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Educational Technologies Center for Life Sciences

Exercise - Creating links to other documents

The general format for a link to another document - the anchor tag. For example:

<A HREF="http://www.uiuc.edu">University of Illinois Home Page</A>

Let's break this down:

1. <A HREF= begins the tag with indicates this is a request for another document

2."http:// This begins the request for a specific document and specifies Hypertext Transfer Protocol, which means the target document is located on a World Wide Web Server. While there are other protocols for other types of servers(e.g. mailto, ftp), we'll not consider them now.

3. "www.uiuc.edu" is the URL or Uniform Resource Locator -the "address" of the target document, in this case the home page of the UI. Note that the whole URL - protocol and address - are enclosed in quotation marks. The URL of this page is www.life.uiuc.edu/edtech/html/links.html

4.>University of Illinois Home Page - The text between the angle brackets will become highlighted and underlined, indicating to the user that this is an active hyperlink.

5. </A> - closes the tag

Step 1. Reopen your text document in your word processor and enter this. Be sure it's within the body tag.

<A HREF="http://www.uiuc.edu/">University of Illinois Home Page</A>

Step 2. Save the document and reload it in IE. If the words highlighted in blue, go ahead and click on it.

University of Illinois Home Page

Something to think about...

Whenever you provide users with a link to an outside site, you run the risk of losing them - they're off exploring and may never return. On the one hand, outside links enrich the subject matter and this effortless transport from place to place is one of the cornerstones of the World Wide Web. On the other, the experience of being rudely swept to another site can be jarring to the user who may be engrossed in your material, in addition to the aforementioned risk of getting lost in cyberspace.

One option is to keep outside links clustered on single page, another is to provide an annotation - give some indication - that the link leads outward to a different site.

Finally, it's important to check links regularly to make sure they are still valid.

© 2004 - E. Barbara Meyer - EdTech Center - Life Sciences - University of Illinois - Urbana, IL USA