Clinton/Gore '96

ARPANET: This  “packet-switched network” developed in the early 1970s is the grandfather of the Internet. ARPANET was decommissioned in June 1990 and replaced with DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency), the U.S. government agency that funded the ARPANET.

ASCII: American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A standard character-to-number system commonly used by computers to exchange information.

Applet: A small computer program that can be embedded within a Web page.

Bandwidth: The speed and efficiency of a connection to the Internet. The higher the bandwidth, the higher the number of units of data that can be transmitted simultaneously. T-1 lines, cable modems, and ISDN lines all provide high bandwidth Internet connections; 14.4 modems provide lower bandwidth connections.

Bit: A single, binary piece of digital information. The bit is the fundamental building block of all digital information.

Bulletin Board System (BBS): A computer (and accompanying software) that provides electronic messaging services, archives of files, and other services coordinated by the bulletin board’s operator. A growing number of BBSs are now connected directly to the Internet; many are operated by government, educational, and research institutions.

Byte: A group of eight bits.

Domain Name: The root of a site’s address on the World Wide Web. The domain name is the primary component of a website’s URL, or Universal Resource Locator. For example, the domain name of this website is

Email: Electronic mail, a means of sending correspondence from one computer to another instantly and at a low cost. Email can be used in place of faxes, telephone calls, and paper mail. An email address is the address used to send electronic mail to a specified destination, such as  “”

Encryption: A method for safeguarding sensitive information (like credit-card numbers) transmitted via the Internet. Current technology allows highly secure, but not fail-safe, encryption.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol): A method for transferring files across the Internet. FTP software allows you to log on to a remote computer to transfer data from one computer to another. Many FTP sites allow  “anonymous” FTP, which gives you access to a limited number of public directories from which you can upload and download files.

HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language): The programming language used to create World Wide Web pages and define the functions performed when you interact with these pages.

HTTP (HyperText Transport Protocol): The means by which the World Wide Web provides hypertext links among Web pages.

Hyperlink: The hyper prefix, in the language of the Internet, indicates that the words or images in question will connect you to another part of the World Wide Web. Hyperlinks are usually highlighted in some way (often via a blue outline or text color) to distinguish them from ordinary text or images.

ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network): A service now offered by some telephone companies that gives customers both a high-speed Internet connection and a voice telephone line through a single  “wire.”

Internet: The Internet is a vast, decentralized network of thousands of computers interconnected by data lines spanning the globe. No entity owns the Internet, and therefore no particular nation or company has much control over it. An efficient, low cost, and powerful means of communication, the Internet—like the telephone and the printing press before it—has fostered a revolution in the way we communicate.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group): A standard for compressing digital photographic images on the Internet.

K (Kilobyte): 1024 bytes. Often rounded off to 1,000 bytes.

Kbps (Kilo Bits Per Second): A measure of data transmission speed indicating that 1024 bits are being transmitted in one second.

Mb (Megabyte): 1024 kilobytes or 1,048,576 bytes. Often rounded off to one million bytes.

MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group): A standard for compressing digital video images on the Internet.

Modem(MOdulator, DEModulator): A device that connects a computer to a standard phone line, allowing it to exchange data with other computers. For example, you can use a modem to “dial in” to an Internet service provider in order to access the World Wide Web or send email.

Newsgroups: Collections of email messages arranged hierarchically and distributed to various computers on the Internet. There are currently over 12,000 USENET newsgroups available; they serve as an electronic forum for a broad spectrum of groups.

Search Engine: A program, often accessed through a website, that helps you locate specific data on the Internet by searching for names, keywords, etc.

Server: A computer used to store large amounts of files. A web server stores large numbers of html files.

Shareware: Computer software that users are encouraged to copy and evaluate for a period of time. The shareware author often requires voluntary payment of a specific sum of money if the user continues to use it.

UNIX: An operating system used by many computers on the Internet. UNIX allows many people to use the same computer at once.

URL (Universal Resource Locator): The address for a website. A URL often contains the actual name of a company or organization. Just as each phone line must have a unique number, each website must also have a unique URL.

Virus: A destructive computer program that can destroy files on a computer and even cause a computer to fail. Computer viruses can be transmitted when any two computers are connected.

WWW (World Wide Web): The portion of the Internet capable of delivering rich multi-media files. The common way of navigating the WWW is the use of hypertext links.

Website: A website is a person’s or organization’s catalog, brochure, biography page, information source, etc., accessible via the World Wide Web. A website can contain a single page or thousands of them.

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