Sample of Operational Definition

Access – The ability to locate, grains entry to, and use a directory, file or device on a computer system or over a network.

Chat – To communicate in real-time on a computer network using keyed messages.  A person chatiing with another person or group of people on the network keys in a message and wait for the other party to key in a response.  As one person keys in a message, the other participants can usually see the characters appear on their screen immediately.

Communication Protocol – A standard that defines the way in which data is passed between to or more pieces of computer equipment over a telephone line or other communication link.

Computer – A programmable machine that performs high speed processing of numbers, as well as of text, graphics, symbols and sound.
Download – To transfer a copy of a file from a central source to a peripheral device or computer.

Email address – The address to which an email message is sent.  An email usually takes the form of username@networkaddress.domain name; for example

Forms – Text fields, check boxes, scrolling text fields, and radio button elements allow the browsing visitor to submit information to the web site either through the database or directly to a predefined email address.

Graphic Images – Pictures or graphics can be used as links to take you to other web pages or sites.  Animated GIFs  (graphics that have multiple layers) can also provide for some rudimentary animations.  Background graphics display behind the text throughout the length and width of a Web page.

Home Page – The first screen containing information you see when you arrive at a World Wide Web Site. The home page usually contains general information about an organization, plus options or links to other sites.

HTML (Hypertext Mark Up Language) – A coding system used on a World Wide Web to format text and set up hyperlinks between documents.

HTTP (Hypertext Transfer Protocol)  – A client server protocol used on the World Wide Web to govern the transfer of data.

Hyperlink – Is represented as underlined text.  In a hypertext document, a cross-reference that takes you directly to another related document or to another location within the same document.

Hypertext – A format for presenting text that is heavily cross-referenced through hyperlinks.  A document presented in hypertext may have links to other documents.

Hypertext Links – Can be text or graphics that, when clicked, take the browsing visitor to other Web pages or sites, or to the Email address of the person to contact with comments or questions about the site.
Internet – A matrix of networks that interconnects millions of supercomputers, mainframes, workstations, personal computers, laptops and even pocket radios.  The networks that make up the internet all use a standard set of communications protocols, thus allowing computers with distinctive software and hardware to communicate.

Internet Explorer – A trademark for a World Wide Web browsers.  Internet explorer is provided free by Microsoft and runs on Microsoft Windows, Windows 95, Windows NT, and Macintosh computers.
IRC (Internet Relay Chart) – A network of Internet server’s world wide through which individual users can hold real time online conversations.  In an IRC, users can talk to each other as part of a group discussion on any of a number of specified topics.
ISP (Internet Service Provider) – An organization that provides other organizations or individuals with access to the Internet.  America Online and CompuServe are example of ISP’s.

Intranet – A private network that provides services similar to those found on the Internet.

Java – A trademark for a simple object-oriented programming language developed by Sun Microsystem.  Java is similar to C++ without some of the more complex features.  Java is designed to run over the Internet, and it provides a secure environment for writing and executing World Wide Web applications.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) – The standard algorithm for image compression. JPEG can compress color or black and white digital images using lossy compression.

Link – A connection between computers, devices, programs or files over which data is transmitted.

Lossy Compression – Data compression with some loss of information.  Lossy compression can occur, for example, when data is prepared for transmission over a relatively small bandwidth.  A common form of data that undergoes lossy compression is audio and video data and the data that is lost is usually fine-resolution data whose absence is not noticeable.

Multimedia Objects – This includes background music and video files.

Netscape Navigator – A trademark for a World Wide Web browser.  Netscape Navigator runs on many platforms, including UNIX, Microsoft Windows, Windows 95, Windows NT, and Macintosh computers.

Notepad. A desk accessory in the Microsoft Windows and Macintosh operating environments.  Notepad is a text editor that allows the user to jot down notes, wrote short memos and create and edit batch files.

Protocol – A standard procedure for regulating data transmission between computers or between devices such as modems.

Tables – Much like columns in a spreadsheet, tables let you line up text in rows and columns or allow you to control the placement of graphics on a page.

Text – Text is used on the web pages as content or as link to take you to other web pages or sites.

Web Boot Component – These are dynamic elements that change or are automatically displayed when a browsing visitor opens the page.

Web browser – A program, such as Netscape Navigator and Internet Explorer, that allows the user to access hypertext links to different sites on the World WideWeb.

Webmaster – A person responsible for creating and maintaining a Web server site.

Webpage – A file on the World Wide Web that is accessible using a Web browser.

WWW (World Wide Web) An internet information server that uses hypertext as its primary navigation tool.  WWW utilities  HTTP for data transfer and documents may feature not just text but also multimedia elements such as graphics, audio and video.