Internet Basics Dictionary

Running into words you’re not familiar with? Find the definitions here:

applet — A type of Java programing (see: internet script)

authentication — Verifying the identity of a person or process. for example, by using a username and password to access a site.

bandwidth — The amount of information or data that can be sent over a network connection in a given period of time. As in the speed of an internet connection.

baud — The speed of a modem. Most commonly measured in kbps for dial up and mbps for high speed connections.

BBS — abr. See ‘bulletin board system’

beta — A version of an application or website that is made available prior to the official release for the purposes of testing. Testing is usually conducted by ‘betatesters’ individuals of a semiprofessional or nonprofessional status who are familiar with the process and wish to gain educational experience.

blog — An internet application that allows a user to publish and distribute text and graphics over the internet. (see also: video blog, podcast)

browser — An application used to view and navigate internet resources.

bulletin board system — (abr: BBS) An internet application that allows for the exchange of messages between groups of users on specific topics of discussion. (also: board, e-group)

CGI — abr. 1.(see: Common Gateway Interface) 2. (see: Computer Generated Imagery)

chat — A form of online communication that enables typed conversations to occur in real-time. Messages to all members participating in a ‘chat’ are relayed in a single window instantaneously.

client — Any computer system that requests a service of another computer system.

Common Gateway Interface — (abr: CGI) A standard used by programmers that allows their programs to interact with the World Wide Web. (See ‘internet script’)

Computer Generated Imagery — (abr: CGI) A form of graphic, specifically the type constructed in virtual three dimension. 3D graphics

database — Any large collection of data that has been formatted to be searched and/or displayed in a particular organized manner.

DNS — abr. Domain Name System. (see: domain name)

domain name — An easy to remember name assigned to a specific IP address on the Internet. someone.com anyone.net and nobody.org are all examples of domain names. Most domain names are assigned by the InterNIC. (see also: IP Address)

download — To transfer data from a host system, such as a web site, to a  client system, such as a site visitor. (see also: upload).

Dynamic IP — An IP address that is assigned when a computer logs unto a network, such as the internet. the same IP might be shared by many different computers, normally of the client type. (see also: Static IP, IP Address)

Ethernet — A type of network technology that allows computers to communicate with each other utilizing the TCP/IP protocol and the use of a  coaxial cable.

FAQ — Acronym: Frequently Asked Questions. A reference document created for particular topic, group or website that answers common questions held by new members or visitors. It is considered poor Netiquette to ask a question without first reading the FAQ.

File Transfer Protocol — (abr: FTP) An Internet protocol that enables you to transfer files between computers on the Internet. See also ‘download’ and ‘upload’.

Forum — A generic reference to any number of online group discussion mediums. (see also: bulletin board system, chat, listserv)

FTP — Abr. See ‘File Transfer Protocol’.

GIF — abr. Graphics Interchange Format. (see: graphics)

Graphic — Images formatted so that they can be seen an shared over the internet. gif jpg and png are examples of the most easily shared graphics formats because they are both difficult to corrupt and small in size.

hacker — An expert programmer who has spent a great deal of time exploring minutiae of a computer system or network, as opposed to those who learn only the minimum necessary.

hit — A single user accessing a single file from a web server. A unit of measure often used erroneously to evaluate the popularity of a web site.

home page — A web page that is the main source of information about a particular person, group, or concept.

host — A computer that administrates internet services and allows other computers to connect to it.

HTML — Abr. (see: Hypertext Markup Language).

HTTP — Abr. (see Hypertext Transfer Protocol).

hyperlink — A highlighted word or picture within a hypertext document that when clicked takes you to another place within the document or to another document altogether. (also: link).

hypertext — Text that includes links or shortcuts to other documents, allowing the reader to easily jump from one text to related texts, and consequentially from one idea to another, in a nonlinear fashion.

Hypertext Markup Language — (abr: HTML) A computer language used to create pages on the World Wide Web. See also ‘hypertext’.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol — (abr: HTTP) The protocol used by the World Wide Web to transfer HTML files.

Internet — A worldwide network of computer systems that all use the TCP/IP communications protocol and share a common address space. the World Wide Web, e-mail, file transfers, and internet chat are all examples of internet systems. (also: net, web)

Internet Script – A type of programing language designed to write software that will function on many different types of computers and operating systems while still being compact. Java, javascript, perl and applets are all examples of internet scripting languages.

Internet Service Provider — (abr: ISP) A business that delivers access to the Internet, usually for a monthly fee.

InterNIC — The entity that controls the registration of most domain names on the Internet.

interoperability — The ability of software and hardware on multiple machines from multiple vendors to communicate meaningfully.

intranet — A private network that uses Internet-related technologies to provide services within an organization. (See also: Local Area Network)

IP address — A string of four numbers separated by periods, such as 111.22.3.444 used to represent a computer on the Internet. All computers connected to the internet have an IP address. (see also: domain name, static IP, dynamic IP)

ISP — Abr: (See: Internet Service Provider).

Java — An internet programming language created by Sun Microsystems. (see also: internet script.)

JavaScript — A scripting language that allows lines of Java code to be inserted into HTML scripts. (see also: internet scripting.)

JPEG — abr. Joint Photographic Experts Group. (see: graphics)

listserv — An electronic automated mailing list system. Listservs maintain a list of e-mail addresses to be used for mass e-mailing. Subscribing and unsubscribing to the list is accomplished by sending a properly formatted e-mail message to the list server. There are two types of mailing lists: moderated and unmoderated. To send a message to an unmoderated list, you e-mail it to the list server which automatically e-mails your message to every name on the list. To send a message to a moderated list, you e-mail it to the mailing list’s moderator who would then send it on to the list server for distribution. (also: list, mail list, e-list) (see also: forum)

Local Area Network — (abr: LAN) A group of computers at a single location, usually an office or home, that are connected to each other through some form of network technology. (see also: Ethernet, Wi-Fi)

moderator — (abr. -mod) A person or small group of people who manage and enforce the rules of an online forum. (see also: listserv.)

netiquette — Network etiquette, or the set of informal rules of behavior that have evolved on the internet.

newsgroup — A group of internet users who exchange e-mail messages on a topic of mutual interest (see also: listserv, forum)

Perl — A programming language whose acronym stands for “Practical Extraction and Report Language”. Perl is a powerful, yet unstructured language that is especially good for rapidly constructing programs that process text files. Perl is a common choice of programmers for writing CGI scripts to automate input and output from web pages.

podcast — An internet audio broadcast similar to a blog

programming language — A computer language that programmers utilize to create programs. C, Perl, Java, BASIC, and COBOL are examples of programming languages. In essence, programming languages are translators that take words and symbols and convert them to binary codes that the CPU can understand.

protocol — The rules governing how a computer system operates.

server — A computer that provides information to client machines. For example, there are web servers that send out web pages, mail servers that deliver e-mail, list servers that administer mailing lists, FTP servers that hold files for download, and name servers that provide information about IP addresses.

sysadmin — The system administrator of a computer system or network. (also: root.)

TCP/IP — Abbreviation for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, a collection of protocols that define the basic workings of the features of the Internet.

Uniform Resource Locator — (abr: URL) An addressing protocol used by World Wide Web browsers to locate resources on the Internet.

UNIX — The operating system upon which the Internet was developed.

upload — To send a file to a network. (see also: download).

URL — See Uniform Resource Locator.

user — A person who uses computer software or hardware as opposed to someone who develops computer software or hardware.

user ID — The name by which a user is  identified by a particular network. In order to log onto a system, both a user ID and a password must be provided (see also: authentication)

video blog — Similar to a blog or podcast but consisting of short film segments rather than text or audio. (see also ‘blog’ ‘podcast’)

webmaster — The person in charge of administrating a World Wide Web site.

Wi-Fi — Acronym: “Wireless Fidelity.” A radio based network protocol that allows computers to communicate with each other wirelessly without being dependent on a physical connection.

whois — A program that queries the InterNIC’s database of domain names.

World Wide Web — (abr: WWW) An information system on the internet that provides information via hypertext documents. (see also browser, Hypertext Markup Language)

WWW — Abr. (see: World Wide Web).

WYSIWYG — Abr: What You See Is What You Get. In relation to the internet the term usually refers to software that creates internet content from a graphic interface rather than from code.