Internet, Web Searching, and Netscape Glossary
APPLET -- A small Java program which allows a file or Web page to display animation, calculators, sound effects or other interactive functions. (See also "Java")
BACK / FORWARD -- Buttons in the Netscape Tool Button Bar, upper left. BACK returns you to the document previously viewed. FORWARD goes to the next document, after you go BACK. If it seems like the BACK button does not work, check if you are in a new Netscape window; some Web pages are programmed to open a new window when you click on some links. Each window has its own short-term search HISTORY. If this does not work, use GO to select the page you want.
BANDWITH -- The rate at which information travels through a network connection, usually measured in bits per second, kilobits (thousand bits) per second, or megabits (million bits) per second.
BIT - - The smallest element of computerized data. A full text page in English is about 16,000 bits. (See also "Byte").
BLOCKING SOFTWARE - Computer programs that filter content from the Internet and block access to some Web sites or content based on specified criteria. Parents, teachers, or caregivers can use blocking software to prevent access to certain Web sites and other information available over the Internet. (See also "Client-based filter" and "Filtering software")
BOOLEAN LOGIC -- Way to combine terms using ""operators" such as "AND," "OR," "AND NOT" and sometimes "NEAR." AND requires all terms appear in a record. OR retrieves records with either term. AND NOT excludes terms. Parentheses may be used to sequence operations and group words. Always enclose terms joined by OR with parentheses. See Require/Reject term and Fuzzy and. For a more detailed explanation of Boolean Logic visit the University at Albany Libraries (http://library.albany.edu/subject/tutorials/education/Boolean.html).
BROWSERS -- Browsers are software programs that enable you to view, hear, and interact with material on the World Wide Web. Netscape and Microsoft’s Internet Explorer are examples of popular browsers .
BULLETIN BOARD -- An area of a Web site where users can post messages for other users to read. In most cases, readers can contact the author of a bulletin board message by e-mail. (See also "Chat," "Chat room," and "Discussion group")
BYTE - A unit of measure of computer memory. A byte generally represents one character, such as "A," and is made up of eight bits. (See also "Bit").
CACHE - A file on the hard drive that temporarily stores web pages you have visited in your computer. When you use Go, Back, or any other means to revisit a document, Netscape first check to see if it is in cache and will retrieve it from there because it is much faster than retrieving it from the server. If memory allocated to cache in your computer becomes full, Netscape discards older documents. The size of cache may be changed, although larger cache may affect other operations and is limited by the amount of memory on the computer.
CASE SENSITIVE -- Capital letters (upper case) retrieve only upper case. Most other search tools are not case sensitive or only respond to initial capitals, as in proper names. It is always safe to key all lower case (no capitals), because lower case will always retrieve upper case.
CD-ROM (Compact Disk - Read Only Memory) - A computer storage medium which can store large amounts of information; generally used to distribute software or multi-media for use on computers with CD-ROM drives. CD-ROM disks look just like music CDs, and cannot be altered by a user.
CHAT -- A feature offered by many online services or Web sites that allows participants to "chat" by typing messages which are displayed almost instantly on the screens of other participants who are using the chat room. Chatting is one of the most popular uses of the Internet. Generally the participants remain anonymous, using nicknames or pseudonyms to identify themselves online.
CHAT ROOM -- The name given to a place or page in a Web site or online service where people can "chat" with each other by typing messages which are displayed almost instantly on the screens of others who are in the "chat room." Chat rooms are also called "online forums."
CLIENT-BASED FILTER -- A software program that a user installs on his or her own computer to monitor Internet use, block access to specific types of material, prevent kids from accessing the Internet at certain times, or prevent kids from revealing personal information online. (See also "Filtering software" and "Blocking software").
COOKIE -- A message, or pieces of information, from a web server computer, sent to and stored by your browser on your computer. Cookies may include information such as login or registration identification, user preferences, online "shopping cart" information, etc. When your computer consults the originating server computer, the cookie is sent back to the server, allowing it to respond to you according to the cookie's contents. The main use for cookies is to provide customized Web pages according to a profile of your interests. When you log onto a "customize" type of invitation on a Web page and fill in your name and other information, this may result in a cookie on your computer which that Web page will access to appear to "know" you and provide what you want. If you fill out these forms, you may also receive e-mail and other solicitation independent of cookies. Browsers may be configured to alert the user when a cookie is being sent, or to refuse to accept cookies. Some sites, however, cannot be accessed unless the browser accepts cookies. (See also "Personally identifiable information")
CYBERSPACE -- Refers to the various information resources that are available through computer networks and the Internet, as well as to "communities" which have developed through their common use of such resources, and to the culture which is developing in such electronically connected communities. May also be used to distinguish the physical world from the digital, or computer-based world.
DIRECTORIES -- Indexes of Web sites, organized by subject, created by humans.
DNS ENTRY -- "Domain Name Server entry" frequently appears as a browser error message when you try to enter a URL. It refers to the initial part of a URL, down to the first /, where the domain and name of the host or server computer are listed (most often in reversed order, name first, then domain). This is translated in huge tables standardized across the Internet into a numeric IP Address unique to the host computer sought. These tables are maintained on computers called "Domain Name Servers." Whenever you ask the browser to find a URL, the browser must consult the table on the domain name server that particular computer is networked to consult. If this look-up fails for any reason, the "lacks DNS entry" error occurs. The most common remedy is simply to try the URL again, when the domain name server is less busy, and it will find the entry (the corresponding numeric IP Address).
DISCUSSION GROUP -- Online area, like an electronic bulletin board, where users can read and add or "post" comments about a specific topic. Users can find discussion groups, also referred to as "discussion boards," for almost any topic. (See also "Newsgroups").
DOMAIN -- Hierarchical scheme for indicating logical and sometimes geographical venue of a web-page from the network. A Web site address, including a suffix such as .com, .org, .gov, or .edu. The suffix indicates what type of organization is hosting the site.
com - Originally stood for "commercial," to indicate a site that could be sued for private, commercial purposes, but now the best well known top level domain, and used for a wide variety of sites
net - Originally intended for site related to the Internet itself, but now used for a wide variety of sites.
edu - Use for educational institutions like universities
org - Originally intended for non-commercial "organizations," but organizations now used for a wide variety of sites
gov - Used for US Government sites
mil - Used for US Military sites
int - Used by International" sites, usually NATO
Domain Names Registries provides the domain codes for all the countries (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Internet_top-level_domains). (See also "URL")
DOWNLOAD -- to transfer (copy) files from one computer to another. "Download" can also mean viewing a Web site, or material on a Web server, with a Web browser. (See also "Upload") Can also include saving to diskette.
DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) --A means of accessing the Internet at very high speed using standard phone lines.
E-MAIL (Electronic Mail) -- Messages sent through an electronic (computer) network to specific groups or individuals. Though e-mail is generally text, users can attach files that include graphics, sound, and video. E-mailing requires a modem to connect the telephone line to the computer, and an e-mail address. E-mail addresses include the @ symbol, such as email@example.com <mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org>.
ENCRYPTION -- A means of making data unreadable to everyone except the receiver. Encryption is often used to make the transmission of credit card numbers secure for those who are shopping using the Internet.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) -- Pages which list and answer the questions most often asked about a Web site, newsgroup, etc. The FAQ page often provides useful information for a new user of a Web site, mailing list, discussion group, or product.
FILTERED ISP -- An Internet Service Provider (ISP) that sets criteria for determining content which is inappropriate for children, and automatically blocks subscriber access to that content. Parents and other caregivers who are choosing a filtered ISP should review the company's criteria for blocking, and make sure those criteria reflect their own values and judgments.
FILTERING SOFTWARE -- Software that screens information on the Internet and classifies its content. Some filtering software allows the user to block access to certain kinds of content. (See also "Blocking software," "Client-based filtering software," and "Server-based filtering software").
FIND -- Button in Netscape Tool Button Bar at top. Searches for word(s) keyed in document in screen only. Useful to locate a term in a long document.
FIREWALL -- Hardware or software that secures computer files by blocking unauthorized access.
FLAMING -- Posting or sending a deliberately confrontational message via newsgroup, e-mail, etc., usually in response to a previous message.
FRAMES -- A format for web documents that divides the screen into segments, each with a scroll bar as if it were as "window" within the window. Usually, selecting a category of documents in one frame shows the contents of the category in another frame. To go BACK in a frame, position the cursor in the frame an press the right mouse button, and select "Back in frame" (or Forward). You can adjust frame dimensions by positioning the cursor over the border between frames and dragging the border up/down or right/left holding the mouse button down over the border.
FTP (File Transfer Protocol) -- A way of transferring files over the Internet from one computer to another.
FUZZY AND -- In ranking of results, documents with any terms (Boolean OR) are retrieved, but those with all terms (Boolean AND) are ranked first.
GATEWAY -- A computer system for exchanging information across incompatible networks by translating between two dissimilar protocols. May also describe any mechanism that gives access to another, such as an ISP which acts as a gateway to the Internet.
GO -- Button in Netscape Menu Bar at top. Provides list of recent sites you visited, retained for the current session only. Click on any site in the list to return to the site. For a more permanent marker, make a bookmark history, Search History Available by using the combined keystrokes CTRL + H, a more permanent record of sites you have visited/retrieved than GO. You can set how many days your Netscape retains history in Edit | Preferences | Navigator.
HARDWARE -- The mechanical devices that comprise a computer system, such as the central processing unit, monitor, keyboard, and mouse, as well as other equipment like printers and speakers.
HOMEPAGE -- The first page on a Web site, which introduces the site and provides the means of navigation.
HOST -- Computer that provides web-documents to clients or users.
HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) -- The coded format language used for creating hypertext documents on the World Wide Web and controlling how Web pages appear.
HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol) -- The standard language that computers connected to the World Wide Web use to communicate with each other.
HYPERLINK -- An image or portion of text on a Web page that is linked to another Web page, either on the same site or in another Web site. Clicking on the link will take the user to another Web page, or to another place on the same page. Words or phrases which serve as links are underlined, or appear in a different color, or both. Images that serve as links have a border around them, or they change the cursor to a little hand as it passes over them. (See also "Link").
ICRA - (Internet Content Rating Association) -- An international, independent, non-profit organization which administers a rating system to identify potentially objectionable material included in rated Web sites. (See also "RSACi").
IM or Instant Message - IM (Instant Message) -- Technology similar to that of chat rooms, which notifies a user when a friend is online, allowing them to "converse" by exchanging text messages. (See also "Web-based instant messaging").
INTERNET (Upper case I) -- A global connection of computer networks, also referred to as the "Net," which share a common addressing scheme. (See also "World Wide Web" or "WWW").
INTRANET -- A private network inside a company or organization, which uses software like that used on the Internet, but is for internal use only, and is not accessible to the public. Companies use Intranets to manage projects, provide employee information, distribute data and information, etc.
IP Address or IP Number (Internet Protocol number or address) -- A unique number consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 184.108.40.206 Every machine that is on the Internet has a unique IP Address. If a machine does not have an IP number, it is not really on the Internet. Most machines also have one or more Domain Names that are easier for people to remember.
IRC (Internet Relay Chat) -- A protocol and a program type that allows participants to "chat" online in a live forum that usually centers around a common interest. IRC is the earliest form of online chat.
ISDN - (Integrated Services Digital Network) -- Digital telephony scheme that allows a user to connect to the Internet over standard phone lines at speeds higher than a 56K modem allows.
ISP (Internet Service Provider) -- A company that sells direct access to the Internet, most often through dialing a local phone number. Unlike some online services, ISPs provide little or no proprietary content or online services.
JAVA -- A network-oriented programming language invented by Sun Microsystems that is specifically designed for writing programs that can be safely downloaded to your computer through the Internet and immediately run without fear of viruses or other harm to our computer or files. Using Java, Web developers create small programs called "applets" that allow Web pages to include animations, calculators, scrolling text, sound effects and games. (See also "Applet").
KEYWORD(S) -- A word searched for in a search command. Keywords are searched in any order. Use spaces to separate keywords in simple keyword searching. To search keywords exactly as keyed (in the same order), see "Phrase".
LIMITING TO A FIELD -- Requiring that a keyword or phrase appear in a specific field of documents retrieved. Most often used to limit to the "Title" field in order to find documents primarily about one or more keywords. Can be used for other fields. See Search Engine Features (http://searchenginewatch.com/2167891) for which fields with which search engine.
LINK -- A word, phrase, or image highlighted in a hypertext document to act as a navigation aid to related information. Links may be indicated with an underline, a color contrast, or a border. (See also "Hyperlink")
LINK "ROT" -- Term used to describe the frustrating and frequent problem caused by the constant changing in URLs. A Web page or search tool offers a link and when you click on it, you get an error message (e.g., "not available") or a page saying the site has moved to a new URL. URLs change frequently because the documents are moved to new computers, the file structure on the computer is reorganized, or sites are discontinued. If there is no referring link to the new URL, there is little you can do but try to search for the same or an equivalent site from scratch.
LISTSERVERS -- A discussion group mechanism that permits you to subscribe and receive and participate in discussions via e-mail.
LYNX BROWSER -- Lynx is a "browser" program like Netscape or Internet Explorer that can access information on the World Wide Web, but without access to images, film, or sound. It is used often from slow modems to eliminate the need to wait to download images and other features. Lynx allows you to read the text of any WWW document, and to select hypertext links in these documents. You can use Lynx to go to any WWW document, to fill out forms available on WWW, to print and save files and perform many other tasks. For information on how to use Lynx, see Lynx Basics.
META-SEARCH ENGINE -- Search engines that automatically submit your keyword search to several other search tools, and retrieve results from all their databases. Convenient time-savers for relatively simple keyword searches (one or two keywords or phrases in " ").
MODEM -- A hardware device that allows computers to communicate with each other by transmitting signals over telephone lines, enabling what is called "dial-up access." Modems come in different speeds. The higher the speed, the faster the data are transmitted. The fastest widely available modems are "56K" (or 56 kilobits per second).
MOUSE -- A palm-size device attached to a computer by a cord, which allows the user to select items displayed on the screen by controlling the cursor, and to give commands by clicking the device's buttons. (See also "Hardware").
MULTIMEDIA -- Information presented in more than one format, such as text, audio, video, graphics, and images.
NAVIGATION-- A system of hypertext paths set up on a Web page to enable visitors to find their way around the site.
NET DIRECTORY, NET SEARCH -- Buttons in the Netscape Directory Buttons. Both retrieve the same list of search tools in Netscape.
NETIQUETTE -- The informal rules of Internet courtesy, enforced exclusively by other Internet users.
NETIZENS -- Citizens of cyberspace. (See also "Cyberspace")
NEWSGROUP -- A discussion group operated through the Internet. Not to be confused with listservers which operate through e-mail. Newsgroups are classified by subject matter and do not necessarily deal with journalism or "news." Health, hobbies, celebrities, and cultural events are the subjects of many newsgroups. Participants in a newsgroup conduct discussions by posting messages for others to read, and responding to the messages posted by others.
OPEN -- Button in Netscape Tool Button Bar at top. Window with blank box appears. Key any URL and press the Enter key to retrieve a document. (You may also "open" or retrieve a document by clearing the Netscape LOCATION FIELD box above the document, entering a URL, and pressing the Enter key.)
OPERATOR -- The person who is responsible for maintaining and running a Web site.
OPT-IN -- A policy for giving permission under which the user explicitly permits the Web site operator to either collect the information, use it in a specified manner and/or share it with others when such use or disclosure to third parties is unrelated to the purpose for which the information was collected. (See also "opt-out") .
OPT-OUT -- A policy under which the user's permission is implied unless the user explicitly requests that his/her information not be collected, used and/or shared when such use or disclosure to third parties is unrelated to the purpose for which the information was collected. (See also "opt-in")
PACKET, PACKET JAM -- When you retrieve a document via the WWW, the document is sent in "packets" which fit in between other messages on the telecommunications lines, and then are reassembled when they arrive at your end. This occurs using TCP/IP protocol. The packets may be sent via different paths on the networks which carry the Internet. If any of these packets gets delayed, your document cannot be reassembled and displayed. This is called a "packet jam." You can often resolve packet jams by pressing STOP then RELOAD. RELOAD requests a fresh copy of the document, and it is likely to be sent without jamming.
PERSONALLY IDENTIFIABLE INFORMATION -- Information that can identify an individual user, such as name, home address, or e-mail address.
PHRASE -- More than one keyword, searched exactly as keyed (all terms required to be in documents, in the order keyed). Enclosing keywords in quotations " " forms a phrase in AltaVista, Infoseek, and some other search tools. Some times a phrase is called a "character string." +REQUIRE or -REJECT A TERM OR PHRASE Insert + immediately before a term (no space) to limit search to documents containing a term. Insert - immediately before a term (no space) to exclude documents containing a term. Can be used immediately (no space) before the " " delimiting a phrase. Functions partially like basic Boolean logic. If + precedes more than one term, they are required as with Boolean AND. If - is used, terms are excluded as with Boolean AND NOT. If neither + no - is used, the default if Boolean OR. However, full Boolean logic allows parentheses to group and sequence logical operations, and +/- do not.
PICS - (Platform for Internet Content Selection) -- Technology that allows Web browsers to read content ratings of Web sites. Content ratings are administered by the Internet Content Rating Association (ICRA), an independent, non-profit organization. (See also "ICRA" and "RSACi").
PLUG-IN -- A small piece of software that enriches a larger piece of software by adding features or functions. Plug-ins enable browsers to play audio and video.
POSTING -- Sending a message to a discussion group or other public message area on the Internet. The message itself is called a "post."
RSACi - (Recreational Software Advisory Council on the Internet) -- Rating system managed by ICRA (Internet Content Rating Association) to provide consumers with information about the level of sex, nudity, violence, offensive language (vulgar or hate-motivated) in Web sites. Ratings provided by RSACi are recognized by PICS technology. (See also "ICRA" and "PICS").
RESULTS RANKING -- The order in which search results appear. Each search tool uses its own unique algorithm. Most use "fuzzy and" combined with factors such as how often your terms occur in documents and whether in title or how near the top of the text. Ranking is automatic in almost all systems. Alta Vista Advanced Search and Disinformation permit you specify terms for documents to rank first. Infoseek allows you to sub-search with the same powerful effect as Results Ranking.
SCROLL (DOWN, UP, LEFT, RIGHT) -- Moving up or down within a document in your screen. Use scroll bar at right. Click on arrow down or arrow up. Drag the scroll button down or up. Or click on the page up or page down icons at the bottom of the bar. If you need to scroll left or right, use the scroll bar at the bottom.
SEARCH ENGINE -- A tool that enables users to locate information on the World Wide Web. Search engines use keywords entered by users to find Web sites which contain the information sought. Some search engines are specifically designed to find Web sites intended for children.
SERVER, WEB SERVER -- A computer running that software, assigned an IP address, and connected to the Internet so that it can provide (serve up) and transmit documents via the World Wide Web. Also called host or node.
SERVER-BASED FILTER -- Software which is installed on a host server, such as a Web server, to filter out Web pages which include content which meets specific criteria. Users who connect to a server that uses a filter will only be able to access those pages which get through the server's filter.
SOFTWARE -- A computer program, which provides the instructions which enable the computer hardware to work. System software, such as Windows or MacOS, operate the machine itself, and applications software, such as spreadsheet or word processing programs, provide specific functionality.
SPAM -- Unsolicited "junk" e-mail sent to large numbers of people to promote products or services. Sexually explicit unsolicited e-mail is called "porn spam." Also refers to inappropriate promotional or commercial postings to discussion groups or bulletin boards.
SPIDERS -- Computer programs, referred to sometimes a "knowledge-bots" or "knowbots" that are used by search engines to roam, or crawl, the World Wide Web via the Internet, visit sites and databases, and keep the search engine database of web pages up to date. Most large search engines operate several robots all the time. Even so, the Web is so enormous that it can take six months for spiders to cover it, resulting in a certain degree of "out-of-datedness" in all the search engines.
STEMMING -- In keyword searching, word endings are automatically removed (lines becomes line); searches are performed on the stem + common endings (line or lines retrieves line, lines, line's, lines', lining, lined). Not very common as a practice, and not always disclosed. Can usually be avoided by placing a term in " ".
STOP -- Button at end of Netscape's Tool Button Bar. Used to stop downloading of a document.
STOP WORDS -- In database searching, "stop words" are small and frequently occuring words like and, or, in, of that are often ignored when keyed as search terms. Sometimes putting them in quotes " " will allow you to search them. Sometimes + immediately before them makes them searchable.
SUBJECT DIRECTORY -- An approach to Web documents by a lexicon of subject terms hierarchically grouped. May be browsed or searched by keywords. Subject directories are smaller than other searchable databases, because of the human involvement required to classify documents by subject.
SUB-SEARCHING -- Ability to search only within the results of a previous search. Enables you to refine search results, in effect making the computer "read" the search results for you selecting documents with terms you sub-search on. Can function much like "Results Ranking".
SURF -- To search for information on the Web in a random, non-linear way.
TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) -- The protocols, or conventions, that computers use to communicate over the Internet. To be truly on the Internet, your computer must have TCP/IP software. See also IP Address.
TELNET -- Internet service allowing one computer to log onto another, connecting as if not remote.
THESAURUS -- In some search tools, the terms you choose to search on can lead you to other terms you may not have thought of. Different search tools have different ways of presenting this information, sometimes with suggested words you may choose among and sometimes automatically. The terms are based on the terms in the results of your search, not on some dictionary-like thesaurus.
TIME LIMITING SOFTWARE -- Software that allows users to set time limits for access to the Internet, computer games, or other software programs.
TITLE (of a document) -- Normally the highlighted header or title, usually underlined in search tools. The title displayed in search engines is generally from the "meta" field called title, which is not mandatory in HTML coding. Sometimes you retrieve a document with "No Title" as its supposed title; this is caused when the meta-title field is left blank. In Alta Vista and some other search tools, title: search also matches on the "meta" field, which contains document descriptors not displayed on the Web. See also "Limiting to a Field".
TRUNCATION -- In a search, the ability to enter the first part of a keyword, insert a symbol (usually *), and accept any variant spellings or word endings, from the occurrence of the symbol forward. (E.g., femini* retrieves feminine, feminism, feminism, etc.)
URL -- Uniform Resource Locator. The unique address of any Web document. There is a logic the layout of a URL: Anatomy of a URL Type of file (could say ftp:// or telnet://) domain name (computer file is on and its location on the Internet) Path or directory on the computer to this file Name of file, usually ending in .html or .htm as in http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/FindInfo.html
WEB - The World Wide Web --An Internet system to distribute graphical, hyperlinked information, based on the hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP). The World Wide Web is also known as WWW or W3. The Web is not synonymous with the Internet; rather, it is just one service on the Internet. Other services on the Internet include Internet Relay Chat (IRC) and Newsgroups. The Web is accessed through use of a browser.
WEB-BASED CHAT -- Chat rooms that are found in Web sites, which allow people to chat with each other using their browsers. Another kind of chat room, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), requires additional software. (See also "Chat room," and "IRC").
WEBMASTER - The person responsible for administering a Web site.
WORD VARIANTS -- Different word endings (such as -ing, -s, -es, -ism, -ist, etc.) will be retrieved only if you allow for them in your search terms. One way to do this is truncation, but few systems accept truncation. Another way is to enter the variants either separated by Boolean OR (and grouped in parentheses). In +REQUIRE/-REJECT non-Boolean systems, enter the variant terms preceded with neither + nor -, because this will allow documents containing any of them to retrieved.