Table 1

Glossary of abbreviations

ADSLAsynchronous digital subscriber line• A broadband telecommunication technology
ARPAAdvanced Research Projects Agency• The central research and development organisation of the US Department of Defense
bpsBits per second• The standard rating of speed of data flow
CGICommon gateway interface• A means of generating dynamic content from a database on the WWW
DNSDomain name system• A means to translate host names into IP addresses
eTOCElectronic table of contents• An emailed table of contents of an online journal
FTPFile transfer protocol• A means to exchange files between servers over a network
GIFGraphics interchange format• A compressed image format using minimal memory, best for block images
HTMLHypertext markup language• The principal programming language used to write pages on the WWW
HTTPHypertext transfer protocol• The communication protocol used by servers to send files to browsers
ISDNIntegrated services digital network• Digital telephone connections delivering broadband internet access
ISPInternet service provider• An intermediary company that connects a user to the internet
IP addressInternet protocol address• One of a potential 4.2 billion 32 bit numbers in dotted decimal notation identifying a computer on the internet
JPEGJoint Photographic Expert Group• A compressed image format using minimal memory, best for shaded photographic images
LANLocal area network• A network serving a small geographical area, which permits faster transmission speeds. Versus MAN and WAN
MANMetropolitan area network• A network in a geographical area larger than a LAN but smaller than a WAN
ModemModulator/demodulator• Converts digital to analogue signals and back, to enable computers to communicate over a telephone line
MPEGMoving Picture Expert Group• The digital format encoding video images, displayed by dedicated software
NeLHNational electronic Library for Health• A digital library for NHS staff in the UK
PDFPortable document format• A universal electronic document format that enables the style and layout of text and images to appear identical to the printed page
PGPPretty good privacy• Freely available encryption software
POPPoint of presence• Types of servers that convey email
RDFResource description framework• An infrastructure that enables the exchange of metadata
SHTTPSecure hypertext transfer protocol• A communications protocol for financial exchanges over the internet
SMTPSimple mail transfer protocol• A communications protocol for regulating traffic between mail servers
SSLSecure sockets layer• A communications protocol for transmitting private documents via the internet
TCP/IPTransmission control protocol/internet protocol• The universal communication protocol used by the internet to transmit packets of data
URLUniform resource locator• The unique address of a file accessible over the internet (fig 2)
W3CWorld Wide Web Consortium• A forum for information, commerce, communication, and collective understanding of the WWW
WANWide area network• A network in a geographical area larger than a LAN and a MAN
WWWWorld wide web• A global collection of interconnected servers, whose contents are viewed through a browser
XMLExtensible markup language• A universal format for structured documents and data on the WWW