Department of Engineering

IT Services

Glossary of Internet-related Terminology

  • Abbreviations: In e-mail and news messages various abbreviations and signs are commonly used
    • AFAIK - As Far As I Know
    • BTW - By The Way
    • FYI - For Your Information
    • IMHO - In My Honest Opinion
    • OTOH - On The Other Hand
    • RTFM - Read The F* Manual (or Read The Friendly Manual)
    • TIA - Thanks In Advance
    • :-) - Happy (turn your head to one side to see why)
    • :-( - Sad
    • :-| - Yawn - these last 3 are examples of emoticons.
  • account: One of several terms referring both to the right to access a particular machine (e.g. to have an account on club), and to the user name that you have to give when you do so.
  • agent: A program, probably running on your machine, that asks for files or information from a remote server.
  • anonymous FTP site: a server which allows people to log on and download files without having an account or a user ID on that server.
  • attachment: a file that's attached to the main mail message
  • bookmarks: (also known as 'favorities') shortcuts to WWW pages that you've visited before. Use the 'bookmarks' menu to add pages to the list.
  • browser: A program that lets you browse through WWW documents.
  • client: A program, probably running on your machine, that asks for files or information from a remote server.
  • cookie: a little file stored on your computer by a web site so that next time you visit the site it'll already know something about you.
  • CUDN: Cambridge University Data Network.
  • cus: The short name for the University Computing Service's Central UNIX Service, cus.cam.ac.uk
  • domain: A collection of machines controlled by an organisation, or a site to which email can be addressed.
  • download: to copy a file, e-mail message, or other information from a larger computer to your PC. See also upload.
  • e-mail address: A combination of username and site name which allows e-mail to be delivered uniquely to a particular person from anywhere on the Internet or connected networks. Internet e-mail addresses are of the form user@site. Site names tend to be composed of several elements, running from most to least specific.
  • FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions - a file of questions and answers. Many newsgroups and some sites have them.
  • favorities: (also known as 'bookmarks') shortcuts to WWW pages that you've visited before. Use the 'bookmarks' menu to add pages to the list.
  • ftp (File Transfer Protocol): A standard for transferring files between one computer and another on the Internet. One computer acts as the server, and the other as the client. Also used as a verb, as in to ftp a file.
  • GIF: Graphic Interchange Format - a format for graphics files.
  • hermes: The short name for the University Computing Service's dedicated e-mail system, hermes.cam.ac.uk.
  • Home Page: the document that a person or organisation uses as their "front door" to visitors.
  • host: a computer that users of other computers can connect to and use.
  • HTML: HyperText Markup Language; the format used for documents on the WWW.
  • hypertext: a system for linking documents and parts of documents in a non-linear fashion. Words in the displayed document may be linked to other documents, or other text in the same document. The reader can follow these links through the text, rather than reading serially.
  • Intranet: a mini-internet for use within an organisation.
  • Internet address: a numerical identifier for a node on the Internet. It consists of four numbers separated by periods, for example 35.8.220.4.
  • Internet, the: the network of networks. It grew from ARPANet, the US Defense Department's computer network started in the mid-1960's.
  • JPEG, JPG: Joint Photographics Experts Group - a format for graphics files.
  • MP3: a format for audio files.
  • MUA: Mail User Agent, a program used to read and send email, e.g. Eudora, pine.
  • Netiquette: Internet etiquette. See our Netiquette page.
  • network: two or more computers of any kind, connected by a communications link.
  • news, newsgroups: online bulletin boards. Some are local, others international (see the Usenet entry)
  • OLRs: Off-line mail/news readers - these let you read mail and compose replies offline, saving on phone bills. eudora is one such.
  • Plug-in: an add-on for a browser.
  • PoP: Point of Presence - an entry point (phone number) onto the internet.
  • Protocol: a set of rules that communicating computers follow.
  • Shareware: Programs that are freely available, but need to be paid for if used beyond a trial period.
  • SLIP, PPP: Implementations of Internet networking protocols over serial lines such as a phone line. This lets you run real network applications like WinWeb and eudora on your machine at home rather than just using it as a dumb terminal.
  • search engine: a database of WWW pages.
  • server: a host that stores information and/or programs, and makes them available to users of other computers. Only by adding your files to a gopher server or WWW server can your files become available to others using those facilities.
  • spam: bulk junk e-mail
  • telnet: a protocol that lets you login to a remote machine.
  • upload: to copy a file, e-mail message, or other information from your PC to a larger computer on the network.
  • URL: Uniform Resource Location - the location of a page on the World Wide Web. In general, the URL includes information on the type of file/service, the machine it's on, and where on that machine it is. An example is http://www-h.eng.cam.ac.uk/help/tpl/network/remote_access.html
  • Usenet: The collective name for all the news discussion groups. Usenet is read all over the world, on the Internet and on other networks. Articles written and posted say, here in Cambridge, are propagated from server to server until the article is available everywhere that the newsgroup is read.
  • Virus: a little program designed to cause trouble. It may be sent to you as an attachment.
  • XML: Extensible Markup Language (like a more general sort of HTML)
  • XSL: XML Stylesheet Language
  • WWW: World Wide Web - all the files that Internet Explorer, Netscape etc can get to.

See also the Free On-line Dictionary Of Computing