January 2000

This is an alphabetical list of Web Building Glossary Terms.


Access (Microsoft Access)
A database system developed by Microsoft. Part of Microsoft Office Professional. Mostly used on low traffic web sites running on the Windows platform.

A web technology for streaming movies from a web server to a web client. Developed by Microsoft.

A programming interface (API) that allows web browsers to download and execute Windows programs. (See also Plug-In)

See Web Address.

In web terms: The starting point or ending point of a hyperlink.
Learn more about links in our HTML tutorial

Anonymous FTP
See FTP Server.

ANSI (American National Standards Institute)
An organization that creates standards for the computer industry. Responsible for the ANSI C standard.

An international standard for the C programming language.

ADO (ActiveX Data Object)
A Microsoft technology that provides data access to any kind of data store.
Learn more about ADO in our ADO tutorial

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)
A special type of DSL line where the upload speed is different from the download speed.

An open source web browser editor from W3C, used to push leading-edge ideas in browser design.

A set of pictures simulating movement when played in series.

Anti-Virus Program
A computer program made to discover and destroy all types of computer viruses.

An open source web server. Mostly for Unix, Linux and Solaris platforms.

See web applet.

A computer program to locate files on public FTP servers.

API (Application Programming Interface)
An interface for letting a program communicate with another program. In web terms: An interface for letting web browsers or web servers communicate with other programs. (See also Active-X and Plug-In)

The experimental network tested in the 1970's which started the development of the Internet.

In web terms: the method used to verify the identity of a user, program or computer on the web.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

A set of 128 alphanumeric and special control characters used for computer storing and printing of text. Used by HTML when transmitting data over the web.
See the full list of ASCII codes in our HTML Reference

ASF (Advanced Streaming Format)
A multimedia streaming format. Developed by Microsoft for Windows Media.

ASP (Active Server Pages)
A Microsoft technology allowing the insertion of server executable scripts in web pages.
Learn more about ASP in our ASP tutorial

ASX (ASF Streaming Redirector)
An XML format for storing information about ASF files. Developed by Microsoft for Windows Media.

AVI (Audio Video Interleave)
File format for video files. Video compression technology developed by Microsoft.

Banner Ad
A (most often graphic) advertisement placed on a web page, which acts as a hyperlink to an advertiser's web site.

A measure for the speed (amount of data) you can send through an Internet connection. The more bandwidth, the faster the connection.

The number of symbols per second sent over a channel.

BBS (Bulletin Board System)
A web based public system for sharing discussions, files, and announcements.

Binary Data
Data in machine readable form.

Bit (Binary Digit)
The smallest unit of data stored in a computer. A bit can have the value of 0 or 1. A computer uses 8 bits to store one text character.

BMP (Bitmap)
A format for storing images.

In web terms: A link to a particular web site, stored (bookmarked) by a web user for future use and easy access.

Term to describe a user's movement across the web, moving from page to page via hyperlinks, using a web browser. (See Web Browser).

BPS (Bits Per Second)
Term to describe the transmission speed for data over the web.

See Web Browser.

Byte (Binary Term)
A computer storage unit containing 8 bits. Each byte can store one text character.

An advanced programming language used for programming advanced computer applications.

C++ (C Plus Plus)
The same as C with added object-oriented functions.

C# (C Sharp)
A Microsoft version of C++ with added Java-like functions.

Case Sensitive
A term used to describe if it is of importance to use upper or lower case letters.

In web terms: A web browser or web server feature which stores copies of web pages on a computer's hard disk.

An on-line text-based communication between Internet users.

CGI (Common Gateway Interface)
A set of rules that describes how a CGI program communicates with a web server.

The folder (or directory) on a web server that stores CGI programs.

CGI Program
A small program that handles input and output from a web server. Often CGI programs are used for handling forms input or database queries.

A codec for computer video.

See Web Client.

In web terms: The communication and separation of workload between a web client and a web server.

In web terms: A mouse click on a hyperlink element (such as text or picture) on a web page which creates an event such as taking a visitor to another web page or another part of the same page.

Clickthrough Rate
The number of times visitors click on a hyperlink (or advertisement) on a page, as a percentage of the number of times the page has been displayed.

Codec (Compressor / Decompressor)
Common term for the technology used for compressing and decompressing data.

Communication Protocol
A standard (language and a set of rules) to allow computers to interact in a standard way. Examples are IP, FTP, and HTTP.
Learn more about Communication Protocols in our TCP/IP tutorial

A method of reducing the size (compress) of web documents or graphics for faster delivery via the web.

Computer Virus
A computer program that can harm a computer by displaying messages, deleting files, or even destroying the computer's operating system.

Information from a web server, stored on your computer by your web browser. The purpose of a cookie is to provide information about your visit to the website for use by the server during a later visit.

Web development software for most platforms (Linux, Unix, Solaris and Windows).

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
A W3C recommended language for defining style (such as font, size, color, spacing, etc.) for web documents.
Learn more about CSS in our CSS tutorial

Data stored in a computer in such a way that a computer program can easily retrieve and manipulate the data.
Learn more about databases in our SQL tutorial

Database System
A computer program (like MS Access, Oracle, and MySQL) for manipulating data in a database.

A database system from IBM. Mostly for Unix and Solaris platforms.

DBA (Data Base Administrator)
The person (or the software) who administers a database. Typical task are: backup, maintenance and implementation.

DHCP (Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol)
An Internet standard protocol that assigns new IP addresses to users as need.

DHTML (Dynamic HTML)
A term commonly to describe HTML content that can change dynamically.
Learn more about DHTML in our DHTML tutorial

Dial-up Connection
In web terms: A connection to Internet via telephone and modem.

Discussion Group
See Newsgroup.

DNS (Domain Name Service)
A computer program running on a web server, translating domain names into IP addresses. Learn more about DNS in our Web Hosting tutorial

DNS Server
A web server running DNS.

DOM (Document Object Model)
A programming model for web page objects. (See HTML DOM and XML DOM)

Domain Name
The name that identifies a web site. (like: W3Schools.com)
Learn more about domains in our Web Hosting tutorial

DOS (Disk Operating System)
A general disk based computer operating system (see OS). Originally developed by Microsoft for IBM personal computers. Often used as a shorthand for MS-DOS.

To transfer a file from a remote computer to a local computer. In web terms: to transfer a file from a web server to a web client. (see also Upload).

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
An Internet connection over regular telephone lines, but much faster. Speed may vary from 128 kilobit per second, up to 9 megabit per second.

DTD (Document Type Definition)
A set of rules (a language) for defining the legal building blocks of a web document like HTML or XML.
Learn more about DTD in our DTD tutorial

Dynamic IP
An IP address that changes each time you connect to the Internet. (See DHCP and Static IP).

E-mail (Electronic Mail)Messages sent from one person to another via the Internet.

E-mail Address
The address used for sending e-mails to a person or an organization. Typical format is username@hostname.

E-mail Server
A web server dedicated to the task of serving e-mail.

To convert data from its original form to a form that can only be read by someone that can reverse the encryption. The purpose of encryption is to prevent unauthorized reading of the data.

See Web Server Error.

A type of local area network (see LAN).

Software that acts as a security filter that can restrict types of network communication. Most often used between an individual computer (or a LAN) and the Internet.

A vector-based multimedia format developed by Macromedia for use on the web.
Learn more about Flash in our Flash tutorial

See HTML Form.

In web terms: The same as Newsgroup.

In web terms: A part of the browser screen displaying a particular content. Frames are often used to display content from different web pages.

Web development software for the Windows platform. Developed by Microsoft.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
One of the most common methods for sending files between two computers.

FTP Server
A web server you can logon to, and download files from (or upload files to). Anonymous FTP is a method for downloading files from an FTP server without using a logon account.

A computer program for transferring (and reformatting) data between incompatible applications or networks.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
A compressed format for storing images developed by CompuServe. One of the most common image formats on the Internet.

Same as Gigabyte. 10GB is ten gigabytes.

1024 megabytes. Commonly rounded down to one billion bytes.

In web terms graphics describe pictures (opposite to text).

Graphic Monitor
A display monitor that can display graphics.

Graphic Printer
A printer that can print graphics.

Graphical Banner
See Banner Ad.

Helper application
In web terms: A program helping the browser to display, view, or work with files that the browser cannot handle itself. (See Plug-In).

The number of times a web object (page or picture) has been viewed or downloaded. (See also Page Hits).

Home Page
The top-level (main) page of a web site. The default page displayed when you visit a web site.

See Web Host.

See Web Hosting.

See Hyperlink.

Trojan Horse
Computer program hidden in another computer program with the purpose of destroying software or collecting information about the use of the computer.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
HTML is the language of the web. HTML is a set of tags that are used to define the content, layout and the formatting of the web document. Web browsers use the HTML tags to define how to display the text.
Learn more about HTML in our HTML tutorial

HTML Document
A document written in HTML.

HTML DOM (HTML Document Object Model)
A programming interface for HTML documents.
Learn more about HTML DOM in our HTML DOM tutorial

HTML Editor
A software program for editing HTML pages. With an HTML editor you can add elements like lists, tables, layout, font size, and colors to a HTML document like using a word processor. An HTML editor will display the page being edited exactly the same way it will be displayed on the web (See WYSIWYG).

A form that passes user input back to the server.
Learn more about HTML forms in our HTML tutorial

The same as an HTML Document.

Code to identify the different parts of a document so that a web browser will know how to display it.
Learn more about HTML tags our HTML tutorial

HTTP (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol)
The standard set of rules for sending text files across the Internet. It requires an HTTP client program at one end, and an HTTP server program at the other end.

HTTP Client
A computer program that requests a service from a web server.

HTTP Server
A computer program providing services from a web server.

HTTPS (Hyper Text Transfer Protocol Secure)
Same as HTTP but provides secure Internet communication using SSL. (see also SSL)

A pointer to another document. Most often a pointer to another web page. A hyperlink is a synonym for a hotlink or a link, and sometimes called a hypertext connection to another document or web page.

An extension to hypertext to include graphics and audio.

Hypertext is text that is cross-linked to other documents in such a way that the reader can read related documents by clicking on a highlighted word or symbol. (see also hyperlink)

IAB (Internet Architecture Board)
A council that makes decisions about Internet standards. (See also W3C).

IE (Internet Explorer)
See Internet Explorer.

IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force)
A subgroup of IAB that focuses on solving technical problems on the Internet.

IIS (Internet Information Server)
A web server for Windows operating systems. Developed by Microsoft.

IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol)
A standard communication protocol for retrieving e-mails from an e-mail server. IMAP is much like POP but more advanced.
Learn more about IMAP in our TCP/IP tutorial

A codec for computer video developed by Intel.

A world wide network connecting millions of computers. (See also WWW)

Internet Browser
See Web Browser.

Internet Explorer
A browser by Microsoft. The most commonly used browser today.
Learn more about browsers in our browser section

Internet Server
See Web Server

A private (closed) Internet, running inside a LAN (Local Area Network).

IP (Internet Protocol)

IP Address (Internet Protocol Address)
A unique number identifying every computer on the Internet (like

IP Number (Internet Protocol Number)
Same as an IP address.

IP Packet
See TCP/IP Packet.

IRC (Internet Relay Chat)An Internet system that enables users to take part in on-line discussions.

IRC Client
A computer program that enables a user to connect to IRC.

IRC Server
An Internet server dedicated to the task of serving IRC connections.

ISAPI (Internet Server API)
Application Programming Interface (See API) for Internet Information Server (See IIS).

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
A telecommunication standard that uses digital transmission to support data communications over regular telephone lines.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)
Someone that provides access to the Internet and web hosting.

A programming language developed by SUN. Mostly for programming web servers and web applets.

Java Applet
See Web Applet.

The most popular scripting language on the internet, developed by Netscape.
Learn more about JavaScript in our JavaScript tutorial.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group)
The organization that promotes the JPG and JPEG graphic formats for storing compressed images.

Graphic formats for storing compressed images.

Microsoft's version of JavaScript.

JSP (Java Server Pages)
A Java based technology allowing the insertion of server executable scripts in web pages. Mostly used on Linux, Unix and Solaris platforms.

Same as kilobyte 10K is ten kilobytes..

Same as kilobyte 10KB is ten kilobytes..

In web terms: A word used by a search engine to search for relevant web information.
In database terms: A word (or index) used to identify a database record.

1024 bytes. Often called 1K, and rounded down to 1000 bytes.

LAN (Local Area Network)
A network between computers in a local area (like inside a building), usually connected via local cables. See also WAN.

The same as a hyperlink.

Open source computer operating system based on Unix. Mostly used on servers and web servers.

In web terms: the same as e-mail.

Mail Server
See e-mail server.

Same as Megabyte. 10MB is ten megabytes.

1024 kilobytes. Commonly rounded down to one million bytes.

Meta Data
Data that describes other data. (See also Meta Tags).

Meta Search
The method of searching for meta data in documents.

Meta Tags
Tags inserted into documents to describe the document.
Learn more about meta tags in our HTML tutorial

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)
A standard protocol for communication between computers and musical instruments.
Learn more about MIDI in our Media tutorial

MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
An Internet standard for defining document types. MIME type examples: text/plain, text/html, image/gif, image/jpg.
Learn more about MIME types in our Media tutorial

MIME Types
Document types defined by MIME.

Hardware equipment to connect a computer to a telephone network Typically used to connect to the Internet via a telephone line.

The first commonly available web browser. Mosaic was released in 1993 and started the popularity of the web.

A codec for computer video developed by Apple. Common file extension for QuickTime multimedia files.

MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3)
An audio compression format specially designed for easy download over the Internet.

MP3 File
An file containing audio compressed with MP3. Most often a music track.

MPEG (Moving Picture Expert Group)
An ISO standard codec for computer audio and video.

Common file extension for MPEG files.

MS-DOS (Microsoft Disk Operating System)
A general disk based computer operating system (See OS). Originally developed by Microsoft for IBM computers, then developed by Microsoft as a basis for the first versions of Windows.

In web terms: A presentation combining text with pictures, video, or sound.

Free open source database software often used on the web.

NetBEUI (Net Bios Extended User Interface)
An enhanced version of NetBIOS.

NetBIOS (Network Basic Input Output System)
An application programming interface (API) with functions for local-area networks (LAN). Used by DOS and Windows.

In web terms: The same as Browse.

The browser from the company Netscape. The most popular browser for many years. Today IE has the lead.
Learn more about browsers in our browser section

An on-line discussion group (a section on a news server) dedicated to a particular subject of interest.

News Reader
A computer program that enables you to read (and post messages) from an Internet newsgroup.

News Server
An Internet server dedicated to the task of serving Internet newsgroups.

In web terms: A computer connected to the Internet, most often used to describe a web server.

The browser from the company Opera.
Learn more about browsers in our browser section

OS (Operating System)
The software that manages the basic operating of a computer.

See TCP/IP Packet.

Page Hits
The number of times a web page has been visited by a user.

Page Impressions
The same as Page Hits.

Page Views
The same as Page Hits.

PDF (Portable Document Format)
A document file format developed by Adobe. Most often used for text documents.

Perl (Practical Extraction and Reporting Language)
A scripting language for web servers. Most often used on Unix servers.

PHP (PHP: Hypertext Preprocessor)
A technology allowing the insertion of server executable scripts in web pages. Mostly for Unix, Linux and Solaris platforms.
Learn more about PHP in our PHP tutorial.

A method used to check the communication between two computers. A "ping" is sent to a remote computer to see if it responds.

In web terms: The computer's operating system like Windows, Linux, or OS X.

An application built into another application. In web terms: A program built in (or added) to a web browser to handle a special type of data like e-mail, sound, or movie files. (See also ActiveX)

PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
A format for encoding a picture pixel by pixel and sending it over the web. A W3C recommendation for replacing GIF.

POP (Post Office Protocol)
A standard communication protocol for retrieving e-mails from an e-mail server. (See also IMAP).
Learn more about POP and IMAP in our TCP/IP tutorial

A number that identifies a computer IO (input/output) channel. In web terms: A number that identifies the I/O channel used by an Internet application (A web server normally uses port 80).

See Communication Protocol.

PPP (Point to Point Protocol)
A communication protocol used for direct connection between two computers.

Proxy Server
An Internet server dedicated to improve Internet performance.

A hardware (or software) system that directs (routes) data transfer to different computers in a network.

A multimedia file format created by Apple.
Learn more about QuickTime in our Media tutorial

RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks)
A standard for connecting multiple disks to the same server for higher security, speed and performance. Often used on web servers.

RDF (Resource Description Framework)
A framework for constructing languages for describing web resources.
Learn more about RDF in our RDF tutorial

Real Audio
A common multimedia audio format created by Real Networks.
Learn more about Real Audio in our Media tutorial

Real Video
A common multimedia video format created by Real Networks.
Learn more about Real Video in our Media tutorial

In web terms: The action when a web page automatically forwards (redirects) the user to another web page.

RGB (Red Green Blue)
The combination of the three primary colors that can represent a full color spectrum.
Learn more about RGB in our HTML tutorial

See Web Robot.

See XML Schema.

A collection of statements written in a Scripting Language.

Scripting Language
In web terms: A simple programming language that can be executed by a web browser or a web server. See JavaScript and VBScript.

Writing a script.

Software that you can try free of charge, and pay a fee to continue to use legally.

A format (technology) developed by Macromedia for embedding multimedia content in web pages.

Search Engine
Computer program used to search and catalog (index) the millions of pages of available information on the web. Common search engines are Google and AltaVista.

Semantic Web
A web of data with a meaning in the sense that computer programs can know enough about the data to process it.

See Web Server.

Server Errors
See Web Server Errors.

SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language)
An international standard for markup languages. The basis for HTML and XML.

SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language)

A W3C recommended language for creating multimedia presentations.
Learn more about SMIL in our SMIL tutorial

SMTP (Simple Mail Transfer Protocol)
A standard communication protocol for sending e-mail messages between computers.
Learn more about SMTP in our TCP/IP tutorial

SOAP (Simple Object Access Protocol)
A standard protocol for letting applications communicate with each other using XML.
Learn more about SOAP in our SOAP tutorial

Computer operating system from SUN.

In web terms: The action of sending multiple unwelcome messages to a newsgroup or mailing list.

See Web Spider.

Addressing a web page or an e-mail with a false referrer. Like sending an e-mail from a false address.

Computer software hidden in a computer with the purpose of collecting information about the use of the computer.

SQL (Structured Query Language)
An ANSI standard computer language for accessing and manipulating databases.
Learn more about SQL in our SQL tutorial.

SQL Server
A database system from Microsoft. Mostly used on high traffic web sites running on the Windows platform.

SSI (Server Side Include)
A type of HTML comment inserted into a web page to instruct the web server to generate dynamic content. The most common use is to include standard header or footer for the page.

SSL (Secure Socket Layer)
Software to secure and protect web site communication using encrypted transmission of data.

Static IP (address)
An IP address that is the same each time connect to the Internet. (See also Dynamic IP).

A method of sending audio and video files over the Internet in such a way that the user can view the file while it is being transferred.

Streaming Format
The format used for files being streamed over the Internet. (See Windows Media, Real Video and QuickTime).

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
A W3C recommended language for defining graphics in XML.
Learn more about SVG in our SVG tutorial

In web terms: Notifications or commands written into a web document. (See HTML Tags)

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol)
A collection of Internet communication protocols between two computers. The TCP protocol is responsible for an error free connection between two computers, while the IP protocol is responsible for the data packets sent over the network.
Learn more about TCP/IP in our TCP/IP tutorial

TCP/IP Address
See IP Address.

TCP/IP Packet
A "packet" of data sent over a TCP/IP network. (data sent over the Internet is broken down into small "packets" from 40 to 32000 bytes long).

UDDI (Universal Description Discovery and Integration)

A platform-independent framework for describing services, discovering businesses, and integrating business services using the Internet.
Learn more about UDDI in our WSDL tutorial

Computer operating system, developed by Bell Laboratories. Mostly used for servers and web servers.

To uncompress a ZIPPED file. See ZIP.

To transfer a file from a local computer to a remote computer. In web terms: to transfer a file from a web client to a web server. (see also Download).

URI (Uniform Resource Identifier)
Term used to identify resources on the internet. URL is one type of an URI.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
A web address. The standard way to address web documents (pages) on the Internet (like: http://www.w3schools.com/)

A world wide news system accessible over the Internet. (See Newsgroups)

User Agent
The same as a Web Browser.

VB (Visual Basic)
See Visual Basic.

A scripting language from Microsoft. VBScript is the default scripting language in ASP. Can also be used to program Internet Explorer.
Learn more about VBScript in our VBScript tutorial.

Same as Computer Virus.

In web terms: A visit to a web site. Commonly used to describe the activity for one visitor of a web site.

In web terms: A visitor of a web site. Commonly used to describe a person visiting (viewing) a web site.

Visual Basic
A programming language from Microsoft.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)
A private network between two remote sites, over a secure encrypted virtual Internet connection (a tunnel).

VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language)
A programming language to allow 3D effects to be added to HTML documents.

W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)
The organization responsible for managing standards for the WWW.
Learn more about W3C in our W3C tutorial

WAN (Wide Area Network)
Computers connected together in a wide network, larger than a LAN, usually connected via phone lines. See also LAN.

WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)
A leading standard for information services on wireless terminals like digital mobile phones.
Learn more about WAP in our WAP tutorial

Web Address
The same as an URL or URI. See URL.

Web Applet
A program that can be downloaded over the web and run on the user's computer. Most often written in Java.

Web Client
A software program used to access web pages. Sometimes the same as a Web Browser, but often used as a broader term.

Web Browser
A software program used to display web pages.
Learn more about browsers in our Browser section

Web Document
A document formatted for distribution over the web. Most often a web document is formatted in a markup language like HTML or XML.

Web Error
See Web Server Error.

Web Form
See HTML Form.

Web Host
A web server that "hosts" web services like providing web site space to companies or individuals.

Web Hosting
The action of providing web host services.

Web Page
A document (normally an HTML file) designed to be distributed over the Web.

Web Robot
See Web Spider.

Web Server
A server is a computer that delivers services or information to other computers. In web terms: A server that delivers web content to web browsers.

Web Server Error
A message from a web server indicating an error. The most common web server error is "404 File Not Found".
Learn more about web server error messages in our HTML tutorial

Web Services
Software components and applications running on web servers. The server provides these services to other computers, browsers or individuals, using standard communication protocols.

Web Site
A collection of related web pages belonging to a company or an individual.

Web Spider
A computer program that searches the Internet for web pages. Common web spiders are the one used by search engines like Google and AltaVista to index the web. Web spiders are also called web robots or wanderers.

Web Wanderer
See Web Spider.

A character used to substitute any character(s). Most often used as an asterix (*) in search tools.

Windows 2000, Windows NT, Windows 95/98, Windows XP
Computer operating systems from Microsoft.

Windows Media
Audio and video formats for the Internet, developed by Microsoft. (See ASF, ASX, WMA and WMF).
Learn more about Windows Media in our Media tutorial

A computer program for compressing and decompressing files. See ZIP.

Audio file format for the Internet, developed by Microsoft. (See also WMV).
Learn more about media formats in our Media tutorial.

Video file format for the Internet, developed by Microsoft. (See also WMA).
Learn more about media formats in our Media tutorial

WML (Wireless Markup Language)A standard for information services on wireless terminals like digital mobile phones, inherited from HTML, but based on XML, and much stricter than HTML.
Learn more about WML in our WAP tutorial

WML Script
Scripting language (programming language) for WML.
Learn more about WMLScript in our WMLScript tutorial

A computer virus that can make copies of itself and spread to other computers over the Internet.

WSDL (Web Services Description Language)
An XML-based language for describing Web services and how to access them.
Learn more about WSDL in our WSDL tutorial

WWW (World Wide Web)
A global network of computers using the internet to exchange web documents. (See also Internet)

WWW Server
The same as a Web Server.

WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get)
In Web terms: To display a web page being edited exactly the same way it will be displayed on the web.

A future version of HTML Forms, based on XML and XHTML. Differs from HTML forms by separating data definition and data display. Providing richer and more device independent user input.
Learn more about XForms in our XForms tutorial

XHTML (Extensible Hypertext Markup Language)
HTML reformulated as XML. XHTML is the latest version of HTML. Developed by W3C.
Learn more about XHTML in our XHTML tutorial

XPath is a set of syntax rules (language) for defining parts of an XML document. XPath is a major part of the W3C XSL standard.
Learn more about XPath in our XPath tutorial

XQuery is a set of syntax rules (language) for extracting information from XML documents. XQuery builds on XPath. XQuery is developed by W3C.
Learn more about XQuery in our XQuery tutorial

XML (Extensible Markup Language)
A simplified version of SGML especially designed for web documents, developed by the W3C.
Learn more about XML in our XML tutorial

XML Document
A document written in XML.

XML DOM (XML Document Object Model)
A programming interface for XML documents developed by W3C.
Learn more about XML DOM in our XML DOM tutorial

XML Schema
A document that describes, in a formal way, the syntax elements and parameters of a web language. Designed by W3C to replace DTD.
Learn more about Schema in our XML Schema tutorial

XSD (XML Schema Definition)
The same as XML Schema.

XSL (Extensible Stylesheet Language)
A suite of XML languages developed by W3C, including XSLT, XSL-FO and XPath.
Learn more about XSL in our XSL tutorial

XSL-FO (XSL Formatting Objects)
An XML language for formatting XML documents. A part of XSL developed by W3C.
Learn more about XSL-FO in our XSL-FO tutorial

XSLT (XSL Transformations)
An XML language for transforming XML documents. A part of XSL developed by W3C.
Learn more about XSLT in our XSLT tutorial

A compressing format for computer files. Commonly used for compressing files before downloading over the Internet. ZIP files can be compressed (ZIPPED) and decompressed (UNZIPPED) using a computer program like WINZIP.

Handheld, laptop, and tablet mobile computer devices are now in the hands of nearly one billion people worldwide, a number almost as great as the number of desktop computers. IBM predicts that by 2003 only 20 percent of the new computers it will deploy for use by its employees will be desktop computers; 80 percent will be mobile computer devices. A number of Fortune 500s are issuing high-end PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) and small personal PCs to field sales and service personnel so that they can have the benefits of word processing and Internet access using a device weighing two to 3.5 pounds. Several major universities are encouraging their faculty members to use laptops, rather than desktops. In Japan, personal PCs--which are only now reaching the U.S. market--are outselling both laptops and desktops. The proliferation of mobile computer devices, and the number of places where they can be used, will increase the number of public library patrons who enter library facilities carrying a mobile computing device.

The Mobile Computer Technologies


While PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) have been the most popular type of mobile computer device, they have primarily been used for keeping track of schedules, maintaining directories of names and addresses, and accessing e-mail. Only recently have processor speeds and memories increased to the point where it is practical to download, store, and manipulate information from a patron access catalog or a Web site. Given their relatively low cost, typically less than $1,000, librarians can expect that an increasing number of powerful PDAs will be brought into their libraries. Rather than using a desktop or plugging into a jack, there will be a demand for access to a wireless LAN.


PDAs will not be the only mobile computer devices to be brought into libraries in increasing numbers. Many college students have since the late 1990s been required by their institutions to purchase laptops, but most users of public libraries have avoided the relatively expensive devices. As laptops become more robust, lighter, and less expensive, they will also be seen more and more in public libraries. Among the recent introductions are laptops with 1.2 GB processors and up to 1.0 GB of RAM from Compaq, Dell, and Gateway. The flat panel screens offer a resolution of 1600 x 1200. They have FireWire connectivity and two USB ports each. There is little that these laptops can't do, yet it weighs in at less than eight pounds and costs less than $2,000 each.

Personal PCs

Personal PCs--a strange name considering that APC@ stands for personal computer--are beginning to reach the U.S. market. They are handheld, but are much more powerful than PDAs, typically at least a 733 MHz processor and 256 Kbps of RAM. A nine-inch screen offers a resolution of 1280 x 600. Despite their power, they weight approximately two pounds and cost less than $1,900 each.

Tablet Computers

Tablet computers may also become a factor, especially because Microsoft is pushing the technology. Tablets offer half the processor speed and memory of a laptop, but the resolution is comparable and the weight is less than half that of a laptop. Most support not only a wireless pen, but also voice recognition. Their main drawbacks are the lack of a keyboard for rapid data entry and the price, which goes as high as $3,000.

Wireless Technology

All of the foregoing devices can be manufactured with an "embedded" wireless networking chip, either 802.11 WiFi or Bluetooth; however, only 11 percent of the devices produced in the first half of 2002 had such a chip. It is estimated that only three percent of devices without an embedded chip have an "attached" chip, one installed after the initial manufacture of the device. The large majority of devices will, therefore, have to have networking chips installed before they can take advantage of a library's wireless network. Recent estimates place the number of locations at which the users of mobile computer devices are able to access a wireless LAN at more than 10,000, including coffee shops, hotels, airports, college campuses, and public libraries-the last still fewer than one hundred.

Related Technologies

Two other mobile technologies which incorporate a computer are e-Book readers and MP3 players. They are more limited in the applications they support; therefore, they may be displaced by multi-function mobile computer technologies.

E-Book Readers

Specialized e-Book readers have been more popular than mobile computer devices for reading e-Books because they have featured larger screens, better resolution, and more suitable software. At less than $200 each, they have also been attractively priced, however, recently introduced models are priced at $300 to $700. Their main drawbacks are that they cannot be used for other applications and the e-Book content is encrypted to the device. The dramatic improvements in PDAs, laptops, and personal PCs, should make them more suitable for the reading of e-Books. A majority of publishers prefer to use PDF to control the way the e-text looks, but the screens of mobile computer devices have not been able to accommodate PDF until very recently. A free downloadable Adobe Acrobat e-Book reader now makes it possible to download e-Books to all except older PDAs.

MP3 Players

While MP3 is known to most people as a technology for playing music, it can also be used to listen to digital audio books. The players are priced at less than $150. A number of digital audio books can be stored on one player. Unlike tapes and CDs, they are rarely damaged because the players have no moving parts. Digital audio books are also easier to store and retrieve than CDs, audiotapes, and audiocassettes. It is possible to access MP3 tracks haphazardly on a player, just like an audio CD, but without the CDs tendency to skip and jump. There is considerable speculation that PDAs will displace MP3 players because few people want to carry around more than one mobile device. Even if they lose popularity with consumers, they may remain attractive to libraries that prefer a dedicated device to a multi-purpose one when making a device that can play digital audio books available to a patron.

The Applications

Increasingly, mobile computer devices offer the same range of capabilities as desktop PCs: database access, including, Web browsing; word processing, email; spreadsheets; etc. The reasons why a library patron might choose to use his/her mobile computer rather than a desktop supplied by the library are:
• No need to wait for a library desktop device to become available
• Familiarity with the personally owned device
• Ability to access information from anywhere in the library, including the stacks
• Ability to download information and incorporate it into existing files
• Speed and ease of taking the information away from the library.

Main Article: Global Science

Telecommunications Dictionary & Terms Abbreviations

This is a list of telecommunications definitions for words such as CDMA, cellular, EDI, fiber optic, gsm, TDMA, packet switching, PCS - and many more telecommunication acronyms or phrases.

ACD (Automatic Call Distributor)
A system that handles incoming call traffic, sending calls to the first available station within predefined groups. If all stations are busy then a recorded message is played and the call is put in queue until a station becomes available.

Acoustic Coupler
This is a special cradle in which you place the handset of a phone. This is connected to a modem, and the modem accesses the phone line through this coupler. Modern modems connect directly to the phone line.

(Advanced Mobile Phone Service) The analog cellular mobile phone system in North and South America and more than 35 other countries. It uses the FDMA transmission technology. AMPS is the cellular equivalent of POTS.

A transmission method using continuous electrical signals, varying in amplitude or frequency in response to changes of sound, light, position, etc. impressed on a transducer in the sending unit. Analogue data often comes from measurements, like a sine wave. The opposite of analog is DIGITAL.

ANSI graphics is a set of cursor control codes which originated on the VT100 smart terminal. Many BBS's use these codes to help improve the sending of characters to communications programs. It uses the escape character, followed by other characters, which allows movement of the cursor on the screen, a change of color, and more.

A program and database which locates files on the Internet.

The arrangement and design orchestrating the interaction of different elements of a complex communications system. (See also OPEN ARCHITECTURE)

From ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) and network. An early experimental network.

American Standard Code of Information Interchange. It uses 7 bits to represent all uppercase and lowercase characters, as well as numbers, punctuation marks, and other characters. ASCII often uses 8 bits in the form of bytes and ignores the first bit.

ASCII transfer
When a text file is sent directly as it is, without any special codes.

A transmission method in which information is transferred one discrete character at a time and is delineated by a start and stop indicator at the beginning and end of the character. This way, if there is line noise, the modem can find out right away where the next byte should start. The opposite of asynchronous is SYNCHRONOUS transmission.

AT command
Any instructions sent to a modem that begin with "AT".

ATM (Asynchronous transfer mode)
Not the money machine! This is an international CCITT standard for high-speed [broadband] packet-switched networks that operates at digital transmission speeds above 1.544 Mbps. This communications protocol specifies how diverse kinds of traffic are transformed into standardized packets which can be managed uniformly within the network.

An operator of a PBX console or telephone switchboard.

Auto Reliable
The ability of a modem to be able to communicate both with modems that do have error-control and/or data compression, and those that do not.

The relative range of frequencies that can be passed without distortion by a transmission medium. Greater bandwidths mean a higher information carrying capacity of the transmission circuit. Bandwidth, usually measured in Hertz, is assessed as the number of bits that can be transferred per second.

The difference between the upper and lower limits of a band. A range of radio, audio, or other frequencies. Since it is so limited, a modem must carefully change data into sounds that "fit" within this range. Similar to frequency spectrum. Bandwidth of a voice channel is 3000Hz-300Hz which equals 2700Hz. Telephone lines have a bandwidth from 300 hertz to 3400 hertz.

Beginners All-purpose Symbolic Instruction Code. It is a programming language. It is called symbolic because it allows programmers to use symbols to represent numbers and information. In algebra, these symbols are called variables.

B channel
Message-bearing 64 Kbps digital channel specified in the ISDN standards. B channels are used for digital transmission of high speed data and video.

Balanced/unbalanced. A device which connects a balanced (two-wire) line, such as a phone line, to an unbalanced (coaxial) line, like cable. The two-wire line is called balanced because the currents in each wire are equal and in opposite directions.

A term referring to the speed at which modems communicate. Technically, it is the number of changes in an electronic signal per second. Since the number of changes used to be the same as the number of bits sent or received per second, bps and baud are often used interchangeably. However, there is a difference, which is very often confused. For example, many 1200bps modems were advertised as 1200 baud, even though they operate at 600 baud. They send out 2 bits 600 times a second, which means that it is 600 baud. However, since it is so often misunderstood, you can assume that when you see "baud" it means bits per second, unless it is stated otherwise. The term comes from the scientist J. M. E. Baudot.

Bell Atlantic
One of seven regional bell operation companies (RBOC's) that assumed ownership of the Bell operating companies following AT&T's breakup.

Bell System
Prior to Jan. 1, 1984, an aggregate term for AT&T encompassing 24 Bell operating companies providing local exchange phone service, the AT&T Long Lines Division providing long distance connections, an equipment manufacturing arm known as Western Electric, and a research and development arm known as Bell Laboratories. The Bell System was broken up by the AT&T divestiture.

Binary File Transfer

B-ISDN (Broadband integrated services digital network)
An evolving CCITT international standard for the second generation of integrated services digital networks. Broadband ISDN services will be carried on fiber-optic networks that employ packet switching in a standardized fashion to integrate voice, data, monochrome, and color facsimile images and one-way and two-way monochrome and color video for local and long distance transmission.

The smallest unit of digital information utilized by electronic or optical information processing, storage, or transmission systems. Bit is short for binary digit. Binary technology is based on the representation of data with 0's and 1's, whose combinations form a protocol medium for all data transmission. See also 8-N-1 in # section.

Bits Per Second. The transmission speed of most modems is measured in baud or bps. Bps is literally the number of bits sent by the modem every second.

Block size
When used with either error control or data compression protocols, refers to the number of characters to be sent at one time. If error control is used, the codes are sent immediately following this block. Typical block sizes are 64, 128, 192, or 256 characters. Small block sizes are better when the line quality is bad (such as for long distance calls), while large block sizes are better during good connections (such as for local calls).

The smallest unit of information that a computer system can locate within its data storage or memory. A byte consists of eight bits and represents an amount of information roughly equivalent to a single printed or typewritten character.

Call Forwarding
A feature permitting the user to program a phone to ring at an alternate location; call forwarding may be in effect at all times or just when a particular phone is busy or doesn't answer.

Call Hold
A feature allowing the user to put one caller on hold while other calls are made or answered.

Call Park
A feature allowing a call for a busy extension to be put into a hold-like state until someone at that extension or another extension becomes free to answer it. The call is brought out of "park" by dialing a special code.

Call Transfer
A feature allowing a call to be transferred to another phone
Call Waiting
A feature that provides audible or visual indicators to let a single-line-phone user know that she has another call waiting for her.

Caller ID
A telephone company service allowing the subscriber to view the phone number and/or name of the calling party on a display device before answering the phone. Caller ID usually requires some kind of hardware phone interface to provide the displayed information.

In PBX and hybrid environments, a method of putting an incoming or outgoing call intended for a busy extension or line into a hold-like state where it remains until a line becomes available.

A flat piece of rigid material bearing electronic components and the printed circuitry that interconnects them. Cards typically have one point where connections to other cards or components are made.

Card Services
DOS and Windows 3.1x users must have Card Services enabled to use their computer's PCMCIA slot(s). They will automatically allocate a Communications Port (COM 1 to 5) when the Option modem is plugged in. The Option modem can then be accessed by communications programs via the Windows 95-assigned COM port. Windows 95 users DO NOT need to install Card Service as it is built into Windows 95. Notebook users using DOS/Windows 3.1 usually have the Card Services software bundled with their purchase. Option modems come packaged with a PC Card Installation disk that has an install program for these Card Services.

CCITT (Consultative Committee on International Telegraph and Telephone

The principle international standards-writing body for digital telecom networks (ISDN).

Carrier Detect
The information as to whether or not the modem senses a carrier, like a fixed-line dialling tone or a data/fax services enabled on a GSM subscription.

Card Information Services. A PCMCIA setup protocol.

Short for Code-Division Multiple Access, a digital cellular technology that uses spread-spectrum techniques. Unlike competing systems, such as GSM, that use time-division multiplexing (TDM), CDMA does not assign a specific frequency to each user. Instead, every channel uses the full available spectrum. Individual conversations are encoded with a pseudo-random digital sequence. CDMA was developed by Qualcomm, Inc.

Short for Cellular Digital Packet Data, a data transmission technology developed for use on cellular phone frequencies. CDPD uses unused cellular channels (in the 800- to 900-MHz range) to transmit data in packets. This technology offers data transfer rates of up to 19.2 Kbps, quicker call set up, and better error correction than using modems on an analog cellular channel.

Cellular Digital Packet Radio.

In communications and networking, a fixed-size packet of data.
In cellular telephone systems, a geographic area.

Refers to communications systems, especially the Advance Mobile Phone Service (AMPS), that divide a geographic region into sections, called cells. The purpose of this division is to make the most use out of a limited number of transmission frequencies.

Each connection, or conversation, requires its own dedicated frequency, and the total number of available frequencies is about 1,000. To support more than 1,000 simultaneous conversations, cellular systems allocate a set number of frequencies for each cell. Two cells can use the same frequency for different conversations so long as the cells are not adjacent to each other.

For digital communications, several competing cellular systems exist, including GSM and CDMA.

A number that represents a larger group of numbers in order to check for errors in data transmission. It is commonly used when downloading a program, as well as in error control protocols. The checksum is the result of a mathematical equation, such as adding all the numbers in a block together (although it is usually more complex than that).

Chip Set
A group of important IC chips on a modem (or other computer peripheral) that are all made by the same manufacturer. While there are many companies that make modems, there are only a few that make the chips for them. Because the chip manufacturer is making the chips for many companies, they produce more chips, and the price of the chips is lower than if each company produced their own. This decreases the price of the modems on the market.

Caller Line ID Presentation. A code that is sent over the phone lines in some areas when a person makes a phone call. This code includes the phone number of the person making the call. Some modems are able to understand this signal, and let you know who is calling you before you answer the phone.

Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor. A chip which uses small amounts of electricity. It is used typically on battery-powered computers and to save configuration information on other computers when they are turned off.

Caller Line ID Restriction. The ability to block someone who you're calling from seeing your number.

CO (Central Office)
A facility of a telecommunications common carrier where calls are switched. In local area exchanges, central offices switch calls within and between the 10,000-line exchange groups that can be addressed uniquely by the area code and first three digits of a phone number.

Codec (Coder/Decoder)
a device that transforms analog input into a digitally coded output and transforms digital signals into analog output. They are most commonly found in videoconferencing systems because of videoconferencing's intensive ISDN usage.

Common Carrier
A government-regulated private company offering telecommunications services or communications facilities to the general public.

Communciations Program
A program that controls a modem, and has features that allow the user to do such things as upload, download, etc. It is similar to a terminal program but more sophisticated. An example is Trumpet WinSock for connecting to the Internet, and Windows HyperTerminal.

To make data take up less space. Archiving programs do this, which means that files will take less time to transfer with modems. Many modems now have the ability to automatically compress the information they send and receive.

Conference Call
A telephone call among three or more parties. The sound quality of conference calls is typically degraded by a loss of sound over the telephone lines unless bridged and amplified before re-transmission.

Clear To Send. This is when the modem lets the other computer know that it can send information to the other computer.

The method of flow control that uses the CTS and RTS signals. It is built into the hardware, not software.

Data Access Arrangement. A device used to connect modems to the switched telephone network.

(Digital-Advanced Mobile Phone Service) The digital equivalent of the analog cellular phone service. Using the TDMA digital technology, analog cellphone systems can be upgraded to D-AMPS.

Data Circuit Terminating Equipment. Sets up and maintains a data connection link over a communications medium. For example, a modem.

Data Compression
Techniques to reduce the amount of computer memory space or transmission resources required to handle a given quantity of data usually achieved through the application of mathematic algorithms to the data transformation process.

Data Transmission rate
The speed at which data travels. For example, data may be sent at 115,200bps. Same as transmission rate, transmission speed, data rate.
Abbreviation for decibel. The decibel is the standard unit of measure for expressing the amount of signal power gained or lost in the course of a transmission.

D Channel
The signaling and data transmission channel (specified in ISDN standards) used to transmit network control signals for setting up phone calls.

Dedicated Line
A communications circuit or channel provided for the exclusive use of a particular subscriber - also known as a private line.

DID (Direct Inward Dialing)
When a call is received over the DID circuit it is preceded by a packet of information containing the number that was dialed. The on premises phone system decodes this information and routes the call to the extension that has been programmed to coincide with the number dialed. The benefit to the consumer is a pooled access group for incoming calls so that dedicated lines are not required to provide numerous individual telephones with direct access availability.

A system using discrete numbers to represent data. In computer systems, these are the numbers 0 and 1 (for binary).

Digital Switch
Equipment used to set up pathways between users for transmission of digital signals.

Data Set Ready. This indicates that the modem is on, and ready to accept input from the computer (either commands or data to be sent over the phone line).

DTMF (Dual Tone Multi Frequency Signaling)
Most commonly associated with AT&T's Touch-Tone trade name.

Data Terminal Ready. The DTR signal is sent from the computer to the modem, to let the modem know that the computer is ready to communicate.

Simultaneous transmission in both directions, sometimes referred to as full duplex to differentiate it from half duplex, which is alternating transmission in each direction. Transmission in only one direction is called simplex transmission.

800 Service
A telecommunications service for businesses that allows calls to be made to a specific location at no charge to the calling party. Use of the "800" service access code denotes that calls are to be billed to the receiving party.

Short for Electronic Data Interchange, the transfer of data between different companies using networks, such as the Internet. As more and more companies get connected to the Internet, EDI is becoming increasingly important as an easy mechanism for companies to buy, sell, and trade information. ANSI has approved a set of EDI standards known as the X12 standards

Electrically Erasable Programmable Read-Only Memory.

Electronic Frontier Foundation. An organization promoting civil rights in cyberspace. It is leading the fight against the US government's Clipper Chip.

A device used to transform signals from an originating terminal into groups of digital pulses representing letters, numerals, or specific symbols, and transform incoming digital pulses into the form required by the receiving terminal.

Error Correction
Error Correction. The ability of a modem to notice errors in transmission, and to resend incorrect data.

European Telecommunications Standards Institute.

European Conference on Computers, Freedom, and Privacy.

European Strategic Program for Research in Information Technologies.

A popular local area data communications network, originally developed by Xerox Corp., which accepts transmissions from computers and terminals.

Transmission lines, switches and other physical components used to provide telephone service.

A method of transmitting graphics or text documents over a telecommunications facility. The image is scanned at the transmitter and reconstructed at the receiver to be duplicated on paper.

Fiber optic
A technology that uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibers) to transmit data. A fiber optic cable consists of a bundle of glass threads, each of which is capable of transmitting messages modulated onto light waves. Fiber optics has several advantages over traditional metal communications lines:
Fiber optic cables have a much greater bandwidth than metal cables. This means that they can carry more data. Fiber optic cables are less susceptible than metal cables to interference. Fiber optic cables are much thinner and lighter than metal wires. Data can be transmitted digitally (the natural form for computer data) rather than analogically.

The main disadvantage of fiber optics is that the cables are expensive to install. In addition, they are more fragile than wire and are difficult to split. Fiber optics. Fiber optics: is a particularly popular technology for local-area networks. In addition, telephone companies are steadily replacing traditional telephone lines with fiber optic cables. In the future, almost all communications will employ

Computer security that attempts to keep crackers out.

Flow control
A method of controlling when information is sent. One method is Xon/Xoff, where a BBS will send information until your computer sends an Xoff (CTRL-S). It will resume sending information when you send an Xon.

Full Duplex
A communications system or channel capable of simultaneous transmission in two directions. See Duplex.

A network element interconnecting two otherwise incompatible networks, network nodes, subnetworks or devices.

The method of modulation used by GSM is Gaussian Minimum Shift Keying (GMSK), with a BT value of 0.3 at a gross data rate of 270 kb/s.

Group III Fax
The standard controlling fax communication.

General Packet Radio Service is a standard for wireless communications which runs at speeds up to 150 kilobits per second, compared with current GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) systems' 9.6 kilobits.

GPRS, which supports a wide range of bandwidths, is an efficient use of limited bandwidth and is particularly suited for sending and receiving small bursts of data, such as e-mail and Web browsing, as well as large volumes of data.

Short for Global System for Mobile Communications, one of the leading digital cellular systems. GSM uses narrowband TDMA, which allows eight simultaneous calls on the same radio frequency.

GSM was first introduced in 1991. As of the end of 1997, GSM service was available in more than 100 countries and has become the de facto standard in Europe and Asia.

GSM South Africa was one of the first to implement Phase 2 of GSM.
Half Duplex
A communications channel allowing alternating transmission in two directions, but not in both directions simultaneously.

What occurs when a cell phone used in a car moves out of the range of one cell and needs to connect to the next available cell. The preceding cell then hands over the connection to the stronger cell.

Hayes AT Command set
This is the set of commands used to operate Hayes modems and Hayes compatible modems. Almost all of the commands start with AT.

A combination of two or more technologies or a multiline business telephone system combining the manual line selection of a key system and the automatic line selection of a PBX system.

A company or vendor selling customer premises equipment, generally PBXs and other types of office telephone systems. An interconnect company is typically an independent distributor of products from more than one manufacturer.

IMT 2000
An effort similar to UMTS is underway in ITU under the name of FPLMTS (Future Public Land Mobile Telecommunication System) lately remamed to the more catchy IMT-2000 (International Mobile Telecommunication 2000). It is expected that UMTS and IMT-2000 will be compatible so as to provide global roaming but it is too early yet to say whether this goal will eventually be achieved.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network)
Switched network providing end - to -end digital connectivity for simultaneous transmission of voice and/or data over multiple multiplexed communications channels and employing transmission and out-of-band signaling protocols that conform to internationally defined standards.

The International Standards Organisation, the body responsible for setting world technical standards. It is based in Geneva, Switzerland.

International Telecommunications Union, based in Geneva, Switzerland.

IVR (Interactive Voice Response)
A generic term for transaction systems allowing phone callers to use an ordinary tone-dialing telephone to interact with a computer through speech or dialed instructions. Each response by the caller triggers another recorded message until the transaction is completed.

A socket, hole or opening mounted on a wall, switchboard or panel, into which a plug connector can be inserted to complete a connection.

Key Telephone System
A multiline telephone system offering a limited range of features; key systems are popular among smaller businesses as their main telephone system. They are also found in large businesses as a form of extension to their big primary phone system. Key systems are characterized by manual selection of outgoing lines, their small size, and relatively low price.

LAN (Local Area Network)
A transmission network encompassing a limited area, such as a single building or several buildings in close proximity; widely used to link personal computers so that they can share information and peripheral devices.

LED (Light-Emitting Diode)
A semiconductor light source that emits light in the optical frequency band or the infrared frequency band.

Local Loop
The communications channel, usually a physical line, between the subscriber's location and his local central office. Also known as the subscriber loop.

Loop Start
A method of demanding dial tone from the central office by completing an electrical pathway between the outbound and return conductors of a telephone line. Loop start is employed by single-line telephone instruments, for example.

Famous for the Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet of the 1980's, and more recently for it's Notes Groupware system. Bought by IBM in 1995.

Measured Service
Term generally associated with providing local telephone service on a usage-sensitive basis with calls priced on the basis of two or more of the following usage elements: distance, duration, frequency, and time of day. It is the opposite of flat rate pricing.

Message Rate
A form of usage-sensitive pricing for local telephone service where usage charges are figured by counting the calls and multiplying the number of calls made by the established per-call charge. An alternative to flat-rate and measured pricing.

The world's largest developer and publisher of software based in Redmond, Seattle, USA. Headed by William (Bill) Gates, the richest (non-royal) person on this planet.

Modem (Modulator-Demodulator )
An electronic device that allows computers to communicate over standard telephone lines. It transforms digital signal into analog signal and transmits to another modem which then reconstructs the digital signal from the analog signal.

A GUI (Graphical User Interface) for accessing the hypertext WWW (World Wide Web) on the Internet.

Microcom Networking Protocol. Error control and data compression techniques, created by Microcom, that many newer modems use. They are built into the modem, unlike software error correction in file transfer protocols. There are different MNP levels. Levels 1-4 are error control protocols, and level 5 is a data compression protocol that can compress data to about 50% of its original size. A modem with MNP-5 also has MNP-4. MNP 1-4 is also included in the ITU V.42 error correction system.

Memorandum of Understanding, the GSM body that overseas GSM standards and implementation around the world. It comprises operators and some manufacturers.

A MOdulator DEModulator computer peripheral which allows a computer to communicate over telephone lines. This is the heart of computer telecommunications. The main factor that differentiates modems is their speed, measured in bps. Analogue modems talk to one another by converting digital info from the computer into tones called PSK’s. An ordinary analogue modem cannot be physically connected to a GSM phone because networks will not carry PSK tones.

Multiplexed Channel
A communications channel capable of serving several devices, or users, at once

An electronic or optical process that combines a large number of lower-speed transmission lines into one high-speed line by splitting the total available bandwidth of the high-speed line into narrower bands (frequency division), or by allotting a common channel to several different transmitting devices, one at a time in sequence (time division). Multiplexing devices are widely employed in networks to improve efficiency by concentrating traffic.

An abbreviated form of the word multiplexer.

(Narrow-bandwidth AMPS) A version of the analog cellular mobile phone system that uses a narrower bandwidth.

National Center for Automated Information Research.

Any system designed to provide one or more access paths for communications between users at different geographic locations that may include designs for voice, data, facsimile images and/or video images.

Network Architecture
A set of design principles defining the protocol, functions and logical components of a network and how they should perform.
Network Interface
The physical point in a telephone subscriber's home or place of business where the telephone devices and/or inside wiring of the subscriber are connected to the transmission lines of the local telephone service provider.

OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer)
The manufacturer of equipment that is resold by another vendor who usually substitute their name for that of the manufacturer on the product.

A telephone set in use - the handset is removed from its cradle, thus sending an electrical signal to the central office that a circuit needs to be opened.

The condition where a terminal or device capable of active connection with the facilities of a computer or communications network is in the disconnected or idle state.

Widely-used type of electromechanical key system that were introduced by the Bell System in 1938 and reached their technological peak in the mid-1960's.

The normal state of the phone in which the handset rests in the cradle and the circuit to the central office conducts no electrical signal.

The condition where a terminal or device capable of active connection with the facilities of a communications network or computer is in the active or connected state; a unit functioning under the continual control of a computer.

Open Standard
A computer or communications standard whose technical specifications are readily available to equipment manufacturers and other parties that want to incorporate the standard into their products or systems.

Open System
A computer or communications system whose technical specifications are readily available to distributors, users and other third parties that want to add value to the system by developing their own customized versions for use or resale. Open systems are widely cloned.

Operating System
A special program in the communications CPU or computer that controls the integration of operating devices and enables the running of specific applications software - which is software developed to perform specific jobs.

a group of binary digits switched as a whole - for instance, a file transfer over a packet switched network would require many steps. These steps are: 1) the data file would be broken down into smaller "packets" of information 2) each packet of information is assigned a code that enables it to be sent to the correct location and, once at that location, for the network to reassemble the packets of information into their original form.

Packet Switched Network
A digital data transmission network that uses packet switching technology.

Packet Switching
Refers to protocols in which messages are divided into packets before they are sent. Each packet is then transmitted individually and can even follow different routes to its destination. Once all the packets forming a message arrive at the destination, they are recompiled into the original message.

Most modern Wide Area Network (WAN) protocols, including TCP/IP, X.25, and Frame Relay, are based on packet-switching technologies. In contrast, normal telephone service is based on a circuit-switching technology, in which a dedicated line is allocated for transmission between two parties. Circuit-switching is ideal when data must be transmitted quickly and must arrive in the same order in which it's sent. This is the case with most real-time data, such as live audio and video. Packet switching is more efficient and robust for data that can withstand some delays in transmission, such as e-mail messages and Web pages.

A service designed to deliver numeric or alphanumeric messaging to a person whose location is uncertain - paging services make use of radio communications.

Parity Bit
Most modems have the capability to send an extra bit for every byte sent, which is used to help sense errors. This is called the parity bit. It can be set to no parity, mark parity, space parity, odd parity or even parity. Most BBS's do not use a parity bit.

PBX (Private Branch Exchange)
A device, installed on the customer's premises, that enables switching of multiple incoming and outgoing lines between multiple internal phones. In addition, the typical PBX provides for the selection of outside lines per user defined criteria.

PBX (2)
Short for private branch exchange, a private telephone network used within an enterprise. Users of the PBX share a certain number of outside lines for making telephone calls external to the PBX.

Most medium-sized and larger companies use a PBX because it's much less expensive than connecting an external telephone line to every telephone in the organization. In addition, it's easier to call someone within a PBX because the number you need to dial is typically just 3 or 4 digits.

A new variation on the PBX theme is the centrex, which is a PBX with all switching occurring at a local telephone office instead of at the company's premises.

PC Cards
Previously known as PCMCIA cards, these are credit card devices used in notebooks and desktop readers for inter alia, data/fax, storage, GPS puposes.

Short for Personal Communications Service, the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) term used to describe a set of digital cellular technologies being deployed in the U.S. PCS includes CDMA (also called IS-95), GSM, and North American TDMA (also called IS-136). Two of the most important distinguishing features of PCS systems are:

1. They are completely digital
2. They operate at the 1900 MHz frequency range

The program which will create an archive with the extension "ZIP". It is one of the most popular archive programs.

An interface location on a computer or communications system that provides a point of access for peripheral equipment, such as printers, voice mail, C.O. Lines, etc.

POTS Lines (Plain Old Telephone Service Lines)
Basic telephone lines whose primary purpose is the transmission of human speech.

Private Line
A telephone line that is linked directly to a user and is used exclusively by that user.

Private Network
A network that is designed for use exclusively by a person or organization and usually does not have points of access from users external to the company.

Programming Language
A group of symbols that represent to the computer a set of statements or directions giving the computer or communications system detailed instructions about what operations it is to perform.

Proprietary System
See closed system.

A format or set of rules and conventions that control the format and relative timing of message transmission between two points on a computer network.

Public Switched Telephone Network. This is the regular phone lines that just about everybody uses.

Public Switched Network
A switching system that provides switching and transmission facilities to many customers.

Pulse Dialing
A method that some phones use to dial numbers. It involves a series of "clicks." Most modems support this type of dialing, which is the only type available in some remote areas. The other method of dialing is tone dialing.

A "holding room" for data or voice communications that are waiting to be processed by either the system or human intervention.
Research and Development in Advanced Communication in Europe.

RBOC (Regional Bell Operating Corporation)
One of seven regional companies created by the AT&T divestiture to take over ownership and operation of the Bell companies within their region.

Real Time
A transmission or data processing operational mode in which the data is entered in an interactive (two-way communicating) session; an application where response to input is fast enough to affect later data input.

Having back-up systems available to provide continuous service in the case of a failure in the main system

Remote Access
Sending and receiving data to and from a computer through communications links such as phone lines.

Remote Call Forwarding
Similar to call forwarding. Calls from a local telephone number can be forwarded to long distance number (in another city for example) without the caller be charged for long distance fees.

A modem can be reset. This will change any options (such as parity and speed) to the values that they have when the modem is first used. This can be useful if you change some values for the modem and aren't sure what they do, and then you find that the modem won't work. Resetting the modem will fix everything for you.

RLP - Radio Link Protocol
Non-transparent data uses a special ensure robust GSM-specific error correction technique called RLP for transmission. Both MTN and Vodacom GSM networks support both techniques.

Regular Pulse Excitation - Long Term Prediction, the speech coding used by GSM.

Request To Send. This is when the computer tells the modem that it wants to send information to the other computer. It is only used in half duplex mode.

Serial Transmission
Sending pulses (information) one right after another. The opposite would be a parallel transmission.

Subscriber Identity Module. This is a Smart Card installed in every GSM handset. Within the GSM application the three primary roles of the SIM are access control to the network (authentication & ciphering), service personalisation (SMS, advice of charge, etc.), network branding and advertising (graphics printed on SIM card). The new generation of Phase 2+ SIMs will enable services such as virtual cash, mobile banking, ticket reservations etc.

SMDR (Station Message Detail Reporting)
Information recorded by a computer attached to the phone system, providing cost accounting information such as the number of calls, both local and long distance, made from an extension during a certain time period.

Speed Dial
A feature on PBX phones allowing users to dial programmed numbers by simply pressing one button (or entering a two or three digit code).

Simply another word for telephone. For example, the telephone station may be one of many extensions on a PBX system.

Station Hunting
A feature allowing an incoming call to a busy phone to be routed to the next idle phone in a pre-determined group of phones.

Switched Line
A circuit which is routed through a circuit switched network.

Connecting the caller to the called party.

Synchronous Transmission
Transmissions of data at a fixed rate, eliminating the need for start and stop bits, because the receiver and transmitter work at the same rate.

A digital transmission link capable of handling 1.544 Mega bits per second.

28 T-1 lines (See T-1).

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Program)
Protocols linking dissimilar computers across networks. TCP/IP was developed by the Department of Defense

Short for Time Division Multiplexing, a type of multiplexing that combines data streams by assigning each stream a different time slot in a set. TDM repeatedly transmits a fixed sequence of time slots over a single transmission channel. Within T-Carrier systems, such as T-1 and T-3, TDM combines Pulse Code Modulated (PCM) streams created for each conversation or data stream.

Sort for Time Division Multiple Access, a technology for delivering digital wireless service using time-division multiplexing (TDM). TDMA works by dividing a radio frequency into time slots and then allocating slots to multiple calls. In this way, a single frequency can support multiple, simultaneous data channels. TDMA is used by the GSM digital cellular system.

Process of converting sounds and data into electrical impulses that can be transmitted (See Telephony).

Using a communications link to perform work, rather than actually commuting to an office to do work.

A conference which links people by audio and/or video through telecommunications.

Using the telephone as a primary means of initiating and making sales of products or services.

The process of converting sounds into electrical impulses for transmission over a connecting medium such as wires, fiber optics or microwave.

Telkom (South Africa)
Telkom is the parastatal fixed-line network operator in South Africa. Option modems are approved for use on the telkom network and 25 other networks around the world.

The point of connection between a telephone line and an operative device. Also, sometimes terminal refers to the operative device, such as a computer terminal.

Tie Line
A telephone line which is dedicated to connecting two points and which requires a minimum human intervention to achieve communication.

Token Ring
A method of controlling which of several work stations in a Local Area Network is transmitting at a particular time.
Toll Restriction
A method of controlling which employees, if any, have access to telephone lines for which a toll may be charged to the employer.

Tone Dialing
This is a method that a phone or modem can use to dial a phone number. It uses one audible tone per digit to be dialed.

Transmit Level
The "loudness" level of the sound leaving a modem to go over the phone lines. It is measured indBm's. It should be different at different frequencies, since certain frequencies have more loss over the phone line than others.

The line of communication between switching systems.

A ready-to-go telephone system installed by the vendor, including both hardware and software.

Twin-Axial Cable
Two commonly insulated conductors, covered by a metallic shield and enclosed in a cable sheath.

Twisted Pair
Two copper wires twisted around each other. The twists vary in length and reduce induction.

Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter. This is a device in a computer or modem that will change serial data (the way data comes in over the phone line) to parallel, and vice versa. (See more details below in # section)

Universal Mobile Telecommunication System - UMTS is a third generation mobile communication system currently being developed in Europe. UMTS related activities are lead by research conducted within the RACE II program and standardisation activities within the Europian Telecommunication Standards Institute (ETSI).

Some requirements
1. To support existing mobile services and fixed telecommunications services up to 2Mbit/s.
2. To support unique mobile services such as navigation, vehicle location, and road traffic information services, which will become increasingly important in a pan-European market.

3. To allow the UMTS terminal to be used anywhere, in the home, the office, and in the public environment, both in rural areas and city centres.
4. To offer a range of mobile terminals from a low cost pocket telephone (to be used by almost anyone anywhere) to sophisticated terminals to provide advanced video and data services.

Video teleconferencing (See teleconferencing).

Voice Digitization
Coverting analog signals (voice) into binary bits for storage and transmission.

Voice Response
A computer allowing users interaction via touchtone telephone. Users navaigate the system with the help of digitally read menus.

World Wide Web.

World Wide Web. A hypertext system set up on the Internet.

A DOS program to perform UUCICO.

WAN (Wide Area Network)
A network that extends LANs to other LANs, typically over a wide geographical area using communications lines provided by a common-carrier.

The Wireless Application Protocol is a secure specification that allows users to access information instantly via handheld wireless devices such as mobile phones, pagers, two-way radios, smartphones and communicators.

WAP supports most wireless networks. These include CDPD, CDMA, GSM, PDC, PHS, TDMA, FLEX, ReFLEX, iDEN, TETRA, DECT, DataTAC, and Mobitex.

WAP is supported by all operating systems. Ones specifically engineered for handheld devices include PalmOS, EPOC, Windows CE, FLEXOS, OS/9, and JavaOS.

WAPs that use displays and access the Internet run what are called microbrowsers--browsers with small file sizes that can accommodate the low memory constraints of handheld devices and the the low-bandwidth constraints of a wireless-handheld network.

Although WAP supports HTML and XML, the WML language (an XML application) is specifically devised for small screens and one-hand navigation without a keyboard. WML is scalable from two-line text displays up through graphic screens found on items such as smart phones and communicators. WAP also supports WMLScript. It is similar to JavaScript, but makes minimal demands on memory and CPU power because it does not contain many of the unnecessary functions found in other scripting languages. Because WAP is fairly new, it is not a formal standard yet. It is still an initiative that was started by Unwired Planet, Motorola, Nokia, and Ericsson.

A Windows subroutine library that provides access to the Internet TCP/IP.

The actual file containing Winsock.

(Windows Open Service Architecture) A framework of open-ended interfaces allowing Microsoft Windows and applications running under it to integrate with enterprise computing environments. It includes APIs for messaging (MAPI), standard access to databases (ODBC) and extensions to financial services.

Workflow automation The flow of documents around an organization in a prescribed order (workflow) can be automated, delivering an hierarchical and controlled form of workgroup computing. Workgroup computing - Method of organizing a business around productive teams using computer support to enable cooperative working and to eliminate time/space restrictions. An extension of conventional LAN working.

Workstation Term used freely to mean a PC, node, terminal or high-end desktop processor (for CAD/CAM and similar intensive applications) - in short, a device that has data input and output and operated by a user.

Wrap Redundancy measure in IBM token ring LANs. Trunk cabling used in token ring TCUs contains two data paths: a main and back-up (normally unused). If the trunk cable is faulty, the physical disconnection of the connector at a TCU causes the signal from the main path to wrap onto the back-up and maintain the loop.

A file transfer protocol developed by Ward Christensen around 1977. It is fairly slow by today's standards, but was the first widespread file transfer protocol. It uses blocks of 128 bytes, and after each block is sent, it sends a 1 byte checksum to check for errors. If an error is encountered, the block will be re-sent. Almost every communications program offers this protocol.

The same as Xmodem, but it has a 16-bit CRC instead of the checksum, which makes it more reliable (it catches more errors).

The CTRL-S character. This is often used to pause information that is being sent. The information will be continued when an CTRL-Q is received.

The CTRL-Q character. This will sometimes continue paused information.

A variation of the basic altitude over azimuth antenna mount, with the primary axis parallel to the Earth's surface for improved zenith tracking, such as might be used in telescope mounts and satellite. See also y-mount.

The file extension which refers to archives that were created by the program PKZIP. You need the program PKUNZIP to get the files out of the archive.

A file transfer protocol which is known for its speed, as well as the ability to transfer information about the files which it sends. It has crash recovery and auto-download features, and can use a 32 bit CRC, which makes it almost error-free.

The most common modem format. "8N1" describes the way that your computer and the remote are connected. The first digit is normally 7 or 8, the number of data bits. The second character is a letter describing the parity (N for None, M for Mark, S for Space, O for Odd, and E for Even). The last number is the number of stop bits. Data is sent as follows: Start bit (0) 7 or 8 bits of data (parity bit, if used) stop bit (1) (gap bits, if used)

An ethernet connection that uses UTP (unshielded twisted-pair) wiring.

16550 UART
This is the UART used with most newer computers and high speed modems. There are several variations, but they all include one main feature: they include buffering, so that if data comes in or is sent faster than the computer/modem can accept it, the UART will hold the data (up to 16 bytes) until the computer/modem is ready for it. (See UART).




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