This Web page is an electronic companion to the book Learning to Use the World Wide Web, by Ernest C. Ackermann . It contains links to the Internet resources, sites, and services mentioned in the text.
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Other Glossaries
Glossary for Internet Today!
Glossary for Learning to Use the Internet
Glossary for Searching and Researching on the Internet and the World Wide Web

Internet Glossary for Learning to Use the World Wide Web

Acceptable Use Policy A policy statement from a network or organization giving the acceptable uses of the network for local use and accessing the Internet.

Administrative Address The address to use to join a discussion group, interest group, or Listserv and to send requests for services.

Anonymous FTP A means of using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) in which the user starts an ftp session with a remote site through a Web browser or gives the user name anonymous, and her e-mail address as a password.

Archie An information service which helps to locate a file which can then retrieved by anonymous FTP.

Article A message or file which is part of a Usenet newsgroup.

ASCII American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A code for representing characters in a numeric form. An ASCII file is one which usually contains characters which can be displayed on a screen or printed without formatting or using another program.

BBS Bulletin Board System. A computer and software which provides an electronic forum, message center, and archives of files to its members. Traditionally these have been run by hobbyists through dial-up modem lines. Recently some of these have been connected to the Internet for a variety of organizations.

Binary File A file containing information such as a compressed archive, an image, a program, a spread sheet, or a word processor document. The items in the file usually cannot be displayed on a screen or printed without using some program.

Bit A binary digit, a 1 or a zero, a single binary digit. Information in computers can be represented as a sequence of bits, and modem and network speeds are often expressed in terms of bits per second.

Bookmark List A list of links to items on the World Wide Web. Usually created by an individual as they use a Web browser. A good way to keep track of favorite or important sites, these are saved and can be used at any time.

Byte A sequence of 8 bits. Each character in the ASCII code is represented by a byte. The size of files, disks, and memory is often expressed in bytes, for example a file may have a size of 58,000 bytes, a hard disk may be capable of holding 1 gigabyte (1,000,000,000 bytes) of information, and a computer's memory may be 8 megabytes (8,000,000).

Cache A portion of memory (either in RAM or on a disk) set aside to hold the items retrieved most recently. When you're using Netscape Navigator this refers to recent Web pages and images. It's used so that items may be retrieved from cache rather than going back to the Internet. Netscape can be set so that, in the case an item hasn't changed, it will be retrieved from the cache.

Client A program or Internet service that sends commands to and receives information from a corresponding program (often) at a remote site called a server. Most Internet services run as client/server programs. Telnet, for example, works this way. A user starts a client program on their computer which contacts a Telnet server.

Compression An algorithm or scheme used to compress or shrink a file. A file in compressed form must first be uncompressed or transformed before it can be read, displayed, or used. Files available through anonymous FTP are often stored in compressed form, and must be treated as binary files.

Dial-up Access Access to the Internet through a phone line and a modem. Typically gives the user a login name and shell account to another computer which has a full IP Internet connection. The user usually has access to only text based Internet services.

Dial-Up IP Connection A connection to the Internet through a modem that allows the computer to access the Internet using TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and IP (Internet Protocol). This allows for the possibility of using any Internet services or resource. Information is sent and received as packets using a modem.

Digest A collection of messages from a Listserv or discussion group, sent at regular intervals such as daily or weekly.

Direct IP Connection A connection to the Internet made by installing a device (a network adapter or card) into a computer and then connecting the device to a network through a cable. TCP (Transmission Control Protocol) and IP (Internet Protocol) are implemented through software on the computer, information is sent and received as packets, and it is possible to access the full range of Internet services (provided the software for a particular service is installed on the computer).

Discussion Group A form of group discussion and sharing information carried on by electronic mail. A discussion group focuses on a single topic.

Domain Name The Internet name for a network or computer system. The name consists of a sequence of characters separated by periods such as

Download Transfer a file from a remote computer to the computer used by an individual.

E-mail Electronic Mail. A basic Internet service which allows users to exchange messages electronically.

Electronic Mail A basic Internet service which allows users to exchange information electronically.

Encryption A procedure to convert a file from its original form to one that can only be read by the intended recipient.

FAQ Frequently Asked Questions. A list, often associated with Usenet newsgroups, of commonly asked questions and answers on a specific topic. These are usually the first place users should look to find answers to questions or to get information on a topic.

Fire Wall A security device or system, usually a combination of hardware and software meant to protect a local network from intruders from the Internet.

Flame An e-mail message or article in a Usenet newsgroup that's meant to insult someone or provoke controversy. This term is also applied to messages which contain strong criticism of or disagreement with a previous message or article.

Frame Some pages are divided into rectangular regions called frames. Each frame has its own scrollbars, and in fact each frame represents an individual Web page.

Free-Net A community based network, allowing access to the Internet for no or a small membership fee.

FTP File Transfer Protocol, which allows computers on the Internet to exchange files. One of the three basic Internet services.

FTP Archive A collection of files available by using anonymous FTP.

Gateway A device or program which transfers information between different types of networks. The networks may have similar functions, but in most cases use different technologies for handling information.

Gopher A menu oriented system that gives access to documents, files, and other Internet services, regardless of where they are on the Internet. The software for Gopher was created and developed at the University of Minnesota to allow users to browse and retrieve documents in a campus environment.

GUI Graphical User Interface. Uses icons and images in addition to text to represent information, input and output.

Header A portion of an e-mail message containing information pertinent to the transmission of the message such as the address of the sender, the address of the recipient, and when the message was sent.

Helper Application A program used with a Web browser to display, view, or work with files that the browser cannot display. For example, graphic or image files in GIF or JPEG format can be displayed by Netscape Navigator. If an image file of another type were accessed through a hyperlink, then a helper application would be necessary to display it. As another example, Web browsers can work with several protocols but not with Telnet, so to activate a hyperlink that begins a Telnet session a Telnet client, separate from the Web browser, has to be used. The Web browser includes ways of being configured to recognize when to use specific helper applications.

History List A list of Internet sites, services, and resources which have been accessed through a WWW browser to arrive at the current item.

Home Page The first screen or page of a site accessible through a WWW browser.

Host A computer on the Internet that allows users to communicate with other computers.

HTML Hypertext Markup Language. The format used for writing documents to be viewed with a WWW browser. Items in the document can be text, images, sounds, and links to other HTML documents or sites, services, and resources on the Internet.

HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol. The protocol used by World Wide Web servers and clients to communicate.

Hyperlink Words, phrases, images, or regions of an image that are often highlighted or appear in a different color and can be selected as part of a WWW page. Each hyperlink represents another Web page, a location in the current Web page, and image, an audio, video, or multimedia file, or some other resource on the World Wide Web. When selected the resource represented by the hyperlink is activated.

Hypermedia An extension to hypertext to include graphics and audio.

Hypertext A way of viewing or working with a document in text format which allows cross-references to be followed and then return. This presents a nonlinear means of dealing with text, and is accomplished through a computer interface to text.

Hytelnet A guide and a tool for working with resources accessible by Telnet. It presents a hypertext interface to an organized list of Telnet sites. The sites are arranged in categories by the type of service such as a library catalog, database, bulletin board, electronic book, network information, and includes a glossary.

Inline Plug-in A program run on the client computer that extends the capabilities of a Web browser to display certain types of files as part of a Web page within the browser window. Some examples are Adobe Acrobat for viewing and printing of documents in PDF format, Macromedia Shockwave for interaction with multimedia, and Progressive Networks RealAudio for audio that's played as its being retrieved from a remote site.

Interest Group Group discussion and sharing information carried on by electronic mail. An interest group focuses on a single topic. An individual subscribes or joins an interest group electronically and all messages sent to the group are distributed by e-mail to the members.

Internet Protocol (IP) The basic protocol used for the Internet. Information is put into a single packet, the packet contains the address of the sender and the recipient and then sent out. The receiving system removes the information from the packet.

IP Address An Internet address in numeric form. Consists of four numerals, each in the range of 0 through 255 separated by periods. An example is

IP Connection A connection to the Internet which provides access to all services, resources, and tools. A computer system with an IP connection has an IP address.

ISP Internet Service Provider. A (usually) commercial service that provides access to the Internet. Fees often depend on amount and the maximum possible speed, in bits per second, of access to the Internet.

Java An object-oriented programming language. It was originally designed to be used in networked and embedded devices. It has been used successfully to create interactive applications that can be made part of Web pages.

Java Applet A Java program that can be included as part of a Web page.

Java Script A programming language designed to be interpreted by a Web browser. The statements in the language can be made part of an HTML source file to enable some interactive features such as mouse clicks and input to forms.

List Address The address to use to send e-mail to be distributed to each member of a discussion group, interest group, Listserv list, or mailing list.

Listproc One of the several types of software used to manage and administer a discussion group, interest group, or mailing list.

Listserv The type of software used to manage a Listserv list, a form of a discussion group, interest group, or mailing list.

Lurking Reading the e-mail or articles in a discussion group or newsgroup, without contributing or posting messages.

Lynx A text-based World Wide Web browser (software) used for accessing information in a hypertext manner on the Internet.

Mail User Agent The software used to access and manage a user's electronic mail. Some examples are Pine and Eudora.

Mailing List Group discussion and sharing information carried on by electronic mail. A mailing list focuses on a single topic. An individual subscribes or joins a mailing list electronically and all messages sent to the group are distributed by e-mail to the members.

Majordomo One of the several types of software used to manage and administer a discussion list, interest group, or mailing list.

Menu Bar The sequence of pull-down menus across the top of the Web browser window. All commands are accessible through the menu bar.

Message Body The text portion of an e-mail message.

MIME Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. Extensions to standard e-mail programs making it easy to send, receive, and include nontext files.

Modem The device used to allow a computer to communicate with another computer over a phone line. Its needed since the computers information is in digital form and information on many telephone lines is transmitted in analog form. A device to convert from one form to the other is a modulator and demodulator, hence the term modem.

Moderator A person who manages or administers a discussion group, interest group, Listserv list, mailing list, or Usenet newsgroup. In most cases the moderator is a volunteer. Messages sent to the group are first read by the moderator who then passes appropriate messages to the group.

Mosaic A World Wide Web browser (software) used for accessing information in a hypertext or hypermedia manner on the Internet. It gives the user a graphical interface (GUI) to Internet services and resources.

National Public Telecommunications Network (NPTN) A confederation of Free-Net's, community based networks. Its purpose is to help establish community networks, to link those systems into a common network, and to supplement their services with network-wide services and resources.

Netetiquette A collection of rules for behavior on the Internet and/or Usenet.

Netnews An alternative term for Usenet News; usually used to refer to UsenetNews carried on the Internet.

Netscape Navigator A World Wide Web browser (software) used for accessing information in a hypertext or hypermedia manner on the Internet. It gives the user a graphical interface (GUI) to Internet services and resources. The most popular Web browser.

Newsreader Software used by an individual to read, reply to, and manage UsenetNews.

Packet The basic unit of information sent across the Internet. Packets contain information (data), the address of the sender, and the address of the recipient.

Personal Home Page A Web page used by an individual to give personal and/or professional information.

POP Post Office Protocol. The way many e-mail programs retrieve messages from a mail server. E-mail is delivered on the Internet to the mail server and an e-mail program running on a personal computer retrieves that e-mail through POP.

Port Number Some Internet services have a unique number assigned to them which refers to a logical channel in a communications system. Using a port number with a Telnet session, such as telnet 3000, allows for a connection without providing a login name.

Posting An article or message sent to a Usenet newsgroup.

PPP Point-to-Point Protocol. A protocol that allows a computer with a modem communicate using TCP/IP.

Protocols A set of rules or procedures for exchanging information between networks or computer systems.

Proxy A special server that runs in the secure portion of a network with a firewall and allows users to access Internet services from that same secure portion of the network. The name and port numbers of proxy server can be entered in the Network preferences, Proxies panel of the Options menu.

Router A device (hardware) that transfers information between networks.

Search Engine In the context of the World Wide Web a program that seeks out, visits, and indexes URLs on the WWW. The index is searched for key words or phrase entered by a user. This results in a collection of hyperlinks returned to the user where the hyperlinks are references to sources whose description, title or content match the words or phrase.

Server A computer that shares resources with other computers on the Internet. In the context of Internet services a server is a computer system or program which provides information to other programs called clients. When a user starts a Web browser she starts a client program which contacts a Web server program.

Signature An optional portion of an e-mail message consisting of information about the sender such as their full name, mailing address, phone number, etc. The signature is stored in a file and its automatically included with each message.

Signoff A term used in a command to leave, quit, or unsubscribe from a discussion group, interest group, Listserv list, or mailing list.

SLIP Serial Line Internet Protocol. Software allowing the use of the Internet Protocol (IP), over a serial line or through a serial port. Commonly used with a modem connection to a service providing Internet services.

SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. The Internet standard protocol used to transfer electronic mail from one computer system to another.

Subscribe A term used in a command to join or become part of a discussion group, interest group, Listserv list, or mailing list. This term is also used when choosing to make a Usenet newsgroup one of those listed when you use a newsreader.

TCP/IP Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. A collection of protocols used to provide the basis for Internet and WWW services.

Telnet Allows for remote login capabilities on the Internet. One of the three basic Internet services. A user on one computer on the Internet can access and login to another computer.


Text File A file which contains characters in a plain human-readable format. There are no formatting commands such as underlining or displaying characters in bold face or different fonts. Also called an ASCII file.

Tool Bar The sequence of icons below the Menu Bar. Clicking on an icon executes a command or causes an action.

Thread A collection of articles all dealing with a single posting or e-mail message.

Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) A protocol used as the basis of most Internet services. It is used in conjunction (actually on top of) the Internet Protocol. It allows for reliable communication oriented to process-to-process communication.

Unsubscribe A term used in a command to leave, signoff, or quit from a discussion group, interest group, or mailing list. The term is also used to remove a Usenet newsgroup from the list of those you would regularly read.

Upload Transfer a file from one the computer system being used to a remote system.

URL Uniform Resource Locator. A way of describing the location of an item (document, service, resource) on the Internet and also specifying the means by which to access that item.

Usenet A system for exchanging messages called articles arranged according to specific categories called newsgroups. The articles (messages) are passed from one system to another, not as e-mail between individuals.

Uudecode A program to recreate binary files from the ASCII or text form to which they were converted by uuencode. Used by someone who has received a file or e-mail in uuencode form.

Uuencode A program to convert binary data into ASCII form. Necessary to use to send binary files with some e-mail systems. Used to send binary files on e-mail systems without MIME.


VT100 A specific type of terminal, most commonly used with Internet services and programs such as Hytelnet, Lynx, and Pine. Many programs work in full-screen mode and need to know the type of terminal they'll be using.

Web Browser A program (software) used to access the Internet services and resources available through the World Wide Web.

Web Page The information available and displayed by a Web browser as the result of opening a local file or opening a location (URL). The contents and format of the Web page are specified using HTML.

World Wide Web (WWW) The World Wide Web is the collection of different services and resources available on the Internet and accessible through a Web browser.

Last Updated: Thursday, May 11, 2000
©1996-1999 Ernest Ackermann
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