|ASCII, also referred to as "text-only"
Standard Code for Information Exchange"; a 7-bit code based on the Roman
alphabet which is platform-neutral, i.e. it is a sort of universal code for
transferring data across the internet that all computers can read. Email is
transferred as ASCII, though its attachment may be binary. Written languages
not based on the Roman alphabet, such as Chinese or Arabic, can't be expressed
8-bit code used for transmitting any data other than text, such as pictures,
sounds, programs, and word-processed (not .txt) documents. Email attachments
are often binary, though the body of the email is always ASCII. (Binary attachments are converted to 7-bit when sent and re-converted back to 8-bit when received, but that's transparent to the user and too complex to cover here.)
program you run on your computer to access the world wide web. The most common
browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, and AOL's
versions of each. Modern browsers actually access far more than the web, and
indeed the very newest can run almost every major protocol (save telnet), i.e. they can read mail,
the usenet, run ftp, chat, and more.
or irc (for Internet Relay Chat); formerly called "talk"
part (protocol) of the internet that allows users to type messages to each
other and see each other's messages at the same time; contrast with email, in
which there can be a lengthy delay between the sending of and the reading of an
email. Many chat rooms can now be found on the web, such as at www.talkcity.com.
program you run on your own computer, as compared with one that the server
runs. Your web browser and your email reader are examples of "clients."
manual way to index sites on the internet. While a search engine indexes the
internet with automatic computer programs, a directory is a list of sites
laboriously compiled by hand. The main example is www.yahoo.com. Since they are
done manually they usually index no more than 1% of the internet. Directories
are thus much easier to use than search engines, but they can produce limited
results. However, topic-specific directories (like www.bcca.org/~cvoogt) can be
unique home of a website or server; e.g., in the email address
"" the second part, "bahai-library.com," is the
domain. If you were to register a domain, your domain would look like
|email reader, or mail reader, or mail client
program you use for accessing your email, such as Outlook, Eudora, or Pine. If
you get your email off of the web, such as through hotmail.com, you're not
using an email reader.
transfer protocol"; used for moving files between your computer and a website's
server, esp. for downloading binary data like graphics or an update to a
||A system for hierarchically organizing and navigating documents on distant computers, implemented extensively at college campuses and research facilities in the early 1990s. It was quickly overshadowed by the much more usable world wide web interface and is rarely used today.
markup language"; a coding language which uses ASCII, or text-only, to format
documents with elements such as italics or color. A browser reads the text-only
formatting instructions and then constructs, or "renders," a colorful page
that's far more than text-only; hence, "hyper-text"
transfer protocol"; the request your browser sends to a server when you visit a
webpage, asking the server to send files back to your computer. In a complete
URL, like "http://bahai-library.com/index.html," your browser is asking the
distant server to "transfer the hypertext document called index.html to me."
or "host provider"
Presence Provider"; the company you pay to host a personal domain, e.g. the
company I pay in order for me to run the site bahai-library.com. Many companies
are both an ISP and an IPP.
or "dial-up provider"
Service Provider"; the company you pay for monthly dial-up access to the
internet. For example, mindspring.com and aol.com are ISPs. If you use the
internet only at work or at school, you probably don't have an ISP. See also
|listserver, or listserv
server program which keeps a large number of email addresses in a "list"; when
any member of the list sends an email to the listserver's address, the program
then re-emails it out to all other members. "email@example.com" is a
directory that lists other directories. Examples include www.vlib.org and
www.academicinfo.net. Meta-directories can be among the best starting points
for research on the internet, because they usually classify other directories
by subject, which will in turn list specific pages.
engine, or meta-engine
program that automatically searches multiple search engines at a time. Examples
include www.dogpile.com and www.metacrawler.com. These can be very successful,
but sometimes the results are less clear than using a single search engine like
office protocol"; a part (protocol) of the internet which sends email from the
server to your computer. See also smtp.
set of rules telling computers how to talk to each other. Examples of different
protocols are ftp, http (the web), or pop (email). And analogy to explain
protocols would be human communication--before you communicate with someone you
have to have agreed on a number of "protocols," such as a language to speak, a
volume to use, and a time to talk. Similarly, to send email or read the usenet
all of the computers involved have to use one agreed-upon set of instructions,
or one protocol, for that function.
automatized way to index and find documents on the internet. Search engines
will "crawl," or explore, the internet and index every file they find. Examples
of search engines are www.altavista.com and www.excite.com. Since they are
automatic they're more efficient than directories, but still even the best
actually index no more than 25% of the entire internet. Search engines find
many more documents than a directory, but the results they return can be
difficult to sort through.
computer which houses the documents you find on the internet and transfers (or, "serves") them
to your computer when you visit a website.
mail transfer protocal"; a part of the internet which sends email from your
computer to the server. See pop.
||Transmission Control Protocol / Internet Protocol is the basic method used for transmitting any and all data over the internet: the computer sending data breaks it up into "packets," little chunks of data. Each packet has the destination address included with it, and the packets might take completely different routes in the process of getting to their final distination. The computer receiving the data then reassembles it. Transmitting information over phone lines between distant computers is an inherently error-prone process, which TCP/IP is designed to make smooth and reliable.
||A method of interacting with a distant computer directly. Unlike clients, which run on your own computer and just request information from a server, telnet allows you to actually operate directly with the server to manipulate files and run programs. While common a few years ago, today it's used only by webmasters and technicians.
(or Universal) Resource Locator"; the unique address of a document on the
internet. A URL might or might not include the "http://," the "www," or a
filename (ending in .html); For example,
"http://www.bahai-library.com/index.html" and "bahai-library.com" are identical
URLs; in this example, you'll get the exact same document no matter which of
the two URLs you type in your browser.
or newsgroups, or nntp
||a part of the internet which functions much like a community bulletin board (nntp is "network news transfer protocal"). The entire "usenet" consists of probably a million "newsgroups," each
newsgroup devoted to a specific topic. Examples include alt.fan.madonna or
soc.religion.bahai. The vast majority of the newsgroups are regional-only, such
as misc.sale.cars.sanfrancisco, and usually can't be accessed outside of the
region. About 20,000 newsgroups are widely available, covering every
webpage, homepage (usually shortened to "site" or "page")
distinct collection of documents on the internet. Tends to be loosely defined,
as a "webpage" can consist of one page or 10,000. For example, my mom's site
consists of only her resume and it is considered one website, while the Bahá'í
Academics Resource Library has over 9,000 documents and is still considered one
website. A "homepage" usually refers to a personal website, such as one's
resume or pictures of one's kids.
wide web"; the part (protocol) of the internet which connects and contains
webpages. Since the founding of the world wide web in 1991, browsers have
evolved to the point that a single browser (such as Netscape Communicator 4+)
can actually run all parts of the internet, including ftp, usenet, chat, and
email. Thus, practically speaking, "the web" is virtually synonymous with "the