Glossary for Communication in Physics

Terminology in electronic publishing, information retrieval, library business, Internet affairs and related subjects

This glossary is perpetually under construction. It contains some acronyms, abbreviations and jargon that we encountered so far in our research and is primarily intended for our own reference. Cf. under the entry 'Glossaries'.
Frédérique Harmsze.

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z


AAP = Association of American Publishers

ACC = Amsterdamse Centrale Catalogus

ACCU = Academisch Computercentrum Utrecht.

Adobe = The company Adobe Systems makes the Adobe Acrobat software, for platform independent electronic document management. Includes: Reader (view, navigate, print), PDF Writer, Exchange (view, print, annotate, hyperlink), Search (full text search capabilities).

.aiff = A file name extension for a sound file format

AIP = American Institute of Physics - home page

AMOLF = FOM-instituut voor Atoom- en Molecuul Fysica, the Institute for Atomic and Molecular Physics - home page

AMS = American Mathematical Society.

Anchor = The point in a hypertext document to which a hyperlink leads.

ANSI= American National Standards Institute

API = Application Programming Interface

Applet= A Java applet is a Java program that can be included in an HTML page, much like an image can be included. When you use a Java-compatible browser to view a page that contains a Java applet, the applet's code is transferred to your system and executed by the browser. Home page.

Application (text processing application ISO 8879) = A related set of processes performed on documents of related types. Example: publication, creation, revision, office correspondence. An SGML application is defined as rules that apply SGML to a text processing application

APS = American Physical Society, home page

Archie = A software tool for searching files on anonymous FTP servers.

ARENA = A HTML 3.0 Browser by the W3 consortium. For more information:

ASCII = American Standard Code for Information Interchange = World-wide standard for representation of characters with a 7-bit sequence of 0s and 1s.

ASIS = American Society for Information Science - home page

.au = A file name extension for a sound file format.

Authority file = A file used to preserve the concept of uniform heading ('the same things must have the same name') = thesaurus. It is mostly used as an indexing language for formal descriptors (i.e. author etc.)


Base character set (ISO 646:1983) = The character set used for the characters in the document instance.

.bat = A file name extension for batch processing.

baud = Bits per second.

BBS = Bulletin Board System = A computerized meeting and announcement system allowing people to discuss things, upload and download files and make announcements without obliging them to be connected to the computer at the same time. (Een prikbord dus). The difference between a bulletin board and a discussion list is that in the former case you have to go to the message and in the latter the message comes to you. See Usenet.

.bin = File name extension for binary.

BITNET = Because It's Time Network = A network connecting academic and other institutions for communication of information. It is separate from the Internet, but e-mail can be exchanged between them. Now it is called CREN.

.bmp = A file name extension for bitmap picture.

Browser = A client program (i.e. software) used to retrieve information from various WWW sources.


Cache = Reserved space in the computer for temporary storage of the information of a page, such that it can be retrieved faster. Memory cache is fastest, disk cache is most persistent.

CALS = Computer-aided Acquisition and Logistics Support = U.S. Department of Defense's program to electronically acquire and manage technical information. One of the standards is SGML

CAP = Computer Assisted Publishing

CAVE = CAVE Automatic Virtual Environment = a projection-based Virtual Reality system that surrounds the viewer with 4 screens.developed by EVL, University of Illinois at Chicago Electronic Visualization Laboratory.

CCF = Common Communication Format = A machine readable exchange format. See MARC

CCITT = Comite Consultatif International de Telephones et Telecommunications = A standards body concerned with telecommunication

CDA = Digital Equipment Corporation Compound Document Architecture = an enhancement of the ODA standard.

CDATA = Declared data type for an element that contains no markup. Any characters normally signifying markup are treated as literal data.

CERN = Centre Europeen de Recherches Nucleaires. Cradle of the WWW. Home page

.cfg = A file name extension for configuration.

CGM = Computer Graphics Metafile = A protocol for web and email indexing, with the underlying idea that the database indexes of other sites are put on the central site, instead of all resources themselves. Developed by the IETF. Home page

CIP = Common Indexing Protocol = ISO standard for storage and description of complete pictures

Class = (in the context of object orientation) An implementation that can be used to create multiple objects with the same behavior. An object is an instance of a class. Types classify objects according to a common interface; classes classify objects according to a common implementation. (Howie)

Client = The software used to contact and obtain data from a Server on another computer thus allowing users to retrieve information from the Internet and the WWW . A WWW client is also called a browser. Example: NCSA Mosaic/Netscape. Each client is designed to work with one or more specific kinds of servers and vice versa.
= also: a workstation or personal computer in a client/server environment: the client is the requesting machine, connected via a network to the server, i.e. the supplying machine.

CM = Computer Modern, a class of text fonts native to TeX.

CML = Chemical Markup Language = A special XML language to mark up chemistry, simplistically speaking 'HTML with Chemistry added'. Home page.

.bat = A file name extension for configuration.

COBRA = Computer Ondersteund Bibliografisch Raadpleeg- en AdviesSysteem. Universiteit Groningen.

.com = A file name extension for command.

.cpi = A file name extension for code page information (DOS).

CREN = Corporation for Research and Educational Networking
= also: Network formally known as Bitnet.

CSCW = Computer Supported Cooperative Work (research in Leuven)

CSLIP = Compressed Serial Line Protocol. See SLIP.

CTA = Cognitive Task Analysis: specifies the functions and tasks that need to be performed in order to achieve some overall goal, and identifies the decisions that need to be made in the performace of those tasks (Belkin et al. 1993)

CWI = Centrum voor Wiskunde en Informatica, centre for mathematics and computer science at the WCW - home page

CWIS = Campus Wide Information System

CWTS = Centrum voor Wetenschaps- en Technologie Studies (Leiden)

Cyberspace = The whole range of information resources available through computer networks


.dat = A file name extension for data.

Database (DB) = A computer system whose purpose is to enable gatherering and maintaining information in a structured way (Van Herwijnen). See also relational database.
= A collection of regularly formatted data which is accessed by more than one person and/or which is used for more than one purpose (Frost)

DBMS = Database Managment System = A collection of procedures, documentation aids, languages and programs to facilitate the design and implementation of database systems. (Frost)

Database system = A set of resources whose collective responsability include (a) storing the database, (b) maintaining the database, (c) providing users with input/output routines for access as required. (Frost)

Data model = a set of logical objects used to provide an abstraction of a portion of the real world, necessary to express and application's design (from Isakowitz et al.). A collection of entities, operators, and consistency rules (Howie) An abstract general purpose data structure. (Frost)

DBMS = Database Management System

DCF = Document Composition Facility

DDD = Distributed Document Database. Project home page

Descriptive markup = Markup that uses tag names related to the purpose or function of elements rather than procedures that are formatting related.

DESIRE = Development of a European Service for Information on Research and Education = A project funded by the European Union. Home page

Discussion list = A (usually automated) system, using only e-mail, allowing people to send mail to one adress, whereupon their message is copied and sent to all subscribers to the maillist . Listservs and Mailing lists are types of discussion lists. There are moderated and unmoderated discussion lists. The reference to Internet discussion newsgroups lists at least all Listservs. See also Usenet.

Dithering = Software imaging process for arranging ajacent pixels of varying shades, in order to achieve a visual effect, enhancing the computer's ability to display an image.

.dll = A file name extension for dynamic link library (*?*).

Document = A collection of textual information possibly augmented with graphics, tabular and numeric data. In terms of SGML a document is a logical construct that contains a document element, that is at the root of the tree of elements which form its content. (Van Herwijnen)

Domain name = The unique name identifying an Internet site (not necessarily a separate computer for each site, though every site is at one machine). Domain names have always 2 or more parts. Example: or

dpi = dots per inch = A unit to describe the resolution of a printer or a screen. (300dpi = normal, 600dpi = good, 1000dpi = sophisticated, 1200dpi = human eye, 2500dpi = photo type setting for books)

.drv = .dvr = A file name extension for device driver.

DSSSL = Document Style Semantics and Specification Language (ISO DIS 10179) = A detailed typographically sophisticated specification of lay out and composition independent of formatting systems or processes. (Van Herwijnen)

DTD = Document Type Definition = The definition of the markup rules for a given class of documents (Van Herwijnen). A DTD defines the structure of a specific kind of SGML documents: the elements that the document can consist of (e.g. chapters and chapter headings, sections, and topics) and rules for the relations between elements (e.g. a chapter heading must be the first element after the start of a chapter).

DTP = Desk Top Publishing = A publishing system using a desktop computer such as a PC or a Macintosh.

Dublin-Core = A canonical syntax for representation of metadata (Subject, Title, Author, Publisher, Other agent, Date, Object type, Form, Indetifier, Relation, Source, Language, Coverage). Home page

.dvi = A file name extension for device independent.


EASE = Elsevier Articles Supplied Electronically

EBDIC = Extendend Binary Coded Decimal Interchange Code = A character representation like ASCII, a convention developed and used by IBM

EDI = Electronic Data Interchange = Information interchange between suppliers and customers permitting direct input in corporate database applications.

Element = In SGML an element is a logical unit in a document marked up with a start and end tags.

E-mail = Electronic mail = Messages, usually text, sent via the computer

.enc = A file name extension for batch processing.

Entity = A unit of information that may be referred to by a symbol

E-print = Electronic preprint. In practice: the electronic version of a paper that has been stored in and distributed from an electronic preprint archive before it is published in an official journal.

EPS = Encapsuled PostScript = PostScript containing information about the size of the page such that these files can be embedded in documents processed by a text formatter .
= also: European Physical Society - home page

.eps = A file name extension for encapsulated post script.

Ethernet = A very common method of networking computers in a local area network.

Exchange format = A format consisting of obligatory and optional elements meant for the data exchange between two or more automated systems, independent of the database management software.

.exe = A file name extension for executable.

External viewer = A program used by a client when it cannot handle a particular file type internally. Example: PostScript files need a PostScript viewer.

EWI = European Web Index, to be developed in the DESIRE project.


Fall-out = A measure for the discrimination value of the system. In a formula: 1 - (relevant and retrieved documents)/(total number of documents in database).

FAQ = Frequently Asked Questions

Finger = A software tool for locating people on other Internet sites.

FOM = NWO-stichting voor Fundamenteel Onderzoek der Materie, the foundation for fundamental research on matter.

.fon = A file name extension for font = also: A file name extension for phone (directory).

Format = A list of the elements of which a record consists. For each element there is a field or subfield. Each field has a tag and a description of the content.

Formatter = A system taking as input a text file marked up with commands it understands and producing a fully laid out page that a printer understands. Example:PostScript. (Van Herwijnen)

FOSI = Formatting Output Specification Instance = 'personal style sheet' suited to both printed and electronic output, created by the author based on OS (pronounced "fossy")

Frame = A data structure representing an entity type, consisting of a collection of named slots which can be filled by values or pointers to other frames. (Frost)

FTP = File Transfer Protocol = A method of transferring files between Internet sites (i.e. to and from remote computers). It is a special way of login to another site. Publicly accessible material can be obtained from anonymous FTP servers, where you login on the account name "anonymous".

FSF = Free software foundation (Internet).


Generalized markup = Codes describing the logical purpose of the various elements in a document. Example: chapters, paragraphs. (Van Herwijnen)

Generic identifier = A tag name = The name of the element defined by the DTD

GGC = Gemeenschappelijk Geautomatiseerd Catalogiseersysteem. A PICA system

GIF = Graphics Interchange Format = An image file format.

.gif = A file name extension for graphics interchange format.

GILS = Government Information Locator Service = A U.S. project to identify and describe information resources throughout the Federal government, and provide assistance in obtaining the information. Comparable to DESIRE. Home page

GKS = Graphics Kernel System (ISO 7942) = A common interface to interactive computer graphics for application programs


Glyph = A format independent representation of a shape into which a character has been transformed by a text formatter.

GML = Generalized Markup Language. See also SGML Developed by IBM

Gopher = A text based distributed information system. It is a method of making menus of material available over the Internet. Gopher is being replaced by the WWW. Developed at the University of Minnesota.

.grf = A file name extension for graph.

Grif = A French company creating and selling WYSIWYG SGML editors. Example: Symposium.

.grp = A file name extension for group.

GUI = Graphical User Interface.

.bat = A file name extension for compressed file with GNU gzip (de)compression program.


Harvest = An information discovery and access system, an integrated set of tools to gather, extract, organize, search, cache, and replicate relevant information across the Internet. Home page

HDM = Hypermedia Design model (see paper)

History = The list of document titles and URLs that have been "visited" recently during the session. The history file can contain contain older history than just the current session.

Host = Any computer on a network that offers services to other computers on the network.

Hotlist = A user defined list of preferred URLs.

HPCN = High Performance Computing and Networking - home page of the HPCN foundation

.hst = A file name extension for history
= also: A file name extension for host.

HTML = Hypertext Markup Language = The standard language on the web, related to SGML. A 7-bit ASCII file + formatting code on lay out + hyperlinks. The typical file extensions for HTML files are .html and .htm.
A Beginner's guide to HTML at NCSA. On the version of spring '95, HTML 3.0

HTTP = HyperText Transfer Protocol (see File Transfer Protocol) = The language used for communication between clients and servers.

Hyperlink = A link in a given document to information within another (part of a) document. These links are usually represented by highlighted words or images and/or underlined words.

Hypermedia = A multi media document containing hyperlinks or a multimedia hypertext, i.e. with links to documents, texts, movies, pictures, sounds etc.

Hypertext = A database of linked documents with a powerful user interface permitting the user to "walk" through the database by activating references formed by links to external or internal parts of documents (Van Herwijnen). Text + hyperlinks to other (parts of ) documents. A hypertext review - first chapter. The term `hypertext wa first used by Nelson in 1965. Conklin: hypertext is a non-linear text. See also hypermedia.

HyTime (ISO 10744:1992) = Hypermedia/Time-based Structuring Language, a standard neutral markup language for representing hypertext, multimedia, hypermedia and time- and space-based documents in terms of their logical structure. Its purpose is to make hyperdocuments interoperable and maintainable over the long term.


IAFA = Internet Anonymous FTP Archives IETF Working Group. The IAFA format is a a structured indexing format like SOIF. Home page.

IBL = Interbibliothecair Leenverkeer. A PICA system

.ico = A file name extension for icon.

ICSTI = International Council on Scientific and Technical Information

IEC = International Electrotechnical Commission. = Organization for electrotechnical standardization, like ISO.

IEEE = Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. It publishes magazines in the computing field - home page.

IETF = Internet Engineering Task Force. Home page

IMHO= In my humble opinion. A shorthand indication (in an on-line forum) that the writer is aware of expressing a debatable view. Compare to the smiley :-) for jokes, the wink ;-) etc.

Indexing language = [NL: Informatie taal] = An artificial language for information retrieval based on subject analysis = vocabulary (terms + semantic relations) + grammar or syntax (the rules for the vocabulary and its use). See thesaurus. See authority file.

.inf = A file name extension for information.

.ini = A file name extension for initialization.

In-line image = A graphic image displayed in an HTML document

INSPEC = A information service by the IEEE providing access to the bibliographical information about scientific and technical literature in physics among other fields - home page

Instance = (document instance) The part of an SGML document containing the marked up textual data (Van Herwijnen).
= (in the context of object orientation) An object created by instantiating a class. (Howie)

Internet = A world wide physical (i.e. cables and computers) network of (computers and computer) networks, connecting government, academic and business institutions. It is funded/managed locally.
basic services: electronic mail, access to information resources, network news, file transfer, interactive conferences.
A Glossary of Internet terms

IOPP = Institute of Physics Publications. Home page.

IP = Internet Protocol = A method for enclosing data into small transmittable units (information packets) wrapped up on one hand and unbundled on the other.

IP-adress = IP-number = The identification of a computer on the Internet. Example: = nucleus.

IR = Information Retrieval

IRC = Internet Relay Chat = A multi-user live chat facility.

IRIS = Image Retrieval and Information System.= SURF project in Utrecht to allow access to images, texts and archives.

ISBD = International Standard Bibliographic Description. There are 7 variants and the general ISBD(G): monographs -(M), serial documents -(S), cartographic -(CM), non-book -(NBM), printed music -(PM), antiquities -(A), computer files -(CF).

ISDN = Integrated Services Digital Network. A way to move data over existing regular phone lines.
= also: International Standard Document Number (see ISSN).

ISI = Information Sciences Institute of the University of Southern California. Home page of The Broker, a series of projects to show how collaborative work and high-speeds communication facilities make it possible to acquire goods and services:

ISO = International Organization of Standardization. ISO on-line - home page

ISSN = International Standard Series Number (see also ISDN.

IT = Information Technology.

IWI = Innovatie Wetenschappelijke Informatie voorziening


Java = An object-oriented programming language that has strong support for user interfaces, animation, audio and other types of multimedia. Home page.

JPEG = Joint Photographic Expert Group = A method of storing an image in digital format.

JUGHEAD = Jonzy's Gopher Hierarchy Excavation And Display


Keyword = A parameter with a reserved name for use inside markup declarations (Van Herwijnen).

KBS = Knowledge Base System = a set of resouces (hardware, software, human) whose collective responsabilities include storing the knowledge base, maintaining security and integrity, and providing users with the required input/output routines, including deductive retrieval facilities, so that the knowledge base can be accessed as required (Frost)

Knowledge base = A collection of simple facts and general rules (= complex facts) representing some universe of discourse. (Frost)


LAN = Local Area Network = A computer network limited to the immediate area. Example: in the same building, on the same floor.

LANL = Los Alamos National Laboratory = Home of Ginsparg's preprint databases.

LaTeX = A generic macro system based on TeX.

Latex2html = A conversion tool transforming LaTeX files into HTML files, thus allowing LaTeX files to become part of the WWW, by Nikos Drakos . The manual.

LBS = Locaal Bibliotheeksysteem. A PICA system

Listserv = The most common kind of discussion list. Strictly speaking it is a discussion list which uses listserv software. An example of (archived) discussion lists at Surfnet. See also mailing list
= also: Software developed for IBM/VR computers running on Bitnet, which automates the management of a discussion list.

LUG = Local Users Group, i.e. TeX users.

Lynx = A text based browser


Macro = A collection of commands

Mailing list = A Listserve-like discussion list managed automatically or manually. The difference with listservs lies in the software used, such that addresses and commands are different.

MARC = Machine Readable Cataloguing = Norm for the exchange of bibliographical information in machine readable form. For example USMARC and UNIMARC. See CCF which is also a machine readable exchange format and also ISBD.

Markup = The process of adding formatting or other processing commands to a text (Van Herwijnen). See also descriptive markup, generalized markup, specific markup

Markup declaration = An SGML instruction in a DTD or document instance, markup that controls how other markup of a document is to be interpreted (Van Herwijnen).

Metadata = Data that describe data. Models are inherently metadata, since they describe the things being model. See Dublin-Core.

Meta language = A language that can describe itself. Example: SGML.

MIL-M-28001 = Markup requirements and generic style specification for electronic printed output and exchange text - contains the DTD and output specifications for CALS technical manuals.

MIME = Multipurpose Internet Mail Extension = A method of identifying files such that the first packet of information received by the client contains information about the type of file the server has sent (for example text, audio, movie, postscript, word document).

MIS = Management Information Systems. Example: corporate databases, office automation, publishing.

Modem = A device allowing computers to talk to other computers though the phone line.

Moderator = A person who scans and processes submissions to discussion lists or newsgroups before posting them, thus ensuring the quality. There are moderated and unmoderated discussion lists and newsgroups.

Mosaic = A browser or client, i.e. a software interface, to the WWW developed by NCSA. See also Netscape (which is Mosaic that is now sold by a company). Main NCSA Mosaic page. Glossary for NCSA Mosaic and the WWW World Wide Web users: at NCSA

MPEG = Moving Pictures Experts Group = A method of storing movies in digital format. Developed at Berkeley . Tristan's page of MPEG Resources on the Web

.msg = File name extension for message.

Multimedia = A technique or application where image, sound and text are integrated. The word "multimedia" is in fact confusing. The point is precisely that only a single electronic medium, "the bitstream", is required to present the information. Thus multimedia is the unification of different media (paper, television, radio).


Natural language = Language as spoken by people, in contrast to computer languages.

NBBI = Nederlands Bureau voor Bibliotheekwezen en Informatieverzorging.

NBOI = Nederlands Bureau voor Onderzoek Informatie. A KNAW institute. One of their activities is the NOD .

NCC = Nederlandse Centrale Catalogus

NSCA = National Center for Supercomputing Applications. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This where Mosaic was developed - home page

NDATA = Non-SGML data. Used for SGML entities that are in representation or notation different from SGML. Example: bitmaps, other multimedia objects.

Netscape Navigator = Client software developed by Netscape Communications Corporations, issued from NCSA's Mosaic - home page

Network = Any connection between 2 or more computers.

Newsgroups = Discussion groups on Usenet = topical associations of like interests = practically speaking, collections of messages called posts. The difference between newsgroups and discussion lists is efficiency in disk storage: one copy of a message to a newgroup is sent to all computers subscribing to Usenet, while copies of a message to a discussion list are sent to each individual user of these computers. There are moderated and unmoderated newsgroups.

.nfs = File name extension for network file system.

NLP = Natural Language Processing.

NLUUG = Nederlandse Unix Users group.

NOD = Nederlandse Onderzoeks Databank. An activity of the NBOI. Acces: telnet or .

NSF = National Science Foundation.

NTG = Nederlandse TeXgebruikers Groep.

NTS = New Typesetting System, TeX initiative by the German speaking user group.

NNTP = News Network Transfer Protocol (see also File Transfer Protocol and Hypertext Transfer Protocol).

NWI = Nordic Web Index. Home page.

NWO = Nederlandse organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek. The Dutch organization for the advancement of scientific research.


Object = (in the context of object orientation) A combination of a state and a set of methods that explicitly embodies an abstraction characterized by the behavior of relevant requests. An object is an instance of a class. An object is an entity that has state and functionality. (Howie)

OBN = Openbaar Bibliotheek Netwerk

OCLC = Online Computer Library Center - home page

OCR = Optical Character Recognition = special software used with a scanner which is capable of recognizing letters and thus to translate paper documents to ASCII texts (Van Herwijnen).

ODA (ISO 8613) = Office Document Architecture = A text interchange standard for office documents with the emphasis on transmitting the external form of the document rather than its logical contents.

OLE = Object Linking and Embedding (Microsoft).

Ontology = In general a branch of metaphysics concerned with the nature and relations of being or a particular theory about the nature of being or the kinds of existents. In the context of knowledge representation it consists of a collection of unambiguously defined concepts (Hayes 1985).

OPC = Online Publieks Catalogus

ORS = Online Retrieval System. A PICA system.

Operating system = A program managing the flow of information and the use of hardware inside a computer. It is the basic software running on a computer. Example: Unix, DOS.

OS = Output Specification = standards-based style sheet for SGML, in the form of a particular DTD that allows the user to create a FOSI. Developed for CALS.

OSI = Open System Interconnection = standard approach to netwwork design by ISO: modularity is dividing complex sets of functions into more managable self-contained functional slices.


PACS = Physics and Astronomy Classification Scheme, developped by the AIPand used in the research journals of the APS, the version of 1995 can be found at the AIP or the APS.
= also: Public-Acces Computer Systems - Review home page.

Parser= An algorithm or program to determine the syntactic structure of a sentence or a string of symbols in some language. A parser normally takes as input a sequence of tokens output by a lexical analyzer. It may produce some kind of abstract syntax tree as output. For SGML there exist 'validating SGML parsers', which not only recognize the markup but also checks it and informs you of errors, opposed to 'SGML parsers' which do not check it. In compiler terminology the latter would be called an SGML scanner and the former a parser.

PCDATA = Parsed Character Data = Data characters occurring in marked up text that are not recognized as markup by the Parser.

PCL = Printer Command Language (HP)
= also: Process Control Language.

PD = Public Domain.

PDF =Portable File Document Developed by Adobe.

PDL = Page Description Language. Example: PostScipt

PDP = Parallel Distributed Processing

PICA = Project for Integrated Catalogue Automation = Centrum voor Bibliotheekautomatisering - home page

PIF = Picture Interchange Format File
= also: Program Information File.

PII = Publishers Item Identification - information at Elsevier Science

Platform = Example: Macintosh, Dos, Windows, UNIX.

Post-coordination = The combining in the searching stage of the different terms needed in a search for a "complex subject". Example: the concept birthday + the concept cake. See also Pre-coordination

PostScript = A language describing a fully laid-out page in terms of fonts, lines grey scales etc. A formatter. A page description language. Developed by Adobe Systems (Van Herwijnen)

PPP = Point to Point Protocol = Internet standard for transmitting Internet IP packets over serial lines (i.e. phone lines)

Pre-coordination = The combining in the indexing stage of the different terms needed in a search for a "complex subject". Example: the concept birthday cake. See also Post-coordination

Precision = The proportion of retrieved documents which are relevant = In a formula: (relevant and found documents)/(found documents). A measure of quality of an information retrieval system. See also recall

PREMIUM = PRoduktie van Elektronische Materialen op basis van Internationale en Uniforme Methoden. A project on the production of electronic documents based on international and uniform methods, instigated by the Surf foundation carried out by Surfnet B.V. - home page

Preprint = Draft version of a scientific paper, intended to be published in an official journal but not always accepted. For speed it is already distributed among colleagues, sometimes by an automated preprint server such as the one at LANL.

.pro = A file name extension for profile.

Protocol = A planned method of exchanging data over the Internet.

Proxy or Proxy Server = A special server allowing access to the Internet from within a firewall (protecting "inside from outsiders").


Query language = A high-level language for adding data to and retrieving data from databases. Example: SQL

QuickTime = A method of storing movie and audio files in digital format. A Quicktime player developed by Apple Computer is available at Apple.


RABIN = Raad van Advies voor Bibliotheekwezen en Informatieverzorging.

RC = Rekencentrum

RCDATA = Replacable Character Data = The declared content type for elements that may contain text and entity references but no subelements

Recall = The proportion of relevant documents retrieved = In a formula: (relevant and found documents)/(relevant documents). A measure of quality of an information retrieval system. See also precision

Record = The representation in a database of a document (item of the collection).

.reg = File name extension for register.

Relational database = A database in which the data have a tabular structure. A two dimensional tabular structure is the most general representation (Van Herwijnen).

.res = A file name extension for resource.

RFC = Request For Comments.

RMB = Request Model Building (in Information Retrieval)

RMDM = Relationship Management Data Model. See RMM and data model

RMM = Relationship Management Methodology; for the design and construction of hypermedia applications (a paper on RMM)

RNI = Reserved Name Indicator. Its purpose is in SGML to make a distinction between a keyword and an element of the same name.

RTF = Rich Text Format.

RTM = Resident Transport Module = A program taking care of the communication between the applications in Windows and the underlying network. It is essential for Windows.
= also: Response Time Monitor = also: Run Time Manager.


SARA = Stichting Rekencentrum Amsterdam - home page

SBIG = Subject Based Information Gateway = A catalogue for a specific subject

.scr = A file name extension for script.

SDIF (ISO 9069) = Standard Document Interchange Format. For documents enclosed with SGML.

Semantic relations = Relations associated to the meaning of terms, or the 'nature' of the subject (Basisboek documentaire informatie voorziening). In the context of IR three different types are relevant: 1. equivalence relations (synomyms, quasi-synomys (example: actor - stage) and antonyms (example: large - small) 2. hierarchical relations (generic (example: rodents - rats), partitive (example: car - car wheel) and instances (example: sea - North Sea)) 3. associative relations (example: bricks -concrete - wood). These relations are used in thesauri.

Semantics of a formal language determine how meaning can be ascribed to atomic formulas and how this meaning can be extended to give meaning to wffs in which the atomic formulas occur. In many logics only truth values are assigned to formulas and the semantics of the connectives is given by truth tables. (Frost)

Semanics net = A directed graph in which nodes represent entities and arcs represent binary relationships between entities. (Frost)

Server = A computer, or a software package, that provides a specific kind of service (information and software) to the Internet community, more specifically to the client software running on other computers.

.set = A file name extension for driver set (Lotus )
= also: A file name extension for image settings (paradox)batch processing.

SGML (ISO 8879)= Standard Generalized Markup Language = ISO standard for document description, separating contents and structure (for example title, chapters,author...).
= A language or document representation that formalizes markup and frees it of the system and processing dependencies. (Van Herwijnen)
You can break a typical document into three layers: structure, content, and style. SGML mainly deals with with the relationship between structure and content. An SGML document consists of three parts: 1) the SGML declaration, 2) the DTD, and 3) the document instance (= contents of the document itself + mark-up).

SGML parser = A (portion of/ combination of) program(s) that recognizes markup in SGML conforming documents - and reports markup errors.

SPDS = Standard Page Description Language = proposed ISO standard describing images to output devices. See also PostScript.

SDATA = Specific character data = A type of entity whose data should not be parsed as SGML data but passed directly to the application program.

SIGIR = Special Interest Group Information Retrieval. See SIGIR information server

SISSA = European mirror of the preprint database at LANL

SLIP = Serial Line Internet Protocol. See PPP

Socket = The Berkeley Unix mechanism for creating a virtual connection between processes. Sockets form the interface between Unix standard I/O and network communication facilities. The socket library function socket creates a communications end-point socket. It has associated with it an adress consisting of a port number and the local host's adress.

SOIF = Summary Object Interchangeable Format = A structured indexing format that permits structured queries (e.g., matching keywords only against author or title lines in documents), defined by Harvest. More poweful than IAFA format.

Specific markup = Markup containing instructions concerned with the physical appearance of the document (Van Herwijnen).

SQL = Standard Query language

.src = A file name extension for source.

STARTS = Stanford Protocol Proposal for Internet Retrieval and Search. Home page

STEP = Snelle Toegang Eindgebruikers Pica-databases

STINFON = Stichting Informatiewetenschap Nederland. The discussion list of the Werkgemeenschap Informatiewetenschap is INFWETWG.

STW = Stichting Technische Wetenschappen.

Style sheet = A collection of formatting instructions for a given (group of ) text element(s). Examples of standards-based style sheets (for SGML) are OS and DSSSL.

Surfnet = SURFnet bv is the company managing the SURFnet network, the Dutch national computernetwork for research and education in the Netherlands, joining the local networks. It is part of Internet - home page

.swp = A file name extension for swap.

Syntax of a formal language determines how wffs of that language can be constructed by combining atomic formulas using logical connectives formal language (Frost)

.sys = A file name extension for system configuration + system device driver.


Tag = A symbol delimiting a logical element inside a document (start-tags and end-tags) ( SGML)

Tagwizard = A HTML/SGML editor for MS Word, developed by NICE technologies .

.tar = A file name extension for tape archive (UNIX).

.tbk = A file name extension for toolbook.

TCP/IP = Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol (or Transmission Control Protocol/Interface Protocol) = Standard communication protocol required for Internet computers = A set of rules establishing the method with which data is transmitted over the Internet between two computers.

TCP/IP stack = TCP/IP software + sockets software (Winsock, DLL) + hardware drive software (packet drivers). Needed for a PC platform

TDPS = Tokyo Declaration of Physical Societies. Home page

TEI = Text Encoding Initiative. An international project to develop guidelines for the preparation and interchange of electronic texts for scholarly research - home page

Telnet = The Internet standard protocol for remote terminal connection service. In a telnet session all commands are passed to the remote computer for processing (i.e. "you work on the remote computer").

Template = A set of commands that will help a user to create a document of a certain type.

TeX = A text formatter with a powerful way of describing mathematical formulae. See LaTeX

tf = term frequency (information retrieval)

Theory consists of a formal system with a set of well formed formulas (called proper axioms) which are known to be true in some set of intended interpretations (those truth assignments which satisfy all proper axioms according to the rules of the formal system).

Thesaurus = (in Information Retrieval:) Vocabulary = An ordered list of index terms with their semantic relations . These terms are chosen from the natural language and cover, because of Post-coordination, in principle simple concepts. A thesaurus contains both descriptors (keywords), which are connected to all indices to which they are semantically related, and non-descriptors, synonyms pointing to the relevant descriptor. See authority file.

TIFF = Tag Image File Format = A file format used for storing images.

TIPTOP = The Internet Pilot to Physics = a project to develop a uniform and open information infrastructure for physics research and education. Home page.

.tlb = A file name extension for translation lookaside buffer (?).

.tmp = A file name extension for temporary.

troff = one of the oldest text formatters, distributed as part of the unix operating system. It is a procedural markup language like TeX

TREC = Text Retrieval Conference = Conferences where researchers report on large scale experiments on information retrieval from huge databanks with millions of documents.

.ttf = A file name extension for true type font.

TUG = TeX Users Group.

TURA = Thematic Uniform Resource Agents = A scheme allowing users to design detailed and specialized agents that help find relevant information and perform complex tasks.

Type = (in the context of object orientation) A predicate defined over values that can be used in a signature to restrict a possible parameter or characterize a possible result.(Howie)



UNIX = A multi-user operating system.

URA = Uniform Resource Agent, , encapsulating knowledge about relevant Internet resources and the information required in order to access them. In this way, information tasks can be delegated to URAs, which insulate invokers from the details of Internet protocols. Related to URIs. A specific example is the TURA. Draft paper

URI = Uniform Resource Identifier, such as an URL, Uniform Resource Characteristics, Uniform Resource Name. Related to the experimental URA

URL = Uniform Resource Locator = The standard way to give an adress of a source of information on the WWW. It contains four different parts: the protocol type, the machine name, the directory path and the file name. Example:

Usenet = A Bulletin Board System = A world-wide system of discussion groups. Not all Usenet machines are on the Internet. It is completely decentralized over 10.000 newsgroups. The complete reference to Usenet newsgroups.


Veronica = Very Easy Rodent Oriented Net-wide Index to Computerized Archives = A searchable database of the names of almost every menu item on many Gopher servers. Developed at the University of Nevada.

VR = Virtual Reality = three-dimensional dynamic, interactive scenes. A QuickTime VR player is available at Apple ("moving the object" in an object movie or "moving the camera" in a panorama)

VRML = Virtual Reality Modeling Language. A developing standard for the description of three-dimensional interactive scenes delivered across the Internet. A VRML repository.


W3C = The World Wide Web Consortium, a collaboration of the laboratory for computer science of MIT, CERN and INRIA - W3C home page.

WAIS = Wide Area Information Service = A company providing interactive on-line publishing systems and services on the Internet. The WAIS server enables organizations to publish their information, including large databases, on the Internet. WAIS GATE is an interface between the WWW and databases searchable with the WAIS software with retrieval facilities. WAIS also has WAIS databases and a home page. A commercial software package allowing to index huge quantities of information and making them searchable across networks. The search results are ranked according to relevance such that the search process can be refined.

.wav = A file name extension for wave form audio.

WCW = Wetenschappelijk Centrum Watergraafsmeer, a science centre in Amsterdam.

Web crawler = A search engine available here

wff = well formed formula (logic)

Windows = An operating system developed by Microsoft

Winsocks = Windows Sockets = A set of specifications or standards for programmers creating TCP/IP applications for Windows (communicating applications such as Netscape)

Word= A Word processor developed by Microsoft

Word processor = An interactive system for editing and formatting text, "an electronic typewriter with a screen and a memory". Example: Word Perfect, Word

WWW = World Wide Web = A wide-area hypermedia information retrieval initiative aiming to give universal access to a large universe of documents (the official definition)
= also defined as: A distributed heterogeneous collaborative multimedia information system (Tim Berners-Lee)
= also defined as: A collective network of servers speaking HTTP (not a physical network, see Internet)
= also defined as: A global body of information available using HTTP funded/managed locally
= also defined as: A facet of Internet consisting of client and server computers handling multimedia documents.
Started at CERN, the WWW now is centered in the W3C - main page. A list of WWW servers, A Glossary for NCSA Mosaic and the World Wide Web users

WWWW = World Wide Web Worm = A search engine

WYSIWYG = What You See Is What You Get = A computer system where each user action is immediately displayed on the screen in a way closely resembling the formatted document on paper.


XBM = X Bit Map = A simple image format. XBMs only appear in black and white and you will find them in-line in HTML documents.

XML = Extensible Markup Language = An application profile of SGML that allows you to define your own customized markup language. XML is an abbreviated version of SGML and will be the successor of HTML on the Web. Example: CML. (FAQ)


Yahoo = A search engine at


Z39.50 = The standard information discovery protocol, defining how user queries for searches in attribute based data should be handled on the Internet. ANSI/NISO Z39.50 and ISO 23950 standard. Home page

Some literature:

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Last modifications on: 18-5 1999