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Internet Glossary

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Updated Aug.31 1997


A small program in the Java language which can be included in a page in HTML.
ASCII (Standard American Code for Information Interchange)
It is an international standard for the numerical codes used to represent internally in a computer any alphabetic, numeric and special characters.


A group of high-speed lines comprising the main infrastructure of a network.
A term referring to the speed of transmission in a network, or, alternatively, the carrying capacity of a connection.
BBS (Bulletin Board System)
A private service providing electronic mail and file downloading, offered through a computer linked to the phone system (a server). The connection is usually point to point, i.e. for each phone line linked to the system, only an external computer (client), may call the BBS.
Bit (Binary DigIT)
A binary digital number which uses the base 2 (0 or 1) system. It is the smallest unit of information of a digital computer.
BITNET (Because Itıs Time to NETwork)
A global network of educational sites, built apart from the Internet (but connected to it via a gateway), which essentially carries electronic mail and discussion lists. Due to the spread of Internet, it is now in decadence.
Bps (Bits Per Second) -
Unit of measurement of the speed of a digital transmission through a line, or of a modem (how many bits it transmits in a second).
A computer program used to access a server and to send, to receive or to visualize information. Netscape Communicator is an example of such a WWW client. Modern browsers also allow access to several other protocols, such as email, hypertext (HTTP), gopher, newsgroups, FTP, etc.
Byte (BinarY TErm)
A group of 8 bits, used to represent a character of information in a digital computer. It is also a measure of the size of a computer's memory.


CGI (Common Gateway Interface) -
A group of rules which specifies as one should carry out communication between a WWW server and another program located in the same machine.
Electronic form of on-line, real-time dialogue through the Internet or a BBS . There are chats based on text, voice or video, or any combination thereof.
A software used to communicate and to exchange data with a server, usually in another computer. A browser such as the Netscape is an example of a specific client for WWW.


Dial Up
An access method to the Internet by using a normal phone line connected to two modems.
Distribution List
A system for simultaneously sending email to a list of subscribers or group of users.
Discussion List
A distribution list set up specifically to allow the discussion or cooperative work among several users and/or on a given topic.
The name that identifies a server in the Internet. It can consist of two or more parts, separated by dots, which identify a hierarchy of domains and subdomains. For example, the domain:
icorresponds to a machine (nib) in an institution or local network (unicamp) in Brazil (br).
A domain must also correspond to a given computer, but a computer may have more than a domain name. Each domain is associated to a number that identifies the machine linked to the Internet, and which is called IP Number


E-mail (Electronic Mail)
System of exchange of messages among two computers linked to the Internet. An user has an electronic post office box, that can be accessed by means of a special program.
A communication protocol among computers connected to a local network.. It can be used with any computer type and it reaches speeds of 10 megabits per second (Mbps) or 100 Mbps (Fast Ethernet)


FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions )
On-line documents containing the most frequent questions and answers related to a certain subject, a discussion list, a site in the WWW, etc.
An Internet service that allows us to determine whether a specific user exists and is connected to a certain server. Many servers, for reasons of safety, don't allow the access through Finger.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
A group of rules or protocol which permit the transfer of binary files or of text among two computers linked to the Internet. A server that allows that access is named a FTP server. There is a method to copy files without need of having a password, called anonymous FTP, which gives to the user free access to the public areas of a server.


Generally, it is a system that gives simultaneous access to two computer networks, as for example, between a local net and the Internet, or between two different networks (for example, Compuserve and Internet), channeling the traffic and, if necessary, translating different protocols.
GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
One of the most popular compressed digital image formats available in the Internet, is was developed by Compuserve. It is automatically recognized and displayed by most browsers. See also JPEG
A billion bytes, approximately
A system or protocol used to access textual information in the Internet, in the form of simple menus. It consists of a client gopher, located in a personal computer or terminal, that allows access to any gopher server linked to the Internet. It is now in decadence, due to the prevalence of other access methods using hypertext, such as in the WWW.


Home Page
it refers to the main page of information in a site in WWW. It can be a personal page or of an institution, or of a certain information resource.
It refers to any computer in a network that offers access services to other computers. It also refers to the computer that offers access to the Internet by means of dial up or dedicated lines.
HTML (HyperText Markup Language)
A language used for marking up texts and images in home pages and other documents in order to be visualized in the WWW, and that implements the functions of the hypertext. When receiving a page coded in HTML from a WWW server, the client software (or browser) transforms it into an hypermedia display.
HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol)
The protocol used by Internet to transmit files coded in HTML between a server and a client, in the WWW.
A document that contains links to other points in the same document, or to other documents, text files or images available in some server linked to the Internet. On being clicked on by the mouse, it causes the HTTP to look for and to transmit the file indicated by the client.
The technology or its product, which combines elements of hypertext (non linear navigation through a document or system or documents) and multimedia (text, images, sound, etc.)


A local network that uses the same protocol, systems and programs used in the Internet for remote access, file transfer, electronic mail and access to hypertext and multimedia. It is a kind of private internet.
IP Number
(Internet Protocol Number ) - it is a numeric code, constituted by four numeric segments between 0 and 255, used by the Internet (TCP/IP protocol ) to uniquely identify a host or machine linked to the Internet. Example: An IP may be symbolically associated to one or more domain names, which are easier to remember. When the SLIP or PPP protocols are used to connect a computer to the Internet, it receives a temporary IP number that is later lost when disconnecting.
IRC (Internet Relay Channel)
A protocol of the Internet that allows an on-line dialogue (or chat) between several clients linked at the same time to an IRC server. A chat may occur between public channels (multichat) or between any two clients (private chat).
ISDN (Integrated Digital Services Network)
A technique of transmission of digital data by means of normal phone lines; it allows the integration of voice, text and images. It uses speeds between 56 to 128 thousand bps.
A programming language specifically developed by the computer company Sun Microsystems to allow the execution of programs by a browser, after transmission by the Internet. Using small programs in Java, called applets, several non available functions in HTML can be added to a home page.
A standard for compressed static photographic images and graphics. It is automatically recognized and displayed by most browsers. See also GIF.


Approximately 1000 bytes (the correct number is 1024, for reasons of construction of digital computers),


A program that allows the implementation of distribution lists or discussion lists in BITNET and in the Internet. There are other similar programst in operation, such as Listproc and Majordomo.
The process of receiving access to a host or remote computer, requiring a user name or identification code, plus a password, When these are validated by the host, access is gained to it.


Mailing List
The same as distribution list.
Approximately 1000 Kbytes.
An interface and a specific protocol to specify sequences of digital polyphonic sounds, and to connect electronic musical instruments to digital computers.
MIME (Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions)
A standard that allows the transfer of binary files, such as programs, images, voice, etc., through the email. When files of these types are sent via a MIME-compliant program, they are coded in the origin to a sequence of ASCII text characters, and then decoded in the destination.
A complete copy of a certain site or directory, in another host linked to the Internet. It usually has the aim to facilitate the access to sites which are heavily visited or to increase the access speed to servers located in faraway places.
A standard for compressed digital video (movie) files. Files in this format have the extensions .MPG or .MPEG. You will need a plug-in in order to see a movie in this format in your browser.
Modem (MOdulator, DEModulator )
An electronic device or equipment connected to a computer that allows the digital transmission of data through the normal phone system. It transforms the bits into sequences of audible tones, and sends them down the line in a speed which is measured in bits per second ( bps).
Ther first graphics-based browser or client for the WWW, developed by US National Center for Supercomputer Applications ( NCSA). It has now been largely substituted by the Netscape and Internet Explorer commercial browsers
A technology or its product which combines in a single program or access method (CD-ROM, network, etc.) data and information in several medial, such as text, static and dynamic images or graphics, audio and video segments, etc. It includes interactivity functions, i.e., it allows for a two-way interaction between the user and the product. See also hypermedia.


NCSA (National Center for Supercomputer Applications)
An important American research center, located in the state of Illinois, which has developed Mosaic, the first graphic browser for the WWW, setting several important standards in this area.
Netscape Communicator
One of the graphical browsers or clients for WWW of bigger success and dissemination, it was developed based on in the NCSA Mosaic, and marketed by the company of same name. It exists for several platforms, like Windows 3.1, Windows 95, UNIX and Macintosh.
The name given to a kind of news distribution service, in the form of a bulletin board system, called USENET. It has the same purpose of discussion lists, but it is not distributed via email. Instead, you must have a specific client, called a newsreader, which connects to a newsgroup server. The latest versions of WWW browsers have inbuilt newsreaders.
NIC (Network Information Center)
A server or organization that centralizes information on the Internet, such as white and yellow pages, names of domains, etc. The best knwon NIC is called InterNIC, which is general information center on the Internet.
A generic name given to any computer linked to a network.


Packet Switching
A digital message transmission system used in computer networks, which divides all messages into smaller, fixed-size segments called packets.
A private sequence of characters, used to gain access to a server or host computer.
A software that adds computational resources to a WWW client or browser. For instance, they are needed to to run video clips coded in the MPEG format, or to hear audioclips coded in the Real Audio format, etc. Thus, the user needs to install the plug-ins beforehand. Most of the plug-ins are available as freeware or shareware in the Internet (a list of all the plug-ins for the Netscape browser can be found in
POP (Post Office Protocol)
It is a protocol that allows the a software client's communication with an email server, through SLIP or PPP. Used by programs such as Netscape Mail, Eudora, etc. In order to access his email via a POP protocol, the user must have a POP account set up for him in his Internet host.
The channel through where the information enters and leaves a computer linked to the Internet, or host. Usually, each Internet service or protocol works with a predetermined port, which receives a number. This is the number which sometimes appears in a WWW URL address after the : character.
PPP (Point to Point Protocol)
A serial communication protocol which allows the connection of any two computers using TCP/IP, through a modem and a phone line. It is generally considered better and safer than the other protocol of that type, SLIP.


A proprietary technology of streaming audio, developed by an American company, which is able to play a sound file as it comes from the server. All RealAudio files have the extension .RA or .RAM. The same company had developed RealVideo, a streaming video technology. You need a plug-in added to your browser, in order to hear RealAudio or RealVideo files (available at
An Internet service similar to telnet.
A combination of special hardware and software used to manage the connection between two or more computer networks, by establishing the routes to be followed by message packets.


A combination of hardware and software which is used to provide access services to files and programs to external computers connected to a network, called clients.
SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol)
A serial communication protocol which allows the connection of any two computers using TCP/IP, through a modem and a phone line. The other protocol of that type is PPP.
It refers to a software that, when added to an operating system, it establishes a protocol, or communication language, with another computer. Windows 3.1, for example, needs a TCP/IP socket  (named WinSock) in order to communicate with the Internet. Trumpet is the best known WinSock of this type. Both Windows 95 and OS/2 come with pre-installed sockets.


TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
A group of protocols or communication rules that is the base of operation of the Internet and of the intranets. In order that a computer of a certain model and/or operating system is able to communicate with the Internet, it is necessary that it has the TCP/IP protocol.
A software which allows access to a remote computer, or host, through the Internet. In this way, a client computer is able to function as it were a remote terminal of that host, by gaining access via a login name and password.
A device that works as a client of a central computer or host in a network. It may simply consist of a keyboard and a video monitor (the so-called dumb terminal) or of a complete microcomputer using a special terminal emulation software (such as Windows Terminal, HyperTerminal, ProComm, or others). In this case, it is called an intelligent terminal.


A computer operating system invented in the 70s. It allows multiuser (several users can use a central computer at the same time) and multitasking (the same computer can execute several programs at the same time) processes. It contains the original TCP/IP, therefore it is used by 9 among 10 servers (hosts) in the Internet,
URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
A standardized form of specifying the address of any resource, site or existent file in a WWW server. The URL includes specifications for the protocol to be used (for example, HTTP), the machine, or node, where the informationis located (for example:, the directory (for example: svol) and the file (for example: index.html), giving a complete and unique address:
A global network of discussion groups and newsgroups, based on special servers that place those news and messages in a public area which can be accessed through the Internet.


WAIS (Wide Area Information Servers)
A software and service in the Internet which allows the buildup of searchable keyword indexes using text files. In this way, Internet servers are able to provide search services to its users.
WWW (World Wide Web)
The set of all servers and the access services to information provided by them, using hypertext and multimedia, based mainly on the HTTP protocol .

Renato M.E. Sabbatini

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Published by:
Nucleo de Informatica Biomedica UNICAMP
Center for Biomedical Informatics
State University of Campinas

İ 1997 Renato M.E. Sabbatini
Sponsored by:
Searle do Brasil