Glossary of MHC Web Terms




An audio sound format developed for Sun workstations which is often used to distribute sound clips via the Web. See also: .WAV, RealPlayer.

absolute URL
A URL (Universal Resource Locator) is the Internet equivalent of addresses. Like other types of addresses, they move from the general to the specific (from zip code to recipient, so to speak).

Take this URL, for example:

First you have the protocol: https:/

  • then the server address or domain: /
  • and finally the directory: /admission/visit
  • in which the file visit resides.

See also: Relative URL and URL.

ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act)
Mount Holyoke College websites should be ADA accessible to ensure that individuals with disabilities have the same access to MHC website information that is provided to all students, faculty, and staff. Accessibility involves page design that is navigable using adaptive technology, such as graphics and links should be labeled with text that makes sense when read by a screen reader. Another example: JavaScript (i.e.: rollover navigational images) are not accessible to screen readers.

alt tags
Alternative text tags appear in place of images when the browser preferences are set for text only (image viewing option is turned off). Including them on your site enables visually impaired user reader programs (speech synthesizers) to read the alt tag aloud.

anonymous FTP
An FTP connection established using the username "anonymous" and the email address of the person making the request as the password. This is the type of connection established by a Web browser by default. See also: FTP.

Flow chart of website information; i.e., list of site navigation.


Bits per second. A measure of the speed at which modems and other forms of communication hardware talk to each other.

Short for Web Browser; it's the tool (program) that allows you to access the Web. You probably used your Web Browser to locate this page. Popular Web Browsers include Chrome, Mozilla's Fire Fox and Safari.


C, C++
Two flavors of a very popular and flexible programming language.

Cascading Style Sheet (CSS)
Cascading Style Sheets are a mechanism for adding specific styles, such as fonts, colors, spacing, etc. to Web documents. The College Web design uses CSS for navigation links.

CGI Script (Common Gateway Interface script)
The Common Gateway Interface specification, which governs how browsers can request services from Web servers; a format and syntax for passing information via HTML forms and queries. The CGI script resides in the server. See also: Perl.

A service available on computer bulletin boards, online services and the Internet that lets users type messages to each other. The messages appear almost instantly on the screens of others participating in the chat session.

Content Management System (CMS)
HTML editor; used for creating Web pages. The CMS used by the College is Drupal.

A cookie is a piece of data stored on the user's hard drive containing information about the user. Cookies enable other websites to track users.


Domain Name Server. A database of Internet names and addresses which translates the names to the official Internet Protocol numbers and vice-versa.

The transfer of information from the Internet to your computer. Every time you check your mail, you are downloading your mail to your computer. You may also download other kinds of files to your computer.



file extension
In filenames, the group of letters after the period is called the file extension. For example, if the filename is global.pdf, the extension is .pdf.

A Web browser feature that enables a Web page to be displayed in a separate scrollable part of a browser window. Some framed site designs are almost invisible to the user; others display noticeable frame separators. MHC does not endorse creating websites in frames.

FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
File Transfer Protocol allows the transfer of files from one computer to another. For instance, to transfer files from an office campus computer to a MHC Web server. FTP is available within the latest version of Dreamweaver. See more about off-campus access and Webspace & Network Spaces on the LITS website.

A Mac OS X SFTP, SCP and SSH Frontend. Fugu is a graphical frontend to the commandline Secure File Transfer application (SFTP). SFTP is similar to FTP, but unlike FTP, the entire session is encrypted, meaning no passwords are sent in cleartext form, and is thus much less vulnerable to third-party interception. LITS support Fugu; see more about using Fugu on the LITS website.


.GIF (Graphic Interchange File)
Graphic Interchange File format created by CompuServe. A .GIF file can contain at most 256 unique colors and the compression is not as great as .JPG. This format includes many extensions, such as the ability to have a Web browser's background show through parts of the image ("transparency"), and animation. According to official documentation, the proper pronunciation is "jiff".


File converted from extended characters to a standard ASCII format that can be understood by most computers. Commonly used on the Macintosh platform. See also: .sit

The heading of your Web page is used to identify what page your visitor is currently viewing.

home page
A home page serves as the site's introduction, starting point, and guide. Generally it is the first or main page of a site. For instance, the home page for MHC is

An acronym for HyperText Markup Language, HTML is the language used to tag various parts of a Web document so browsing software will know how to display its links, text, and graphics.

Hypertext Transfer Protocol. HTTP is used to link and transfer hypertext documents.

Hyperlinks are the easy-to-spot underlined words or phrases you click in World Wide Web documents to jump to another screen or page. Hyperlinks contain HTML-coded references that point to other Web pages, which your browser then jumps to.

hyper linked images
Images that linked so that when a user clicks on a hyper linked image, the browser jumps to another screen or page.


Internet Service Provider. The company which provides its subscribers access to the Internet.


Graphics file format created by the Joint Photographers Expert Group. To conserve disk space and transfer time, a JPEG image can be compressed to varying degrees using a "lossy" method (meaning the resulting image is not of the same quality as the original).

A programming language in which the code is included in the HTML document.




File in Quicktime format. Developed by Apple for viewing moving images.

File created in the Moving Pictures Expert Group (MPEG) format.




A programming language geared toward handling text data. It is often used to create CGI programs for the Web. See also: CGI.

Portable Document Format. Adobe Acrobat's format for complex documents, which allows you to create one file which can be viewed on a variety of different computers (even without a Web browser) by simply "printing" in a special way. To create a PDF file, you must have the full version of Acrobat. If you do not have the full version, contact the LITS Help Desk (x2600).

popup browser window
A popup window (or popup) is a Web browser window that is often smaller than standard windows and is without some of the standard features such as tool bars or status bars.


See: .MOV.


A commercial product for playing compressed audio and video via the Internet. The audio portion used to be called RealAudio. See also: .AU, .MOV, .MPG, .WAV.

A redirect page is when you arrive on a Web page and the page automatically "redirects" you to another page. This occurs by manually inserting a JavaScript into the header of a Web page.

relative URL
A relative URL (Universal Resource Locator) refers to a document by using a shortened form of its path, relative to the document containing the URL.

A rollover is an image that is replaced with another image when you cursor over it. There are two images and when the mouse rolls over the first image, it moves to the background and the image in the background moves to the front. 


Server Side Include (SSI)
An HTML command used to place data into a Web page before sending it to the user.

Unsolicited email or newsgroup postings, often consisting of commercial advertising, which is sent to a large number of individuals or newsgroups. The name is a reference to a sketch by the British comedy troupe Monty Python.

style sheet
A master page layout used in document creation systems such as word processing, desktop publishing and the Web. The style sheet is a file that is used to store margins, tabs, fonts, headers, footers and other layout settings for a particular category of document. When a style sheet is selected, its format settings are applied to all the documents created under it, saving the page designer or programmer from redefining the same settings over and over again for each page. See also: Cascading Style Sheet (CSS).


target audience
The primary visitors that your website addresses. It is important to know your who your primary visitor are, so that you build a website to meet their needs.

A small version of a larger or more detailed image which, when clicked on, displays the full sized image. The larger image is reduced in a graphics program and saved with a different file name. The thumbnail is inserted into the Web page and linked to the larger image on another page. Creating a thumbnail saves the user time downloading a large image every time they go to your page. If you are concerned that an image may take up too much real estate on your Web page, it is a good idea to use a thumbnail image.

A Web page title should be a brief description of the information contained on the Web page. The Google Search tool uses the page title to search, and for results lists. The title feature also helps bring visitors to your site, as many search engines search for key words in titles.


Uniform Resource Locator or Web address. The addressing system used in the World Wide Web and other Internet resources. The URL contains information about the method of access, the server to be accessed and the path of any file to be accessed. For instance, the URL for Mount Holyoke College's website is 



File containing an audio sound in Microsoft format. Most commonly used on Windows-based PCs. See also: .AU, RealPlayer.

What You See Is What You Get (pronounced "whizzy-wig") refers to any technology that enables you to see images on screen exactly as they will appear when printed out.