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Web Glossary


Synonymous with hyperlinks, anchor refers to non-linear links among documents. Or more simply put, it’s the word or phrase that can be selected to connect to another page or resource.

Anchor Color

You guessed it–the color on screen that represents the anchors. The reason so many are blue is that is often the default color. This color can be changed to any combination of red, green and blue.


Agents are search tools that automatically seek out relevant online information based on your specifications. Agents are also called intelligent agents, personal agents, knowbots or droids.


Personal notes you can attach to the documents you have saved in your Web browser. The notes are available to you whenever the document is viewed.


Derived from the word archive, Archie is a Net-based service that allows you to locate files that can be downloaded via FTP.


(pronounced “Ask-ee”) An acronym for American Standard Code for Information Exchange, ASCII is an international standard in which numbers, letters, punctuation marks, symbols and control codes are assigned numbers from 0 to 127. Easily transferred over networks, ASCII is a plain, unadorned text without style or font specifications.

Asychronous Connection

The type of connection a modem makes over a phone line, this connection is not synchronized by a mutual timing signal or clock.

AU Sounds

This is an audio format developed for Sun workstations and often used to distribute sound clips via the Web.

Authoring Software

This term refers to software that enables the creation of multimedia or hypertext documents and presentations.


This term refers to an interactive representation of a human in a virtual reality environment; term was popularized by Neal Stephenson’s novel “Snow Crash.”


The range of transmission frequencies a network can use. The greater the bandwidth the more information that can be transferred over that network at one time. The term bandwidth also broadly includes throughput, meaning the amount of data sent.


A transmission method in which a network uses its entire transmission range to send a single signal.


A unit of speed in data transmission, or the maximum speed at which data can be sent down a channel. Baud is often equivalent to bits per second. Named after J. M. E. Baudot (died 1903).


This is an acronym for Bulletin Board System, a computer equipped with software and telecommunications links that allow it to act as an information host for remote computer systems.


A file conversion format that converts binary files to ASCII text files.


A contraction of binary digit, a bit is the smallest unit of information that a computer can hold. Eight bits is equivalent to a byte. The speed at which bits are transmitted or bit rate is usually expressed as bits per second or bps.


A transmission method in which the networks range of transmission frequencies is divided into separate channels and each channel is used to send a different signal. Broadband is often used to send different types of signals simultaneously.


A type of software that allows you to navigate information databases. Examples are – Netscape Navigator, NCSA, Mosaic, Opera and Internet Explorer.


The number of bits used to represent a character.


Compact Disk-Read Only Memory; an optical disk from which information may be read but not written.

CD-R or Compact Disk-Recordable

Refers to computer peripheral disk drives that allow the user to record content on to a blank compact disk.


A computer that has access to services over a computer network. The computer providing the services is a server. Note: in an X-11 environment, the meanings of client and server are reversed.

Client-Server Architecture

An information-passing scheme that works as follows: a client program, such as Mosaic, sends a request to a server. The server takes the request, disconnects from the client and processes the request. When the request is processed, the server reconnects to the client program and the information is transferred to the client. This architecture differs from traditional Internet databases where the client connects to the server and runs the program from the remote site. Note: in an X-11 environment, the meanings of client and server are reversed.


This is a general-purpose computer term that can refer to the way you have your computer set up. It is also used to describe the total combination of hardware components that make up a computer system and the software settings that allow various hardware components of a computer system to communicate with one another.


The act of changing software or hardware actions by changing the settings.


A term commonly used to describe an electronic site shared by a number of commercial interests.


A term coined by William Gibson in his novel “Neuromancer” to refer to a near-future computer network where users mentally travel through matrices of data. The term is now used to describe the Internet and the other computer networks.

Dial-up Connection

The most popular form of Net connection for the home user, this is a connection from your computer to a host computer over standard telephone lines.

Direct Connection

A permanent connection between your computer system and the Internet. This is sometimes referred to as a leased-line connection because the line is leased from the telephone company.


An acronym for Domain Name Server, DNS refers to a database of Internet names and addresses which translates the names to the official Internet Protocol numbers and vice versa.


When used in reference to the World Wide Web, a document is any file containing text, media or hyperlinks that can be transferred from an HTTP server to a client program.

Document Window

This is the Web browser’s scrollable window in which HTML documents can be viewed.


To transfer to your computer a copy of a file that resides on another computer.


The abbreviation for Digital Services Unit, DSU replaces the modem in synchronous connections to the Internet.


The abbreviation for Electronic Data Interchange, EDI system allows linked computers to conduct business transactions such as ordering and invoicing over telecommunications networks.

External Viewer

A program used for presenting graphics, audio and video files. Programs that allow the viewing of GIF and JPEG files and the hearing of AU files fall into this category.


This is the acronym for Frequently Asked Questions. A common feature on the Internet, FAQs are files of answers to commonly asked questions. Read FAQs before wasting electrons asking obvious questions. Saves you from receiving flames.


This term refers to security measures designed to protect a networked system from unauthorized or unwelcome access.


File Transfer Protocol is a protocol that allows the transfer of files from one computer to another. FTP is also the verb used to describe the act of transferring files from one computer to another.


This acronym stands for Graphic Interchange Format, a commonly used file compression format developed by CompuServe for transferring graphics files to and from online services.


A menu-oriented tool used to locate online resources developed at the University of Minnesota.


A term used to describe the entire gopher network.


This term refers to software applications that facilitate shared work on documents and information.


An acronym for Graphical User Interface, this term refers to a software front-end meant to provide an attractive and easy to use interface between a computer user and application. The Macintosh operating system has a GUI, DOS does not.

Home Page

The document displayed when you first open your Web browser. Home Page can also refer to the first document you come to at a Web site.


Lists of frequently used Web locations and URLs (Uniform Resource Locators).


A computer acting as an information or communications server.


An acronym for HyperText Markup Language, HTML is the language used to tag various parts of a Web document so browsing software will know how to display that document’s links, text, graphics and attached media.

HTML Document

A document written in HyperText Markup Language.


The abbreviation for Hypertext Transfer Protocol, HTTP is used to link and transfer hypertext documents.


The hypertext concept extended to include linked multiple media.


This term describes the system that allows documents to be cross- linked in such a way that the reader can explore related documents by clicking on a highlighted word or symbol.


The abbreviation for Internet Architecture Board, the IAB is the council that makes decisions about Internet standards.


The abbreviation for Internet Engineering Task Force, IETF refers to a subgroup of the Internet Architecture Board that focuses on solving technical problems on the Internet.

Inline Images

These are the graphics contained within a Web document.


The abbreviation for Internet Protocol, IP refers to the set of communication standards that control communications activity on the Internet. An IP address is the number assigned to any Internet-connected computer.


The abbreviation for Integrated Services Digital Network, ISDN is a telecommunications standard that uses digital transmission technology to support voice, video and data communications applications over regular telephone lines.


This is the abbreviation for Internet Society, an organization formed to support a worldwide information network. ISOC is the sponsoring body of the Internet Architecture Board.


The acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group, JPEG is an image compression format used to transfer color photographs and images over computer networks. Along with GIF, it’s one of the most common ways photos are moved over the Web.


These are the hypertext connections between Web pages. This is a synonym for hotlinks or hyperlinks.


When used in reference to a World Wide Web file, this term designates an object linked to another layer of information.


From the novel “Snow Crash” by Neal Stephenson, this term describes a virtual online representation of reality.


An acronym for Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions, MIME is a messaging standard that allows Internet users to exchange e-mail messages enhanced with graphics, video and voice. MIME file types are also used in Mosaic.


This is the common name of a World Wide Web multimedia browser program developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications in Urbana-Champaign, Ill. The official, copyrighted name of the program is NCSA Mosaic(tm).


The acronym for Moving Pictures Expert Group, MPEG is an international standard for video compression and desktop movie presentation. A special viewing application is needed to run MPEG files on your computer.


This is the abbreviation for National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign.


The abbreviation for Network File System, NFS is a protocol suite developed and licensed by Sun Microsystems that allows different makes of computers running different operating systems to share files and disk storage.


The abbreviation for Network Information Center, NIC is an organization responsible for supplying information for component networks that comprise the Internet.


The abbreviation for Network Operations Center, NOC is the organization responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Internet’s component networks.


A device attached to a network. A node uses the network as a means of communication and has an address on the network.


The abbreviation for National Research and Education Network, NREN is an effort to combine the networks operated by the U.S. government into a single high-speed network.

OSI Model

The Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) reference model for describing network protocols was devised by the Internet Standards Organization. It divides protocols in to seven layers to standardize and simplify definitions.


An acronym for Point of Presence, POP is a service provider’s location for connecting to users. Generally, POPs refer to the location where people can dial into the provider’s host computer. Most providers have several POPs to allow low-cost access via telephone lines.


This is an acronym for Plain Old Telephone Service.


The abbreviation for Point-to-Point Protocol, PPP is an Internet connection where phone lines and a modem can be used to connect a computer to the Internet.


A set of standards that define how traffic and communications are handled by a computer or network routers.


This is a digital video standard developed for Apple Macintosh computers. Special viewing applications are needed to run QuickTime movies.


A communications device designed to transmit signals via the most efficient route possible.

Search Engine

This term refers to a program that helps users find information in text-oriented databases.


A computer system that manages and delivers information for client computers. Note: in an X-11 environment, the meanings of client and server are reversed.


The abbreviation for Standard Generalized Markup Language, SGML is an international standard for the publication and delivery of electronic information.


This term refers to software that is available on public networks and BBSs. Users are asked to remit a small amount to the software developer, but it’s on the honor system.


The acronym for Serial Line Internet Protocol, SLIP refers to a method of Internet connection that enables computers to use phone lines and a modem to connect to the Internet without having to connect to a host.


This is a communication mechanism originally implemented on the BSD version of the UNIX operating system. Sockets are used as endpoints for sending and receiving data between computers.

Synchronous Connection

An analog to analog or digital to digital connection that is able to perform two or more processes at the same time by means of a mutual timing signal or clock.


High-speed data line connection. T-1 operates at 1.45 Mbps.


These are formatting codes used in HTML documents. Tags indicate how parts of a document will appear when displayed by browsing software.


The basic protocols controlling applications on the Intn the Internet; it stands for “transmission control protocol/Internet protocol.”


This is the acronym for Tagged Image File Format, a graphic file format developed by Aldus and Microsoft. Mosaic supports the viewing of TIFF images.

Trumpet Winsock

A popular, cheerier TCP/IP protocol stack.


This is the abbreviation for Uniform Resource Locator, the addressing system used in the World Wide Web and other Internet resources. The URL contains information about the method of access, the server to be accessed and the path of any file to be accessed.


This is a search utility that helps find information on gopher servers. Veronica allows users to enter keywords to locate the gopher site holding the desired information. The name is an acronym for “very easy rodent oriented net-wide index of computerized archives.” Honest!


The abbreviation for Wide Area Information Service, WAIS is a Net-wide system for looking up specific information in Internet databases.

WAIS gateway

This term refers to a computer that is used to translate WAIS data so it can be made available to an otherwise incompatible network or application. Mosaic must use a WAIS gateway.

Web Browser

This is the software that allows a user to access and view HTML documents. Examples of Web browsers include Netscape, Mosaic, Cello and Lynx.

Web Document

An HTML document that is browsable on the Web.


This term refers to the person in charge of administrating a World Wide Web site.

Web Node

This term is synonymous with Web site or Web server.

Web Page

An HTML document that is accessible on the Web.


This term refers to the space created by the World Wide Web.

World Wide Web

Also known as WWW or W3, the World Wide Web is a hypertext- based Internet service used for browsing Internet resources.

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