Technology Glossary

Computers are everywhere in today's world and it's important to understand some of the words that are commonly used. The following words and definitions will help you udnertstand computers and their functions better.
Absolute URL
The full address of a webpage or resource on the Internet.
An application you install on your smart phone, computer or other device. Many applications will let you connect to the internet and access your files and data stored on cloud services.
A backup is a copy of a file, document or program. It is a good idea to create a backup so that you still have valuable information or programs if your computer should crash or get damaged.
Backup Service
An online service that helps you back up files on your computer, either automatically (the backup just happens on a regular schedule, or whenever you connect to the internet) or manually (you must start the backup and designate files to be backed up).
A browser is a software program that is used to explore the Internet. When you type a word or phrase into a browser, it links you to pages on the Web that are related to that word or phrase. Common browsers include: Firefox, Chrome, Safari and Opera.
A cable is a group of wires that are bundled together and protected by a rubber casing. These cables have plugs on either end and are used to connect various parts of a computer or to connect a computer to another device.
A cell is a place where a column and a row intersect each other. This is a feature of spreadsheet software programs.
A chat is an online conversation between people. Internet users often go to chat rooms to engage in conversations with others.
The Internet, where you can store information to access from anywhere, on any device tha's connected to the Internet.
Cloud service
One of the many tools or services that helps you keep and update files on the cloud, including but not limited to: Evernote, GoogleDrive, DropBox, BackBlaze and Family Tree websites.
A database is a body of information that is organized so that you can search for, analyze or sort specific items that are in that collection of information. Examples of genealogy online databases include, and many others.
Your computer screen is like a top of a desk where you pile papers.
Your applications lined up on the bottom or side of a desktop.
A file storage and synchronization service as a "Grand Central Station" for files you want to access in multiple places. Need to refer to your downloaded census images while viewing microfilms at your local FamilySearch Center? Want to call up photos of your Poindexter ancestors at the family reunion? If you've saved those files to Dropbox, you can. 
An email is an electronic message that is sent from one computer to another. Some emails have attachments, such as pictures or video clips, and some are just text.
This note-taking app makes it easy to organize and analyze your genealogy notes. You can transcribe documents, annotate images, clip content from web pages and gather it all in Evernote to keep family history answers always at your fingertips.
A field is one specific type of information about a certain subject. For instance, you might have an “address” field in a database that stores information about friends or your ancestors..
File Transfer Service or FTP
A services, such as DropBrox, Google Drive, or iCloud, intended to help you share files between devices or users. These sitres aren't intended forlong-term storage of file backups.
An image format that's typically used for non-photographic images.
Gigabyte (GB)
A gigabyte is a term that is used to describe how much information a hard drive will hold. Since “giga” means “one billion,” a gigabyte is approximately equal to one billion bytes.
This is your online repository for spreadsheets, word processing files and presentations you want to store, edit and collaborate on. For genealogists, it's really handy to post your research log on Google Drive. That way, you can log in anywhere-at home, at the library, even in a cemetery using your smartphone-and have access to up-to-date information.
Hard drive
The hard drive is the storage area of the computer. It contains a hard disk, which has a magnetic coating and can store large amounts of data. The hard disk contains permanent storage for a larger amount of information.
The parts of a computer that you can actually touch are known as hardware. Examples include the monitor, mouse and the computer itself.
HTML is the term used for codes that are used to make Web pages. HTML stands for “HyperText Markup Language.”
An icon is a picture that represents a file, folder or program on a computer. Icons are usually pretty small in size.
The Internet is a huge collection of computers around the world that are connected to each other.
An image format that's typically used for photographic images with many colors.
Megabyte (MB)
Is an amount of information on a computer or a disk that is approximately equal to 1,000,000 bytes.
A computer’s memory is the amount of information that it can store temporarily on chips within the computer.
Menu Bar
Very top of desktop where application options are shown.
A monitor is the screen that you look at to see information provided by the computer. This screen looks somewhat like a television screen.
A network is a group of connected computers. These computers can share information and sometimes hardware.
A peripheral is a hardware item that is connected to the computer by a cable. Examples of input peripherals are mice and keyboards. Examples of output peripherals are printers and monitors.
A pixel is the smallest amount of light that you can see on a computer’s monitor. The word pixel stands for “picture element.”
Pocket is a tool for saving things you want to view later.
The term RAM stands for “Random Access Memory.” It is the temporary space on your computer’s chips that allows you to read and write data. RAM deals with temporary storage space of a smaller amount of data.
A record is a collection of information about a subject. Records are usually held in databases.
A scanner is a piece of hardware that takes a picture of something and converts the picture to binary code. The code is then sent to the computer, and you can print it out if necessary.
A software program is a set of instructions that tells the computer what to do.
A spreadsheet is a table that organizes information in rows and columns. Spreadsheets are useful for making calculations to data.
Short for synchronize, this is the act of updating a file or other data on all your devices, so you're always working on the same, most-recently updated version; this generally happens automatically on cloud services.
URL stands for “Uniform Resource Locator.” This term is used to describe a web page’s address on the World Wide Web.
USB stands for “Universal Serial Bus.” It is a standard type of connection that allows you to use cables and ports to connect external devices like cameras or printers to a computer.
A virus is a program that is designed to get inside a computer and damage the computer without the user even knowing it. You can pick up viruses from disks, modems, networks or other computers.
World Wide Web
The World Wide Web or “Web” is the connection of many files of many different computers throughout the world. These files can contain all sorts of information like useful programs, graphics, games, sounds and text.
Updated: 31 August 2015
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