Web Glossary

This glossary is intended for teacher and parent use and is by no means an exhaustive list. Please contact me if you want something added. Janine Schaub

App (Short for Application):  Popularized in the general lexicon by the iPhone, an app is simply an application that performs a specific function on your computer or handheld device. Apps run the gamut from Web browsers and games to specialized programs like digital recorders, online chat or music players.

Astroturfing: astroturfing is a fake grassroots campaign that an individual or company might use online to give the impression of legitimate interest in a product, service or idea. Money is often given to the writer of the post and the writer often uses a pseudonym.

Attachment:  A file attached to an email that contains text, graphics, sound, etc. Typical attachments include Microsoft Word documents, PDF files, JPEG/JPG image files, and MP3 audio files.

Avatar:  In computing, an avatar is the graphical representation of the user or the user’s alter ego or character. It may take either a 3D form, as in games or virtual worlds, or a two-dimensional form as an icon in Internet forums and other online communities. It is an object representing the user. The term “avatar” can also refer to the personality connected with the screen name.

Banner Ad:  An (most often a graphic) advertisement placed on a web page, which acts as a hyperlink to an advertiser’s web site.

 Blog:  A blog is an online journal that’s updated on a regular basis with entries that appear in reverse chronological order. Blogs can be about any subject. They typically contain comments by other readers, links to other sites and permalinks.

Browser:  Computer program used to view websites and to access various other Internet-based resources. The most popular browsers are Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox.

Buddy list/contact list:  In instant messaging (IM), the user’s list of contacts. This feature can often indicate a user’s online presence.

Chat roomThe 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.”

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.

Child pornography:  A visual representation of a child who is engaged in or is depicted as engaged in explicit sexual activity.

Cloud Computing: Storing applications and data on the internet (instead of on the user’s computer).

CookieA piece of information sent by a Web server to a user’s browser. (A Web server is the computer that “hosts” a Web site, and responds to requests from a user’s browser.) Cookies may include information such as login or registration identification, user preferences, online “shopping cart” information, etc. The browser saves the information, and sends it back to the Web server whenever the browser returns to the Web site. The Web server may use the cookie to customize the display it sends to the user, or it may keep track of the different pages within the site that the user accesses. 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.

Creative Commons:  Creative Commons is a not-for-profit organization and licensing system that offers creators the ability to fine-tune their copyright, spelling out the ways in which others may use their works.

Cyber bullying:  Use of the Internet and other communication technologies to harass or intimidate an individual.

Cyber stalking:  Unwanted, abusive, insidious and repeated behaviour aimed at someone over the Internet with the purpose of destabilizing him/her. 

Domain Name:  The name that identifies a web site. (like: W3Schools.com) Domain names are the alphabetic names used to refer to computers on the Internet. 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.

Emoticon/smiley:  A combination of keyboard characters and symbols that, when viewed sideways, is suggestive of a face. Used to express emotions in emails, text messages, etc.

Filtering Software: Software that blocks access to certain websites.

Firewall: hardware or software that secures computer files by blocking unauthorized access.

Footer:  The footer is the bottom section of the web page. This section is where you usually put your copyright notice, link to your privacy policy and your website contact information.

GPS:  GPS is shorthand for Global Positioning System, a global navigation satellite system. GPS-enabled devices — most commonly mobile handhelds or a car’s navigation system — enable precise pinpointing of the location of people, buildings and objects.

Gravitar  (an abbreviation for globally recognized avatar) is a service for providing globally unique avatars that was created by Tom Preston-Werner. On Gravatar, users can register an account based on their email address, and upload an avatar to be associated with the account.

Hashtag:  A hashtag (or hash tag) is a community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. Similar to tags on Flickr, you add them in-line to your Twitter posts by prefixing a word with a hash symbol (or number sign). Twitter users often use a hashtag like #followfriday to aggregate, organize and discover relevant posts.

Header:  The header is at the very top of the web page. It usually contains a logo for the website.

Hits:  The number of times a web object (page or picture) has been viewed or downloaded.

Hyperlink:  A pointer to another document. Most often a pointer to another web page. A hyperlink is a synonym for a hotlink or a link, and sometimes called a hypertext connection to another document or web page.

Hypermedia:  An extension to hypertext to include graphics and audio.

Hypertext Markup Language/HTML:  The most commonly used coding language for creating websites.

Hypertext:  Hypertext is text that is cross-linked to other documents in such a way that the reader can read related documents by clicking on a highlighted word or symbol. (see also hyperlink)

Instant messaging/IM:  A service that allows Internet users to communicate with each other in real time.

Internet service provider/ISP:  A company that enables individuals or businesses to connect to the Internet. In addition to connectivity to the Internet, most ISPs provide email capability, website hosting, and other services. Examples include: Vidéotron, Rogers, Sympatico and AOL.

Internet:  A global connection of computer networks, also referred to as the “Net,” which share a common addressing scheme. (See also “World Wide Web”)

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 (Internet Protocol):  The computer language that allows computer programs to communicate over the Internet.

IP Address (or IP number):  A set of four numbers, each between zero and 255, separated by periods (eg: The IP address uniquely identifies a computer or other hardware device (such as a printer) on the Internet.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Expert Group)The organization that promotes the JPG and JPEG graphic formats for storing compressed images.

Keyword:  In web terms: A word used by a search engine to search for relevant web information.

Luring:  Process by which an online offender entices a child or youth to meet him in person for sexual purposes. This is usually done by assuming a false identity – such as another child or young adult – with similar interests.

Mashup:  Mashups (or mash-ups) have several meanings. A music mashup is a combination of two or more songs, generally the vocals of one song overlaid on top of the melody of another. A video mashup is the result of combining two or more pieces of video, such as news footage with original commentary. A Web mashup result when a programmer overlays information from a database or another source on top of an existing website, such as homes for sale taken from Craigslist plotted on a Google Map.

Meta Search:  The method of searching for meta data in documents.

Meta Tags:  Tags inserted into documents to describe the document.

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface)A standard protocol for communication between computers and musical instruments.

MP3 (MPEG-1 Audio Layer-3):  An audio compression format specially designed for easy download over the Internet.

Netiquette:  Set of informal rules that govern proper behaviour when online – e.g. when participating in forums, newsgroups, email exchanges, etc.

Newsgroup:  A public discussion group or electronic bulletin board where Internet users can post and read messages on a particular topic.

Nickname:  A name by which Internet users wish to be known when using online offline – Outside of the Internet, unplugged, in real life. Opposite of online.

Online:  Connected to or offered on the Internet. Opposite of offline.

Open media: In its most common usage, open media refers to video, audio, text and other media that can be freely shared, often by using Creative or GPL licenses.

PDF (Portable Document Format):  A document file format developed by Adobe. Most often used for text documents.

Peer-to-peer/P2P:  A direct link between two Internet-connected computers allowing the exchange of files without the use of a central server.

Phishing:  An identity theft scam in which criminals send out spam that imitates the look and language of legitimate correspondence from e-commerce sites. The fake messages generally link to Web sites that are similarly faked to look like the sites of the respected companies. On the sites, you are directed to enter your personal information for authentication or confirmation purposes. The information, when submitted, however, goes to the thieves, not to the “spoofed” company.

Platform:  In web terms: The computer’s operating system like Windows, Linux, or OS X.

Podcast:  A podcast is a digital file (usually audio but sometimes video) made available for download to a portable device or personal computer for later playback. A podcast also refers to the show that comprises several episodes. A podcast uses a feed that lets you subscribe to it so that when a new audio clip is published online, it arrives on your digital doorstep right away.

Podcasting:  A method of distributing pre-recorded radio broadcasts, audio clips and videos over the Internet. Using special software, these recordings can be automatically downloaded to a computer and then transferred to an iPod or other digital player to be listened to offline at a convenient time.

Remix:  A remix is any work that takes elements from two or more media files and mashes them together to create a new piece of media. Often, these are called mashups.

Screen Name or Handle:  The name someone uses (often a pename) for online gaming or Internet identification.

Scroll bar:  Scroll bars are on the right side and bottom of the browser window. If there is a scroll bar at the bottom (horizontal scroll bar) your web page content is too wide for the browser window.

Short Message Service/SMS messaging:  A service that allows the transmission of short alphanumeric messages between digital cell phones.

Smart Phone:  A smart phone (or “smartphone”) is a handheld device capable of advanced tasks beyond those of a standard mobile phone. Capabilities might include email, chat, taking photos or video or hundreds of other tasks.

Smiley Faces and Emoticons: A text smiley face — often called a smiley or emoticon — is used in text message and online chat communications to convey an emotion.

Social Media:  Social media are works of user-created video, audio, text or multimedia that are published and shared in a social environment, such as a blog, podcast, forum, wiki or video hosting site. More broadly, social media refers to any online technology that lets people publish, converse and share content online.

Social News:  Social News is a type of social bookmarking that concentrates on news articles and blog posts.

Spam:  Unwanted email sent to large numbers of Internet users to promote products or services.

Spammer:  A person or organization that sends spam.

Spyware:  A program that hides on a computer gathers information about the user and uses his/her Internet connection to relay this information to advertisers or other interested parties.

Streaming:  A method of sending audio and video files over the Internet in such a way that the user can view the file while it is being transferred.

Tag Cloud:  A tag cloud is a visual representation of the popularity of the tags or descriptions that people are using on a blog or website. Popular tags are often shown in a large type and less popular tags in smaller type.

Tweet:  A post on Twitter, a real-time social messaging system. While all agree on usage of tweet as a noun, people disagree on whether you “tweet” or “twitter” as a verb. RT stands for retweet: Users add RT in a tweet if they are reposting something from another person’s tweet.

Twitter:  Twitter is a popular social network, unveiled to the public in July 2006, that lets members post updates of no more than 140 characters. People have begun using Twitter in interesting ways to point to news stories, to raise funds for charity, and other unexpected uses.

Upload:  To transfer a file from a local computer to a remote computer. In web terms: to transfer a file from a web client to a web server.

URL – (Uniform Resource Locator):  The World Wide Web address of a site on the Internet. The URL for the Internal Revenue Service, for example, is http://www.irs.gov.

Videoconferencing:  The live transmission of video and audio over the Internet.

Virtual World: A virtual world is an online computer-simulated space like Second Life that mixes aspects of real life with fantasy elements. Typically, you can create a representation of yourself (an avatar) and socialize with other residents for free, though you can also buy currency (using real money) to purchase land and trade with other residents. Second Life is being used by some nonprofits and businesses to run discussions, virtual events and fundraising.

Web Address:  The same as an URL or URI.

Webcam:  Small digital camera connected to a computer that allows video images from any part of the world to be made available in real time on the Internet. Can be used for Internet-based videoconferencing.

Widget:  A widget, sometimes called a gadget, badge or applet, is a small block of content, typically displayed in a small box, with a specific purpose, such as providing weather forecasts or news, that is constantly updating itself (typically via RSS).

Wikipedia:  Wikipedia is a Web-based, multi-language, free-content encyclopedia written collaboratively by volunteers. Sponsored by the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation, it has editions in about 200 different languages.

ZIP:  A compressing format for computer files. Commonly used for compressing files before downloading over the Internet. ZIP files can be compressed (ZIPPED) and decompressed (UNZIPPED) using a computer program like WINZIP.

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