search Engines

    Like Web Pages, search engines, are constantly changing. They develop new techniques for finding information. New engines are developed. If you choose a well-respected and popular search engine, chances are it will keep up-to-date and provide you good service. We have listed some of the better-known tools below, along with their URLs. Since different search engines have different strengths and weaknesses, you may wish to use more than one search engine for a particular search.
    Search Engines URLs

    Performing a Search

    1. go to the Web site of a search engine

  • for example,
  • 2. select and enter the keywords of your search in the text box.
  • for example, if you want to do a search on Africa and malaria, you might want to type "Africa" and "malaria"
  • 3 click the button marked search, seek or go (whichever is applicable)

    The search engine will then retrieve Web pages and present their URLs and a short description in order of relevance to your search terms. You may then click on any of these URLs to view the information.

    AltaVista Search Results for Keywords "Africa" and "malaria"

    B Search Do’s and Don’ts

    Because there is so much information on the World Wide Web and no one way that it is organized, searching the World Wide Web requires quite a bit of patience and skill and can be a very frustrating experience. You will reap more benefits from your Net searches if you follow a few simple tips. Here are some suggestions.
    Suggestions Explanations
    Read the site’s "how to use" section. No matter how wonderful a search engine is, it must be used in the way the designers intended. Each search engine has its own syntax and search algorithm. The site's "how to use" section will explain the most effective way to use the search engine.
    Be precise. Precise searches help the engine pinpoint the most relevant documents. For example, if you want to find information about a book, search the title of the book rather than the name of the author.
    Be patient. You might have to try out a few different searches if your first attempts are unproductive.
    Check your spelling.  It sounds obvious, but even the best spellers make mistakes. 
    Use capitalisation where necessary. Don’t conduct a search on South Africa by typing south africa — a common error.
    Learn techniques to help do searches. use +,- and " " for effective searches.
    Learn about each search tool. Learn how each search engine approaches its query. Tools are always changing. As you consult the information with each tool, you can learn about other language sites, national sites and mirrored sites that work faster in your area.

    C Searching the Web for Health Information

    There are some very valuable and useful health information resources on the World Wide Web.

    For example, Yahoo! Search engine ( categorizes information and creates a directory of reviewed health sites. Compared to other search engines you may find that there are fewer results but these sites have been screened for relevance.

    Another site called Medical Matrix ( contains a vast amount of clinical material organized under the headings of Specialties, Diseases, Clinical Practice, Literature, Education, Health Care and Professionals, Medical Computing, Internet and Technology, and Marketplace. According to the Web Site, the information is "ranked, peer-reviewed, annotated, updated clinical medicine resources." These are important features to consider when assessing the reliability and validity of health information.

    The National Library of medicine (, based in the United States, is the world’s largest medical library and creator of MEDLINE, a database of references and abstracts from 4,300 biomedical journals. MEDLINE can be searched on the Web, free of charge. Two search interfaces are offered for locating abstracts in MEDLINE: PubMed, for simple searching and Internet Grateful Med for advanced searches.

    Saving Data from the World Wide Web

    A Bookmarking a Web Site

    As you use the Web you will find sites that you want to revisit. You do not have to write down the URL for those sites. You can use Netscape to record your favorite spots for you in a Bookmark file. Once you arrive at a site that you want to save, click on

    1. Bookmarks on the menu bar, then 
    2. Add Bookmark.
    The URL is then automatically saved in your bookmarks. When you want to return to the site, you can click on the saved URL under Bookmarks.
  • Bookmark Window
  • B. Editing Bookmarks

    If you do not visit some of the bookmarked sites regularly you will want to remove them from your list of favorite spots by following these steps:

    1. Click on Bookmarks on the menu bar.
    2. Click on Edit Bookmarks.
    3. Highlight the bookmark you wish to remove.
    4. Hit the "Delete"key on your keyboard.

    B Saving Information from a Web Site

    There are two main ways to save text from a Web page.

    1. You can copy the text and paste it into a word processor such as Word or Word Perfect.

  • 1. Highlight the text in the file by clicking and dragging your mouse over the desired text.

  • 2. Copy the text by selecting Edit Copy (or Ctrl + C).
    3. Open Word or WordPerfect.
    4. Paste the text into Word by selecting Edit Paste.
    2. You can also e-mail the document and its URL to yourself or to someone else by selecting File Send Page and filling in the requested information.

    Technical Problems

    A Dealing with Error Messages

    When Netscape Navigator does not find what you are looking for, the Web sends you back short, sometimes confusing messages. It helps to understand these messages and to know what you can do. Here are some suggestions:

    General Approach to Error Messages

    Here are a few steps to try with all error messages.

    1. Read the message carefully.
    2. Accept that error messages are a part of dealing with the Web.
    3. Repeat the action you did that led to the error message in the first place.
    4. If the message repeats itself — write it down. That way you will be able to spell out the nature of your problem to someone helping you.
    5. Check the basics. Are you hooked-up? Did you type accurately?
    6. Try again.
    If the problem persists, check the notes in this section; decide if you need help.

    If you need help, call your ISP, a colleague, or a friend.

    No DNS entry

    You might receive the message below after you type a URL in a browser’s location toolbar:

    Error message: no DNS entry

  • It means that your server did not locate the site you are searching. This may be due to factors such as the connection between servers is too busy with other Internet traffic, or you typed the URL incorrectly. If you check the address you typed and you find it is accurate, this error message might also mean that you have lost your telephone connection. Follow the steps recommended at the beginning of this section. You could also use a search engine to look up the name of the site. This will find a new URL if the Webmaster has moved the site — a distinct possibility if the site is successful and has now established a new domain name.
  • 404 error

    If you type the wrong URL in the location toolbar of your browser, you will receive an "error 404" message.

    Error message: 404 error

  • This means your server located the site (the computer) that the URL is associated with but not your specific URL. You can try to change the ending of the URL, or go to a higher level of the Web site by shortening the URL. For example, if you searched and got an error message, you could back up to and see if there is a link to the resources you need or you could try typing ‘download’ instead of ‘downloads.’
  • B Drawbacks of Using Electronic Sources


    The Internet can seem very slow to use. Information transmits slowly because there is a lot of traffic on the Internet. Connections between computers break down. In these conditions you need to be persistent. The slowdown or breakdown in communication may only last a few minutes or hours. Also, the Internet is very volatile - information is put on and removed quickly, and the data you saw last week may have been removed or moved to another site. This is a good reason to save a copy to your hard drive. What would you see as a source of frustration for people using the Web?

    Finding sources

    Some electronic sources do not advertise themselves very well. Getting to know the Web is like getting to know any group of people — some may be interesting to talk to, some may have information that is useful to you. However, you will need to talk to them to find out who has the information you need. A good solution to finding sources of information is to have a links page.

    Advice on using electronic sources


    A Shortcuts Using Netscape

    Keyboard shortcuts are wonderful ways to save time. A particularly good one in Netscape is Ctrl + D which creates a new bookmark. We have circled it below and we invite you to review the list and circle other keyboard shortcuts that you think will be good to use.
    Ctrl + A select all
    Ctrl + B select all
    Ctrl + C  copy to clipboard
    Ctrl + D add a bookmark
    Ctrl + F find text in a document
    Ctrl +O open file
    Ctrl + I show image
    Ctrl +L  open location
    Ctrl + N open new Web browser
    Ctrl + S save the open document
    Ctrl + W close
    Ctrl +F1 reload
    F3 find again
    Alt + < go back
    Alt + > go forward
    Ctrl + V paste from clipboard
    Ctrl + X cut to clipboard

    B Internet Security

    Should you make purchases via the Web? Should you type your credit card number into the Web order forms? Here are some of the facts that we must consider about Web purchases.
    Q What is the source of the problem?
    A Information travelling between your computer and a server can be routed through many computer systems. Any one of these computer systems could capture and misuse your information. 
  • What could happen?
  • A Each of these computers could "eavesdrop" and make copies of your information. An intermediary computer could even deceive you and exchange information with you by misrepresenting itself as your intended destination. 
  • Is there a complete solution?
  • A Security technology does not protect you from dishonest or careless people with whom you might do business. The situation is similar to telling someone your credit card number over the telephone. You have to decide whether you trust the person and the company. 
  • What can I do?
  • A Protect yourself by dealing with secure sites. Your software has security warnings that you can turn on to indicate if sites are secure. (Unfortunately, Web site owners are not rushing to register the security status of their sites.) Symbols on browsers indicate if sites are secure. For example, in Navigator, a closed lock indicates a secure site. 
  • What is the next step?
  • A You can learn about Security in Netscape from Security under Help. 

    Tip: security status

    How can you tell when security is in effect? You can tell when you have a secure connection by looking at the location (URL) field. If the URL begins with https:// (instead of http://) the document comes from a secure server. The key image in the bottom left corner also indicates a secure site. If the key is broken, the site is not secure.

    Recommended Web Sites

    Organizations and Institutions:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)



  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is an agency of the Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to promote health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.
  • The Cochrane Collaboration

  • The Cochrane Collaboration is an international organisation that aims to help people make well-informed decisions about healthcare by preparing, maintaining and promoting the accessibility of systematic reviews of the effects of healthcare interventions. The Systematic Reviews are available at no charge.
  • Harvard AIDS Institute

  • The Harvard AIDS Institute is dedicated to conducting and catalyzing research to end the worldwide AIDS epidemic.
  • Healthlink Worldwide

  • Healthlink Worldwide works to improve the health of poor and vulnerable communities by strengthening the provision, use, and impact of information.
  • National Library of Medicine

  • The National Library of Medicine (NLM) is the world's largest medical library. The Library collects materials in all areas of biomedicine and health care, as well as works on biomedical aspects of technology, the humanities, and the physical, life, and social sciences. MEDLINE is available at no charge.
  • Program for Appropriate Technology in Health

  • PATH, the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, is an international, non-profit organization whose mission is to improve health, especially the health of women and children. PATH works in partnership with host-country governments and local agencies to assess health problems and identify and implement creative and effective solutions.

  • As the main advocate for global action on HIV/AIDS, UNAIDS leads, strengthens and supports an expanded response aimed at preventing the transmission of HIV, providing care and support, reducing the vulnerability of individuals and communities to HIV/AIDS, and alleviating the impact of the epidemic.
  • World Health Organization

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) promotes technical cooperation for health among nations, carries out programmes to control and eradicate disease and strives to improve the quality of life.
  • From this site, you may link directly to:
  • International Development Organizations
  • International Development Research Council



  • The International Development Research Council (IDRC) is the world's leading professional association for managers of corporate assets including corporate real estate, facilities, information technology, human resources, finance and other support units that define corporate infrastructure.

  • UNICEF, the only organization of the United Nations dedicated exclusively to children, aims to lighten children's loads through community-based services in primary health care, basic education, and safe water and sanitation in developing countries.
  • United Nations

  • The United Nations is an organization of sovereign nations. It provides the machinery to help find solutions to international problems or disputes, and to deal with pressing concerns that face people everywhere.
  • United Nations Development Programme

  • Through a unique network of 134 country offices, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) helps people in 174 countries and territories to help themselves, focusing on poverty elimination, environmental regeneration, job creation and the advancement of women.
  • United States Agency for International Development

  • The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) is the independent government agency that provides economic development and humanitarian assistance to advance U.S. economic and political interests overseas.
  • World Bank

  • The World Bank offers loans, advice, and an array of customized resources to more than 100 developing countries and countries in transition. The World Bank assists in stable, sustainable, and equitable growth.
  • Specific Information:
  • AEGiS: The largest HIV/AIDS Web site in the world.



  • AEGiS was created in order to help alleviate isolation of people who have or are affected by HIV/AIDS that is due to cultural and/or economic barriers. AEGiS is a Web site devoted to sharing information about HIV/AIDS.
  • Infectious Disease Specialty Supersite

  • This site provides a portal for locating infectious disease (ID) information. It contains links to governmental, non-government, university ID sites, medical, microbiology, images and travel medical sites, Medline and more.
  • Malaria: An Online Resource

  • This Web site presents regularly updated information on malaria - access information concerning diagnosis, prophylaxis, treatment, and history of the disease - for use by medical practitioners and laboratory scientists.
  • Medical Matrix

    To contact the editors, send an e-mail message to:

  • The Medical Matrix Project is an excellent and very thorough Web site devoted to posting, annotating, and continuously updating full content, unrestricted access, Internet clinical medicine resources. Medical Matrix assigns ranks to Internet resources based on their utility for point-of-care clinical application.
  • Pediatric Infectious Diseases

  • This Web site provides a selected bibliography of medical literature citations for pediatric infectious diseases.
  • Reproductive Health Outlook (RHO)

  • RHO is produced by PATH and is especially designed for workers in low-resource settings. RHO provides summaries of up-to-date information, syntheses of key references and resources, and links to in-depth information on family planning, safe motherhood, reproductive tract infections, HIV/AIDS, infertility, cervical cancer, harmful traditional health practices, gender and sexual health, and men and reproductive health. A section on adolescent reproductive health will be added later this year.
  • Electronic Networking:

    African Internet Connectivity

  • This site is devoted to Information & Communication Technologies (ICTs) Telecommunications, Internet and Computer Infrastructure in Africa. Information is provided on the 51 of the 54 countries & territories in Africa that have Internet access in the capital cities.
  • Network Startup Resource Center

  • The Network Startup Resource Center (NSRC) is a non-profit organization involved with the deployment and integration of appropriate networking technology in various projects throughout Asia, Africa, Latin America

  • and the Caribbean, the Middle East, and Oceania.
    Health Statistics by Country:

    Medical Journals:

    African Journal of Reproductive Health

    British Medical Journal


    Journal of the American Medical Association

    The New England Journal of Medicine

    The Lancet


    Internet Directory and Resource Site: Medical Journals

    The site comprises just under 4000 links to bioscience and medical journal homepages, links to publishers and other links to a variety of online resources including writing advice, newsgroups, subject directories, online dictionaries, abstract databases, journal monitors and more.

    Conference Announcements:

    Doctor’s Guide to Medical Conferences and Meetings

    This site provides information on upcoming medical conferences, sorted both by subject and date/location.

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