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Definition

infosurfing

Contributor(s): Keith Dawson

Infosurfing is using the Internet and World Wide Web so that you get maximum information in the shortest amount of time, which for many people means favoring textual content over images. Infosurfing is practiced by librarians, professional researchers, journalists, people addicted to news, and almost anyone that gets impatient with multimedia or likes the focus of just plain text.

The simplest way to infosurf is to turn the pictures (images) off, using your browser option. Many sites specify an alternate text string in the HTML image tag that provides a brief textual description of each image in the space allocated for it. Otherwise, you'll get a broken image icon from your browser. Turning off graphics is best when you're familiar with most sites and know what you're missing.

Some infosurfers also turn off Java and JavaScript, turning them back on only when wanted. Once you get the idea of turning things off, some infosurfers also turn off cookie though cookies don't in themselves impede the downloading of text. If you have the latest levels of Netscape Communicator and Microsoft Internet Explorer, you can specify that cookies be disabled entirely or that you be prompted about whether to accept one.

If you infosurf for certain kinds of information, you'll obviously want to bookmark the sites that specialize in what you're interested in. You may want to subscribe to e-mail newsletters such as those at ZDNet, Women's Wire, or whatis.com. These newsletters summarize stories you can choose to link to or not.

Other techniques include: opening the browser several times and looking in one window while downloading to another and increasing the size of your browser cache . If you're constantly checking the latest news, you might set your start page at a news site. If you like to learn new words every day, you might start with whatis.com.

This was last updated in June 2010

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