Glossary of Internet and Web Terms
As with all new technologies, there's some specialized vocabulary that's helpful to know. Here are some of the current buzz words you may encounter:
Applets: Small software applications that download with a Web document, enhancing its presentation on your screen and eliminating the need for specialized viewing software to be permanently installed on your computer.
BBS (Bulletin Board System): An online forum for users to browse and exchange information; a public discussion area.
BPS (Bits per second): The speed at which information is transmitted via a modem.
Browser: Special software necessary for navigating Web pages and viewing text and graphics. Netscape and Microsoft Explorer are two widely used browsers.
Bulletin Board System (BBS): An online area which members can access at any time to post and/or read messages.
Chat: A method of online communication that allows users to communicate in "real time." Information is typed on one user's computer and immediately is displayed on the other user's computer.
Compression: A method of "shrinking" a file to be downloaded in order to reduce transmission time. Most downloadable files on the Internet are compressed and require a special utility in order to be restored to their original size after downloading.
Dial-up: To connect your computer to another computer by calling it up via a modem.
Direct Internet Access: A way of connecting a computer to the Internet without using a commercial online service such as America Online or CompuServe. Direct Internet access can be purchased through an independent local or national Internet Service Provider (ISP).
DNS (Domain Name Server): A computer that matches domain names like www.Scholastic.com to numeric addresses, making them easier to locate. A "no DNS entry" message appearing when accessing a Web site means either that the site is unable to handle more traffic at that time, or that the site name has been incorrectly entered in the browser.
Domain: Similar to a street address, servers on the Web have addresses to allow other computers to locate them electronically.
Download: To receive a file from another computer into your own computer. Scholastic Network has collections of files to download, and many Internet and Web sites do, too.
E-mail (Electronic mail): E-mail messages are sent electronically across the Internet from one computer to another. In order to send e-mail to another person, you must know his or her e-mail address.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions): Many sites, including Scholastic, maintain FAQ lists in their customer service areas. Answers to common questions can then be accessed at any time.
Frames: A Web page layout technique which divides the page into several smaller pages on one screen. Not all Web browsers support frames.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol): A method of transferring files from one computer to another.
GIF: One of the formats for displaying graphics on Web pages.
Home Page: The first, introductory page at a Web site, from which other pages at the site can be accessed. Also, a site on the Web where an individual, school, company, or other organization may present its own assortment of articles, graphics, and links.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language): the coding specifications inserted into computer text that indicate how Web pages should be displayed by browsers.
http:// (Hypertext Transfer Protocol): The standard prefix for most addresses (see also URL) on the Web. A Web browser will be necessary to access the site.
Hypertext Links: Highlighted and/or underlined words or images on a Web page which link that page to other related pages or files. Navigation is accomplished by clicking a mouse on the hypertext link.
Internet: The worldwide network of computer networks that are connected to each other, providing file transfer, remote login, e-mail, news, and other services.
Internet Service Provider (ISP): Any organization that provides direct Internet access.
Java: A programming language which accommodates applets into Web page design.
JPEG: One of the formats used to display graphics on Web pages.
Links: The hypertext words or images on a Web page which lead to other related files, pages, or sites on the Web. See also Hypertext Links.
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension): Allows the transmission of text, graphics, video, and sound across the Internet as an attachment to an e-mail message.
Modem: A device that allows a computer to connect to the Internet over conventional phone lines. Modem speeds are expressed in "bits per second" (bps). Modems with speeds lower than 14.4k bps will not be able to navigate the Web effectively. At present, a speed of 28.8k bps is recommended for optimal Web navigation.
Online: You are "online" when your computer is connected to a host computer, providing access to the Internet.
Plug-ins: Small software accessory programs that work in conjunction with a Web browser to give it added capabilities such as the ability to play sounds or video. Unlike applets, which your computer uses only when connected to a Web page that contains them, plug-ins must be installed on your computer in advance and configured to work with your browser.
Search Engine: One of several services on the Web designed to help users locate Web sites on specific subjects. The user types in a search word or phrase and is given a range of sites to choose from. Two popular search engines which can search the entire Web are Yahoo (http://www.yahoo.com) and AltaVista (http://www.altavista.com).
Server: A machine that makes services available on a network. A file server enables others to access files, while a Web server is the computer system that makes its Web pages available to others through the HTTP protocol.
T/1 or T/3 lines: High-speed network links that greatly reduce the time users wait for Web pages to download.
Web Page: The common name for one page of information on the Web. Each page displays text and can incorporate graphics, sound, video, and other special effects.
World Wide Web (WWW): A collection of multimedia pages and resources that sit on the Internet and which are woven together through the use of hypertext links.