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Acceptable use policy A policy statement from a network or organization giving the acceptable uses of the network for local use and accessing the Internet.
Agents Programs that gather information or accomplish tasks without your immediate presence. Agents are usually given very smalland well-defined tasks. They are also called intelligent agents, personal agents, or bots.
All-in-one search tool A tool that provides search forms for several search engines and directories all in one site. The tool also provides hyperlinks that allow you to go to the services directly.
Anonymous FTP A means of using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) in which a user starts an ftp session with a remote host through a Web browser, gives the user name "anonymous," and email address as a password.
American Standard Code for Information Interchange (ASCII). A code for representing characters in a numeric form. An ASCII file is one that usually contains characters which can be displayed on a screen or printed without formatting or using another program.
ARPA (Advanced Research Projects Agency) U.S. Department of Defense agency that is now called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). ARPA funded the development of the Internet's predecessor, ARPAnet, and the TCP/IP protocols that made the global infrastructure of the Internet possible.
Attachment A file that is sent as part of an email message but that is not part of the main message. Images, programs, or word processor files are usually sent as attachments, because most email programs allow only plain text in the body of the message.
Binary file A file containing information such as a compressed archive, an image, a program, a spread sheet, or a word processor document. The items in the file usually cannot be displayed on a screen or printed without using some program.
BinHex An encoding scheme that converts binary data into ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange) characters.
Bookmark list A list of links to items on the World Wide Web. Usually created by an individual as he uses a Web browser. A good way to keep track of favorite or important sites, these are saved and can be used at any time.
Boolean searching Searching that uses Boolean operators (AND, OR and NOT) in the search expression. Especially helpful in multifaceted or specific topics, Boolean operators help expand or narrow the scope of your search. A search for rivers OR lakes returns documents with either word in them. A search for rivers AND lakes returns documents with both words in them. A search for rivers AND lakes NOT swamps returns only documents that mention both rivers and lakes but omits those that also mention swamps.
Bots See agents
Cache A portion of memory (either in RAM or on a disk) set aside to hold the items retrieved most recently. For Netscape Navigator, this refers to recent Web pages and images. It’s used so that items may be retrieved from cache rather than going back to the Internet. Netscape can be set so that, in the case an item hasn’t changed, it will be retrieved from the cache.
Case Sensitivity The ability of a search engine to distinguish between upper and lower case letters. Some search engines aren’t case sensitive; no matter what you type the search engine picks up lower case matches only. Search engines that are case sensitive will strictly follow the search request and return documents that contain the words in the case in which they were typed in the search expression.
Civil Liberties The rights or freedoms of an individual in a society. In the U.S. these include the right to free expression, freedom of movement and association, freedom from unwarranted search and seizure, and freedom of religion.
Client/Server A program or Internet service that sends commands to and receives information from a corresponding program (often) at a remote site called a server. Most Internet services run as client/server programs. Telnet, for example, works this way. A user starts a client program on his computer which contacts a Telnet server.
Concept Searching The ability of a search engine database’s indexing program to determine synonyms of words in the database so that when you type in a word or phrase the engine automatically searches for the word or phrase you want plus words or phrases that may mean the same thing. For example, if the word teenage is in your search expression, the search engine would also look for the word adolescent.
Content Area The part of a Web browser window that contains the current Web page; it contains images, text, or hyperlinks.
Cookie A mechanism for transmitting information containing the name of a server and data about a client between a Web server and a Web client or browser. Netscape developed the term and the method for working with cookies. The collection of cookies on a computer is kept in a file named cookies.txt. A Web server writes a cookie to your computer only if you access a Web page that commands it to do that. A Web server reads a cookie only if it wrote the cookie.
Cracker An individual who gains unauthorized access to a computer system.
Decoded To recreate a file in binary format that has been encoded or translated from binary to ASCII or text format. Binary files that are sent as attachments of email have to be encoded (translated from binary to ASCII) before they are sent and decoded (translate from ASCII to binary) when they are received before they can be used.
Directory Topical lists of Internet resources, arranged hierarchically. Directories are meant to be browsed, but they can also be searched. Directories differ from search engines in one major way - the human element involved in collecting and updating the information
Domain name The Internet name for a network or computer system. The name consists of a sequence of characters separated by periods such as www.mwc.edu.
Download Transfer a file from a remote computer to the computer used by an individual.
Duplicate Detection An output feature of some search engines and meta-search tools that automatically filters out of your list of results the URLs that are duplicated elsewhere in the results.
ECPA (Electronic Communications Privacy Act) The U.S. law that prevents U.S. investigative agencies from intercepting or reading email messages without first obtaining a warrant.
Email Electronic Mail. A basic Internet service which allows users to exchange messages electronically.
Encoded A term used to described a file that's been translated from binary format to ASCII(American Standard Code for Information Interchange). This I done so the file can be sent using email.
Encryption A procedure to convert a file from its original form to one that can only be read by the intended recipient.
FAQ (frequently asked questions). A list, often associated with Usenet newsgroups, of commonly asked questions and answers on a specific topic. This is usually the first place users should look to find answers to questions or to get information on a topic.
Field A field is a part of a Web page or bibliographic record that is designated for a particular kind of data or text.
Field Searching The ability to limit your search to a particular field. In a search engine, an example would be to search only the URL field. In a library catalog, you could search for items by author, title, subject, call number, or any other data element that was designated as a field. Field searching helps to eliminate the chance of retrieving irrelevant information by narrowing the scope of searchable items.
File Compression An algorithm or scheme used to compress or shrink a file. A file in compressed form must first be uncompressed or transformed before it can be read, displayed, or used. Files available through anonymous FTP are often stored in compressed form and must be treated as binary files.
Firewall A security device or system, usually a combination of hardware and software meant to protect a local network from intruders from the Internet.
Frames Some pages are divided into rectangular regions called frames. Each frame has its own scroll bars, and in fact, each frame represents an individual Web page.
Freeware A software program that’s available for use without any charge attached to it. This doesn’t mean the program isn’t copyrighted. Usually, the originator retains the copyright. Anyone can use it, but the program can’t be legally sold or distributed without permission.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) A means of transferring or sharing files across the Internet from one computer system to another.
FTP Archive A collection of files available by using anonymous FTP.
FTP Client A program that's used to send or retrieve files from an FTP server.
Full-Text Indexing Every word, significant and insignificant, is indexed and retrievable through a search engine.
Gopher A menu-oriented system that gives access to documents, files, and other Internet services, regardless of where they are on the Internet. The software for Gopher was created and developed at the University of Minnesota to allow users to browse and retrieve documents in a campus environment.
Helper applications Programs used with a Web browser to display, view, or work with files that the browser cannot display. For example, graphic or image files in GIF or JPEG format can be displayed by Netscape Navigator. If an image file of another type were accessed through a hyperlink, then a helper application would be necessary to display it. As another example, Web browsers can work with several protocols but not with Telnet, so to activate a hyperlink that begins a Telnet session. A telnet client, separate from the Web browser, has to be used. The Web browser includes ways of being configured to recognize when to use specific helper applications.
Hierarchy A list of subjects in a directory organized into successive ranks with the broadest subject listed first, with more specific aspects or subdivisions of the subject listed beneath it.
High Precision/High Recall This ratio is what every searcher strives for: all of the relevant documents in the database are retrieved, with none missed and none unwanted.
High Precision/Low Recall This would result from obtaining a very small set of hits from a search, and while each one may be very relevant to the search topic, some relevant documents will be missed.
History list A list of Internet sites, services, and resources which have been accessed through a WWW browser to arrive at the current item.
Home page The first screen or page of a site accessible through a WWW browser.
HTML Hypertext Markup Language. The format used for writing documents to be viewed with a WWW browser. Items in the document can be text, images, sounds, and links to other HTML documents, or sites, services, and resources on the Internet.
HTML editor A program that's used to create or modify the source for a Web page using only text and HTML tags. The editor often has items you can select from a menu or toolbar to insert or modify HTML tags.
HTML tag A code used in HTML that identifies an element so that a Web browser will know how to display it.
HTTP Hypertext Transport Protocol. The protocol used by World Wide Web servers and clients to communicate.
Hyperlink Words, phrases, images, or regions of an image that are often highlighted or appear in a different color and can be selected as part of a WWW page. Each hyperlink represents another Web page, a location in the current Web page, and an image, audio, video, or multimedia file or some other resource on the World Wide Web. When selected, the resource represented by the hyperlink is activated.
Hypermedia An extension to hypertext to include graphics and audio.
Hypertext A way of viewing or working with a document in text format which allows cross-references to be followed and then return. This presents a nonlinear means of dealing with text and is accomplished through a computer interface to text.
IMAP (Internet Message Access Protocol) A protocol used to retrieve email from a mail server. It is similar to POP3 but has additional features.
Implied Boolean Operators Using the characters "+" and "-" to require or prohibit a word or phrase as part of a search expression. The "+" acts somewhat as AND and the "-" acts as NOT would in a Boolean expression. For example the Boolean expression rivers AND lakes NOT swamps may be expressed as +rivers +lakes -swamps.
Internet The collection of networks throughout the World that agree to communication using specific telecommunication protocols, the most basic being the Internet Protocol (IP) and Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), and the services supplied by those networks.
Internet Protocol (IP) The basic protocol used for the Internet. Information is put into a single packet; the packet contains the address of the sender and the recipient and is then sent out. The receiving system removes the information from the packet.
InterNIC Internet Network Information Center. Established by NSFNet in 1993 to handle domain name registration, information services, and directory services. InterNIC now handles domain name registration only.
Keyword Indexing Each significant word in the entire document or record is indexed and retrievable through by the search engine or computer program that is being used.
Limiting by Date The ability of a search tool to limit search results to pages that were indexed after, before, or within certain dates.
Low Precision/High Recall This is a phenomenon that occurs when you retrieve a large set of results from a search request with many unwanted documents included.
Mail user agent The software used to access and manage a user’s electronic mail. Some examples are Pine and Eudora.
Menu bar The sequence of pull-down menus across the top of the Web browser window. All commands are accessible through the Menu Bar.
Meta-search tools Tools that allow you to search either more than one search engine or directory simultaneously, or a list of search tools that can be accessed from that site. These two major types of meta-search tools are called parallel search tools and all-in-one search tools.
Meta-Tags Keywords that are inserted in the meta-tag portion of the HTML source document by the author of the Web page. Meta-tags help a Web page that doesn’t have much text come up in a keyword search.
MIME Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions. Extensions to standard email programs making it easy to send, receive, and include non-text files.
Modification of Search Results The process of changing an initial search expression to get more relevant results. This can involve narrowing the results by field, limiting by date, adding keywords, subtracting keywords, and more.
NSFNet A network established by the National Science Foundation in 1986 to connect five super computer centers in the U.S. and provide connectivity to the Internet primarily for colleges and universities. The main traffic on the Internet was turned over to interconnected network providers in 1995.
Nested Boolean Logic The use of parenthesis in expressions used in boolean searching. For example the nested expression ((rivers AND lakes) OR canoeing) NOT camping will first find resources that contain both terms rivers and lakes or the term canoeing but not resources that contain the term camping.
Parallel search tools A search tool or service that takes one search expression, submits it to several search services, and returns selected results from each. This is an example of a meta-search tool.
Personal home page A Web page used by an individual to give personal and/or professional information.
Phrase searching The search feature supported by most search engines that allows you to search for words that usually appear next to each other. It is possibly the most important search feature.
Plug-in An application, software, that’s used along with a Web browser to view or display certain types of files as part of a Web page. Shockwave from MacroMedia is a plug-in that allows the browser to display interactive multimedia.
POP (Post Office Protocol) The way many email programs retrieve messages from a mail server. email is delivered on the Internet to the mail server, and an email program running on a personal computer retrieves that email through POP.
PPP Point-to-point protocol. A protocol that allows a computer with a modem to communicate using TCP/IP.
Privacy The notion of information such as email or personal information being hidden from the view of people other than the intended recipients.
Protocols A set of rules or procedures for exchanging information between networks or computer systems.
Proximity Searching A search feature that makes it possible to search for words that are near each other in the document.
Reference work A resource used to find quick answers to questions. Traditionally thought of as being in the form of books (such as dictionaries, encyclopedias, quotation directories, manuals, guides, atlases, bibliographies and indexes), a reference source on the World Wide Web closely resembles its print counterpart. A reference book doesn't necessarily contain hyperlinks to other resources, although it will often have hyperlinks within the document itself.
Relevance A measure of how closely a database entry matches a search request. Most search tools on the Web return results based on relevance. The specific algorithm for computing relevance varies from one service to another, but it's often based on the number of times terms in the search expression appear in the document and whether they appear in the appropriate fields.Relevancy Ranking A ranking of results, items retrieved form a database, based on the relevance score assigned by a search engine.
Results Per Page A search output feature of some search engines that allows you to designate how many results you want listed per page. Search engines usually list ten results per page.
Robot See spider.
Search engine In the context of the World Wide Web a program that seeks out, visits, and indexes URLs on the WWW. The index is searched for key words or phrases entered by a user. This results in a collection of hyperlinks returned to the user where the hyperlinks are references to sources whose description, title, or content match the words or phrase.
Search expression The keywords and syntax that you enter into a search form. With this expression, you ask a search tool to seek relevant documents in a particular way.
Search form The rectangular pane or oblong box that appears on the home pages of most search tools. In this space, you enter a search expression.
Shareware Software that you are allowed to download and try for a specified period free of charge. If you continue to use the program after that time, you are expected to pay a usually modest fee to continue using the product legally.
Signature An optional portion of an email message consisting of information about the sender such as her full name, mailing address, phone number, etc. The signature is stored in a file and it’s automatically included with each message.
SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol) Software allowing the use of the Internet Protocol (IP) over a serial line or through a serial port. Commonly used with a modem connection to a service providing Internet services.
SMTP Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. The Internet standard protocol used to transfer electronic mail from one computer system to another.
Sorting An option in some search engines that allows you to determine how you’d like your search results listed: by URL, relevance, domain or location, date, etc.
Spam Unwanted and unsolicited email. The electronic equivalent of paper junk mail.
Specialized database A self-contained index that is searchable and available on the Web. Items in specialized databases are often not accessible through a keyword search in a search engine.
Spider A computer program that travels the Internet to locate such resources as Web documents, FTP archives, and Gopher documents. It indexes the documents in a database, which is then searched using a search engine (such as AltaVista or Excite). A spider can also be referred to as a robot or wanderer. Each search engine uses a spider to build its database.
Status Bar The bar or rectangular region at the bottom of the browser window that shows several items of information regarding the transfer of a Web document to the browser. When the mouse is moved over a hyperlink it shows the URL for the hyperlink, when a Web page is requested it gives information about contacting and receiving information from a server, during transmission it tells, in terms of a percentage, how much of the document has been transferred, and indicates whether transmissions are being carried on in a secure manner.
Stop Words These are words that an indexing program doesn’t index. Usually stop words include articles (a, an, the) and other common words that appear often.
Subject category A division in a hierarchical subject classification system in a Web directory. You click on the subject category that is likely to contain either the Web pages you want or other subject categories that are more specific.
Subject guide A collection of URLs on a particular topic. Most easily found listed in virtual libraries, they are also referred to as meta-pages.
Syntax The rules governing the construction of search expressions in search engines and directories.
Telnet Allows for remote log-in capabilities on the Internet. One of the three basic Internet services. A user on one computer on the Internet can access and log-in to another computer.
Text editor A program that's used to create or modify a file that contains only plain text. This may to used to create or modify the source file for a Web page.
Text file A file containing characters in a plain human-readable format. There are no formatting commands such as underlining or displaying characters in boldface or different fonts. Also called an ASCII file.
Toolbar The sequence of icons below the Menu Bar. Clicking on an icon executes a command or causes an action.
Top-Level Category One of several main subjects that occurs in the top of a hierarchy in a directory’s list of subjects.
Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) A protocol used as the basis of most Internet services. It is used in conjunction with (actually on top of) the Internet Protocol. It allows for reliable communication oriented to process-to-process communication.
Trojan horse A program that appears to be legitimate but contains in its code instructions that cause damage to the systems on which it runs.
Unified search interfaces Meta-search tools that allow you to use several search engines simultaneously.
Upload To transfer a file from one the computer system being used to a remote system.
URL Uniform Resource Locator. A way of describing the location of an item (document, service, resource) on the Internet and also specifying the means by which to access that item.
Uuencode A program to convert binary data into ASCII form. Necessary to use to send binary files with some email systems. Used to send binary files on email systems without MIME.
Virus A program or executable code that must be part of another executing program. Usually viruses change the configuration or cause havoc with a computer system. The viruses are hidden within some useful or standard program.
Virtual libraries Directories that contain collections of resources that librarians or cybrarians have carefully chosen and organized in a logical way.
Visual Web page editor A program that’s used to edit or create documents or Web pages. It's visual in the sense that the software makes changes that you see immediately. Some examples of visual editors are MS-Word (a word processor) and Netscape Composer (used with Web pages.)
Web browser A program (software) used to access the Internet services and resources available through the World Wide Web.
Web page The information available and displayed by a Web browser as the result of opening a local file or opening a location (URL). The contents and format of the Web page are specified using HTML.
Web page source The text file that contains the HTML tags for a Web page. A browser reads the source for a Web page from this file and then using the HTML tags displays the Web page.
Wildcard This is a character that stands in for another character or group of characters. In most search tools, it is an asterisk . While the wildcard is most often used in truncation, it can also be used in the middle of words (i.e., wom*n).
World Wide Web (WWW) The World Wide Web is the collection of different services and resources available on the Internet and accessible through a Web browser.