resident of Washington, D.C., and author of Washington Online: How to Access the Federal Government on the Internet (Congressional Quarterly Books) "That information would cost a lot of money if you tried to get it from other sources, so there's a lot of value out there. There's stuff for almost anyone in any circumstance."
...Sidebar... Internet sites of note: * Federal Web Locator: A comprehensive list of federal government sites.URL: http://www.law.vill.edu/Fed-Agency/fedwebbloc.html WWW
* Virtual Law Library State Government Servers: A comprehensive list of state government sites: URL: http://www.law.indiana.edu/law/states.html
* Yahoo's U.S. States: A comprehensive list of state government sites: URL: http://www.yahoo.com/Regional/U_S_States/
* CityLink: A comprehensive list of state and municipal government sites:URL: http://www.Neosoft.com/citylink/
...Sidebar... Uniform Resource Locator Explained Uniform Resource Locator (URL) is an addressing system created for the World Wide Web. It allows the software (called browsers, such as Netscape, Mosaic, etc.) that lets you to view the Web to go directly to the information you want. Using URLs are like taking the express bus and not having to stop at small towns along the way. For instance, if you wanted to look at Government Technology's guide to the the federal government's gigantic public database, called Fedworld, you could direct your Web browser to go to the magazine's home page URL (http://www.govtech.net), then use your mouse to select the magazine's logo, which would take you to a list of choices, including one for searching past issues. You could then select that to get to a box where you would type in a keyword - Fedworld in this case. The title of the article would appear, which you would select with the mouse and then the article itself would materialize. Or right at the start you could type in the entire URL for the Fedworld article (http://www.govtech.net/1995/apr/fedworld.htm) and let your browser do the rest. Every computer, called a server, attached to the Internet, and every file or document in those millions of servers, have distinct URL addresses. URLs can be annoyingly long and seemingly incomprehensible, but if you use them they will be save you a lot time and a lot of frustration. Every URL consists of specific sections, which include: * the protocol (World Wide Web, gopher, file transfer protocol or FTP, telnet) * the address of the server where the information is stored * the path to and name of the file or document.
For example, in the Fedworld article, the protocol is identified as the World Wide Web by the http, which means hypertext transfer protocol, the standard for Web addresses. (However, some Web pages, especially those for individual members of Congress, use FTP as their protocol.) The protocol always is followed by ://, which tells the browser that the server address is next. Government Technology's server address is www.govtech.net. By combining the protocol and the server address (http://www.govtech.net), you would land at the magazine's home page. But to skip that stop and the others that follow, you need to tell the browser how to find the Fedworld article. You do that by adding the path to the URL - http://www.govtech.net/1995/apr/fedworld.htm - with a forward slash separating each stop. It informs the browser that the article was published in 1995, in Government Technology, in April, and that it's indexed as Fedworld. The htm stands for hypertext markup, which is a variation of hypertext markup language (html) the computer language used to create Web pages. Web addresses often, but not always, will end with html or htm. The same system applies to gopher, FTP and telnet. If you are going to a gopher server,