Thanks to the Internet Detective for this page!
Get Clues from URLs
So just by looking at this URL you can deduce that:
Dissecting URLsThe basic structure of a URL is:
1) ProtocolThe first part of a URL - before the colon - describes the access method.
Data can be made available on the Internet via a number of different
2) Server nameThe second part of a URL - after the // and before the next full stop - tells you about the machine (called a server) that you are accessing.
http://sosig.ac.uk/.... indicates that the machine that holds the information is called "sosig".
3) Domain nameAfter the server name you will see the domain name. This can tell you the country in which the server is based and the nature of the organisation that owns the server.
.ac.uk... indicates that the resource is held on an academic server (.ac) in the United Kingdom (.uk).
Country identifiersYou can get a clue about the country the server is based in from the country identifier. For example:
The exception to this is the USA which does not use its country code (.us).
Organisation identifiersYou can get clues about the nature of the organisation that owns the server from the organisation identifier. For example:
Note that the USA uses different organisation identifiers from those used in Europe.
A list of country and organisation identifiers
4) Directories and filenamesAfter the domain names, between the next set of slashes (/) you will see the names of directories containing the file you are accessing.
Many Internet resources are organised into directory structures similar to those found in other computer applications. These can provide useful clues about the structure of the site.
http://www.bps.org.uk/publicat/Periodicals/Psych/PSY9_97.HTMhas a fairly complex directory structure - three directories are given (publicat, Periodicals and Psych) before you see the name of the actual file (always at the end on the right hand side of the URL).
This is a clue as to the size and complexity of the site - generally speaking, the more directories, the more complex the site.
This is also a clue that this URL would take you to a file deep within the site.
Being speculative, this URL probably takes you to a 1997 issue of a
periodical on a subject from the field of psychology.
Practical Hints and Tips
Deleting parts of the URL to learn more about the siteIt can be very useful to delete part of the right hand side of the URL to see where the new, shorter URL takes you.
By doing this you can get clues as to your location within the site and the structure of the site.
By deleting URLs from the right hand side to the slash marks (/) you will move up the directory tree and see how the file is embedded in the site.
For example, look what happens if you delete part of the following URL:
You can delete part of the URL by putting your cursor at the end of the URL in the "location box" and pressing the "back" or "delete" key until you reach the slash (/), then press the "Return" key.
Delete from the right, up to the slashes in the URL.
This technique can be especially useful for long URLs.
The tilde ~ signIn some URLs you will see the tilde sign which looks like this: ~
http://mail.bris.ac.uk/~plmlp/Use the tilde as a clue!
Most BR>servers use the ~ symbol to represent the personal directories of individuals.
If the URL contains a tilde then be aware that you are probably (although not definitely) looking at a personal page with personal opinions rather than an official site giving the official line.
However, this does not mean that the information is necessarily of poor quality
For example the following Web page has a tilde in the URL. The
page is located on a University of Bristol server, but is NOT an official
page of the University - it is the personal page of a member of staff.
PURLsSome URLs will have the word "PURL" located in the early part of the URL.
PURL stands for Persistent Uniform Resource Locator. For example:
http://purl.org/metadata/dublin_coreA PURL is a clue that the owner of the resource is committed to keeping the site stable and persistently available via a given URL.
To obtain a PURL the owner has had to register the site with an intermediary PURL service. If for any reason the site moves addresses the owner registers the change of address with the PURL service which then redirects any users to the new URL.
A PURL address should not lead you to a dead link and should mean that the same URL will always point to the same resource even if, behind the scenes, the resource has been moved from server to server.