Home Contents
Chapter One: Access to knowledge, imagination and learning Chapter Two: Listening to the people Chapter Three: Skills for the new librarian Chapter Four: Network infrastructure Chapter Five: Investment and income Chapter Six: Copyright and licensing issues Chapter Seven: Performance and evaluation Chapter Eight: Implementation - creating the momentum Chapter Nine: A summary of recommendations and costs Appendices

5 Appendix

The definitions of networking terms included below are not intended to be technically rigorous but will serve to provide the necessary understanding for the purposes of this report. Terms in italics have a glossary entry of their own.

ATM Asynchronous Transfer Mode: a communications network using ATM technology enables multimedia services of all kinds to be delivered at high rates of use.

bandwidth A term used to describe how much data you can send through a connection to the Internet, measured in bits per second (or, more usually, kilobits per second or megabits per second).

bit The basic unit of information used by computers: the status 0 or 1 in the binary number system.

broadband A transmission medium capable of supporting a wide range of frequencies, typically from audio up to video frequencies.

broadband switching The ability to direct traffic around a broadband network to a variety of locations, as opposed to using point-to-point facilities.

browser Software used to access information from the World Wide Web.

bursty Data transmission across a communications network is described as a 'bursty' if, rather than a steady flow of data, periods of inactivity are followed by a big burst of traffic. Modern networks can be designed to handle this pattern of traffic in an efficient and cost-effective manner.

cache A server used to hold a local copy of frequently accessed information so that it does not have to be retrieved from the network - particularly, in the context of this report, as a means of managing access to Internet sites more efficiently.

connectivity The state of being interconnected.

dial-up services Services accessed by using telephone lines or ISDN networks to connect a computer to the Internet.

domain The part of the Internet address that specifies a computer's location in the world. The address is written as a series of names separated by full stops. Some of the most common top-level domains are:

.ac.uk academic and research (UK)

.com commercial (US)

.co.uk UK company

.edu education (US)

.gov public bodies

.mod Ministry of Defence

.net network resource

eLib The Electronic Libraries programme, set up by JISC to bring about pragmatic technology and communications solutions to improve the range and quality of HE library services in the electronic age.

e-mail Electronic mail: an electronic means of communication in which (a) usually text is transmitted, (b) operations include sending, storing, processing, and receiving information, (c) users are allowed to communicate under specified conditions, and (d) messages are held in storage until called for by the addressee.

Ethernet A cable-based system of communication for local area networks that prevents more than one computer transmitting at a time.

extranet A network formed by connecting an intranet to another network - for example, when two companies decide to share information about design and supply.

FE Further education.

FEFC Further Education Funding Council.

firewall machine A dedicated gateway machine with special security precautions on it, used to service outside a network, especially Internet connections and dial-in lines. The idea is to protect a cluster of more loosely administered machines hidden behind it.

gateway 1. In a communications network, a network node equipped for interfacing with another network that uses different communication conventions. 2. Loosely, a computer configured to perform the tasks of a gateway.

HE Higher education.

HEFC Higher Education Funding Council.

HTML HyperText Mark-up Language: the software language used to create Web documents.

HTTP Hypertext Transfer Protocol: the standard way of transferring HTML documents between Web servers and browsers.

hypertext link On Web sites, an instant way of going to another site with related content - usually by clicking on an icon (or symbol).

ICT Information and communication technology.

information superhighway A 'network of networks', combining a range of computer and telecommunications networks and services. The ability, through appropriate technology, to link individual libraries, schools and homes with the high-speed broadband networks will make available a new range of information and multimedia services.

interactive A term describing the exchanging of information between users on a network or between users and the network host. The commonest such interaction is a telephone call.

interface A boundary across which two systems communicate. An interface might be a hardware connector used to link to other devices, or it might be a convention used to allow communication between two software systems.

(The) Internet A worldwide interconnection of individual networks operated by government, industry, academia and private parties. The Internet originally served to interconnect laboratories engaged in government research, but has now been expanded to serve millions of users and a multitude of purposes.

Internet service providers (ISPs) Companies that provide a service to consumers and businesses such that they can access the Internet, use e-mail, and use other Internet-based services (for example, home shopping). ISPs also provide services that include help with design, creation and administration of Web sites, training, and administration of intranets.

intranet An intranet uses Internet communication conventions and applications over an internal, password-controlled company network.

ISDN Integrated Services Digital Network: an international-standard public network supporting a wide range of applications based on voice, image, text, video and data - all over one single line.

ISP Internet service provider.

JANET Joint Academic Network: the wide area network which links UK academic and research institutes, providing connectivity within the community as well as access to external services and other communities.

JISC The Joint Information Systems Committee of the Higher Education Funding Council.

kilobits per second (kb/s) Thousands of bits per second - a unit of information transfer rate.

LIC Library and Information Commission.

local area network (LAN) A data communications system that (a) lies within a limited spatial area, (b) has a specific user group, (c) has a specific topology, and (d) is not a public switched telecommunications network, but may be connected to one.

LANs are usually restricted to relatively small areas, such as rooms, buildings, ships and aircraft. They are not subject to public telecommunications regulations.

An interconnection of LANs over a city-wide geographical area is commonly called a metropolitan area network (MAN). An interconnection of LANs over large geographical areas, such as nationwide, is commonly called a wide area network (WAN).

managed network service A service where the customer chooses to buy in the administration and management of their network; the customer can contract for the required quality of service, and leave how it is achieved up to the supplier.

megabits per second (Mb/s) Millions of bits per second - a unit of information transfer rate; for example, Ethernet can carry 10 Mb/s.

metropolitan area network See under local area network.

multicasting In a network, a technique that allows data to be simultaneously transmitted to a selected set of destinations.

multimedia Pertaining to the processing and integrated presentation of information in more than one form - for example, video, voice, music, animated graphics, or data.

National Grid for Learning A term used in the 1997 Labour Party manifesto: 'For the internet we plan a National Grid for Learning, franchised as a public/private partnership, which will bring to teachers up-to-date materials to enhance their skills, and to children high-quality educational materials.'

network An interconnection of three or more communicating entities.

NHSnet A UK-wide information network for the National Health Service, used, among other things, to disseminate systematic reviews of research.

NVQ National Vocational Qualification.

Ofsted Office for Standards in Education.

OFTEL Office of Telecommunications.

open standards Publicly maintained, readily available standards that are not owned or specified by a single commercial organisation and so can be used widely.

PFI Private Finance Initiative: a means by which public-sector projects are financed and developed by the private sector for an agreed reward.

server A central computer which provides some service for other computers connected to it via a network. The most common example is a file server, which has a local disc and services requests from remote users to read and write files on that disc.

smartcard A plastic card (like a credit card) with an embedded integrated circuit for storing information. One use is as a form of token in banking systems; electronic money is stored on the card. The idea is that one smartcard is easier to carry around than a multitude of paper tokens or tickets.

SMDS Switched Multi-megabit Data Service: an emerging high-speed public data network service developed by Bellcore and expected to be widely used by telephone companies as the basis for their data networks.

SuperJANET An initiative started in 1989 with the aim of developing a national broadband network to support UK higher education and research.

SVQ Scottish Vocational Qualification.

switched network A communications network, such as the public switched telephone network, in which any user may be connected to any other user through the use of message, circuit, or packet switching and control devices.

TECs Training and Enterprise Councils.

University for Industry One of the new government's proposals for education: 'we will be publishing detailed proposals for a University for Industry, which will harness information technology to help people develop skills for their present job and the skills they need to go on to other jobs. Acting as a public/private partnership, it will also help enterprises deliver training and learning in new ways. Our aim is to provide low-cost packages to firms and individuals - on disk, CD-rom or online' (David Blunkett).

videoconference A two-way electronic communications system that permits two or more persons in different locations to engage in the equivalent of face-to-face audio and video communications. At its simplest, a phone call with pictures.

virtual reality A computer-generated simulated environment with which users can interact using specialised peripherals such as data gloves and head-mounted computer-graphic displays.

(The) Web The World Wide Web.

Web server A server process running a Web site which sends out Web pages in response to requests.

Web site Any computer on the Internet running a server process for the World Wide Web.

wide area network See under local area network.

World Wide Web (WWW) Also known as 'the Web', this is the generic name given to all of the hypertext-based HTML documents on the Internet. These documents have links to each other and are accessible from HTTP or Web servers.The WWW has been the application which has most contributed to the Net's popularity.

Home Contents
Chapter One: Access to knowledge, imagination and learning Chapter Two: Listening to the people Chapter Three: Skills for the new librarian Chapter Four: Network infrastructure Chapter Five: Investment and income Chapter Six: Copyright and licensing issues Chapter Seven: Performance and evaluation Chapter Eight: Implementation - creating the momentum Chapter Nine: A summary of recommendations and costs Appendices

Report converted to HTML and hosted by UKOLN
on behalf of the Library and Information Commission.

Email technical queries on this website to webmaster@ukoln.ac.uk