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The Lowdown on Online Lingo

July 1, 1995
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Along with new skills, HR professionals who want to surf the net must learn a new language. Here's a glossary of terms you might need to navigate the Internet and commercial online services:

BBS (bulletin board system)
An electronic system that allows users to exchange messages and information.

bps (bits per second)
A measurement that indicates the speed at which data is transferred by a modem.

Broadband Network
A network that can handle multiple signals at the same time—using separate channels to transfer data, voice and video.

Chat
The ability to "talk" in real time to other users by typing messages at the terminal.

Cyberspace
The whole range of information resources available through computer networks.

Domain
The official Internet name of a computer as used in E-mail messages. The domain immediately follows the @ symbol.

E-mail (Electronic Mail)
A system of sending messages from one computer to another via online services or over the Internet.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
Documents that list and answer the most common questions on a particular subject or about a particular site. A regular feature on Internet Usenet articles.

FTP (File-transfer Protocol)
Allows Internet users to transfer files from one computer to another using a telephone line or a network connection. FTP is able to check if information has been received correctly.

Gateway
A computer that connects one network to another, despite the fact that both use different protocols.

Gopher
A menu-based system for searching the Internet. Gopher is a client-server style program, which requires that the user have a Gopher Client program.

Homepage
An organization's site or presence on the World Wide Web.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
The coding language used to create pages for the World Wide Web. It uses codes that allow the display of fonts, layout, graphics and hypertext links.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
The system that allows World Wide Web pages to be transmitted over the Internet.

Hypertext
A method for writing and displaying text and graphics that allows users to click on an element and jump to related documents or images. On the World Wide Web, that allows users to move from one server to another, across countries and topics.

Listserv
Programs that automatically manage mailing lists. Functions include adding and deleting subscribers, and distributing messages to list subscribers via E-mail.

Mailing List
An E-mail address that remails all incoming mail to subscribers interested in the given topic.

Modem (MOdulator, DEModulator)
The device that allows a computer user to connect to other computers via phone lines.

Newsgroup
A bulletin board system that allows users access to discussion on a given topic.

PPP
(Point-to-Point Protocol) A method of connecting computers together over phone lines. Used to connect individual PCs to the Internet.

SLIP (Serial Line Internet Protocol)
Allows a computer to connect to the Internet via a serial line. Similar to PPP.

Snail Mail
Traditional mail services.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol)
The basic protocol that allows computers to communicate over the Internet.

Telnet
A first-generation program that allows a user to log on to other computers on the Internet.

Usenet
A system of distributed bulletin boards, usually referred to as newsgroups. Using a program called a newsreader, it's possible to view messages.

WinSock (Windows Sockets)
A standard for controlling the way Windows interacts with TCP/IP. A WinSock program manages Internet sessions when connecting via Windows.

WWW (World Wide Web)
A sophisticated hypertext system that allows users to browse the Internet, viewing text, graphics and video, and receiving sound. Programs such as Mosaic and Netscape allow users to have access to the full capabilities of the WWW.

SOURCE: Sam Greengard, with contribution from Matisse Enzer/Internet Literacy Consultants.

Personnel Journal, July 1995, Vol. 74, No. 7, p. 66.

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