Prepared by Elisabeth Lindsay.
A web browser is a computer program that allows users to access and search the Internet. It is the user's window to Internet content. The "browser" metaphor derives from the concept of a shopper casually viewing goods with no particular obligation to buy. Likewise, users can browse the Internet, for the most part anonymously, to locate information and services of interest. The most familiar web browsers are Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape, and Safari (on Macintosh computers). For the most part, web browsers are free software, often pre-installed when your purchase a home computer.
The web browser is a necessary tool when using the computer for genealogy research, providing the functionality for accessing genealogy web sites. Most of today's libraries and archives provide computers equipped with a web browser for Internet access; some libraries may even utilize their own proprietary (privately owned and controlled) web browsers.