Navigating With Lynx


How to Navigate Using LYNX

Part 1: How Lynx Works

Lynx allows you to perform two of the most basic navigational tasks: read documents and follow links to other documents. When reading a document, hit the space bar when you want to go to the next screen, and press either the 'b' key or the '-' (minus/hyphen) key when you want to go back to the previous screen.

Links are pointers which can take you to other documents, or to another section of an individual document, such as the explanatory notes in the body of a large document. At the top of this document there is a table of contents which serves two purposes: first, it informs you what information this document contains, and second, it provides you with the ability to jump directly to the section which interests you the most. Embedded in this sentence is another example of a jump-to link, which will take you back to the top of the page.

Some documents are merely a list of links. Camera Obscura's front page is an example of this type of document.

Whenever you choose a link, Lynx moves to a different document, or a different place in the same document. Even if the document is on a computer on the other side of the globe, Lynx will retrieve it automatically and almost instantaneously--depending, of course, on the time of day and the number of other people who are trying to access the document you selected. No matter where you are, the peak time for internet activity on the extends from approximately noon to midnight.

Part 2: Moving to and Choosing Links

If you don't have Lynx set to display a bracketed number to the left of each link, you should--especially if you're using a speech-synthesizer. To set Lynx to display numbered links:

  1. Press 'o' to load the "Lynx Options Menu"
  2. Press 'k' to activate the "(K)eypad as Arrows or numbered links" text-entry field.
  3. Press any key to change the value of the option from "numbers act as arrows" to "links are numbered"
  4. Press the enter key or hit the carriage return.
  5. Type a '>' (greater-than sign) to save this setting in the .lynxrc file, so that everytime you load Lynx, a bracketed number will appear to the immediate left of a link, alerting you to its presence.
To choose a link, simply type the corresponding number, and then hit either enter or press the carriage return key. Here are a few links for you to practice on--simply type the number that appears in the brackets and press enter...

You can also navigate from link to link by using the arrow keys on the keyboard. The up and down arrows move to the next and to the previous link, respectively. The current link (that is, the link to which you would be taken if you pressed enter) will be displayed on the terminal in an easily distinguishable manner--usually in reverse video, although the actual appearance of the highlighted link depends on the type of terminal you're using.

Once you've reached the link you want to go to, press enter (or hit the carriage return) to choose that link.

Use the following list of links to practice navigating with the up and down arrow keys by moving from one link to the other and then pressing enter (or carriage return) to discover where the highlighted link leads.

Part 3: Online Help

Lynx has two built-in help features. If you type 'h' or '?', Lynx will generate a menu, which lists a number of help files as well as the lynx Lynx Help Menu.

The second help feature is a list of keystroke commands, which you can view by pressing 'k'. Try it, and remember to press either 'u' or the left-arrow key to return to this page.

Part 4: A Short Summary of Some Simple Lynx Commands:

What's the Web Spun From?

Most of the easily accessible information contained on the internet is based on two technological protocols: hypertext--files marked up in HTML (hypertext markup language)--and gopher, an information retreival protocol developed at the University of Minnesota.

You can find explore the technical underpinnings and inner workings of the World Wide Web (WWW or W3 for short) at the following sites:

An excellent indication of the networked nature of the Web is that the documents listed above are located on computers in Switzerland and Illinois.

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