WWW stands for "World Wide Web". The WWW project, started by CERN (the
European Laboratory for Particle Physics), seeks to build a
distributed hypermedia system.
The advantage of hypertext is that in a hypertext document, if you
want more information about a particular subject mentioned, you can
usually "just click on it" to read further detail. In fact, documents
can be and often are linked to other documents by completely different
authors -- much like footnoting, but you can get the referenced
To access the web, you run a browser program. The browser reads
documents, and can fetch documents from other sources. Information
providers set up hypermedia servers which browsers can get documents
The browsers can, in addition, access files by FTP, NNTP (the Internet
news protocol), gopher and an ever-increasing range of other methods.
On top of these, if the server has search capabilities, the browsers
will permit searches of documents and databases.
The documents that the browsers display are hypertext documents.
Hypertext is text with pointers to other text. The browsers let you
deal with the pointers in a transparent way -- select the pointer, and
you are presented with the text that is pointed to.
Hypermedia is a superset of hypertext -- it is any medium with
pointers to other media. This means that browsers might not display a
text file, but might display images or sound or animations.