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Glossary of Internet Terms


Access Provider         The entity that connects you to the Internet. Access providers, also known as Internet Service Providers (ISPs), provide your link to the Internet.


Application                  Sometimes known as a client or an "app", it is a program that performs a specific function. FTP, Mail, Gopher, Mosaic, and Telnet clients are the most common examples of Internet applications.


Article                         A posting in a newsgroup.


ASCII                          American Standards for Computer Information Interchange. This is the organization that sets the standard for the codes used to create characters in computers.


Bandwidth                  This refers to the difference (measured in Hz), between the highest and lowest frequencies of a transmission. Most people loosely refer to bandwidth as the amount of data that can be transferred over a network connection.


BCC                             Blind Carbon Copy. A field in an email package that is used to address a message to another person. The original recipient of the message will not see that it was also sent to a BCC.


Bookmark                   A stored location of information. Setting a bookmark allows you to go directly to the location rather than typing it.


Boolean Search          Boolean searching allows you to use the AND, OR, AND NOT, or BUT NOT operators to

Strategy                      produce sophisticated searches. In order to do this effectively you should use parentheses to group like terms together.


Browser                      A program used to access locations on the World Wide Web. Examples of such programs are Netscape, Internet Explorer and Mozilla.


CC                               Carbon Copy. A text field in an email program that allows you to send a copy of the message to another person. The original recipient of the message will see that you sent the Carbon Copy.


Data Encryption          Much like an actual key used for locking and re-opening doors, DEK's  are used for the

Key (DEK)                  encryption and decoding of message text, sometimes in the form of a digital signature.



Dedicated Line            A communications line that is used solely for computer connections. If you buy an additional phone line for your modem, that is a dedicated line. There other types of dedicated lines (such as T3s and T1s) that are used for larger network entities.


Dialup                          A widely used method of accessing the Internet. A dialup connection uses regular phone lines to connect one computer to another via modem.


Domain Name             The DNS is a static, hierarchical name service used with TCP/IP hosts, and is housed on

Service (DNS)            a number of servers on the Internet. Basically, it maintains a database for figuring out and finding (or resolving) host names and IP addresses on the Internet. This allows users to specify remote computers by host names rather than numerical IP addresses.


Download                   The process of transferring computer files from another location to your own location.



Electronic Mail            A method used by which computer users can exchange messages with  each other

(Email)                       over a network. Email is probably the most widely used communications tool on the Internet. One of email's advantages is its ability to be forwarded and replied to easily. If an email is badly received by a group or a user, the sender is likely to get "flamed".


Email                           Electronic Mail allows you to write letters or notes on your computer and send them electronically. Many different organizations have been using different electronic mail programs internally for years, and the many online services such as CompuServe were originally designed to provide email connection to anyone else subscribing to that service. Internet email allows you to send mail to anyone in the world on the Internet.


Email Address            Your email address is made up of several parts. By convention, addresses use lowercase letters with no spaces. The first part of the address, the username, identifies a unique user on a server. The "@" (pronounced "at") separates the username from the host name.


FAQ                             Acronym for "Frequently Asked Questions". FAQ's are widely available on the Internet and usually take the form of large, instructional text files. They are written on a wide variety of topics, and are usually the most up-to-date source for specialized information.


File Transfer               The most widely-used way of downloading and uploading (getting and putting)

Protocol (FTP)            files across an Internet connection. The File Transfer Protocol is a standardized way to connect computers so that files can be shared between them easily. There is a set of commands in FTP for making and changing directories, transferring, copying, moving, and deleting files. Formerly, all FTP connections were text based, but graphical applications are now available that make FTP commands as easy as dragging and dropping. Numerous FTP clients exist for a number of platforms.


Freenet:                      A network system made up of community-based bulletin board systems with email information, services, interactive communications, and conferencing. They are usually funded and operated by individuals or organizations much like public television. Freenet providers are part of the National Public Telecomputing Network (NPTN), a Cleveland-based organization that works to make computer services as freely available as public libraries.


Freeware                    Software created by programmers where no payment is expected.


FTP                              File Transfer Protocol. The communication program used to access files in a directory on remote computers.


HTML                           Hypertext Mark-up Language, which is used to create pages on the World Wide Web.


HTTP                           Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The methodology by which links are created on the World Wide Web.


Hyperlinks                  Phrases or text on an WWW home page that are linked to other pages of information.


Hypertext                    A type of text that allows embedded “links” to other documents. Clicking on or selecting a hypertext link displays another document or section of a document. Most World Wide Web documents contain hypertext.


Internet                       A large, uncontrolled, unadministered, anarchic cyberstate that will soon take over the world. Basically it is just everyone’s computers hooked together. It is not a corporation, organization, or entity in itself. When you connect to the Internet, you actually become part of it. Always capitalized, the word Internet can also be referred colloquially as the “Net”.


Internet Service         An ISP is a company that maintains a network that is linked to the  Internet via a dedicated

Provider (ISP)           communication line, usually a high-speed link. An ISP offers use of its dedicated communication lines to companies or individuals that cannot afford the $1,300 a month for a direct connection. Using a modem, you can dial up to a service provider whose computers will connect you to the Internet, typically for a fee.


JPEG                           File format, Joint Photographers Expert Group.


LAN                             Acronym for “Local Area Network”. LANs are now commonplace in most businesses, allowing users to send email and share resources such as files, printers, modems, etc. Currently most larger companies are connection their LANs to the Internet, allowing users to connect to resources within or outside the LAN.


Listservs                     An automated mailing list distribution system. Listservs exist for a multitude or professional, educational, and special interest groups.


Nettiquette                 The combination of the words “Net” and “etiquette”, this refers to the proper behaviour on a network, and more generally the Internet. The key element in ettiquette is remembering that actual people are on the other end of a computer connection, and offensive comments or actions are just as offensive even if you cannot see your recipient.


News Reader              The software package that can access the newsgroup feature. For example, Trumpet News is a newsreader package.


NewsGroup                 A discussion group on the Internet.


Search Engine             A program built into a database to search for terms or words contained within that database.


Shareware                  Software created by programmers that is offered for testing. Payment is expected if you continue to use the software longer than a specified period of time.


Signature                    An ASCII text file that can be automatically attached to the bottom of a piece of email or newsgroup posting that identifies the sender. Many signatures (or “sigs”) use symbols and characters to create images or words to make the sig more interesting.


Undeliverable Mail     Mail that has been returned due to incorrect addressing in the To: section of an email message.


Universal Resource    More commonly referred as URL, the Universal Resource Locator refers

Locator (URL)            to the entire address that is recognized “universally” as the address for an Internet resource. Each resource on the Internet has a unique URL. URL’s begin with letters that identify the resource type, such as http, ftp, gopher, etc. These types are followed by a colon and two slashes. Next, the computer’s name is listed, followed by the directory and filename of the remote resource.


UnZip                          The process of decompressing a file to make it ready for installation on your computer.


Web Browser             Software needed to navigate through the web. For example, Netscape and Mosaic are Web Browsers.


World Wide Web        The “Web” is a collection of online documents houses on Internet servers around

(WWW or W3)           the world. The concept of the Web was created by researchers at CERN in Switzerland. Web documents are written or “coded” in HTML. To access these documents, you have to use a Web browser, such as Internet Explorer or Mozilla. When these browsers access (or hit) a page, the server uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP) to send the document to your computer.


Zipped File                  A file that has been subject to the process of compression in the .zip format. It makes the file smaller so that you spend less time online transferring. There are a number of other compression formats, such as the .tar format which stands for tape archive, for different platforms.


Zipping                        The process of compressing, in the .zip compression format, a file or files for storage or transmission to another site.


Source: MasterTrak™, Exploring the Internet Courseware 7100. © CCI Computer Courseware International Inc. February 1997. Updated 2003 by Jack Vickery.

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