Weaving the Web - Berners-Lee
The paper book contains a glossary. This is a hypertext version with links to
supporting and related material. (@ indicates missing link). Rather than give
a long list of URIs in the book, I just give you this page online.
- access control
- The ability to selectively control who can get at or manipulate
information in, for example, a Web server.
- The art of ensuring that, to as large an extent as possible,
facilities (such as, for example, Web access) are available to people
whether or not they have impairments of one sort or another.
- ACSS (Audio Cascading Style Sheets)
- A language for telling a computer how to read a Web page aloud. This
is now part of CSS2.
- An open source Web browser editor from W3C and friends, used to push
leading-edge ideas in Web client design.
- An open source Web server originally formed by taking all the
"patches" (fixes) to the NCSA Web server and making a new server out of
- A Web client that allows a human to read
information on the Web.
- The European Particle Physics Laboratory, located on the French-Swiss
border near Geneva, Switzerland.
- Information collected about where a Web user has been on the Web.
- Any program that uses the service of another program. On the Web, a
Web client is a program, such as a browser, editor, or search robot,
that reads or writes information on the Web.
- CSS (Cascading Style Sheets)
- A W3C recommendation: a language for writing style sheets. See also
- A knowledge-representation project in which a tree of definitions
attempts to express real-world facts in a machine-readable fashion. (Now
a trademark of Cycorp Inc.)
- digital signature
- A very large number created in such a way that it can be shown to have
been done only by somebody in possession of a secret key and only by
processing a document with a particular content. It can be used for the
same purposes as a person's handwritten signature on a physical
document. Something you can do with public key cryptography. W3C work
addresses the digital signature of XML documents.
- DOM (Document Object Model)
- Within a computer, information is often organized as a set of
"objects." When transmitted, it is sent as a "document." The DOM is a
W3C specification that gives a common way for programs to access a
document as a set of objects.
- domain name
- A name (such as "w3.org") of a service, Web site, or computer, and so
on in a hierarchical system of delegated authority- the Domain Name
- In the SGML world, a DTD is a metadocument containing information
about how a given set of SGML tags can be used. In the XML world this
role will be taken over by a schema. Sometimes, but arguably, "document
type definition." See also schema.
- Dublin Core
- A set of basic metadata properties (such as title, etc.) for
classifying Web resources.
- EBT (Electronic Book Technology)
- A company started by Andries Van Dam and others to develop hypertext
systems. Later bought by INSO corporation who, it seems, re-used the
acronym to be eBusiness Technologies.
- EDI (Electronic Data Interchange)
- A pre-Web standard for the electronic exchange of commercial
- A 1980 program, named after the Victorian book Enquire Within upon
- The setting up of criteria to select a subset of data from a broad
stream of it. Filtering information is essential for everyone in daily
life. Filtering by parents of small children may be wise. Filtering by
others- ISPs or governments- is bad, and is called censorship.
- GIF (Graphics Interchange Format)
- A format for pictures transmitted pixel by pixel over the Net. Created
by CompuServe, the GIF specification was put into the public domain, but
Unisys found that it had a patent on the compression technology used.
This stimulated the development of PNG.
- GILC (Global Internet Liberty Campaign)
- A group that has been laudably vocal in support of individual rights
on the Net (though occasionally tending to throw out the baby with the
- Two- or three-dimensional images, typically drawings or photographs.
See also GIF, PNG, SVG, and VRML.
- HTML (Hypertext Markup Language)
- A computer language for representing the contents of a page of
hypertext; the language that most Web pages are currently written in.
- HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)
- A computer protocol for transferring information across the Net in
such a way as to meet the demands of a global hypertext system. Part of
the original design of the Web, continued in a W3C activity, and now a
HTTP 1.1 IETF draft standard.
- Nonsequential writing; Ted Nelson's term for a medium that includes
links. Nowadays it includes other media apart from text and is sometimes
- information space
- The abstract concept of everything accessible using networks: the
- INRIA (Institut National de Recherche en Infomatique
- The French national research laboratory for computer science and
control. Cohost of W3C and developers of Amaya.
- A global network of networks through which computers communicate by
sending information in packets. Each network consists of computers
connected by cables or wireless links.
- A part of the Internet or part of the Web used internally within a
company or organization.
- IP (Internet Protocol)
- The protocol that governs how computers send packets across the
Internet. Designed by Vint Cerf and Bob Khan. (IP may also stand for
intellectual property; see IPR.)
- IPR (Intellectual Property Rights)
- The conditions under which the information created by one party may be
appreciated by another party.
- ISO (International Standards Organization)
- An international group of national standards bodies.
ISO standards are available, on paper, for a fee.
- ISP (Internet service provider)
- The party providing one with connectivity to the Internet. Some users
have a cable or some sort of wireless link to their ISP. For others,
their computer may dial an ISP by phone and send and receive Internet
packets over the phone line; the ISP then forwards the packets over the
- A programming language developed (originally as "Oak") by James
Gosling of Sun Microsystems. Designed for portability and usability
embedded in small devices, Java took off as a language for small
applications ("applets") that ran within a Web browser.
- Open source Web server of great modularity, written in Java. From W3C
- JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group)
- This group defined a format for encoding photographs that uses fewer
bytes than the pixel-by-pixel approaches of GIF and PNG, without too
much visible degradation in quality. The format (JFIF) is casually
referred to as JPEG.
- Keio University
- Near Tokyo, Japan. Cohost of W3C.
- LCS (Laboratory for Computer Science)
- A laboratory at the Massachusetts Institute of
Technology . Cohost of W3C.
- LEAD (Live Early Adoption and
- A W3C policy to eat our own cooking to find out how it can be better.
- The library (collection) of WWW-related program modules available for
free use by anyone since the start of the Web.
- In high and far-off times, people did not see computer programs
through windows. They typed commands on a terminal, and the computer
replied with text, which was displayed on the screen (or printed on a
roll of paper) interleaved with the commands, much as though the person
were in a chat session with the computer program. If you have seen a
"DOS window," then you have some idea of how people did their
communicating with computers in those days, before they learned how to
drag and drop. Line-mode is still a very respectable way to communicate
with a computer.
- line-mode browser
- A Web client that communicated with the user in line-mode and could
run all kinds of computers that did not have windows or mice.
- A reference from one document to another (external link), or from one
location in the same document to another (internal link), that can be
followed efficiently using a computer. The unit of connection in
- MARC record
- A standard for machine-readable library catalogue cards.
- A prefix to indicate something applied to itself; for example, a
metameeting is a meeting about meetings.
- Data about data on the Web, including but not limited to authorship,
classification, endorsement, policy, distribution terms, IPR, and so on.
A significant use for the Semantic Web.
- Technology allowing one to pay for Web site access in very small
amounts as one browses.
- minimal constraint, principle of
- The idea that engineering or other designs should define only what
they have to, leaving other aspects of the system and other systems as
unconstrained as possible.
- MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
- See LCS. Cohost of W3C. mobile devices
- Pagers, phones, handheld computers, and so on. All are potentially
mobile Internet devices and Web clients.
- A Web browser developed by Marc Andreessen, Eric Bina, and their
colleagues at NCSA.
- NCSA (National Center for Supercomputing
- A center at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign whose
software development group created Mosaic.
- Nelson, Ted
- Coiner of the word hypertext; guru and visionary. By coincidence, Ted
is currently (1999) at Keio University
- Short for Internet.
- Name of the company started by Steve Jobs, and of the computer it
manufactured, that integrated many novelties such as the Mach kernel,
Unix, NeXTStep, Objective-C, drag-and-drop application builders, optical
disks, and digital signal processors. The development platform I used
for the first Web client.
- NNTP (Network News Transfer Protocol)
- A protocol that defines how news articles are passed around between
computers. Each computer passes an article to any of its neighbors that
have not yet got it.
- Thing joined by links. In the Web, a node is a Web page, any resource
with a URI.
- open source
- Software whose source code is freely distributed and modifiable by
anyone. W3C sample code is open source software. A trademark of
opensource.org, a relatively newcom
- A unit into which information is divided for transmission across the
- partial understanding
- The ability to understand part of the import of a document that uses
multiple vocabularies, some but not all of which are understood.
- PGP (Pretty Good Privacy)
- An e-mail security system that uses public key cryptography and has
the philosophy that individuals can choose whom they trust for what
purpose- the "web of trust."
- PICS (Platform for Internet Content Selection)
- W3C's technology that allows parents to select content for their
children on the basis of an open set of criteria, as opposed to
government censorship. See filtering.
- PKC (public key cryptography)
- A very neat bit of mathematics on which is based a security system in
which there is no need to exchange secret keys; instead, people have one
"private" key that only they know and one "public" key that everyone
- PKI (Public Key Infrastructure)
- A hierarchy of "certification authorities" to allow individuals and
organizations to identify each other for the purpose (principally) of
doing business electronically.
- PNG (Portable Network Graphics)
- A format for encoding a picture pixel by pixel and sending it over the
Net. A recommendation of the W3C, replacing GIF.
- A language and a set of rules that allow computers to interact in a
well-defined way. Examples are FTP, HTTP, and NNTP.
- RDF (Resource Description Framework)
- A framework for constructing logical languages that can work together
in the Semantic Web. A way of using XML for data rather than just
- RFC (Request For Comments)
- The humble title of the memos which defined and still define the
workings of the Interet. The Internet Engineering Task
Force later developed a growing process for categorizing the status
of RFCs, up to a level of "Internet Standard".
- RPC (remote procedure call)
- When one part of a program calls on another part to do some work, the
action is called a procedure call. RPC is a set of tools that allow you
to write a program whose different parts are on different computers,
without having to worry about how the communication happens. A generic
technique, not a specific product.
- A public key encryption system invented by Ron Rivest, Adi Shamir, and
Leonard Adleman. RSA algorithms have been patented (expiring in
2000), and so its inventors have licensed its deployment.
- schema (pl., schemata)
- A document that describes an XML or RDF vocabulary. Any document which describes, in formal
way, a language or parameters of a langauge.
- Semantic Web
- The Web of data with meaning in the sense that a computer program can
learn enough about what the data means to process it.
- separation of form from content
- The principle that one should represent separately the essence of a
document and the style with which it is presented. An element in my
decision to use SGML and an important element in the drive for
accessibility on the Web.
- A program that provides a service (typically information) to another
program, called the client. A Web server holds Web pages and allows
client programs to read and write them.
- SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language)
- An international standard in markup languages, a basis for HTML and a
precursor to XML.
- SMIL (Synchronized Multimedia Integration
- A language for creating a multimedia presentation by specifying the
spatial and temporal relationships between its components. A W3C
- style sheet
- A document that describes to a computer program (such as a browser)
how to translate the document markup into a particular presentation
(fonts, colors, spacing, etc.) on the screen or in print. See also CSS,
XSL, separation of form from content.
- SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics)
- A language for describing drawings in terms of the shapes that compose
them, so that these can be rendered as well as possible.
- A program I wrote for playing with the concept of information as
consisting only of the connections.
- TCP (Transmission Control Protocol)
- A computer protocol that allows one computer to send the other a
continuous stream of information by breaking it into packets and
reassembling it at the other end, resending any packets that get lost in
the Internet. TCP uses IP to send the packets, and the two together are
referred to as TCP/IP.
- URI (Universal Resource Identifier)
- The string (often starting with http:) that is used to identify
anything on the Web.
- URL (Uniform Resource Locator)
- A term used sometimes for certain URIs to indicate that they might
change. See URI.
- An interpreted computer language (like Java) developed by Pei Wei at
the University of Berkeley. Also, a Web browser built using Viola.
An early review I wrote of Viola
- virtual hypertext
- Hypertext that is generated from its URI by a program, rather than by
recourse to a stored file. This was my name for the idea. The CERN
phone book was the first example, in 1991. It is sometimes difficult to
tell, and impossible to define formally, what is virtual hypertext and
what is not.
- VRML (Virtual Reality Modeling Language)
- An idea for 3D compositional graphics on the Web, proposed by Dave
Raggett as "Virtual Reality Markup Language," and implemented by Mark
Pesce as a variant of Silicon Graphics's "Inventor" format; later
managed by the VRML consortium, now "Web 3D" consortium.
- W3C (World Wide Web Consortium)
- A neutral meeting of those to whom the Web is important, with the
mission of leading the Web to its full potential.
- The World Wide Web Consortium
- WAI (Web Accessibility Initiative)
- A domain of W3C that attempts to ensure the use of the Web by anyone
regardless of disability.
- WAIS (Wide Area Information Servers)
- A distributed information system designed by Brewster Kahle while at
Thinking Machines. WAIS was like a Web of search engines, but without
- Short for World Wide Web.
- World Wide Web
- (three words; also known as WWW) The set of all information
accessible using computers and networking, each unit of information
identified by a URI.
- WorldWideWeb (one word; no spaces)
- The name of the first Web client, a browser/editor that ran on a NeXT
- The X Window system, invented by Bob Scheifler; a standard interface
between a program and a screen that was ubiquitous on Unix systems.
Unlike Microsoft's Windows, from the beginning X allowed programs
running on one machine to display on another, across the Internet.
Scheifler ran the X Consortium from MIT/LCS for many years, then spun it
off, and eventually closed it.
- X.Org is the worldwide consortium
empowered with the stewardship and collaborative development of the
X Window System technology and standards
- Ted Nelson's planned global hypertext project.
- XML (Extensible Markup Language)
- A simplified successor to SGML. W3C's generic language for creating
new markup languages. Markup languages (such as HTML) are used to
represent documents with a nested, treelike structure. XML is a product
of W3C and a trademark of MIT.
- XSL (Extensible Style Sheet Language)
- A style sheet language, like CSS, but also allowing document
This is http://www.w3.org/People/Berners-Lee/Weaving/glossary which is part of
the the online sipplement to the dead trees book "Weaving the Web" by Tim Berners-Lee.
Created Tim Berners-Lee, Cambridge Massachusetts 1999.
Last modified: Fri Jul 23 00:26:26 EDT 1999