The URL of this page is
- BACK / FORWARD
- Buttons in most browsers'
Tool Button Bar, upper left. BACK returns you to the document
previously viewed. FORWARD goes to the next document, after you go
- If it seems like the BACK button does not work, check whether
you are in a new browser
window; some links are programmed to open a new window. Each window has its
own short-term search HISTORY.
If this does not work, right click on the BACK button to select the
page you want (some Web pages are programmed to disable BACK).
- BLOG or WEB LOG
- A blog (short for "web log") is a type of web page that offers a series of posted items (short articles, photos, diary entries, etc.). Blogs usually include a searchable archive of old postings. Blogs have become a common medium for communication in
professional, political, news, trendy, and other specialized web
communities. Many blogs provide RSS feeds,
to which one can subscribe and receive alerts to new postings in
- All major web browsers
include a way to store links to sites you wish to return to.
Netscape, Mozilla, and Firefox use the term Bookmarks. The equivalent
in Internet Explorer (IE) is called a "Favorite."
- To create a bookmark,
click on BOOKMARKS or FAVORITES, then ADD. Or left-click on and drag
the little bookmark icon to the place you want a new bookmark filed. To
visit a bookmarked site, click on BOOKMARKS and select the site from
the list. Most browsers also include commands to Import and Export lists of bookmarks.
- An alternative method is to store your bookmarks on a website, such as delicious or digg, that lets you access them from any computer on the Internet and see what others have bookmarked.
- BOOLEAN LOGIC
- A system of standardized words ("operators") used to connect search terms. These include AND, OR, NOT and sometimes NEAR. AND requires all terms appear in a
record. OR retrieves records with either term. NOT excludes terms.
Parentheses may be used to sequence operations and group words. Always
enclose terms joined by OR with parentheses. Which
search engines have this?
- See -REJECT TERM and FUZZY AND. Want a more extensive explanation of
Boolean logic, with illustrations?
- To browse through a page, exploring what's there and seeing where the links take you, is a bit like window shopping. When you browse, you have to guess which words and links on the page pertain to your interests. The opposite of
browsing is searching.
- Software programs that enable you to view web pages and other documents on the Internet. They "translate" HTML-encoded files into the text, images,
sounds, and other features you see. The most commonly used browsers are Microsoft Internet Explorer (often called
IE), Firefox, Mozilla, Safari, Opera, and Chrome.
- In browsers, "cache" is used to identify a space where web
pages you have visited are stored in your computer. A copy of documents
you retrieve is stored in cache. When you use GO, BACK, or any other
means to revisit a document, the browser first checks to see if it is
in cache and will retrieve it from there because it is much faster than
retrieving it from the server.
- CACHED LINK
- In search results from Google, Yahoo! Search, and some
other search engines, there is usually a Cached link which allows you
to view the version of a page that the search engine has stored in its
database. The live page on the web might differ from this cached copy,
because the cached copy dates from whenever the search engine's spider last visited the page and
detected modified content. Use the cached link to see when a page was
last crawled and, in Google, where your terms are and why you got a
page when all of your search terms are not in it.
- CASE SENSITIVE
- Capital letters (upper case) retrieve only upper case. Most
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.
- "Common Gateway Interface," the most common way Web
programs interact dynamically with users. Many search boxes and other
applications that result in a page with content tailored to the user's
search terms rely on CGI to process the data once it's submitted, to
pass it to a background program in JAVA,
programming language, and then to integrate the response into a display
- A message from a WEB SERVER
computer, sent to and stored by your browser
on your computer. 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.
- CRAWLER or WEBCRAWLER
- Same as Spider.
- CUSTOM SEARCH
- A Google
service in which individuals can create a Google account
(free) and create a search engine directed to search within a group of websites or pages they select.
More information at CSEs: Make
Your Own Search Engine and Finding CSEs.
- Hierarchical scheme for indicating logical and
sometimes geographical venue of a web-page from the network. In the US,
common domains are .edu (education), .gov (government agency), .net
(network related), .com (commercial), .org (nonprofit and research
organizations). Outside the US, domains indicate country: ca (Canada),
uk (United Kingdom), au (Australia), jp (Japan), fr (France), etc.
Neither of these lists is exhaustive. See also DNS
NAME, DOMAIN NAME SERVER (DNS)ENTRY
- Any of these terms 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). The domain name gives you who "published" a page, made it
public by putting it on the Web.
- A domain name is translated in huge tables standardized
across the Internet into a numeric IP
address unique 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.
- "Domain Name
Server entry" frequently appears a browser error message when you try
to enter a URL. If this lookup
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).
- To copy something from a primary source to a more
peripheral one, as in saving something found on the Web (currently
located on its server) to
diskette or to a file on your local hard drive.
or FILE EXTENSION
- In Windows, DOS and some other operating systems, one or
several letters at the end of a filename. Filename extensions usually
follow a period (dot) and indicate the type of file. For example, this.txt
denotes a plain text file, that.htm or that.html
denotes an HTML file. Some
common image extensions are picture.jpg or picture.jpeg
or picture.bmp or picture.gif
- In the Internet Explorer browser,
a means to get back to a URL you like, similar to Bookmarks.
- FEED READER
- A software package that enables you to easily read the XML code in which RSS
feeds are written. Bloglines
is currently the most popular feed reader but there are many
- FIELD SEARCHING
- Ability to limit a search by requiring word or phrase to
appear in a specific field of documents (e.g., title, url, link). See LIMITING TO FIELD.
- Tool in most browsers to search for word(s) keyed in
document in screen only. Useful to locate a term in a long document.
Can be invoked by the keyboard command, CTRL-F (CMD-F on a Macintosh).
- How up-to-date a search engine database is, based primarily
on how often its spiders
recirculate around the Web and update their copies of the web pages
they hold, and discover new ones. Also determined by how quickly they
integrate new sites that web authors send to them. Two weeks is about
as good as most search engines do, but some update certain selected web
sites more frequently, even daily.
- 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.
- File Transfer Protocol. Ability to transfer rapidly entire
files from one computer to another, intact for viewing or other
- FUZZY AND
- In ranking of
results, documents with all terms (Boolean AND) are ranked
first, followed by documents containing any terms (Boolean OR) are
retrieved. The farther down, the fewer the terms, although at least one
should always be present.
- Discussion forums one can participate in, share ideas with,
and form community. Most are free and some are open to new members. Yahoo Groups and Google Groups are
both popular. Google Groups includes the former Usenet
are replacing some of the need for this type of community sharing and
- HEAD or HEADER (of HTML
- The top portion of the HTML source code behind Web pages,
beginning with <HEAD> and ending with
</HEAD>. It contains the Title,
Description, Keywords fields and others that web page authors may use
to describe the page. The title appears in the title bar of most
browsers, but the other fields cannot be seen as part of the body of
the page. To view the <HEAD> portion of web pages in your
browser, click VIEW, Page Source. In Internet Explorer, click VIEW,
Source. Some search engines will retrieve based on text in these fields.
- HISTORY, Search
- Available by using the combined keystrokes CTRL + H. You
can set how many days your browser retains history in Edit |
Preferences, or in Tools | Options.
- Computer that provides web-documents to clients or users.
See also server.
- Hypertext Markup Language. A standardized language of
computer code, imbedded in "source" documents behind all Web documents,
containing the textual content, images, links to other documents (and
possibly other applications such as sound or motion), and formatting
instructions for display on the screen. When you view a Web page, you
are looking at the product of this code working behind the scenes in
conjunction with your browser. Browsers are programmed to interpret
HTML for display.
- HTML often imbeds within it other programming languages and
possible to deliver or access and execute virtually any program via the
- You can see HTML by selecting the View pop-down menu tab,
then "Document Source."
- On the World Wide Web, the feature, built into HTML, that allows a text area, image,
or other object to become a "link"
(as if in a chain) that retrieves another computer file (another Web
page, image, sound file, or other document) on the Internet. The range of
possibilities is limited by the ability of the computer retrieving the
outside file to view, play, or otherwise open the incoming file. It
needs to have software that can interact with the imported file. Many
software capabilities of this type are built into browsers or can be
added as "plug-ins."
(Upper case I)
- The vast collection of interconnected networks that all use
the TCP/IP protocols and that
evolved from the ARPANET of the late 60’s and early 70’s. An "internet"
(lower case i) is any computers connected to each other (a network),
and are not part of the Internet unless the use TCP/IP protocols. An
"intranet" is a private network inside a company or organization that
uses the same kinds of software that you would find on the public
Internet, but that is only for internal use. An intranet may be on the
Internet or may simply be a network.
- IP Address or IP
- (Internet Protocol number or address). A unique number
consisting of 4 parts separated by dots, e.g. 126.96.36.199
- 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.
- ISP or Internet Service
- A company that sells Internet connections
(examples: aol, Mindspring - thousands of ISPs to choose from; not easy to evaluate). Faster, more expensive
Internet connectivity is available via cable or DSL.
- 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 small Java programs (called "Applets"), Web pages can
include functions such as animations, calculators, and other fancy
tricks. We can expect to see a huge variety of features added to the
Web using Java, since you can write a Java program to do almost
anything a regular computer program can do, and then include that Java
program in a Web page. For more information search any of these jargon
terms in the
- A simple programming language developed by Netscape to
enable greater interactivity in Web pages. It shares some
characteristics with JAVA but
is independent. It interacts with HTML,
enabling dynamic content and motion.
- 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.
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 the table
summarizing search tools features.)
- The URL imbedded in another document, so that if you click
on the highlighted text or button referring to the link, you retrieve
the outside URL. If you search the field "link:", you retrieve on text
in these imbedded URLs which you do not see in the documents.
- 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.
Search engine spiders cannot
keep up with the changes. 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.
- A discussion group mechanism that permits you to subscribe
and receive and participate in discussions via e-mail. Blogs and RSS
feeds provide some of the communication functionality of listservers.
- 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 " "). See Meta-Search
Engines page for complete descriptions and examples.
- A term used in Boolean
searching to indicate the sequence in which operations are to be
performed. Enclosing words in parentheses identifies a group or "nest."
Groups can be within other groups. The operations will be performed
from the innermost nest to the outmost, and then from left to right.
- A discussion group operated through the Internet. Not to be
confused with LISTSERVERS
which operate through e-mail.
- PERSONAL PAGE
- A web page created by an individual (as opposed to someone
creating a page for an institution, business, organization, or other
entity). Often personal pages contain valid and useful opinions, links
to important resources, and significant facts. One of the greatest
benefits of the Web is the freedom it as given almost anyone to put his
or her ideas "out there." But frequently personal pages offer highly
biased personal perspectives or ironical/satirical spoofs, which must
carefully. The presence in the page's URL of a personal name (such as
"jbarker") and a ~ or % or the word "users" or "people" or "members"
very frequently indicate a site offering personal pages.
- 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.
or .pdf or pdf file
- Abbreviation for Portable Document Format, a file format
developed by Adobe Systems, that is used to capture almost any kind of
document with the formatting in the original. Viewing a PDF file
requires Acrobat Reader, which is built into most browsers and can be downloaded
free from Adobe.
- More than one KEYWORD,
searched exactly as typed in (all words required, in
the order specified). Enclosing keywords in "double quotation marks" forms a phrase
in most search engines. Sometimes a phrase is
called a "character string."
- An application built into a browser or added to a
browser to enable it to interact with a special file type (such as a
movie, sound file, Word document, etc.)
- POPULARITY RANKING of
- Some search engines rank
the order in which search results appear primarily by how many other
sites link to each page (a kind of popularity vote based on the
assumption that other pages would create a link to the "best" pages). Google is the best
example of this. See also Subject-Based
- +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. Which
search engines have this?
RANKING of search results
- The most common method for determining the order in which
search results are displayed. Each search tool uses its own unique
algorithm. Most use "fuzzy and"
combined with factors such as how often your terms occur in documents,
whether they occur together as a phrase, and whether they are in title
or how near the top of the text. Popularity
is another ranking system.
- RSS or RSS feeds
- Short for "Really Simple Syndication" (a.k.a. Rich Site
Summary or RDF Site Summary), refers ti a group of XML
based web-content distribution and republication (Web syndication)
formats primarily used by news sites and weblogs (blogs). Any website
can issue an RSS feed. By subscribing to an RSS feed, you are alerted
to new additions to the feed since you last read it. In order to read
RSS feeds, you must use a "feed
reader," which formats the XML code into an easily readable
format (feed readers are to XML and RSS feeds as web
browsers are to HTML
and web pages.
- A script is a type of programming language that can be used
to fetch and display Web pages. There are many kinds and uses of
scripts on the Web. They can be used to create all or part of a page,
and communicate with searchable databases. Forms (boxes) and many
interactive links, which respond differently depending on what you
enter, all require some kind of script language. When you find a
question mark (?) in the URL of a page, some kind of script command
was used in generating and/or delivering that page. Most search engine spiders are instructed not to
crawl pages from scripts, although it is usually technically possible
for them to do so (see Invisible
Web for more information).
- You can search any individual web page using the CTRL-F command (CMD-F on a Macintosh). Many websites also offer search boxes that let you search all the pages in the site, or records in its database. Searching is usually the most efficient way to find information, but sometimes you can find things by browsing that you might miss otherwise because you might not think of the "right" term to search by.
- SERVER, WEB SERVER
- A computer running that software, assigned an IP address, and connected to the
Internet so that it can
provide documents via the World Wide Web. Also called HOST computer.
Web servers are the closest equivalent to what in the print world is
called the "publisher" of a print document. An important difference is
that most print publishers carefully edit the content and quality of
their publications in an effort to market them and future publications.
This convention is not required in the Web world, where anyone can be a
publisher; careful evaluation
of Web pages is therefore mandatory. Also called a "Host."
- Something that operates on the "server"
computer (providing the Web page), as opposed to the "client" computer
(which is you or someone else viewing the Web page). Usually it is a
program or command or procedure or other application causes dynamic
pages or animation or other interaction.
usually seen as .shtml
- An file name extension that identifies web pages containing
- SITE or WEB-SITE
- This term is often used to mean "web page," but there is
supposed to be a difference. A web page is a single entity, one URL, one file that you might find on
the Web. A "site," properly speaking, is an location or gathering or
center for a bunch of related pages linked to from that site. For
example, the site for the present tutorial is the top-level page "Internet Resources." All of the
pages associated with it branch out from there -- the web searching tutorial and
all its pages, and more. Together they make up a "site." When we
estimate there are 5 billion web pages on the Web, we do not mean
"sites." There would be far fewer sites.
- Computer robot programs, referred to sometimes as
"crawlers" or "knowledge-bots" or "knowbots" that are used by search
engines to roam the World Wide Web via the Internet, visit sites and
databases, and keep the search engine database of web pages up to date.
They obtain new pages, update known pages, and delete obsolete ones.
Their findings are then integrated into the "home" database.
- 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" (link rot)
in all the search engines.
(of a Web page or site)
- Many Web pages have organizations, businesses, institutions
like universities or nonprofit foundations, or other interests which
"sponsor" the page. Frequently you can find a link titled "Sponsors" or
an "About us" link explaining who or what (if anyone) is sponsoring the
page. Sometimes the advertisers on the page (banner ads, links, buttons
to sites that sell or promote something) are "sponsors." WHY
is this important? Sponsors and the funding they provide
may, or may not, influence what can be said on the page or site -- can
bias what you find, by excluding some opposing viewpoint or causing
some other imbalanced information. The site is not bad because of
sponsors, but you they should alert you to the need to evaluate
a page or site very carefully.
- SSI commands
- SSI stands for "server-side include," a type of HTML
instruction telling a computer that serves Web pages to dynamically
generate data, usually by inserting certain variable contents into a
fixed template or boilerplate Web page. Used especially in database
- 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 WORDS
- In database searching, "stop words" are small and
frequently occurring 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.
POPULARITY RANKING of search results
- A variation on popularity
ranking in which the links in pages on the same subject are
used to in ranking search results. Used by Ask.com.
- 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.
- 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. Which
search engines have this?
- (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol) -- This
is the suite of protocols that defines the Internet.
Originally designed for the UNIX operating system, TCP/IP software is
now available for every major kind of computer operating system. To be
truly on the Internet, your computer must have TCP/IP software. See
also IP Address.
- Internet service allowing one computer to log onto another,
connecting as if not remote.
- 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.
(of a document)
- The official title of a document from the "meta" field
called title. The text of this meta title field may or may not also
occur in the visible body of the document. It is what appears in the
top bar of the window when you display the document and it is the title
that appears in search engine results. The "meta" field called title 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.
- 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.) Which
search engines have this?
- Uniform Resource Locator. The unique address of any Web
document. May be keyed in a browser's OPEN or LOCATION / GO TO box to
retrieve a document. There is a logic the layout of a URL:
- Anatomy of a URL:
of file (could say ftp:// or telnet://)
name (computer file is on and its location on the Internet)
or directory on the computer to this file
|| Name of file, and its file extension (usually
ending in .html or .htm)
- Bulletinboard-like network featuring thousands of
"newsgroups." Google incorporates the historic file of Usenet
Newsgroups (back to 1981) into its Google Groups. Yahoo Groups offers
a similar service, but does not include the old "Usenet Newsgroups." Blogs are replacing some of the need
for this type of community sharing and information exchange.
- A term meaning "quick" in Hawaiian, that is used for
technology that gathers in one place a number of web pages focused on a
theme, project, or collaboration. Wikis are generally used when users
or group members are invited to develop, contribute, and update the
content of the wiki. Wikis can be passworded in various ways to control
or allow contributions. The most famous wiki is the Wikipedia.
- 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 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
- A variant of HTML.
Stands for Extensible Hypertext Markup Language is a hybrid between
HTML and XML that is more
universally acceptable in Web pages and search engines than XML.
- Extensible Markup Language, a dilution for Web page use of
SGML (Standard General Markup Language), which is not readily viewable
in ordinary browsers and is difficult to apply to Web pages. XML is
very useful (among other things) for pages emerging from databases and
other applications where parts of the page are standardized and must
reappear many times. See XHTML.
find the term you want?
- Search almost any computer jargon in the Webopedia, "the #1 online
encyclopedia and search engine dedicated to computer technology" from
- Another excellent encyclopedia for computer jargon and many
other topics is
Wikipedia, "The Free Encyclopedia."
Glossary of Internet & Web Jargon
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