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Glossary of Web-related Terms

508 compliance Refers to electronic or information technology (ie. a web page) that conforms to Section 508, an amendment to the Federal 1998 Rehabilitation Act. This law requires Federal Agencies to make electronic and information technology available to all people with disabilities such as visual, auditory, or motor impairments.
Accessibility Refers to the practice of making electronic and information technology that can be used or seen by people with disabilities such as visual, auditory, or motor impairments
Archive A place in which copies of your web pages and related documents are preserved, such as removable media (Zip disk), or other backup media, such as a networked file server or CD-ROM
Alt tag HTML code which describes an image. The code is displayed by web browsers when images are turned off, and is read aloud by screen reader software used by people with visual impairments.
Animated GIF GIF stands for Graphic Interchange Format, a bitmapped image format commonly used in web pages. Animated GIFs contain a series of images that web browsers play in order, thus displaying motion or other transitions.
(or back up)
(Noun or verb) The act or an instance of preserving the contents of all or part of a computer's hard disk
Bitmapped graphic A type of image which is composed of a rectangular arrangement of pixels into rows and columns at a specific resolution. Examples of bitmapped graphics include TIFF, GIF, JPG/JPEG, PNG, BMP
(web browser)
A computer program used for accessing sites or information on the Internet/World Wide Web. Examples include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Opera, Safari, Mozilla, Lynx
Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) A style sheet technology (see style sheet) which enhances HTML and gives web page authors increased design and layout capabilities. All pages that use the MCPS Web Template link back to a single style sheet. This document defines the appearance of many type styles and headings to give the site visual consistency. "Cascading" refers to the fact that styles may be specified in a series or in a succession of stages so that some stages override others (sitewide, page, or tag level).
ColdFusion Software that enables application developers to build and deploy web-based applications and services (Adobe, Inc.)
Content well The area of the MCPS Web Template that is not devoted to site identification or to global or local navigation
Cookie A small file stored on a web user's computer, created and subsequently read by a web server. Cookies contain information about a specific user (as a user identification code, customized preferences, or a record of pages visited)
CSS See Cascading Style Sheets
Domain Name A series of letters and/or numbers separated by periods, such as www.mcps.k12.md.us, that represents the address of a computer network connection and that identifies its owner
Directory A discrete logical area on a computer hard disk, also referred to as a folder
DNS Domain Name Service. A service that translates alphabetic or alphanumeric Internet domain names into Internet Protocol (IP) addresses. For example, the domain name www.sample.org might translate to 222.333.444.5
Download/Get Terms used in FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software for copying files from the web server to a local computer
Drop-down box An HTML form object that allows users to select from a list or menu of options that grow out of a (relatively) small box on a web page. Also known as “drop-down” or “pull-down” box, list, or menu.
File (Computer file) A collection of related data or program records stored as a unit with a single name
FileMaker Database software for desktop, workgroup, or web use (FileMaker, Inc.)
File Transfer Protocol (FTP) Used by client software that allows you to transfer files between your local computer drive and a remote server
Flash Software that lets you include sound, animation, and interactive content in your web pages. Requires that users install a free player that works in conjunction with a web browser. (Adobe, Inc.)
Folder A discrete logical area on a computer hard disk, also referred to as a directory
Footer The bottom-most part of the MCPS Web Template. It includes text-based global navigation, copyright information, and links to contact information, privacy policy, terms of use, browser helper applications, and the Montgomery County web site.
FTP See File Transfer Protocol
Get/Download Terms used in FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software for copying files from the web server to a local computer
GIF Graphic Interchange Format. GIF is a bitmapped image format commonly used for images with flat areas of color and crisp detail, such as line art. GIF supports full transparency in which one color is interpreted by the browser as transparent. (CompuServe)
Global navigation A system for helping users find their way through a web site's content that is consistent throughout the site. The MCPS Web Template has global navigation in graphical form in the sitewide header, and in text form in the sitewide footer
Header The top part of the MCPS Web Template. It includes the MCPS logo, a graphical image of the words, “Montgomery County Public Schools, Rockville, Maryland,” a search box, and graphical links to the main “tab” pages: Home, About Us, Schools, Community, Parents, Students, and Staff.
Hosting The act of maintaining a computer (or computers) that are configured to store and deliver web pages and related files at the request of clients (web browser software) via the Internet
HTML See Hypertext Markup Language
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) A system for marking or tagging a document that specifies its logical structure (such as paragraphs) and gives instructions for its display. HTML is used to create documents on the World Wide Web incorporating text, graphics, sound, video, and hyperlinks.
Hypertext A computer-based text retrieval system that enables users to select designated elements within specific documents (ie. web pages) which automatically allow users to view other documents or locations within a document.
Hyperlink An element of a hypertext document that directs users to another hypertext document or location, usually by a mouse click
Icon An image that represents a specific file, directory, window, option, or program
IP Internet Protocol. A convention that specifies the format of the information that is sent, and the way it is delivered over a network. IP is usually combined with Transmission Control Protocol (TCP), which establishes a connection between two hosts so that they can send messages back and forth for a period of time.
Joint Photographic Experts Group The name of the group that created the JPEG/JPG standard
JPG/JPEG From Joint Photographic Experts Group. A bitmapped image type used to display continuous-tone images with gradations of color such as photographs. JPG does not support transparency. A progressive JPG file downloads as a series of increasingly sharp images, allowing a viewer to see a low-resolution image before it is fully downloaded.
Key word A type of meta tag that is used by some search engines to help rank search results. Example:
<meta name="keywords" content="board of education, boe, board of ed, school board, board members, board meetings, agendas, board agenda, board minutes, student member of the board, advisory committees, distinguished service award, legislation, ombudsman, board staff, public participation">
Link See Hyperlink
Login (Also "log in", "log on", "logon") (Verb) To begin password-protected operations with a computer or system, usually by giving a user name and password as validation. (Noun) Synonymous with “user account,” as in, "Have you been given a login yet?"
Meta Data/Meta Tag (or meta-data, NOT Metadata) Information about a document rather than document content. For web pages, examples are included within the <HEAD> tag, and are not displayed when the web page is viewed in a browser. Common meta tags that are useful to webmasters include “description” and “keywords.” See Keywords.
Minisite A site-within-a-site, such as an individual school's web site within the larger MCPS web site
Navigation bar An element of a web page that is repeated consistently throughout a web site, to help users find their way through the content
NSBO Non-School Based Offices
Password A sequence of characters required for access to a file, application, or computer system
PDF Portable Document Format. A file format for representing documents in a manner that is independent of the original application software, hardware, and operating system used to create those documents. A PDF file can describe documents containing any combination of text, graphics, and images in a device-independent and resolution independent format. Requires that users install a free player that works in conjunction with a web browser. (Adobe Systems)
Pixel Any of the small discrete elements that together constitute an image
PNG Portable Network Graphics. A bitmapped image type that preserves a wide range of colors as well as multiple levels of transparency. Interlaced PNG is displayed progressively by a web browser by drawing every other line of pixels and then filling in the gaps. PNG is not as widely supported by web browsers as JPG or GIF.
Pop-up window Term used to describe a new web browser window that appears when a link is selected
Privacy statement Statement of how MCPS uses information gathered about site visitors as they access the web site. A link to this statement is included in the MCPS Web sitewide footer. All school and department minisites are required to have a link to this policy on the home page, preferably on every page.
Put/Upload Terms used in FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software for copying files from a local computer to the web server
Radio button A form element that allows users to select one choice from a number of options, usually via mouse click
Rasterize The act of converting a vector graphic to a bitmapped graphic
Redirect A redirect is like an electronic “detour” sign that says, “The road is closed, but you can get to the same place if you go this other way, instead.” Redirects are used when web sites are revised to be sure that users do not encounter dead links. Redirects also are used to send users to custom domain names.
Refresh/reload A command given via a web browser that tells the web server to send out a fresh copy of a file
Root Refers to the lowest level of a web server's directory structure
Screen reader Software used by people with visual impairments to access web pages and other content displayed on a computer screen. For examples, see the Screen Readers and Talking Browsers page maintained by the Adaptive Technology Resource Center at the University of Toronto.
Search engine A remotely accessible program that searches through a set of data (ie. web pages, text, database) for specified information. The term frequently refers to a web site or search form that examines databases of HTML documents gathered by a robot. A robot is a program that automatically travels the web's hypertext documents by repeatedly retrieving files and then following all linked documents.
Server A networked computer that is configured to store and deliver files in response to requests from users
Site architecture Specifically information architecture for web sites. The logical framework of a web site and how all of the pieces fit together. Includes things like behind-the-scenes directory structure, naming conventions, organizing content so that it may be found, navigation elements, search, and the visual appearance of links.
SSI Server Side Includes. A technology that allows web pages to be created on the fly as a web server combines multiple files into a single web page which it delivers to the client browser. Web pages that use SSI technology end with the extension “shtm” or “shtml”
Style Sheet A style sheet describes how documents display on various media such as on screens or in print. By attaching style sheets to structured documents on the web (e.g. HTML), authors and readers can influence the presentation of documents without sacrificing device-independence or adding new HTML tags. See also Cascading Style Sheets (CSS).
SWF The extension used for Macromedia Flash files (eg. "filename.swf)
Table A tool used in HTML to present tabular data in columns and rows and for laying out text and graphics
Tab pages The Web Services term for the top-level pages of the MCPS Web which are accessed by the graphic tabs in the sitewide header
Update To review web pages/sites for up-to-date material. Also, the last time a web page was modified or reviewed for current content.
Upload/Put Terms used in FTP (File Transfer Protocol) software for copying files from a local computer to the web server
URL Uniform Resource Locator. An Internet address (for example, https://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/pagename.html), usually consisting of the access protocol (http), the domain name (www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org), and optionally the path to a file or resource residing on that server (pagename.html).
Usability The practice of making it effective, efficient, and satisfying for users to interact with a product (ie. a web site). Web usability encompasses page design, content design, navigation strategies, overall site architecture, cross-browser and cross-platform issues, response time considerations, writing for the web, multimedia implementation, search boxes, accessibility for disabled users, computer screen size, international considerations, and more.
Vector graphic A resolution-independent type of image that is defined by paths connected by points which create lines and curves, called vectors. Vectors describe graphics according to mathematical characteristics. Vector graphics may be enlarged and reduced without loss of resolution or change in file size.
Web browser (browser) A computer program used for accessing sites or information on the Internet/World Wide Web. Examples include Microsoft Internet Explorer, Netscape Navigator, Safari, Opera, Mozilla, Lynx
Web site A set of interconnected web pages, usually including a home page, generally located on the same web server, and prepared and maintained as a collection of information, often sharing a global navigation structure
Web page A document available the web, consisting of an HTML file and any related files for scripts and graphics, and often hyperlinked to other documents on the web
Webmaster A person who designs, develops, or maintains web sites or servers
Web server A networked computer that is configured to store and deliver web pages and related files at the request of clients (web browser software) via the Internet
WebTrends A software program used by MCPS Web Services for web site usage analysis, which provides insight on web site visitor tracking