URL is short for ' universal resource locator'. It is the address that you type in when you are looking for a particular website. For example, http:// www.open.ac.uk will take you to the website of the Open University, UK. If you do not know the URL you can use a search engine like Google, Yahoo or Lycos, to search for the name of the site. The name will usually be displayed with the URL. You can then click on the URL to get to the site.
If you know what to look for, the URL can give you a lot of very useful information about the site and help you to decide whether you can rely on the information it contains. It can tell you whether the site is:
• an academic one: look for the ending .ac.edu
• a commercial one: look for the endings .com or .co
• a charity or non-profit making organization: look for the ending .org
• a government organization: look for the ending .gov
It can also tell you the site's country of origin, for example ' au' applies to sites in Australia.
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