You are here: mcu.org.uk | article | Internet Glossary of Terms

Print version | forum | register for updates | contact   

Internet Glossary of Terms

Compiled by Pat Byrne of ScotConnect.

Acrobat
Software used for the creation and distribution of documents. This cross-platform software is increasingly used for transmitting complex documents over the Web. It is very flexible and can render complex information the same way on a Apple Mac, Windows or UNIX computer.
ARPAnet
Stands for: Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. ARPAnet is important in relation to the development of the Internet. It was developed in the 1960's and 1990's by the U.S. Department of Defense. Initially designed to survive a nuclear war by distributing packets of data over a complex mesh of nodes. TCP/IP networking protocols were developed for the ARPAnet.
Bandwidth
Bandwidth size is important in terms of the speed of your Internet connection. It is a way of describing network capacity - a higher bandwith connection means the capacity to carry data is greater.You need lots of bandwidth to access facilities such as digital video
Browser
The browser is the software that is used for looking at World Wide Web pages and resources. Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Explorer are both popular browsers.
Client
A software application that interacts with a server application. With regard to the World Wide Web, a browser client, like Netscape Navigator, will request a file over the Internet from a server program.
Domain Name
Every computer on the Internet is identified by a number - called an IP number (IP stands for Internet Protocol). Because it is difficult for people remember numbers the comupers can also be given names - the names are called Domain Names. The Internet uses the Domain Name System (together with IP number system) to provide addresses. Each internet site has its own unique name. They may appear confusing initially, however, you can often tell quite a lot about who or what you are connecting to from the address. For example: The "top level" - the last part , always two or three letters, such as .com .net .org .gov are used in the USA and in that order represent commercial enterprizes, non-profit organisations, network providers and Federal Government. The letters uk indicates that the site is in the United Kingdom and every country has its own code - au - Australia, ca Canada, de Germany, fr France (they are not always used).
Email
Electronic Mail. Is the method of sending text messages from one computer to another. Through this device mail can be sent to the other side of the world in seconds.
Em unit
The em unit is a relative unit of measurement originally derived from the width of the letter M, where the width of the letter M is assumed to be equal to the point size.
FTP
File Transfer Protocol. FTP is the most common method for copying files over the Internet. This is the process used when uploading new Web pages to your server.. Some FTP sites including university shareware/freeware archives and software company archives -- allow you to log on anonymously to retrieve public files.
GIF or .gif
Graphics lnterchange Format. Is used in graphics file formatting on the Web. It is a "lossless "compression method but is limited. GIF is a "lossless" compression method but is limited to 256 colours (8-bit colour). GIF files have the extension .gif: (See also JPEG).
Home Page:
On the World Wide Web home page has two meanings: 1. The home page is the first screen you see when you start your internet browser 2. The other refers to the page of any Web site which provides guidance and information about what is contained within the Web site.
HTML
Hypertext Markup Language. This is the page-coding for the World Wide Web. It involves writing in plain text adding codes to structure the Web page, add graphics and text hyperlinks to other pages on the Web site or other files anywhere on the Internet.
Internet
The "world's biggest network". The worldwide net of networks and subnetworks. Once you are online - your computer can talk to every other computer on the Internet anywhere in the world.
IP Address
Every computer connected to the Internet has a unique Internet Protocol address so that other computers can find it. It is the unique network address used by TCP/IP and is made up of four numbers separated by periods e.g. 166.212.171.
IRC Internet Relay Chat.
Is a feature that enables you to "chat" online - the Internet version of CB radios.on. Users join IRC channels and post messages in real-time to each other - participating in discussions with people from all over the world.
ISP: Internet Service Provider.
Is a firm which provides Internet access. Full internet access is now available through British Telecom and NTL as well as a wide range of companies offering free Internet access. Magazines such as Internet magazine evaluate and compare services offered by ISPs.
Java script
A scripting language introduced by Netscape to allow non-programmers to add interactive elements to webpages.
JPEG
Joint Photographic Experts' Group. Is a standard for photographic image compression. JPEG files on the Web have the extension .jpeg or .jpg. See also: GIF.
Modem: Modulator/demodulator.
This is the facility which allows you to connect to the Internet. Standard phone lines work using sound. Conversion is required to turn the sound to and from a digital signal. It accomplishes this by converting l's and 0's to oscillating tones -- thus the pulsing shrieking sound that you hear when you hear a modem initiating a connection.
Mosaic
Developed as freeware at NCSA Mosaic was the first graphical World Wide Web browser. When its principal developer Mark Andreessen left NCSA to form Netscape it quickly lost prominence. Most online services' browsers are based on some Mosaic code.
MPEG
Motion Pictures Experts Group. An evolving standard for digital video compression. Often used for creating movie files seen on the World Wide Web. See also JPEG.
MUD
Multi-User Dungeon. An interactive text game that runs over the Internet MUDs are much like early text computer games such as Dungeons and Zork but in a MUD any number of users may play with and against each other.
Netiquette
Netiquette is the code of conduct which has developed in using the Internet. There are many examples of "proper" etiquette on the Net. Typing in BLOCK CAPITALS should be avoided as on the Net this represents shouting. Tolerance towards newcomers to the Net (newbies) is expected and avoid over using emoticons (smileys).
Netizen
A denizen of the Internet.
Netscape
This term refers to one of the most popular World Wide Web browsers (which is actually called "Netscape Navigator") and the name of the company that publishes it.
Network
Any collection of two or more computers connected together sharing hardware or software is a network. LAN is a formal term for a smaller network. and WAN is a formal term for a larger network. The Internet is sometimes referred to as "the world's biggest network."
Newsgroup
The name for discussion groups on Usenet. Newsgroups are arranged in a hierarchical fashion opposite to that used for domain names. For example. the group alt has thousands of groups and subgroups with names like alt.fan. alt.fan.elvis alt.fan.elvis.forever. ult.fan.elvis.songs. There is a Usenet newsgroup for every subject imaginable and you can access really interesting and useful information or alternatively encounter a lot of nonsense.
Packet
Data is broken up into packets before being transmitted over the Internet. For example one file could be broken into five packets each travelling over five different computers before arriving at its destination. Decentralisation of this type is at the crux of how the Internet works.
PDF
Portable Document Format. The file format used by Adobe Acrobat.
Search Engine
Probably the quickest way to find information on the Web is to use a search engine. They appear like normal Web pages with a form to enter keywords or other criteria relevant to what you are searching for. This information is fed into a database which responds to the search. Some major search engines include: Alta Vista. Hotbot, Infoseek, Excite Lycos ,Yahoo and Infoseek. Some search engines find pages through robots that regularly crawl the Web building databases of information on current pages. Others solely index items that have been submitted manually. Many search engines use both methods.
Server
Server is a generic term for hardware or software that makes services available on the network.
Shareware
Software usually developed by a small company or an individual that is distributed via the Internet online services and CD-ROMs. These are either free or cost very little and payment is based on an honour system.
SMTP
Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. The main transport protocol for Internet e-mail. Has mostly replaced the slower older protocol UUCP. Many enterprise e-mail systems use other protocols that must be translated into SMTP by gateways when being sent over the Internet.
Spam
To spam is to flood Usenet newsgroups or mailing lists with unwanted unsolicited information. A spam may be material advertising get-rich-quick scheme or a paranoid rant.
TCP/IP
Transmission Control Protocol /lnternet Protocol. The protocols that drive the Internet. TCP/IP was best known as the standard UNIX networking protocol, but some implementation of TCP/IP is now available to every major operating system.
Uniform Resource Locator
The system of addressing for the World Wide Web. URLs always start with a protocol name, like http, ftp, gopher, or telnet. then usually list the resource's domain name and file path. A typical URL would be (http://www.yahoo.com).
Usenet
A world wide user's network where information is exchanged. Newsgroups are organised around different subjects.

Sources for the above information include: North West Direct Glossary of Internet Terms http://www.isoc.org/internet/ and The Internet and World Wide Web - The Rough Guide 2.0 - Angus J. Kennedy (Penguin)

[ Register for updates ]

  

Last update: Tuesday, January 28, 2003 at 5:48:26 PM
The Making Connections Unit is based in the School of Law and Social Science in Glasgow Caledonian University.

Copyright 2003 The Making Connections Unit

I use QuicknEasyImage to add photographs to this site.