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Friday, December 21, 2007

Glossary

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

A

Absolute URL
Absolute URL is the name given to the full internet address of a page. This includes the http:// and the www part of the address. Also see relative URL.

Accessibility
From September 2002 it became a legal requirement to take steps to make Web Sites accessible for people with disabilities. This includes making Web Sites accessible for people with visual, hearing, physical and neurological disabilities.

Alphanumeric
This is a set of all the letters in the alphabet and numbers from 0 - 9. Punctuation characters are not included in alphanumeric.

Alt text
The ALT text attribute provides alternative text when an image can't be displayed.

Alt key
The Alt key can be found on the left hand side of the space bar. Alt is short for Alternate and the button works in much the same way as the Control key. You would normally hold down the Alt key whilst pressing another key.

Animated GIF
This is a form of GIF that allows you to combine several images into one file. The animation occurs by displaying each image in the animated GIF for a set amount of time.

Anti-aliasing
This is a process applied by some software to smooth jagged edges from diagonal or curved edges.

Anti virus program
This is a program that is installed on your computer to scan for viruses on your computers hard disk or memory. New viruses are discovered regularly, so anti virus programs need to be updated with new profiles regularly.

Arrow keys
These are the four keys with arrows on, situated to the right of the return key. These keys can be used to move the cursor on the screen vertically and horizontally, corresponding to the direction of the arrow.

Aspect ratio
When resizing graphics you would normally want the aspect ratio to be kept the same. This means when the image has been resized the new image has the same relative height to width dimensions. If you don't select aspect ratio your new image will appear stretched and out of proportion.

Attachment
An attachment is a file that can be attached to an email message, the file is not part of the actual email.

Auto save
This is a feature used by many programs to automatically save your work. This can be extremely useful if your computer crashes unexpectedly, you can also set how often you want the program to save your work.

B

Backslash
The backslash character '\' is used to represent the root of a directory and is used to separate directory and file names. Back slashes are used for files on your computer and forward slashes '/' are used for Web Site addresses.

Back/Forward
These are the buttons contained on all browsers tool bar, clicking on the back button will display the last page you visited in the current window. Clicking on forward will move you forward in the pages you have visited, but will only work after you clicked back one or more times.

Backspace key
The Backspace is found above the Return key on your keyboard. The Backspace key moves your cursor one character to the left and also deletes that character. The Backspace key differs from the Delete key because it also moves the cursor.

Backup
Backup refers to making a copy of your files. The safest process for backing up your files is to keep the backup on a different medium, for example a CD.

BCC
BCC stands for Blind Carbon Copy and allows you to send the same email to another recipient with disclosing the recipient's email address in the message. Also see CC.

Blackboard
Blackboard is a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) that supports online learning and teaching. It can be accessed by registered users from anywhere in the world using the Internet and Web browsers.

BLOG
BLOG is short for Web log, and our Web pages that work as a journal that our normally updated daily. Blogging sites can provide excellent information on many topics, although content can be subjective.

Bobby
This was a tool for checking the accessibility of your Web pages, which has now changed its name to Web xact. Visit the Web xact Web Site.

Bookmark
Bookmark or favourites as it is known in some browsers, is a folder where you can save the addresses of Web Sites you have visited. This makes it easier and quicker to find certain pages or Web Sites again.

Boolean logic
This is a way to combine your words when using a search engine using words such as 'AND' 'OR' 'AND NOT' 'NEAR' to filter your results.

Browser
This is the software that is used to view Web pages, they translate the HTML on Web Sites into text, images and sounds. The main browser used by most people is Microsoft's Internet Explorer, there are also other browsers such as Firefox, Opera and Safari for Apple Macintosh computers.

Byte
A byte is a unit of storage capable of storing 1 character. See also Kilobyte, Megabyte and Gigabytes.

C

Cache
This is the space where Web pages you have visited are stored in your computer. When you use GO, BACK, or any other means to revisit a page, your browser will first check the cache to see if it already has a copy of the page. This makes viewing pages you have already seen before much faster, as your computer doesn't need to download all the content again.

Caps Lock Key
This is the key located on the left hand side of your keyboard above the shift key. Pressing this button will normally turn a light on in the button or somewhere else on your keyboard to indicate that it is turned on. Whilst Caps Lock is on all letters will be typed in uppercase (capitals).

Cascading style sheets
Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) is a file that is referenced to by the HTML file, to control the look of a Web page.

Case sensitive
Case sensitive is a program's ability to tell the difference between uppercase (capitals) and lowercase. Case sensitivity can often apply to password fields.

CASTLE
Computer Assisted Teaching and Learning, a tool to create online interactive multiple-choice questions.

CC
CC stands for carbon copy and allows you to send the same email to more than one person. The recipient's of the email will be able to see who else has been sent the email. Also see BCC.

Click
To click is the action of tapping a mouse button, by pressing and immediately releasing the button.

Close button
A close button is normally found in the top right hand corner of a window or graphical user interface. A close button is normally a square with an 'x' inside it.

Computer centre
The computer centre provides the University of Leicester with central computer services.

Cookie
A cookie is a file (message) sent from a server which is stored on your computer and used by your browser. The main use for cookies is to provide customized Web pages according to a profile of your interests.

CPU
CPU is short for central processing unit and this device interprets and executes instructions in your computer.

CTRL key
CTRL is an abbreviation for the control key and is found in the bottom left hand corner of your keyboard. The control key works in the same way as a shift or alt key and is used in conjunction with another key. For example typical control key functions are Ctrl+S, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V.

Cursor
The cursor is normally a flashing rectangle on the screen and shows where the next character will by typed. You can move the cursor on screen by using the arrow keys or in some programs by using the mouse.

CWIS
The Corporate Web Information Service is the internal and external Web Site, consisting of information provided by Web account holders and information providers throughout the University.

CWIS officer
Contact the CWIS Officer with any general queries or comments about the University Web Site.

D

Data
Data is pieces of information that have been formatted in a particular way to be read by certain programs.

Delete key
The delete key is often abbreviated to Del. The delete key is used to remove characters. To delete characters the cursor can be positioned under the character, to the right of the character or a block of text can be selected to be deleted. The delete key can be found on your keyboard above the arrow keys. Also see Backspace key.

Dial-up
Dial-up refers to connecting to the internet using a modem on a standard telephone line. Typical dial-up internet speed is just 56k which is considerably slower than broadband connection speeds.

Directory
A directory is the overall structure of folders and files. Directories work like filing cabinets which contain all the folders, the folders contain all the documents.

Disk quota
Web account holders are allocated an initial 5MB of disk space on the CWIS.

Domain name
Domain names are used in URLs. For example in http://www.le.ac.uk the domain name is le.ac.uk

Dots per inch
DPI is an abbreviation for dots per inch and is used to measure the resolution of images. The more dots per inch an image has the higher the resolution is.

Download
Downloading is the opposite to uploading and is the process of transferring files from a server to your computer. For example when you visit a Web Site the files that make up the pages are downloaded to your computer.

Drag
Dragging refers to moving an object on screen by selecting the object with the left mouse button and whilst keeping the mouse button pressed moving the object to another part of the screen. When you release the mouse button the object will be dropped and will remain at that position. You can also use the same process to select a block of text on screen.

Dreamweaver
Dreamweaver is a WYSIWYG HTML editor created by Macromedia.

E

E-mail
E-mail is short for electronic mail and is the exchange of text messages and other files from over the internet through an email program.

E-mail address
An e-mail address is needed to send and receive email. An e-mail address is split into different section, the first part identifies the name of the sender followed by the '@' character. The host or domain name of the mail server is at the end.

Escape key
The escape key is normally abbreviated to Esc. Pressing the escape key normally aborts the current procedure.

Ezine
Ezine is short for electronic magazine and is normally an electronic copy of a printed magazine.

F

Favourites
Favourites or bookmarks as it is known in some browsers, is a folder where you can save the addresses of Web Sites you have visited. This makes it easier and quicker to find certain pages or Web Sites again.

File extension
A file extension tells the computer and user what kind of information is stored within a file. The file extension is normally the last three characters in a filename preceded by a '.' dot.

Firefox
Firefox is an alternative browser to Internet Explorer. Firefox is a small and easy to use open source browser that has many advantages over Internet Explorer.

Firewall
Firewalls can be both hardware and software which restrict access by unauthorised users to a network of computer.

Folder
Folders are used to organise information and files on your computer, a folder can contain multiple objects.

Forum
A forum is also known as a newsgroup and is a Web Site where users can post and exchange ideas on any given subject.

FrontPage
FrontPage is a WYSIWYG HTML Editor created by Microsoft.

FTP
FTP is short for file transfer protocol and is most commonly used to download and upload files to a server, for example to update a Web Site.

G

GIF
Graphic Interchange Format image file that is normally used for line art or non-photographic images. Also see basic skills section for other image formats.

Gigabyte
A gigabyte is often abbreviated to GB and is a unit of storage equivalent to 1,073,741,824 bytes.

Go
The Go button in Internet Explorer is the button that can be pressed after an internet address has been typed in. Clicking on Go will then send you to that Web Site, you can also simply press return.

GUI
GUI is short for graphical user interface and is pronounced GOO-ee. A GUI is a programs interface normally comprising of graphics and icons which makes the program easier to use.

H

Hard disk
The hard disk is a magnetic disk inside your computer and is sometimes known as a hard drive. The hard disk is used to store large amounts of data on a computer.

Hardware
Hardware refers to actual physical objects connected to a computer. Examples of hardware include monitors, printers, mice etc. Also see software.

History
History represents pages you have already visited before on the internet. The history can be displayed in Internet Explorer by pressing Control and 'H'.

Home page
The first page of a Web Site that you see when you go to a Web address e.g. the University of Leicester home page is at www.le.ac.uk

HTML
Hypertext Markup Language is a set of tags defining how text and images are structured on a Web page.

HTML editor
An HTML Editor is used to create and edit HTML e.g. FrontPage or Dreamweaver.

Hyperlink
Text or an image which links from one page to another when clicked on.

I

Icon
An icon is a small graphic that represents a program or action, icons are normally activated by left clicking on them. Icons are one of the main elements of graphical user interfaces (GUI)

Image map
An image map can be applied to a single image so that the image has one or more areas that are clickable. An example of an image map would be to have a map of Great Britain, when you click on Leicestershire you would go to a page about Leicestershire. If you clicked on Northamptonshire you would go to a page about Northamptonshire.

Inbox
This is the default mail box in email programs for incoming email.

Internet
The internet is a network of millions of computers. You can connect to the internet using an internet service provider (ISP).

Internet Explorer
Internet Explorer is often abbreviated to IE and is a browser made by Microsoft. Internet Explorer was introduced in 1995.

Intranet
Intranet is like the internet in the sense that it can be used to share information. Intranet however is only accessible internally by employees of a company.

IP address
An IP address is a unique number made of four parts. Every machine on the internet has an IP address.

ISP
ISP is short for internet service provider and is a company that provides access to the internet. An ISP would give you a username and password to enable you to log on to the internet.

J

Janet
The Joint Academic Network is a private, government funded network for education and research which all further and higher education organisations are connected to.

JPEG
Joint Photographic Experts Group is a compressed image format usually used for photographs on the Web. Also see the basic skills section for other image formats.

K

Kilobyte
Kilobyte is often abbreviated to 'K' and is a unit of storage. One kilobyte is equivalent to 1,024 bytes.

L

Left click
Left click refers to clicking the button on the left of your mouse. You would normally position your cursor in a chosen location on your screen before left clicking. Left clicking is normally used to select options on screen or to reposition the cursor . Also see right click.

Link
A link is text or another object on screen that when clicked sends you to another section of a Web Site or to a completely different Web Site

ListServer
ListServer mailing lists allow people to send messages to the defined set of recipients and enable discussions to take place.

Lowercase
Lowercase is the opposite to capital letters. Lowercase characters are automatically typed when the caps lock is off and the shift key isn't used.

M

Megabyte
Megabyte is also commonly abbreviated to MB and is used to measure data storage. One megabyte is equivalent to 1,048,576 bytes.

Meta data
Hidden HTML tags which give a description of a Web page as well as keywords which allow search engines to index the page.

Modem
A modem is a device that can be attached to your computer internally or externally and allows your computer to transmit information through a standard telephone line.

Mouse
A mouse is a small object that you move around on a flat surface to control the position of the cursor on your monitor. A mouse normally has at least two buttons and a scroll button.

N

Netscape Navigator
Netscape navigator is an alternative browser for the internet and was originally founded in 1994.

Network
A network is a group of two or more computers linked together.

Newsgroup
A newsgroup is the same as a forum and is a place where users can post articles about a specific subject and have discussions about it.

O

Opera
Opera is an alternative browser to Internet Explorer, and is more standards-compliant.

Outbox
The outbox is the default folder where outgoing messages are stored until they are sent.

P

Password
A password is a series of characters that is used to access a program, computer or files. Passwords are more secure if they use a sequence of numbers and letters that are not easily guess able to the individual, also the longer the password is the harder it would be to guess. Password fields are often case sensitive.

PDF
Portable Document Format is a way of publishing a document on the Web and retaining its original layout and appearance. If you don't already have Adobe Acrobat Reader installed on your computer which is needed to open PDF's you can download it from Adobe's Web SiteExternal link

Photo editor
A photo editor is a program used to transform photos. See the basic skills or advanced skills section for more information on basic image editing.

Pixel
Computer monitors divide the screen into a grid by using rows and columns of pixels, the higher the resolution a monitor has the more pixels it can display. Pixels are square and are also the smallest element that software and hardware can handle.

PNG
PNG is a graphic format and is short for Portable Network Graphics. PNG is currently not fully supported by all browsers. For more information on PNG and other graphic file types see the basic skills section.

Portal
A Web Site or page which acts as a starting point providing links to lots of other Web Sites or pages.

Q

QWERTY keyboard
This is pronounced kwer-tee and is the name given to a standard English keyboard. The name simply comes from the first six letters on a keyboard.

R

Radio button
Radio buttons often appear in forms or dialogue boxes and are small circles which when selected contain another small filled in circle. Radio buttons are often used when a user needs to make just one choice out of multiple choices. When presented with more than one radio button in one section in a form it is only possible to have one selected, selecting more than one will deselect the last one.

RAM
RAM is short for random access memory and is the main memory for your computer and used by your computers programs.

Recycle Bin
This is an icon on Windows computers where files can be placed to be deleted. Files in the recycle bin are not however deleted until the recycle bin is emptied which makes it easier to recover accidentally deleted files.

Refresh
Refresh also known as Reload in some browsers updates the current window with the latest data or information. In Internet Explorer pressing F5 is the shortcut key for refreshing a page.

Relative URL
Relative URL is the name given to a partial internet address of a page. The address given is relative to the path name of the current document. Also see absolute URL.

Removable disk
A removable disk is a storage device that can be removed from the computer, for example a floppy disk or USB memory stick.

Resolution
Resolution determines how sharp an image looks and is used when describing printers, monitors and graphics. Printed graphics normally have a resolution of 300dpi (dots per inch) whilst most computer monitors have a resolution is 72dpi. The bigger a monitor is the more pixels it can fit on screen so for example a 15 inch monitor could fit 800,600 pixels whilst bigger monitors can display more, for example 1280, 1024 pixels.

Return key
The return key or as it is sometimes known the enter key, is found towards the right of your keyboard above the shift key. The return is often used to move the cursor on screen to the beginning of the next line but it also used to execute a default command from a dialogue box.

Right click
Right click refers to clicking the button on the right of your mouse. You would normally position your cursor in a chosen location on your screen before right clicking, right clicking normally brings up a pop-up menu with further options. These further options in the pop-up menu are often shortcuts to using the main menu. Also see left click.

Root
The root is the uppermost folder in a sequence of folders. So for example if you have a file saved in Z:\\dummy_folder\another_folder\example.doc the example.doc would be in the root of the folder another_folder.

S

Save
Save refers to the process of saving data (information) to a chosen location like a hard disk.

Scroll
Scrolling up and down a Web page allows you to see parts of the page that won't fit on the screen.

Scroll bar
This is the bar that appears on the side or bottom of a window, when the content is too much to fit on screen. Using the slider or arrows in the scroll bar you can scroll the contents of a window.

Search engine
A search engine allows Web pages to be searched for on the Internet.

Server
A server is a computer on a network that manages network resources. Servers are normally dedicated to perform specific tasks, for example print, file, database and Web servers.

Server-side
Server-side on the internet refers to scripts that are run on the Web server. Scripts that are run on your computer are known as client-side.

Shift key
The shift key works when used in conjunction with another key, giving other keys a second function. For example if you were using a word processing program and press shift and any letter of the alphabet you would type a capital letter. A keyboard normally has two shift keys, one on the left and one on the right and are normally identified by an upward facing arrow.

Software
Software is the name given to programs that are installed on your computer. Software contains instructions that tell your computer how to work. Also see hardware.

Spacebar
The spacebar is the long key at the bottom of your keyboard in the centre. The spacebar is used to add spaces between characters in your documents.

Spam
Spam is the computer equivalent of junk mail and refers to unwanted email. Spam is often used to advertise products because of its low cost and potential to reach a large number of people.

Spider
Software which searches the Internet for keywords to create entries for a search engine index.

Start button
The start button is only found in Microsoft Windows, it's located in the bottom toolbar on the left hand side. The Start button is used to open Windows main menu.

Status bar
This is the name given to the bar that runs across the bottom of many programs and contains the status and other information regarding either the program or document that is open.

STILE
Students' and Teachers' Integrated Learning Environment was a University of Leicester project funded under the Teaching and Learning Technology Programme.

Submenu
A submenu is one that appears as the result of following another higher-level menu.

Surf
Surfing the internet refers to following links on the internet, moving from place to place. Surfing is more likely to refer to browsing the internet rather than searching for something in specific.

T

Tab-int
The table interface provides a simple way in which tabular data can be made searchable on the CWIS.

Tab key
The Tab key can be found on your keyboard on the left hand side above the Caps Lock. The tab key in most programs will enter a predetermined amount of spaces. Also the Tab key holds an important accessibility function by allowing blind users to quickly navigate through active links and form fields on a Web page.

Text editor
A text editor is a very simple word processing program. An example of a text editor is Notepad, which is part of Windows. As text editors don't allow you to format your text (Bold, Italic, Colour etc) when you copy and paste from a text editor you don't paste lots of junk into your code. Also see Preparing text for the Web.

Title
Title is an HTML tag that controls the name of page. When you open up a window in a browser the contents of the title tag are displayed in the top of that window. Title tags can also be important for better placement in search engine results.

Toolbar
A toolbar is a block of buttons and icons that can be clicked on with a mouse in a program. Toolbars can be both horizontal or vertical.

U

Underscore key
The Underscore key can be found on your keyboard next to the right of the '0' key, you also need to hold down the shift key at the same time. In HTML files and other files to be used on Web Sites you should use the underscore character instead of spaces between characters, if you use spaces between words in file names the spaces will be replaced by '%20' in Internet Explorer browsers.

Undo
Undo is supported by most programs and allows you to return to a previous state of an open document by undoing past commands.

Unzip
Unzipping is the process of converting a zip file back to the original document, and converting that file back to its normal file size. Also see Zip

Upload
Uploading is the process of transferring files from your computer to a server. For example when developing a Web Site you will need to upload your files to your Web Site.

URL
A Uniform Resource Locator is the address of a file on the Internet.

V

Virus
A virus is a small program that runs on your computer without your knowledge. They are able to reproduce themselves and can slow your computer down.

W

W3C
The World Wide Web Consortium develops guidelines and protocols to help use the full potential of the Web.

Web account
A Web account allows you to create and edit Web pages on the CWIS.

Web board
An Internet conferencing facility to enhance the use of the Web for teaching and learning.

Web Site
A Web Site is normally owned by an individual or a company and is a collection of pages at a given address.

Web xact
This is a tool for checking the accessibility of your Web pages, which was known as Bobby. Visit the Web xact Web Site.

World Wide Web
The Worldwide Web (WWW) is a global network of linked documents on the Internet.

WYSIWYG
This is pronounced WIZ-zee-wig and stands for What You See Is What You Get. A WYSIWYG program is one that displays on screen what the final outcome should look like, for example how Dreamweaver works when in Design view.

X

XHTML
XHTML is short for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language and is a hybrid between XML and HTML.

XML
XML is short for Extensible Markup Language, and it allows designers/developers to create their own customised tags.

Y

Yahoo!
This is a popular search engine that started in 1994.

Z

Zip
This is a process for making files smaller, making them easier to email. Files that have been zipped have a zip file extension. Also see Unzip.

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