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Internet insights

DO you know your dot from your com? Mystery, frustration and cliche are the very stuff of Internet addresses.

As web-wanderers frequently discover, a tiny variation in the typing of a uniform resource locator (URL) results in no resource at all. Being close simply isn't good enough.

A forward slash where a dot should be completely baffles the browser, and you're left with nothing to help you get any further. Understanding the way addresses are put together can be very helpful when the resource you want doesn't appear.

Netskills, the University of Newcastle-based Internet training service, has a free training course, The Internet Detective, which will help you get on top of those akward URLs.

More importantly, it offers tips on search strategies and ways to sift out the worthwhile from the dross. Once you log in, you can follow the course at your own pace and get regular feedback.

If you leave after a couple of screens, the system remembers where you were when you next log in. The whole thing can take a couple of hours if you are conscientious, but it's fun and well worth the investment.

Be very careful typing in the URL, and do not put a full stop at the very end.

The address is: http:www.netskills.ac.ukTonicNGcgisesame?detective

Readers can email suggestions on future Internet Insights to Sam Saunders at J.P.Saunders@leeds.ac.uk

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