The Genealogist’s Internet

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Internet Glossary

Adobe Acrobat

A file format, popular for documents which need to be made available online with fixed formatting. Files have the extension.pdf, and so the term ‘PDF file’ is often used. See p. 60.


An online personal journal (short for ‘web log’).


‘Content Management System’, software for running large websites using a database to store the pages.


A piece of information stored on your hard disk by a website in order to identify you and your preferences each time you use the site.


1. A collection of individual items of information (‘records’) which can be retrieved selectively via a search facility.

2. A software program for managing data records (short for ‘database management system’).


A collection of links to internet resources, arranged in a hierarchy of subject headings.


A graphics file format used by some of the commercial data services, pronounced as déjà vu (see p. 62).

domain name

The part of an internet address which is formally registered and owned, and which forms the latter part of a server or host name, e.g. is the domain name, while <> and <> are individual servers within that domain.


To transfer a file from another computer to your own computer.


Frequently Asked Questions, a document listing common questions in a particular area, along with their answers.


A rude or abusive message.


File Transfer Protocol, a method of transferring files across the internet (see p. 372).


A subject-specific directory.


A graphics file format, mainly used on the web for graphic design elements, less suitable for colour photographs.


A matching item retrieved in response to a search.


A computer connected to the internet which allows other internet users access to material stored on its hard disk.


Providing space on a host for someone’s web pages.


HyperText Markup Language, in which web pages are written.


Internet Service Provider.


A graphics file format, mainly used for photographs.


Reading the messages in a discussion forum, but not contributing yourself.

mailing list

A discussion group which uses email to disseminate messages.

message board

A web page which allows users to read and post messages, often also called a ‘forum’.


The informal, consensual rules of online communication.

news feed

A method of getting current updates from a website (particularly a blog) delivered to you automatically.


A piece of software used by a web browser to display files it cannot handle on its own.


An audio recording made accessible via the web (sometimes also used for video).


A collection of internet resources for a particular audience — see the discussion on p. 17.


A piece of software which trawls the internet looking for new resources, used by search engines to create their indexes.


A type of news feed, often used for news feeds generically.

search engine

Commonly, a website which has a searchable index of web pages, though more accurately any piece of software which searches an index.


A computer, usually with a permanent internet connection, which responds to requests for data from other computers on the internet. There are different types of server according to the service offered, e.g. mail server, web server, list server.


Making an audio or video recording play in real time via a web browser rather than requiring a separate download.


To join a mailing list.


Uniform Resource Locator, a standard way of referring to internet resources so that each resource has a unique name. In the case of a web page, the URL is the same as the web address.


A method of identifying gross data-entry errors in a database, checking that an item of data falls within an acceptable range of values.


An online video.


A site in which pages can be edited collaboratively.


eXtensible Markup Language, a more sophisticated and flexible markup language than HTML, likely to be increasingly used for websites.

All these terms are defined and explained on Wikipedia at <>.

There are many internet glossaries online, including:

For glossaries of genealogy terms see p. 15.