Administrative Address -- The address to use to join an email discussion group or interest group and to send requests for services.
Analog -- (pronounced "ANN-uh-log") Derived from the term "analogous".
Analog audio and video is the method of recording on tape a signal that
uses "waves" to represent the video or audio signal. Information that
comes from a voice telephone or a modem is sent and received in the form
of an analog signal. The signal is analogous to the original medium of
acoustic sound or reflected light.
Anchor -- A particular type of html tag which provides the "link" to a
specific part of an HTML file. A link can also be made to "connect" to a
specific part of another document . To see the underlying html anchor
tags in a document, use the "View Source" function of the browser.
ASCII Text -- (pronounced "askie"). Plain text format. This is text with
none of the formatting instructions ordinarily included with standard
word processing programs. For example, Microsoft Word stores text with
special instructions for how it should look (font size, style etc.) and
the three letter file name extension is DOC. ASCII Text does not include
this material and is usually stored with the three letter extension TXT.
(Most word processing software allows the user to store the text as
Plain ASCII text as well as its own proprietary format).
Asynchronous - not occurring at the same time. Asynchronous online
courses or activities do not require students to participate at the same
Attachment - a file included with an email message that is not part of
the main message.
Backbone -- A high-speed network that connects several powerful
computers. In the U.S., the backbone of the Internet is often considered
the NSFNet, a government funded link between a handful of supercomputer
sites across the country.
Bandwidth - a measurement of how much information can be transmitted at
a given time over the Internet. The greater the bandwidth, the faster
data is transmitted over the Internet. Usually measured in bits
per second. Network systems need higher bandwidth for audio or video
than for e-mail or other services. Two types of bandwidth are:
broadband, which is faster and is used for complex telecommunications,
and narrowband, which is the slower form and is used for voice and fax
Baud -- A standard measure of the speed of data transmission, or the
number of bits transmitted per second. Literally, the number of times
per second the signal can change on a transmission line. Commonly, the
transmission line uses only two signal states (e.g., two voltages),
making the baud rate equal to the number of bits per second that can be
transferred. The underlying transmission technique may use some of the
bandwidth, so it may not be the case that users experience data
transfers at the line's specified bit rate. For example, because
asynchronous lines require 10 bit-times to send an 8-bit character, a
9600 baud asynchronous transmission line can only send 960 characters
Binary -- Using either 0 or 1 (or on/off) as the basic unit of data in
Bit -- The most basic unit of computer information. A bit can be either
0 or 1. A one bit system uses this to produce either black or white.
2-bits means that there are two units of information, each one can
produce either a 0 or 1. The number of different combinations of zeros
and ones when using 2-bits is represented as 2 (or 4 different
combinations). Accordingly, when using 8-bits where each bit can be
either zero or one, the number of different combinations is represented
as 2 (or 256 different combinations).
Bits per second (bps) -- The measurement of modem transmission speed.
Literally, a measure of the rate of data transmission. Usually the
measure refers to the capacity of a network.
Blog - (weB LOG) -- A blog is a journal that can be viewed on the Web.
An on-line journal in which diary entries about personal experiences,
hobbies, ANYTHING can be posted.
BMP Image -- A specific graphics file format. Three letter extension
.bmp. A BMP image is used in Microsoft Windows. (Pronounced "bitmap"
image, but not to be confused with more general term bitmaps). "BMP" is
short for "bitmap."
Boolean searching -- Searching that uses Boolean operators (AND, OR, NOT
Bookmark - a pointer to favorite Web sites in the Netscape browser
allowing easier return to a web site.
Browser - an application that displays a Web page. Also known as a Web
browser. Netscape and Internet Explorer are the two most popular Web
Bulletin board system (BBS) -- A service that permits one person to post
a message for others to read. Each bulletin board contains discussion of
a single topic. A bulletin board is sometimes called a computer
conference. The BBS computer system provides its users files for
downloading and areas for electronic discussions. Bulletin board systems
usually are run by and for local users, although many now provide
Internet, UUCP, or FidoNet mail.
Byte -- Eight bits of data. A byte usually equals approximately one
character from a keyboard.
Cable Modem - A popular alternative for high-speed internet connection.
These special modems use the same coaxial cable that cable television
signals use and connect to a cable modem box, which is connected to an
Ethernet cared in the PC.
Cache - copies of frequently accessed Web pages stored in the memory or
on the disk. The cache should be cleared periodically to assure that the
most recent version of a web page is being accessed and to free up hard
CAI (Computer Assisted Instruction) - Interactive software used for
Case-sensitive -- Requirement of typing in characters as either
upper-case or lower-case in order for the string of characters to be
accepted. For example, the URLs one must type to go to a Web page are
usually case-sensitive. E-mail addresses are usually not case-sensitive,
meaning it doesn't matter whether the characters are typed as upper or
CGI -- Common Gateway Interface. CGI is an interface for running
external programs, or gateways, under a Web server (also known as a HTTP
server). Together the HTTP server and the CGI programs are responsible
for servicing a client request by sending back responses. The "gateway
script" is usually a link between the server and some other program
running on the system. CGI is at the heart of the Web as far as Web
browsers being able to support a variety of protocols (http, ftp,
gopher, news, telnet). CGI is also necessary for image maps and forms to
function. The CGI script is usually placed in a directory on the Web
server called CGI-bin. CGI-scripts are usually written in the PERL or C
Chat -- (also "talk") A service available on computer bulletin boards,
on-line services, and the Internet that lets users type messages to each
other. The messages appear almost instantly on the screens of others
participating in the chat session.
Clickable -- Layperson's term for any text or image on which the user
can "click" to go to something else. The terms hypertext or hypermedia
are considered more savvy or sophisticated.
Client -- A computer or program requesting a service of another computer
or program such as obtaining software or performing a task.
Compressed file -- A file that has been processed by a computer program to compress or shrink the file. The file must be uncompressed before it can be used.
Cookie - A text file that is saved on the computer in a folder in the
browser's directory. It stores information about the sites that you have
visited as well as some information that has been entered in the site.
CPU - (Central processing unit) The electronic circuitry that actually
executes computer instructions. The CPU reads stored programs one
instruction at a time, keeps track of the execution, and directs other
computer parts and input and output devices to perform required tasks.
Database -- A computer that holds large amounts of information that can
be searched by an internet user.
Desktop video conference -- live, interactive video between desktop computers
Dialup Internet connection -- Allows a user to dial into an Internet
Service Provider using a modem and telephone line to access the
Digital -- Using a binary system instead of the older analog methods of
representing sound or video.
Digital Subscriber Line -- (DSL) A method of high-speed Internet connection that uses digital technology. This access requires special equipment and an ISP.
Digitizing -- The process of converting standard analog information into
digital form that a computer can use. This is done with a special "card"
that plugs into a slot in a computer that allows either audio or video
to be sent into the computer. The signal from the audio or video is then
converted into digital information (data) that can be stored and
DNS -- (Domain Name System) The on-line distributed database system used
to map human-readable machine names into IP addresses. DNS servers
throughout the connected Internet implement a hierarchical namespace
that allows sites freedom in assigning machine names and addresses. DNS
also supports separate mappings between mail destinations and IP
Domain -- A part of the DNS naming hierarchy. Syntactically, a domain
name consists of a sequence of names (labels) separated by periods
(dots). Any suffix of a label in a domain name is called a domain. The
Internet authority has chosen to partition its top level into the
domains listed below:
COM -- Commercial organizations
EDU -- Educational institutions
GOV -- Government institutions
MIL -- Military groups
NET -- Major network support centers
ORG -- Organizations other than those above
INT -- International organizations
country code -- Each country (geographic scheme)
Download -- The act of transmitting a file from a computer in another
location to a computer. The opposite of upload. To understand the
distinction between upload and download...think of the act of sending or
receiving a package on a train. When sending the package, it is put "up"
on the train. When received, it is taken "down" from the train. So,
downloading a computer file involves bringing it "down" from the other
Email - electronic mail. Text messages sent through a computer network
to a specified individual or group. Email messages can also carry
Emoticons -- Smileys and other character art used to express feelings in
email communication, such as :-) and :-(
Encryption -- A process that uses mathematical formulas to code messages
when content needs to be kept secure and confidential.
Ergonomics -- The scientific study of work and space, including details
that affect workers productivity and worker health.
Favorites - a pointer to favorite Web sites in the Internet Explorer
FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions. A FAQ is a list of questions and
answers about a specific subject.
Fiber optics -- high capacity cable made of glass threads that transmit
information as pulsating light. The light pulses represent bits of
information. Fiber optics give users of telecommunications added
capacity, better transmission quality, and increased clarity.
File transfer protocol (FTP) -- The TCP/IP standard; a high-level
protocol for transferring files from machine to another.
Firefox - A free and open source web browser that runs on various
versions of Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, and many other Unix-like
Firewall - software or hardware that limits certain kinds of access to a
computer from a network or other outside source.
Flame - an argumentative or negative posting or email message in
response to another posting or message.
Graphical user interface (GUI) -- A Graphical User Interface is a fancy
way for a user to give commands to the computer. It is usually a window
system accessed through a pointing device such as a mouse. Variations on
how the mouse interacts with the objects on the screen give rise to the
descriptions "a point and click interface" or "a drag and drop
interface." The antithesis of a GUI is a command-line interface.
Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) -- (Pronounced either as "giff" or
"jiff" [as in the peanut butter]). A format developed in the mid-1980s
by CompuServe to allow network transmission of photo-quality graphics
images. Today, the overwhelming majority of images on the World Wide Web
are GIF. GIF images are 8-bit (256 colors) with a screen resolution of
640 X 480 pixels. GIF images can be one of two types: GIF87a (the older
format) or GIF89a (a newer format that allows transparent backgrounds).
GIF images can be either interlaced or non-interlaced. The GIF file
format uses a form of file compression known as LZW (Lempel Zev Welch)
that squeezes out inefficiencies in the file without causing a loss of
data or image quality. GIF and JPG images are the most widely used
graphics file formats on the World Wide Web. Some advantages of GIF over
JPG include: they're the most widely supported format on the Web and
they can include transparency and interlacing.
Hacker -- The term hacker tends to refer to the more programming intense
set of the geek crowd. However the term is overused in the popular
media, and therefore is no longer much used among "real geeks." Hacker
also has negative connotations related to cracking or illegally
obtaining access to computers and accounts.
Hardware -- The physical components of a computer.
Helper application - also called a plug-in. Add-on applications that
support sound, image, and other file formats that work with your
browser. Adobe Acrobat and RealPlayer are popular helper applications.
Home page -- The top level WWW document in a series of Web pages
containing a mixture of graphics and text, including embedded references
to other such pages. Usually each organization has a separate home page.
It is also the default document WWW users see when connecting to a WWW
server for the first time. From the home page, a user can simply click
on hypertext links that automatically connect to Internet services
throughout the world --there is no need to worry about trying to learn
cryptic Internet path names.
Host -- a server, a computer that provides client stations with access
to files and printers as shared resources to a computer network.
HTML - Hypertext Markup Language -- The standard for adding tags to a
text file, so that the file is able to be interpreted by a Web browser.
Hypertext Transmission Protocol (HTTP) -- The standard language that
World-Wide Web clients and servers use to communicate, also called
HyperText Transfer Protocol.
Hyperlink - a word or phrase emphasized in a Web page that acts as a
pointer to a location in that page or to a different Web page. Links in
a Web browser may be underlined and a different color than the rest of
the text. Also called link or hotlink.
Icon - a small graphic representation of an object or idea.
IP address -- A 32-bit address assigned to each host that participates
in a TCP/IP internet. IP addresses are the abstraction of physical
hardware addresses just as an internet is an abstraction of physical
networks. To make routing efficient, each IP address is divided into a
network portion and a host portion.
ISDN -- Integrated Services Digital Network, which is a digital switched
network that provides very fast, simultaneous transmission of voice,
data and images over one telephone line
ISP - Internet Service Provider. A company that provides direct access
to the Internet. Examples are CompuServe, AOL and PeoplePC.
Imagemap -- The ability to click on portions of an image to link to
other information (instead of making individual words clickable).
Imagemaps are comprised of three ingredients: 1.) An image in GIF
2.) A map file which indicates the "hot spots" of an image. 3.) An imagemap program to connect the map file information with the links.
Input devices -- Hardware that allows the user to put data into the computer. Basic input devices include the keyboard, mouse, trackball, touch screens, light pens, microphones, bar code readers, fax / modem cards, joysticks, and scanners.
Integrated Services Digital Network -- (ISDN) A high-speed data transmission technology that allows simultaneous, digital transfer of voice, video, and data over telephone lines but a higher speeds than available via modem.
Internet - an electronic network that connects computers around the
Internet Explorer - a popular Web browser.
Java - an object-oriented, cross-platform programming language, that is
designed for building applications for the Internet. Enables the display
of moving text, animation, and musical excerpts on web pages.
content on Web pages.
JPEG -- JPEG (pronounced "jay-peg") is a standardized image compression
mechanism. JPEG stands for Joint Photographic Experts Group, the
original name of the committee that wrote the standard. JPEG is designed
for compressing either full-color or gray-scale images of natural,
real-world scenes. It works well on photographs, naturalistic artwork,
and similar material; not so well on lettering, simple cartoons, or line
drawings. JPEG handles only still images, but there is a related
standard called MPEG for motion pictures.
LAN - Local Area Network. A group of computers that are physically
connected in a way that lets them communicate and share data with each
Link - a word or phrase emphasized in a Web page that acts as a pointer
to a location in that page or to a different Web page. Links in a Web
browser may be underlined and a different color than the rest of the
text. Also called hyperlink or hotlink.
Listserv -- An e-mail program that allows multiple computer users to
connect onto a single system, thus creating an on-line discussion.
Thousands of listservs of all possible subjects populate the Internet.
Lurking -- Reading the email or articles in a discussion group or
newsgroup without contributing or posting messages.
Memory -- The computer storage device in which programs reside during
execution. It is comprised of main memory and random access
Microprocessor chip -- The electronic circuits of the CPU etched onto a
MIME -- (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension) A standard used to encode
data such as images as printable ASCII text for transmission through
Modem - an electronic device the converts computer signals into an
analog signals in order to transmit data over a telephone line.
Motion Pictures Entertainment Group (MPEG) -- A consortium of experts in
the entertainment industry that developed the MPEG standard format for
digital video, animation and audio.
Netscape - a popular Web browser.
Netiquette - a term for courtesy on the Internet and in online
Network -- A combination of hardware and software that allows
communication and electronic transfer of information between computers.
Opera - A web browser and Internet suite that runs on a variety of
personal computer operating systems, including Microsoft Windows, Mac OS
X, Linux, FreeBSD, and Solaris
Output devices -- Hardware that allows the user to see processed data.
Terminals or video monitor screens, printers, speakers, and fax/modem
boards are types of output devices.
Packet -- A bundle of data. Packets have no set size. They can range
from one character to hundreds of characters. To transmit data, the
Internet's IP/TCP protocol divides data into packets to improve
efficiency. Used loosely to refer to any small block of data sent across
a packet switching network.
PCMCIA -- The Personal Computer Memory Card International Association
provides a standard for expansion cards for laptop computers.
PDF - Portable Document Format. A standard used by Adobe Acrobat to
display documents on a computer.
Portal - a gateway to the WWW that allows customization to an
Protocol -- A formal description of the message formats and rules two or
more machines must follow to exchange data. Protocols can describe
low-level details of machine to machine interfaces (e.g., the order in
which the bits from a byte are sent across a wire) or high-level
exchanges between application programs (e.g., the way in which two
programs transfer a file across an internet). Most protocols include
both intuitive descriptions of the expected interactions as well as more
formal specifications using finite state machine models. Agreed-upon
standards for transferring information on the Internet include FTP (File
Transfer Protocol) and HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol).
Queue -- Commands or processes, or waiting to be processed.
Random Access Memory -- (RAM) The component of memory that ca be
accessed, used, changed and rewritten repeatedly while the computer is
Rich Text Format (RTF) -- A common interchange format for the exchange
of electronic documents between computers.
Read-Only Memory -- (ROM) The component of memory that contains startup
instructions for each time the computer is turned on. ROM is
permanent and remains when the power to the computer is off.
Remote Access -- The ability to use the resources contained on a
network, or an information system, from a location outside of the
facility where it is physically located.
Resolution -- A term used to refer to the sharpness, or clarity, of an
image on a computer monitor. Resolution itself is determined by
the number of pixel, or tiny dots or squares, displayed per inch on a
Router -- A special purpose computer that attaches to two or more
networks and forwards packets from one to the other. In particular, an
IP router forwards IP datagrams among the networks to which it connects.
A router uses the destination address on a datagram to choose a next-hop
to which it forwards the datagram. Researchers originally used the term
Safari - The web browser developed by Apple, Inc., for Mac OS X.
Search engine - a specialized web site that uses keyword searches to
find resources on the Web.
Serial Line Internet Protocol (SLIP) -- A type of special on-line
service account to access the Internet.
Server -- A computer that serves information and software to the
Internet community and, in general terms, a machine that makes services
available on a network. A file server makes files available. For
instance, a Web server makes information available through the World
Wide Web protocol. The server includes the computer and software that
put information on the Web so a browser program on your computer can
SMTP -- (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol) The TCP/IP standard protocol for
transferring electronic mail messages from one machine to another. SMTP
specifies how two mail systems interact and the format of control
messages they exchange to transfer mail.
Spam - unsolicited email messages usually advertising a product.
Synchronous - happening or existing at precisely the same time.
Synchronous online courses or activities require students to be online
at the same time.
T1 -- A high-speed network link used on the Internet. It can transfer
information at a rate of 1.544 megabits per second (That's roughly 59
minutes for 680 megabytes to be transferred.).
Tags -- Information contained between angle brackets < > that indicate
document elements, structure, formatting and hyperlinks. HTML tags are
generally used to surround the text that they affect.
TCP -- (Transmission Control Protocol) The TCP/IP standard transport
level protocol provides the reliable, full-duplex stream service on
which many application protocols depend. TCP allows a process on one
machine to send a stream of data to a process on another. TCP is
connection-oriented in the sense that before transmitting data,
participants must establish a connection. All data travels in TCP
segments, with each travel across the Internet in an IP datagram. The
entire protocol suite is often referred to as TCP/IP because TCP and IP
are the two fundamental protocols.
TCP/IP Internet Protocol Suite -- The official name of the TCP/IP
TELNET -- A method of logging one computer onto another. A program
which allows users to remotely use computers across networks.
Interactive session using telnet.
Temporary Internet Files - Files ending with .tmp that are stored
from Web pages that are viewed. The Temporary Internet Files
folder is the location on the hard drive where temporary internet files
are stored as they are viewed. The Temporary Internet Files should be
cleared periodically to assure that the most recent version of a web
page is being accessed and to free up hard drive space.
10Base-T -- The technical name for twisted pair ethernet.
Threaded discussion -- a set of postings to an online bulletin board on
a particular topic.
Trojan Horse -- A destructive program that masquerades as a benign
Upload -- To send a file to another computer. See Download.
URL - Uniform Resource Locator. Describes the location and access method
of a resource on the Internet. This is also known as the "Web site
address." The URL contains four distinct parts, the protocol type, the
machine name, the directory path and the file name.
Virus -- A small program written to incapacitate or interfere with the
normal operation of a computer. Some viruses continually reproduce
copies of themselves in the machines they enter, and can corrupt data or
code in key areas of the computer such as the operating system.
WWW - World Wide Web. A collection of documents on computers located
throughout the world that are connected to each other by clickable
hyperlinks. You need to run a browser program to access the Web.
Worm -- a virus-like program that travels across networks, such as LANs
or the Internet itself. A worm may be very destructive to the individual
computers which are infected. It is a virus which replicates.
. ZIP -- The filename extension used by files compressed into the ZIP format common on PCs.