Information Technology

Glossary of Terms

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A small Java program

Acronym for the A merican S tandard C ode for I nformation I nterchange . Most computers use ASCII codes to represent text , which makes it possible to transfer data from one computer to another.


Short for bi nary digi t , the smallest unit of information on a machine.

A bitmap is a mapped array of pixels that can be saved as a file. Both JPEG and GIF are bitmap graphic formats.

Short for Web browser, a software application used to locate and display Web pages. The two most popular browsers are Google Chrome and Safari .


Abbreviation of C ommon G ateway I nterface , a specification for transferring information between a World Wide Web server and a CGI program . A CGI program is any program designed to accept and return data that conforms to the CGI specification. The program could be written in any programming language , including C , Perl , Java , or Visual Basic .

A message given to a web browser by a web server. The browser stores the message in a text file. The message is then sent back to the server each time the browser requests a page from the server.

Cascading Style Sheets , allow you to define how Web page elements are displayed. Specific margins or colors can be associated with headers and links, for example. When style sheets are applied to a new page, the elements are changed according to the specifications of the style.


The domain name system (DNS) is an Internet service that translates domain names into IP addresses.

Transfer of a file from a remote computer to a local computer.


Error Codes
Error codes are the Internet's method of telling you the error of your ways. The first thing to do is double check if you've typed in the URL correctly. Often a simple typo is to blame for leading you down the wrong path. It's also possible that the page or entire site you're seeking has been moved or deleted (in which case, see if you can find the site at its new address with a quick Web search).


Frequently Asked Questions: A compilation of the most commonly questions on a subject.

The Microsoft Office Web site creation and management program, which is available in computer labs on campus.

File Transfer Protocol, an Internet client-server protocol for transferring files between computers.


Graphics Interchange Format, a format for storing image files. It is the most common format for inline images in HTML documents. The other common format is JPEG.

Any picture or image within a web page, usually in .gif or .jpg format.


Hits are the individual requests a server answers in order to render a single Web page completely.

home page
The introductory page for a World Wide Web site. A home page usually provides an introduction to the site, along with hypertext links to local resources. Home pages on the Muhlenberg College website should be named index.html.

HyperText Markup Language, a coding language used to create web pages.

The conversation between browsers and servers takes place according to the hypertext transfer protocol, or HTTP.


Image Maps
This is an image that has several links geographically mapped onto it.

An interconnected system of networks that connects computers around the world via the TCP/IP protocol.

An Intranet is a collection of services that use an Internet as the underlying communications technology, designed to support business operations and applications. Basically just another buzzword, like enterprise computing, and mission-critical applications.

IP address
An identifier for a computer or device on a TCP/IP network. Networks using the TCP/IP protocol route messages based on the IP address of the destination.

Internet Service Provider: A company that provides access to the Internet


A scripting language developed by Netscape Inc. Javascript program listings can be included within an HTML document, and are then executed by the Web browser when the document is loaded. A similar scripting language, known as VBScript, has been developed by Microsoft.

Joint Photographic Experts Group, an image format. In general JPEG allows for higher quality images than GIF.



A link is a bit of highlighted text on a Web page that connects to another Web page or file. Clicking the link sends your browser in search of the address attached to the text. That address can refer to another place on the same page, another page within the same site, or just about anywhere on the Internet.

The level of sophistication used to format lists in HTML is a vestige of HTML's roots as a text-formatting language. You can't position images or manipulate the leading of type yet, but you can make three types of lists: the unordered list (which is like an outline), the ordered list (which is like numbered instructions), and the definition list (which is like a series of dictionary entries).


meta tags
In HTML, meta tags describe the content of the document in which they're written.



operating system
Every general-purpose computer must have an operating system to run other programs. Operating systems perform basic tasks, such as recognizing input from the keyboard, sending output to the monitor, keeping track of files and directories on the disk, and controlling peripheral devices such as disk drives, printers, and scanners.


Short for P ractical E xtraction and R eport L anguage, Perl is a programming language developed by Larry Wall, especially designed for processing text. Because of its strong text processing abilities, Perl has become one of the most popular languages for writing CGI scripts . Perl is an interpretive language , which makes it easy to build and test simple programs.

Short for Pic ture El ement, a pixel is a single point in a graphic image.

A hardware or software module that adds a specific feature or service to a larger system.



The resolution of an image describes how fine the dots are that make up that image. The more dots, the higher the resolution.  The desired resolution of images for the web is 72 dpi. For graphics monitors , the screen resolution signifies the number of dots ( pixels ) on the entire screen .

The red, green, and blue (RGB) color system can represent a large portion of the color spectrum by mixing these three primary colors. Since cathode ray tube devices, such as computer monitors, display color with red, green, and blue light, this is the color system of the Web.


A script is an executable list of commands created by a scripting language .

A program, running on a networked computer, that responds to requests from client programs running on other networked computers. The server and client communicate using a client-server protocol.

Serif and Sans Serif
There are two general categories of typefaces : Serif and Sans Serif. Serif typefaces use small decorative marks to embellish characters and make them easier to read. Typefaces without these are called Sans Serif ("sans" is French for "without"). Helvetica is a Sans Serif typeface and Times is a Serif typeface.


table (HTML)
A way to control the layout of text and images on a Web page.

tag (HTML)
HTML marks documents using tags. A tag is simply typed text surrounded by the less than and greater than signs, for example: Hello in HTML will display Hello, when viewed through a browser.

An acronym for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol, TCP/IP is a protocol for communication between computers, used as a standard for transmitting data over networks and as the basis for standard Internet protocols.


An operating system, commonly used on the backbone machines on the Internet. Most Web servers are run under the UNIX operating system.

Transfer of a file from a local computer to a remote computer.

Uniform Resource Locator, the scheme used to address Internet resources on the World Wide Web. A URL specifies the protocol, domain name/IP address, port number, path, and resource details needed to access a resource from a particular machine. Partial URLs are an associated scheme that specify a location relative to the location of a document or resource containing the URL reference.


A program or piece of code that is loaded onto your computer without your knowledge and runs against your wishes. Viruses can also replicate themselves. All computer viruses are manmade. A simple virus that can make a copy of itself over and over again is relatively easy to produce. Even such a simple virus is dangerous because it will quickly use all available memory and bring the system to a halt. An even more dangerous type of virus is one capable of transmitting itself across networks and bypassing security systems.
[ For more information on viruses, visit the OIT site. ]


World Wide Web Consortium, an academic and industrial consortium devoted to the development of Web standards and technologies.

The person who creates and maintains a website.

The World Wide Web. Also called the Web or W3.




A popular data compression format . Files that have been compressed with the ZIP format are called ZIP files and usually end with a. ZIP extension.