A Glossary of E-Publishing Terms

Application: Software such as word processors, spreadsheets, database programs, graphics, page-makeup or web authoring tools are generally referred to as "applications." Applications software requires systems software, such as Mac OS, UNIX, or Windows, as well various utilities or extensions to run properly.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange, pronounced ask-ee): The system used to represent English characters as numbers. Each letter or keyboard combination is assigned a number. Thus ASCII code for uppercase A is 65, for lowercase a 97, for É 131, for ™ 170. Text files saved in ASCII format by most word-processing or other programs are called ASCII files. The ASCII code system enables transfer data from one computer to another.

bit: Binary digit, the smallest unit of information on a computer: 0 or 1. Most computer information comprises larger strings of bits. A string of 8 bits forms a byte. Graphic files are often designated by the number of bits that form each dot. Monochrome uses a 1-bit image; an 8-bit image supports 256 colors or grayscales; and a 24- or 32-bit graphic supports up to millions of colors.

Bps (bits per second): The rate of data transfer use by high-speed modems. The slowest rate is 300 baud (about 25 cps). The fastest modems currently available run at 57,600 bps, although they can transfer higher amounts of data by compressing it. Modem transfer rates are limited to the rate of the modem with which they are communicating. If a remote computer sends your 14,400 bps modem data at 9600 bps, the host computer will receive it at this lower rate. A problem with data transmission over the World Wide Web, in addition to slower modem rates, is the capacity of the lines along which information is carried. Until most of the computers on the Web are linked to fiber optic or even faster lines, the analog telephone lines still used in most areas will slow down modem transmissions.

Browse: (1) In databases to browse is to view data. Many database systems support a special browse mode to review fields and records quickly. (2) To view documents, such as page-makeup programs or web pages with the special viewing interface capabilities built into them. PageMaker or Quark XPress files assemble information as it might appear on a printed page. Web browser programs assemble pages as they would be viewed with a web browser.

Browser: See Web Browser

Byte (binary term, 8 bits): A unit of storage that holds a single character. Larger units range from kilobytes (K = 1,024 bytes), megabytes (MB = 1,048,576 bytes), and gigabytes (GB = 1,073,741,824 bytes). A floppy disk can hold 1.44 megabytes, or about 3,000 pages of information formatted in ASCII, a Zip disk about 100 MB, and a CD-ROM about 700 MB, a DVD from 4.7 GB to 17 GB. Most hard drive storage now ranges in gigabyte range: from 4 GB and above.

Cascading Style Sheets (CSS): A improvement to HTML not fully implemented on current web browsers. Web authors and users can create multiple (cascading) style sheets that define how constantly repeating elements of a web publication, such as headers, lists, links, or tables appear, and can then be applied to any web page just as style sheets just as in word-processing or page makeup programs.

CD-ROM: (Compact Disc-Read-Only Memory, pronounced see-dee-rom): An optical disk with data storage capacity of 650 MB and as high as 1 GB. Thus one CD-ROM has the storage capacity of about 490 floppy disks, or about 300,000 ASCII text pages. CD-ROMs employ to a standard size and format, and can be mounted on any CD-ROM player. However, they must be written or "burned" for either the ISO standard used by Windows machines, or for the Macintosh. Many CD "burning" programs allow special hybrids that can be read by either platform. CD-ROMs are particularly well-suited to titles that require large storage and high-quality display: especially large software applications, graphics, sound, and video.

CD-R Drive: Short for Compact Disk-Recordable drive, a type of disk drive that can write or "burn" CD-ROMs and audio CDs.

CD-RW Disk (CD-ReWritable Disk): A CD format that allows writing in multiple sessions. CD-RW drives and disks, thus provide excellent an inexpensive storage alternatives to floppy and other forms of optical disk, such as Zips.

Code: (n) (1) A set of symbols for representing something. For example, most computers use ASCII codes to represent characters. (2) Written computer instructions.
(v) Colloquial for "to program" (that is, to write source code).

Cookie: A message given to a web browser by a web server. The browser stores the message in a text file called cookie.txt that is sent back to the server each time the user's browser requests a page from the server. The use of cookies is to identify customers in e-commerce has been controversial over the years but is gaining more and more acceptance because it allows the user to bypass user ID and other log-in forms on frequently visited sites; but concerns still exist about privacy rights and commercial "invasion" of the user's computer.

Database: A collection of digital information organized by fields, records, and files. A field is a single unit of information; a record is an assembled collection of fields; a file is a collection of records that is quickly searchable, sortable by any of the established field parameters, viewable and printable.

Digital: Derived from the basic ability of computers to read only two digits: 0 and 1, or off and on. All computer data consists of digital codes written in series of 0s and 1s. Digitization is the process whereby audial and visual experiences can be converted from "analog" mode to digital mode. For example, music from a series of wavelengths to a series of digital codes; photographs from continuous color to a series of dots composed of digital code, written language into the ASCII code equivalents of a computer keyboard.

Domain Name: A name that identifies an Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. The Internet is based on IP addresses, not domain names. Web servers therefore use a Domain Name System (DNS) server to translate domain names into IP addresses. Domain names are used in URLs to identify individual web pages within a web site. In the URL http://www.historebook.org/index.html, the domain name is historebook.org. Every domain name has a suffix that indicates its top-level (TLD) domain. These include

com commmercial business
edu educational institutions
gov government agencies
org organizations (nonprofit)
mil military
net network organizations
ca Canada
it Italy
uk United Kingdom

The Internet Ad Hoc Committee (IAHC) is adding six new top-level domains:

arts arts and cultural-oriented entities
info information services
nom individuals
rec recreation/entertainment sources
store merchants
web parties emphasizing Web activities

Download: To copy a file or a subset from a host or source to a user, most often copying a file from an online or network server to a user's computer. The term can also be used for transferring a font from a user's computer to a laser printer.

dpi (dots-per-inch): The measure of either print density or screen resolution, produced by the visual digital code, displayed on monitors, or set down by printing devices.

DVD: (Digital Versatile Disc or Digital Video Disc): A type of optical disk that holds a minimum of 4.7 GB (gigabytes), enough for a 2 million pages of ASCII text and a maximum of 17 GB, or 7.3 million pages. DVD drives can play CD-ROMs, CD-I disks, and video CDs, as well as new DVD-ROMs. Second-generation or DVD-2 drives can also read CD-R and CD-RW disks. DVD uses MPEG-2 to compress video data.

E-Book (electronic book): A text- or text-and-image based publication in digital, i.e., computer generated, presented, and readable form.
eBook Reader: Small computers, the size of a paperback and a legal notepad, with backlighted screens that allow a user to read, save, highlight, bookmark, and annotate text and download books from web sites.

E-Mail (Electronic Mail): The transmission of messages from one computer to another either through local area networks or telecommunications lines. Broadcasting is sending the same message to several users simultaneously.

Field: A visual allocation for particular information: text, numeric (spreadsheet cells), visual, or even audio materials (containers). Database fields are the basic units of information created where data can be entered and accessed. A assembly of fields either on screen or in print forms a record.

File: A collection of data or information usually given a unique name. Files can be composed of computer directories, data, text, application programs, and others, depending on the types of information.

Format: (v) (1) To prepare a storage medium, usually a disk, for reading and writing. (2) To specify the properties, particularly visible properties, of an file. Word processing applications format text by specifying the font, point-size, alignment, margins, page breaks and other properties.
(n) A particular arrangement resulting from this formatting.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format, pronounced jiff or giff with a hard g): A bit-mapped graphics file used on the World Wide Web, especially by CompuServe. The GIF format supports color files at various resolutions and is easily imported into web-page layouts. Some web-authoring programs automatically convert PICT files to GIFs upon import.

Hardware: The physical components of any computer system. The computer's housing, boards, chips, cables, keyboards, disks, disk drives, monitors, printers, scanners, and other peripherals.

Home Page: The main page of a web site. The home page acts as an index or table of contents to other pages stored in the site and linked to the initial, or home-page, display.

Host: (n) (1) The term is used when two computer systems are connected either on a local area network or by modems and telephone lines. The system that contains the data is called the host or the host server, while the computer accessing the data is the remote terminal. (2) A computer connected to a TCP/IP network. Each host has a unique IP address.
(v) To provide the infrastructure for a computer service. A web server hosts a site when it provides the hardware, software, and communications lines required by the web site, but the content on the server may be controlled by a third party: the content supplier, for example.

Hot Key: A keyboard sequence that executes a command. Many hot keys are user-programmable. On a word processor, for example, the user may "hot key" certain keyboard strokes to perform frequently used functions: to open or close files, save, save as, spell, etc.

Hot Link: (n) (1) A link between two applications such that changes in one affect the other. For example, some desktop publishing systems let you establish hot links between documents and databases or spreadsheets. When data in the word processing document or spreadsheet changes, the corresponding charts and graphs in the document change accordingly. (2) In HTML or other interactive programming, to "hot key" a selection of text or an image allows the user to activate a link to another section of that file or to another file, or to cause the file to perform a predefined function. Also referred to as a "hot spot."
(v) To establish a link between two applications.

Hot Spot: An area of a graphics object, or a section of text, that activates a function when selected. Selecting a hot spot causes the application to bring up a selection of text or another section of the file, display a picture, run a video, or open a new window of information.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language): The basic authoring language used to create files for the World Wide Web.

HTTP (HyperText Transfer Protocol): The basic protocol used for the World Wide Web that defines message formats and transmission, and the actions web servers and browsers take in response to remote commands, such as calling up a particular page on a web site.

Hypertext: A special type of database system that uses objects (text, pictures, music, programs, and so on) instead of text fields alone as actively linked components. Perhaps the most common type of hyperlink is the hot keyed text that creates a hot spot. When highlighted in a different text color and/or style (usually blue and bold), the reader is alerted to the fact that this is a hot spot. Clicking on that text will activate a link to another selection of text, an image, even a sound recording. Hot spots can also be indicated by "icons" or small symbols embedded into a file. These are Hypertext links or buttons. Hypertext was invented by Ted Nelson in the 1960s. There are several Hypertext authoring systems available for Apple Macintosh computers and PCs that enable users to create their own hypertext files. HyperCard software from Apple Computer is the most famous.

Image Map (alt. imagemap): A single graphic image containing more than one hot spot that is a basic navigation tool of multimedia, interactive, and web-based programs. For example, a program might display a map of the 50 United States. Clicking on any of the states (programed as visual hot spots) will bring the reader to another level of the program: for more detailed text and visual information on that particular state.

Interface: (n) (1) Something that connects two separate entities. A user interface is the part of a program that connects the computer with a human operator (user). There are also interfaces to connect programs, to connect devices, and to connect programs to devices. An interface can be a program like a PDF file that provides navigational access to a document or a device, such as a SCSI or a USB cable. (2) The quality of the connection between the computer device, application, and user.
(v) To communicate. Two devices transmitting data between each other "interface" with each other.

Internet: A network of computers generally connecting computers outside a host's own network system (Local Area Network or Intranet), and potentially able to link every computer on the planet. In 1999 the Internet counted over 200 million users in more than 100 countries. Unlike computers that use online services, such as America Online, which offer a wide but finite variety of services and addresses, a direct Internet user or "host," using an ISP (Internet Service Provider) can choose which Internet services to use and which services in turn to provide the Internet network.

Interactive: Computer systems or program applications that allow users to enter data or commands and to follow customized paths through the application.

IP Address (Internet Protocol, pronounced eye-pee): IP specifies the format of packets, also called datagrams, and the addressing scheme. Most networks combine IP with a higher-level protocol called Transport Control Protocol (TCP), which establishes a virtual connection between a destination and a source.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network): An international communications standard for sending voice, video, and data over digital telephone lines or normal telephone wires. ISDN supports data transfer rates of 64 Kbps (64,000 bits per second). Most ISDN lines offered by telephone companies provide two simultaneous lines, called B channels, one for voice and the other for data. ISDN lines also allow simultaneous use of both lines for data resulting in data rates of 128 Kbps, three times the data rate provided by today's fastest modems. B-ISDN uses broadband transmission and supports transmission rates of 1.5 Mbps, but it requires fiber optic cable and is not widely available.

ISO (International Organization for Standardization): The name derives from the Greek word iso, which means "equal." ISO is an international organization of national standards bodies from over 75 countries and was founded in 1946. ANSI (the American National Standards Institute) is a member of ISO. ISO has defined a number of important computer standards, the most significant of which is perhaps OSI (Open Systems Interconnection), a standardized architecture for designing networks, and the ISO format for CD-ROMs.

ISP (Internet Service Provider): A company that provides access to the Internet, including software, user name, password and access phone numbers. ISPs themselves are connected to one another through Network Access Points (NAPs). ISPs are also called IAPs (Internet Access Providers).

Java: Sun Microsystems' high-level programming language developed for handheld devices. In 1995 Sun modified the language (first called Oak) to serve the uses of the World Wide Web. Since Java is a simplified object-oriented language, it is well suited for use on the World Wide Web. Small Java applications called Java applets are downloaded from a Web server and run on host computers by Java-compatible web browsers, such as Netscape Navigator or Microsoft Internet Explorer.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group, pronounced jay-peg): A compression technique for color images that reduces files to as little as 5% of their normal size. Fine detail is lost, but the predominant use of these images at screen resolution of 72 dpi makes this lose negligible in practical terms..
Kbps: 1000 bps.

Log on (log in, login): The process of entering a user name or password that commands a computer or application to allow access to and use of programs or devices.

Megabyte (MB): (1) 1,048,576 bytes of data storage. (2) A data transfer rate of one million bytes (MBps).

Modem (Modulator-Demodulator): A device or software application that enables a computer to transmit data over telephone lines. Computer information is stored digitally, whereas information transmitted over telephone lines travels via analog waves. A modem converts between these two forms. The standard interface for connecting external modems to computers is RS-232. Any external modem can be attached to any computer using its RS-232 port.

MPEG (Moving Picture Experts Group, pronounced em-peg): A working group of ISO, and the digital video compression standards and file formats developed by that group. MPEG files can be decoded by special hardware or by software. MPEG achieves high compression rate by storing only the changes from one frame to another, not each frame.

Multimedia: The use of computers to present text, graphics, video, animation, and sound in an integrated way. Long touted as the future revolution in computing, multimedia applications were, until the mid-90s, uncommon due to the expensive hardware required. With increases in performance and decreases in price, however, multimedia is now commonplace. Nearly all PCs are capable of displaying video, though the resolution available depends on the power of the computer's video adapter and CPU. Because of the storage demands of multimedia applications, the most effective media are CD-ROMs.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition): The process of reading printed text with an optical scanner, creating an image of the scanned page with software, and then translating the individual images of the scanned type into computer-usable code, most often, ASCII, that can then be opened in a word processing or other text-manipulating file, edited, spelled, and formatted in the same way as text that has been entered through the keyboard. OCR systems employ some combination of hardware or software approaches to characters recognition, although inexpensive systems are generally software driven. OCR has been a great advantage to the digitization of large archives of printed material, in a variety of fonts and languages, and it can be trained to recognize the characteristics of a printed font; but the individual nature of handwritten manuscripts still makes these documents inaccessible to most current OCR systems.

Optical Disk: A storage medium that reads and writes data using laser beams. The current forms of Optical Disks include CD-ROMS, CDRs, Zip disks, and DVDs.

Password: A character string that gives users access to files, programs, databases, or the desktop levels of computers. Multi-user or networked systems contain password software for each user. These are also sometimes referred to as Log-ons.

PDF (Portable Document Format): Developed by Adobe Systems, the PDF file format encapsulates the formatting, layout, graphics, color, page-flow and other information from computer files and presents them in a form that is viewable, downloadable and printable, and device independent. While the user needs Adobe Acrobat Reader (distributed free by Adobe Systems) to read PDF files, this format has the great advantage of being able to cross platforms (a file created on the Mac can be read in Windows without any further conversion, for example), to print out on systems that might lack the necessary fonts, and to display graphic files exactly as they were formatted and intended to be printed or displayed on screen. For this reason the PDF format is becoming the standard for pre-press and print processes. Using Acrobat Distiller, the user can also convert electronic files intended for a print publication into screen-readable files in a matter of minutes. These files are completely searchable. Many electronic publishing programs are therefore currently using PDF format as an inexpensive, quick, and universal alternative to time consuming and costly HTML coding.

Proxy: A intermediary server between a web browser and an end server that is used to speed response time and to act as a filter for heavily-used servers. Proxies receive requests sent to the end server and fills them itself. If unable to do so, it forwards the request to the end server.

Program: A string of characters that is written to act as a unit and generally composed as a series of distinct lines and paragraphs following established programming-language syntax, that control distinct portions of the application and instruct computers to perform distinct tasks. Programming languages vary widely in their use of syntactical written language and thus in their complexity and ease of use and learning curves. See also Software.

Query: (n) A request for record information stored in a database. Queries can take several forms:

query language: Some databases employ a complex query written in a query language often unique to the application. This is the most powerful form of query but also the most difficult to master.
(v) To request record information stored in a database.

QuickTime: Apple Computer's video and animation format built into the Macintosh, iMac, G3, and G4's operating systems and used by most Mac applications that require video or animation. Windows-based machines can also use the QuickTime format, if a special QuickTime driver has been loaded.

Record: (n) The building black of databases, records are an assemblage of data grouped into fields. A collection of records constitutes a file; and a subset of records searched by query forms a found set, which in turn can be sorted by any of the parameters represented in the data record. For example, if a bibliography database is composed on records made up of such fields as author, first, last; title, publication date, city, etc., a subset of these found records can then be sorted by author, title, date, or any combination of "intersecting" parameters.

Scan: (n) In print and electronic production processes, a "scan" is the artwork or other visual material that has been produced by a scanner and will be incorporated into a file with a page-makeup or web authoring program.
(v) To digitize an image by passing it through an optical scanner. See also OCR.

Server: A computer or other device that manages network resources. File servers are computers and storage devices that store files, such as word processing text, images, or other components of a print or web publication for later use by the editors and production team who will compile the elements of the work for publication. Thus an editor, graphic artist, or copywriter might all send their completed files from their own computers to a server, and depending on how the project work flow is organized, the server will then be used to pass on this material to the next phase of production. In the same way print servers manage traffic flow to one or more networked printers, receiving print jobs in text or graphics or page-composition programs, for example, and trafficking them to the appropriate printer. Many web sites make use of highly powerful "web servers" maintained by ISPs that store their uploaded files and then distribute them to end users.

SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language): Developed by the International Organization for Standards (ISO) to specify rules for tagging elements in electronic files. These tags can then be used to format elements of an electronic publication. SGML is used widely to manage large documents that are subject to frequent revisions and need to be output in different formats. SGML has been around since the mid-1980s, but because of its complexity, it was largely passed over by programmers for desktop computers. The explosion of users and content providers who write HTML for the World Wide Web has revived the fortunes of SGML because HTML defines and interprets tags according to SGML rules.

Software: Computer instructions or data that includes systems software and applications software.
String: A series of characters written to be used as group. See also Program.

TCP (Transmission Control Protocol, pronounced tee-see-pee): TCP is one of the main protocols in TCP/IP networks. TCP enables two hosts to establish a connection and exchange streams of data. TCP guarantees delivery of data and also guarantees that packets will be delivered in the same order in which they were sent.

TCP/IP (Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol): the suite of communications protocols used to connect hosts on the Internet. TCP/IP uses several protocols, the two main ones being TCP and IP. TCP/IP is built into the UNIX operating system and is used by the Internet, making it the de facto standard for transmitting data over networks. Even network operating systems that have their own protocols, such as Netware, also support TCP/IP.

Tag: (n) A command inserted in a document that specifies how the document, or a portion of the document, should be formatted. Tags are used by all format specifications that store documents as text files. This includes SGML and HTML.
(v) To mark an electronic document with formatting commands.

TIFF (Tagged Image File Format, pronounced tiff): A popular standard file formats for storing bit-mapped images on computers for print output. TIFF graphics are generally higher than 72 dpi (screen resolution) and can be formatted for laser printers (300 to 600 dpi output) or for high-resolution image-setters, such as Linotronic machines (2400+ dpi) used by the book- and magazine-publishing industries. TIFFs are generally created from scanned images and can be black and white, grayscale, or color. A high-resolution, color TIFF can use over 20 MB megabytes of memory. Most web-authoring programs prefer more flexible, smaller, and lower (screen) resolution formats, including PICTS, JPEGs, and GIFS.

Upload: To transmit data from one computer to another.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator): The address of documents and other resources on the World Wide Web. The first part of the address is called the "scheme," which indicates to the distant computer what kind of file it has reached. Scheme names include "file," "ftp," "http," "mailto," and "news." The second part of the URL forms the IP address or the "domain name" that stores the file. This is followed by the path to the file, and the file name itself. For example, http://www.historebook.org/index.html/ indicates the http protocol for the scheme / www.historebook.org for the server name / and index.html for the file name of the home page of the History E-Book web site.

Username: A name used to gain access to a computer system. Usernames, and often passwords, are required in multi-user systems. In most such systems, users can choose their own usernames and passwords. Usernames are also required to access some bulletin board and online services.

Web Browser: A software application used to locate and display web pages. The two most popular browsers are Netscape Navigator and Microsoft Internet Explorer. Both of these are graphical browsers, which means that they can display graphics as well as text. In addition, most modern browsers can present multimedia information, including sound and video, though they require plug-ins for some formats.

Web Page: A document on the World Wide Web. Every web page has a unique URL.

Web Server: A computer that delivers web pages to end users. A computer can function as a web server running server software and connecting to the Internet.

Web Site: A location on the World Wide Web that is owned and managed by an individual or organization. A web site contains a home page, which is the first document users access when they reach the site.

World Wide Web (WWW): A system of Internet servers that support electronic documents, usually formatted in HTML. These documents might contain links to other documents, as well as graphics, audio, and video files. Links between pages and between sites are enabled by clicking on hot spots.

XML (eXtensible Markup Language): A simplified version of SGML, designed especially for web documents to provide functionality not available with HTML.

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Revised 1/16/2001