Glossary of IT Terms

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Refers to the capacity of a telecommunications link and is a measure of how fast data can be moved around.  It is measured in either bits per second (bps) or cycles per second (Hertz/Hz and megahertz/MHz). 

Specification that allows mobile phones, computers, and PDAs to be connected wirelessly over short ranges

A software package used to search information posted on the Web.  Netscape and Microsoft Internet Explorer are the most popular browsers. Another example is Safari.


Keeps data the processor is likely to need quickly close at hand; increases processor operation speed

CD-R (compact disc - recordable)
Special type of CD-ROM that can be written onto by any computer with a recording drive; can only be written onto once

CD-ROM (compact disc read-only memory)
Optical storage device read by lasers; can hold up to 700 megabytes of data.

CD-RW (compact disc - rewritable)
Special type of CD-ROM that can be written onto by any computer with a recording drive; can be written onto more than once.

CPU (Central Processing Unit):
The brain of the computer system where calculations and decisions are made; also referred to as the processor


A large collection of information stored in a computer and organized in categories to facilitate retrieval and analysis.

Digital camera
A camera that records images electronically rather than on film.

To transfer data from another computer or the web or from a source to a destination and vice versa.

DVD (digital versatile disc):
Can hold over seven times as much information as CDs; drives are backward-compatible with CD-ROM drives


E-commerce site
A website set up for the purpose of selling goods and/or services online.

Electronic mail - the use of a computer network to send and receive messages (eg via the Internet).


Security technology that prevents unauthorized access to a network by outside users.


Hard drive
Large data storage devices permanently mounted in the computer's case

Physical devices located on a desk or in a server-room rack

"Hypertext Markup Language" - a system of codes used to determine the appearance of documents on the web.

Embedded "hot spots" in web pages that allow users to jump from one document to another document, regardless of it's location on the Internet.  Sometimes referred to as "links".


The global network of computers, routers and cable connections that enables the world's computers to connect to each other.

Internet service provider (ISP)
A company that provides Internet accounts and connections to individuals and businesses.

I/O (Input/output devices)
Hardware used to enter and retrieve data from the system

IP (internet protocol)
Network layer protocol provided with TCP/IP; connectionless, unreliable protocol that provides features for addressing, type or service specification, fragmentation and reassembly, and security

IP address (internet protocol address)
Logical address assigned to every workstation, server, printer, and router on any interconnected network


JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
A compression technique for color images;


Desk space of the computer system; microchips located on the motherboard that hold data and instructions for the CPU (central processing unit)

MPEG (Motion Picture Experts Group)
Digital video format identified by ".mpg" extension after the file name


A system of computer systems and/or peripheral devices (eg printers, phone lines) with each remote unit connected to the others so that data can be transferred electronically.


OS (operating system)
Interface between the application (word processor, spreadsheet, etc.) and the computer hardware


A machine fitted with a photoelectric cell that "reads" a picture, bar code or text in order to convert it into an image (or text file) that can be digitally displayed and manipulated on a computer screen.

Search engine
A computer software program that enables a user to find items on a database or websites on the web, using key words as the search criteria. E.g.

Exploring the Internet by key words and/or links, to see what can be found of interest


"Uniform resource locator" - the address of a website on the Internet.


"World Wide Web" - a large-scale, networked, hypertext information system, primarily consisting of URLs, available over the Internet.

Web page
A document posted on a website.