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Home > Basic Skills > Internet and E-Mail Basics spacer

Internet and E-mail Basics

Section editor
APC
mmtk@apc.org

Introduction

This section contains a number of resources on Internet and e-mail basics, selected for their clarity and ease of use. Materials for both instructors and students are included, sets of exercises and handouts being available as well as presentations. Topics covered range from general introductions to the Internet, to guidance on specific tools such as e-mail and choosing Internet connections.

Internet and E-mail Basics - Introduction to the Internet

ICT for Beginners - A Resource Manual

Developed by: ITCAN
Type of resource: pdf manual
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

his manual identifies a number of high quality free training workshops with regard to basic ICT skills, classifying them according to focus and type of training course, whether it be email or internet-based, or downloadable. The aim of the manual is thus to be able to cater for varying degrees of connectivity, as well as to save time and effort for those organisations or individuals looking to enhance their capacities and find a course which suits their requirements the best.

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Basic ICT Online Training

Developed by: ITCAN
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

This course covers the management of emails and using the Internet.

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Editor's choice: RDN Virtual Training Suite

Developed by: University of Bristol ILRT
Type of resource: Online tutorials
Target audience: General, Trainers
Cost: Free access

Conceived and built by staff at the Institute for Learning and Research Technology at the University of Bristol and part of The Resource Discovery Network (RDN), Virtual Training Suite is an initiative designed to teach information skills to students, lecturers and researchers in higher and further education-and help them to become e-literate! Although primarily designed for higher education in the UK, it is also freely available for anyone else to use. It comprises a set of "teach yourself" tutorials delivered over the Web, each of which offers Internet skills training in a particular subject area grouped under six main headings: engineering and mathematics, health and life sciences, the physical sciences, reference, the humanities, and the social sciences, business and law. 39 subject areas are covered at this time, with each tutorial created by a subject specialist drawn from universities and professional organizations across the UK. The tutorials take around an hour to complete, and includes quizzes and interactive exercises to lighten the learning experience. Each tutorial is structured under four sections: (i) Tour key Internet sites, (ii) Discover tools and techniques to improve your Internet searching, (iii) Review the critical thinking required when using the Internet, (iv) and Reflect on how to use the Internet for studying, teaching or research. The Virtual Training Suite is also an excellent resource for librarians who need tools to support their user-education programmes.

Of particular interest will be "The Internet for Development" at http://www.vts.rdn.ac.uk/tutorial/development/ written by Tracy Zussman-Kay of ELDIS at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex.

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Editor's choice: Becoming WebWise - Online Course

Developed by: BBC
Type of resource: -
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Becoming WebWise - Online Course

For novice Internet users wanting to learn at their own pace.
Consists of 8 sections that take users through Internet basics in a simple and easy-to-follow format.

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ITrain Overview of the Internet

Developed by: Bellanet
Type of resource: Students' and instructors' manual in PDF and zipped MS Word format
Target audience: Trainers
Cost: Free access

The instructor and student manuals give a very general introduction to the Internet and its use. This course deals with Internet myths and realities; the physical Internet; Internet services; components of the Internet; and uses of the Internet. The introduction also includes demonstrations of the Web, email, and mailing lists. This course is developed for a half-day training but can easily be adapted to a one day course or be integrated with other course components.

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Netskills Tonic

Developed by: Netskills & Desire
Type of resource: Online tutorial
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Excellent on-line interactive course for beginners to networking and the Web.

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Hobbes' Internet Timeline v3.3

Developed by: Robert H Zakon
Type of resource: Web page
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

An Internet timeline highlighting some of the key events and technologies which helped shape the Internet as we know it today.

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WebTeacher

Developed by: Tech Corps
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: Trainers
Cost: Free access

Simple tutorials for teachers (trainers) related to using the web, communicating (e-mail, chat, newgroups etc), multimedia (image, sound and movie files), home page construction (basic html etc.), peripherals and utilities and the web in the classroom.

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Reach for the Sky: A set of On-line Courses for Teachers

Developed by: US West Foundation, The Annenberg/CPB Math and Science Program
Type of resource: Web site with on-line tutorials
Target audience: General, Trainers
Cost: Free access

A set of on-line tutorials for teachers covering basic Internet skills and classroom collaboration on the Internet. Each topic has several supporting units including tests.

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Learn the Net

Developed by: Learn the Net
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

A number of easy online tutorials for beginners wanting to learn more about the Internet and the World Wide Web. The site also features an animated glossary and links to other resources.

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Learning Internet Basics: Some Useful Guides and Tutorials

Developed by: Austin Free-Net
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General, Trainers
Cost: Free access

Provides links to several on-line tutorials related to PCs and the Internet. Some curricula resources also avaliable in Spanish.

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Why Am I Getting All This Spam?

Developed by: Center for Democracy & Technology
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

"Every day, millions of people receive dozens of unsolicited commercial e-mails (UCE), known popularly as 'spam'. Some users see spam as a minor annoyance, while others are so overwhelmed with spam that they are forced to switch e-mail addresses. This has led many Internet users to wonder: How did these people get my e-mail address?" This report answers this question, and offers tips for avoiding spam.

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Size Matters When Emailing Photos

Developed by: Sydney Morning Herald
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Large images sent by e-mail can be a serious inconvenience for the recipient, particularly those on dial-up internet connections. Terry Lane explains the basics of file size reduction in a range of free and commercial tools.

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Internet and E-mail Basics - Getting connected

Choosing the Best Internet Connection

Developed by: Techsoup.org
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Basic information on speed and types of access. This article is targeted at users in the United States, but provides information which is more generally useful.

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What to Look for in a Dial-Up Connection

Developed by: Techsoup.org
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

This brief guide from TechSoup offers tips on what to look for when choosing a dial-up connection. Although the article is aimed at a U.S. audience, it is also of use to a wider audience.

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Internet and E-mail Basics - E-mail

ITrain E-Mail Related Resources

Developed by: Bellanet
Type of resource: Students' and instructors' manual in PDF and zipped MS Word format
Target audience: Trainers
Cost: Free access

Modules on e-mail with Eudora 4.3, Eudora Light 3, Outlook Express 5, Pegasus Mail 2.5, Pegasus Mail 3.12

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Electronic Mail with Eudora Light

Developed by: GreenNet
Type of resource: Online guide
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Guide for configuring and using Eudora Light, a free, full-featured e-mail programme which can be downloaded from the Eudora web site.

This guide was developed by APC member GreenNet for its own users, but most of the information provided is of more general use.

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E-mail Tips & Techniques

Developed by: Planet-friendly
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Tips on "how to send e-mail without creating misunderstandings, clogging up people's e-mail boxes, or otherwise causing trouble."

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Internet Fraud Tips

Developed by: US National Consumer's League
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

You received an email from Nigeria or another country with an offer of millions of dollars - beware! Criminals and con artists are using new media to carry out old scams and schemes. This site describes how to recognize Internet scams and frauds and what to do about them.

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Email Effectiveness Training

Developed by: Kaitlin Duck Sherwood
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General, Trainers
Cost: Free access

Exercise and overheads for a training course on managing e-mail. Some very useful advice concerning managing email overload. A well written set of resources - excellent for trainers as is, although some of the spam-related material is out of date.

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Essential E-Mail Etiquette

Developed by: TechSoup
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Brief guide on the key elements of e-mail etiquette, such as thinking of an appropriate subject line, addressing recipients properly, selecting an appropriate tone and editing your message.

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Editor's choice: YouSendIt!

Developed by: YouSendIt
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Now you can send files of up to 1GB without clogging up people's emails!. Sometimes sending large files is impossible from an email programme because internet service providers (ISP) must limit the size of files to send or receive to avoid mailbox congestion. You Send It is aneasy online tool to send large files - such as print graphics, audio, or video files - and it won't clog up the recipient's mail box either, because "YouSendIt" stores the file temporarily on its website.

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TinyURL

Developed by: TinyURL
Type of resource: website
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Long URLs included in e-mail messages may break across lines and cease to be "clickable" links, forcing users to copy and paste each line into their browsers. TinyURL is a free online tools which produce short versions of URLs which can easily be used in e-mail messages and other contexts where a short URL is important.

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DigBig

Developed by: DigBig
Type of resource: website
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Long URLs included in e-mail messages may break across lines and cease to be "clickable" links, forcing users to copy and paste each line into their browsers. DigBig is a free online tools which produce short versions of URLs which can easily be used in e-mail messages and other contexts where a short URL is important.

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Internet and E-mail Basics - Mailing lists, newsgroups, and other discussion forums

ITrain List Facilitation Module

Developed by: Bellanet
Type of resource: Workshop module in PDF and zipped MS formats
Target audience: Trainers
Cost: Free access

This module is designed to help participants become better list facilitators. It does this through an exploration of the nature of face-to-face communication vs. online communication. It teaches practical facilitation skills and includes practical checklists for the list facilitator. It is a highly interactive course with a number of exercises and games designed to draw out facilitation experiences and skill in the participants.

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ITrain Reference Guide: ICQ

Developed by: Bellanet
Type of resource: PDF reference guide
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Basic information on using ICQ, which lets you "message" people in real time - in other words, they get the message right way.

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Newsgroups and Conferences with Free Agent

Developed by: GreenNet
Type of resource: Online guide
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

An introduction to accessing newsgroups with Free Agent, a standalone newsreader programme. Free Agent is a scaled down version of a commercial package, and is free for personal use from Forte.

This manual, from APC member GreenNet, offers a brief introduction to Usenet newsgroups, and step-by-step intructions for setting up and using Free Agent. While some of the information about configuration is aimed specifically at GreenNet users, most of the information offered is of more general use.

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A Few Good Email Newsletter Tools

Developed by: Idealware
Type of resource: web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

A brief overview of different tools for distributing and formatting email newsletters. It covers the use of existing email programmes, free online newsletter services, and overviews several paid software options with comments on the specialties of each. It also goes into more technical solutions, as well as offers a taste of strategy beyond newsletters

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From Workplace to Workspace: Using Email Lists to Work Together

Developed by: Maureen James and Liz Rykert
Type of resource: Online book (hard copies may be purchased from IDRC)
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

This guide provides practical and useful advice on how to set up an email list, how to launch it, and how to keep it active and vibrant. If you use email in your daily business, are taking part in an email list, or are thinking about setting up or joining such a list, this guide is for you.

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Internet and E-mail Basics - Spam and scams

Windows Utilities that Stop Spam

Developed by: Volunteers Online
Type of resource: Article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Unwanted e-mail, junk mail, spam, whatever you call it, most of wish it would go away! This article reviews three Windows based programs that can help clean your e-mail: SpamKiller; Spam Buster; and Mail Guard.

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Death to Spam: Dealing with Unwanted E-mail

Developed by: Alchemy Mindworks - Steven William Rimmer
Type of resource: Article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Death to Spam is a detailed overview of unsolicited e-mail and the techniques available to defend your In Box. Learn about tracing mail, message filters, legal issues and more.

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What is Spam?

Developed by: Spamhaus
Type of resource: Definition
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

The word "Spam" as applied to Email means Unsolicited Bulk Email ("UBE").

Unsolicited means that the Recipient has not granted verifiable permission for the message to be sent. Bulk means that the message is sent as part of a larger collection of messages, all having substantively identical content.

Technical Definition: An electronic message is "spam" IF: (1) the recipient's personal identity and context are irrelevant because the message is equally applicable to many other potential recipients; AND (2) the recipient has not verifiably granted deliberate, explicit, and still-revocable permission for it to be sent; AND (3) the transmission and reception of the message appears to the recipient to give a disproportionate benefit to the sender.

Click the link for more Spam definitions.

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spam.abuse.net

Developed by: spam.abuse.net/Scott Hazen Mueller
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Online since 1996, the aim of spam.abuse.net is to provide a definitive collection of anti-spam links and resources. The site includes help for users, Sysadmins and Internet Service Providers, and marketers as well as FAQs on unsolicited email and links to the main anti-spam organisations.

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Top 20 Ways to Prevent Spam

Developed by: TechSoup
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Twenty tips for combatting spam from the TechSoup community.

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How do I stop getting spam?

Developed by: BBC
Type of resource: Web guide
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

"A couple of simple precautions and software available online can dramatically reduce the amount of spam you get." The BBC's "Ask Bruce" looks at some basic precautions.

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Ten Spam-Filtering Methods Explained

Developed by: TechSoup
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Brian Satterfield explains how different spam filtering methods work.

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Internet and E-mail Basics - Web browsers

Internet Explorer 6.0 Tutorials: Help for the Average Computer User

Developed by: Intrigue Learning Services, Inc.
Type of resource: Web guides
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Comprehensive, easy-to-understand tutorials on Internet Explorer 6.0 for computer novices.

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ITrain Resources on Navigating the Web

Developed by: Bellanet
Type of resource: Students' and instructors' manual in PDF and zipped MS Word format
Target audience: Trainers
Cost: Free access

Modules on navigating the web with Internet Explorer 5 and Netscape Navigator 3 and 4.

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ieSpell - A Spell Checker for Internet Explorer

Developed by: ieSpell
Type of resource: Utility
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

ieSpell is a free Internet Explorer browser extension that spell checks text input boxes on a webpage. Useful for your owen personal use but also something that a site with lots of forms on might like to link to as a tool for people using the site.

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Explore the way you want to

Developed by: Sydney Morning Herald
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

"Do you like your internet browser but wish it were just a little bit different - better, smarter or feature rich? One alternative is Firefox, to which can be added many extra functions."

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Internet and E-mail Basics - Using web-to-e-mail services

Information Systems Services: Introductory Exercises Using the Webmail Program IMP

Developed by: University of Leeds
Type of resource: PDF file
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Practical user guide to Horde, a popular free and open source webmail programme, in PDF format. Takes users through the basic how-to's of using Horde.

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Selecting a New Web Mail

Developed by: University of Illinois at Chicago
Type of resource: web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Research done by the UIC in their decision regarding a new webmail service allows administrators to think about key questions in evaluating any email programme, such as the ease of using address books or incorporating different character sets. The usability of two free and open source webmail programmes, Horde and Squirrell, are compared.

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Internet and E-mail Basics - Downloading information

ITrain Reference Guide: Using an FTP Client (WS_FTP)

Developed by: Bellanet
Type of resource: PDF reference guide
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Reference guide on using the WS_FTP file transfer protocol client.

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ITrain Reference Guide: Winzip

Developed by: Bellanet
Type of resource: PDF reference guide
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Reference guide on using the Winzip file compression tool.

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Internet and E-mail Basics - General

Webwise for Africa

Developed by: BBC for Imfundo
Type of resource: CD Rom (free)
Target audience: General
Cost: Fee

Webwise for Africa includes a step-by-step interactive introduction to the use of computers, covering everything from what a mouse is and how to use it, to the various components of a computer, and health and safety issues. The main menu has four options:

  • Introduction, providing a short guide to the Internet, its history and uses
  • Taster session, providing interactive sessions that help users to get to grips with the World Wide Web, e-mail and searching
  • Getting online, which gives information on connecting to the Internet and online communities, and
  • Going live, enabling users to go online to explore a number of selected sites.

There is also a helpful section on jargon, which provides simple definitions of commonly used terms, such as spam and hardcopy, to HTP and WAN. Webwise for Africa is freely available from the Imfundo team for use in Africa. Please contact Sue Ramsay (s-ramsay@dfid.gov.uk) should you wish to receive copies.

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Time to Get Online

Developed by: Kabissa
Type of resource: PDF files
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Self-instructional materials on connecting to the Internet, accessing information resources, interacting online, establishing and maintaining a web site and integrating the internet into your organization.

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The Help Web. A Guide to Getting Started on the Internet

Developed by: Imaginary Landscape
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

"Think of us as a friendly service station that gives out free road maps" says the introduction, and this is a good beginner's guide for those who are just getting started on the Internet. Scroll through the site guide or search the Help Web by keyword.

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Internet 101

Developed by: Scott Cottingham
Type of resource: Web site (print and CD-ROM versions also available)
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

A basic introduction to the Internet, offering good practical advice, and with a range of illustrations and charts. The guide is exactly what it says it is: "This guide will provide you with enough knowledge to have fun on the Internet, yet will not bore you with too many details." Covers the Internet, the Web, getting started, safe surfing, viruses, browsers e-mail, searching, locating software, newsgroups, chat, e-commerce and file sharing.

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Internet Error Messages

Developed by: CompuTREK
Type of resource: Online guide
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

If you've ever wanted to know what messages such as "Error 404 - Page Not Found" mean, and what to do about them, Shirley Malcolm's guide is a good starting point.

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Free Online Tutorials and Internet Courses

Developed by: World Wide Learn
Type of resource: Annotated directory
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

World Wide Learn's directory of online courses includes a section on free online training and tutorials on technology-related topics.

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Help-Net Mailing List

Developed by: help-net
Type of resource: Listserver
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

help-net Internet help resource for newbies and others to become experienced Internet users. To get more info: mail the command 'info help-net' to LISTSERV@CRCVMS.UNL.EDU. To unsubscribe: mail the command 'unsubscribe help-net' to LISTSERV@CRCVMS.UNL.EDU

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NetLearn

Developed by: The Robert Gordon University
Type of resource: Annotated list
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Directory of resources for learning and teaching Internet skills, including resources for WWW, email and other formats. Links with descriptive and evaluative annotations are provided, covering: learning, teaching, navigating and providing information on the Internet; learning HTML; demographics; special needs and foreign language resources.

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Around the Web in 80 Minutes

Developed by: Pacific Bell Knowledge Network
Type of resource: Annotated list
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Links to introductory resources on learning the Internet. Topics covered include Netscape, MS Internet Explorer, and general web resources.

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Technology for Activists

Developed by: Center for the Study of Human Rights
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

This resource, from the Center for the Study of Human Rights at Columbia University, provides beginner-level information on Internet Basics, Getting Net Access, Using the Web, Using Search Engines, Internet Security, and E-Mail.

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Net tools to help you "record history"

Developed by: Independent Online
Type of resource: Web article
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

A quick guide to options for saving information you find on the web: saving the screen, saving the web page, and offline browsers.

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The Animated Internet

Developed by: Learn the Net
Type of resource: Flash animations
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

Short animations on connecting to the internet, how the web works, how e-mail works, how mailing lists work, how search engines work, how newsgroups and forums work, how streaming media works, how encryption works, and how online shopping works. You will need the Flash player to view these animations.

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Editor's choice:RSS for Non Profits: Web Content on Your Terms

Developed by: TechSoup
Type of resource: website
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

This resource explains how to get the content you want, when you want it and how you want it, without suffering from information overload. Keep up-to-date on new and relevant information for your organisation using "RSS" - really simple syndication. It is also a good tool for keeping people informed about updates on your own web page.

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OpenICDL

Developed by: Go-Open Campaign / ICDL Foundation Africa
Type of resource: Web site
Target audience: General
Cost: Free access

"OpenICDL is an open source project that aims to develop and maintain a Free/Open Source version of the training materials used to ready students for the International Computer Driving License certification.\" Materials cover Basic Concepts of IT, Using a Computer and Managing Files (K Desktop Environment), Word Processing (OpenOffice.org Writer), Spreadsheets (OpenOffice.org Calc), Databases (OpenOffice DB), Presentations (OpenOffice.org Impress) and Information and Communications (Mozilla 1.4 and Ximian Evolution 1.4). Materials are available in HTML and PDF versions.

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Using the Internet for Librarians

Developed by: INASP
Type of resource: Handouts, exercises and presentations
Target audience: Trainers
Cost: Free access

Course materials (presentations, handouts and exercises) are available to download as zip or stuffed archives containing Microsoft Word and PowerPoint files. Areas covered are (day 1) introducing the Internet, browsing and searching; (day 2) searching (continued), information gateways and the importance of quality; (day 3) quality issues and web page design; (day 4) web page evaluation, software, copyright, e-mail, costing; (day 5) developing an Internet-related training programme. Materials are available in English, Portuguese, Russian, French and Spanish.

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