DIT Glossary

Welcome to the Division of Information Technology’s (DIT) glossary of information technology’s most basic terms, acronyms and definitions.  We hope that you find this resource helpful.  Please note, that while this glossary is meant to serve as a resource, it is not exhaustive and contains only basic terms and fundamental definitions most commonly used when speaking with our Service Desk. If you believe there is a word or term that should be added, feel free to contact us!

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404 Error

Is a common website error message that indicates a webpage cannot be found. It may be produced when a user clicks an outdated (or "broken") link or when a URL is typed incorrectly in a Web browser's address field.



Microsoft Access, often abbreviated "MS Access," is a popular database application for Windows. Access allows users to create custom databases that store information in an organized

Access Point (AP)

A device, such as a wireless router, that allows wireless devices to connect to a network.structure.

Account Disabling

Disabled, or deactivated, accounts do not have access to resources requiring your Morgan username and password such as WebSIS, G-Suite (email, calendar, drive, etc.), Canvas, MSU-Secure (wi-fi), and Hoonuit. A disabled account can be re-enabled after a student re-enrolls at the university.

Account Purging

Systematic action that permanently erases or data

Active Directory (AD)

A  Microsoft technology used to manage computers and other devices on a network.

Active Window

The top or front window in a multiple window environment.


An add-on is a software extension that adds extra features to a program.

Administrative Rights

Having administrator rights (sometimes shortened to admin rights) means a user has privileges to perform most, if not all, functions within an operating system on a computer. These privileges can include such tasks as installing software and hardware drivers, changing system settings, installing system updates.


Android is a mobile device operating system developed by Google. It is used by several smartphones, such as the Motorola Droid, Samsung Galaxy, and Google's own Nexus One. The Android operating system (OS) is based on the open Linux kernel. Unlike the iPhone OS, Android is open source, meaning developers can modify and customize the OS for each phone.


Antivirus software is a type of utility used for scanning and removing viruses from your computer. While many types of antivirus (or "anti-virus") programs exist, their primary purpose is to protect computers from viruses and remove any viruses that are found.


An application, or application program, is a software program that runs on your computer. Web browsers, email programs, word processors, games, and utilities are all applications.


Oracle Application Express (also known as APEX) is a tool used by Morgan State University to provide data and reports using Banner data.

Automatic Private IP Addressing (APIPA )

The Windows function that provides DHCP autoconfiguration addressing. APIPA assigns a class B IP address from to to the client when a DHCP server is either permanently or temporarily unavailable. (Editor Note If you ever have a PC that won’t connect to internet you run IPconfig and receive a 169.x.x.x address. Then you have an APIPA)

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

The ability of a computer to act like a human being. It has several applications, including software simulations and robotics.

ATS (Academic Technology Services)

Unit within the Division of Information Technology at Morgan State that supports the innovative and imaginative use of technologies to strengthen teaching, learning, and scholarship at Morgan.

AUP (Acceptable Use Policy)

A list of rules that must be adhered to in order to use the university’s website or Internet service.


The process of verifying the identity of a person or device most commonly by entering a username and password to access a system.


Audiovisual means possessing both a sound and a visual component.  At Morgan State, AV refers to classroom or conference room audio/visual hardware configurations.  


Backup file

In Windows, a compressed version of the original file and its locations created by Backup.


The capacity of the transmission medium stated in bits per second or as a frequency. The bandwidth of optical fiber is in the gigabit or billion bits per second range, while ethernet coaxial cable is in the megabit or million bits per second range.

Sequential scanning of multiple originals using previously defined, unique settings for each.

“Bear Card Services” (e.g., Beardocs, Bearsden, Bearaccess)

All Morgan State University students, faculty and staff must retain on their person a valid BEARcard (BC) when conducting University business. Students and employees must present their BC upon request to utilize University services. In addition to serving as an ID card, the BC can be used as a Debit Card to make purchases on campus. BEARcards are issued initially free of charge at the time of new student registration (free for 1st issue only) or employment.


A unit of measurement that represents one figure or character of data. A bit is the smallest unit of storage in a computer. Since computers actually read 0s and 1s, each is measured as a bit. The letter A consists of 8 bits which amounts to one byte. Bits are often used to measure the capability of a microprocessor to process data, such as 16-bit or 32-bit.


Bitcoin is a digital currency that was introduced in 2009. There is no physical version of the currency, so all Bitcoin transactions take place over the Internet. Unlike traditional currencies, Bitcoin is decentralized, meaning it is not controlled by a single bank or government. Instead, Bitcoin uses a peer-to-peer (P2P) payment network made up of users with Bitcoin accounts.


A blockchain is a digital record of transactions. Individual records, called blocks, are linked together into a single list, called a chain. Blockchains are used for recording transactions made with cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and have many other applications.


This wireless technology enables communication between Bluetooth-compatible devices. It is used for short-range connections between desktop and laptop computers, digital cameras, scanners, cellular phones, and printers.


A bookmark is a saved shortcut that directs your browser to a specific webpage. It stores the title, URL, and favicon of the corresponding page. Saving bookmarks allows you to easily access your favorite locations on the Web.


Boolean, or boolean logic, is a subset of algebra used for creating true/false statements. Boolean expressions use the operators AND, OR, XOR, and NOT to compare values and return a true or false result.

Booting Up

Starting up a computer via the power switch, which loads the system software into memory. Restarting the computer via a keystroke combination is called rebooting or a warm boot.


Breadcrumbs are a user interface element designed to make navigation easy and intuitive. Breadcrumbs display the directory path of the current folder or webpage and provide one-click access to each of the parent directories. Breadcrumbs allow you to retrace your steps back to where you started.


This refers to high-speed data transmission in which a single cable can carry a large amount of data at once

Broadband System

A broadband system is capable of transmitting many different signals at the same time without interfering with one another. For local area networks, a broadband system is one that handles multiple channels of local area network signals distributed over Cable Television (CATV) hardware.


A program that enables you to access information on the Internet through the World Wide Web.


A mistake, or unexpected occurrence, in a piece of software or in a piece of hardware.

BYOD (Bring Your Own Device)

Refers to the policy of permitting employees to bring personally owned devices to their workplace, and to use those devices to access privileged company information and applications.


The amount of memory needed to store one character such as a letter or a number. Equal to 8 bits of digital information. The standard measurement unit of a file size. One character of information, usually eight bits wide.


Cable Modem

A cable modem is a device used to connect to the Internet. It operates over cable TV lines and provides high-speed Internet access. Since cable modems offer an always-on connection and fast data transfer rates, they are considered broadband devices.


Cache, which is pronounced "cash" (not "catch" or "cashay"), stores recently used information so that it can be quickly accessed at a later time. Common types of caches include browser cache, disk cache, memory cache, and processor cache.


A process in which frequently accessed data is kept on hand, rather than constantly being from the place where it is stored.

CAPTCHA (Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart)

A captcha program is used to verify that a human, rather than a computer, is entering data.


Compact Disk, Read-Only Memory. A type of storage device that looks just like an audio CD and stores as much data as a large hard disk (600MB), making it a popular means of distributing fonts, photos, electronic encyclopedias, games, and multimedia offerings. As the name indicates, however, you can't save or change files on a CD-ROM, only read them. Pronounced see-dee rom.


An SSL certificate, or secure certificate, is a file installed on a secure Web server that identifies a website.

CIO (Chief Information Officer)

A job title commonly given to the most senior executive in an enterprise who works for the traditional information technology and computer systems that support enterprise goals.

CISO (Chief Information Security Officer)

The most senior-level executive within an organization responsible for establishing and maintaining security measures that ensure information assets and technologies are adequately protected.

Clickable Image

Any image that has instructions embedded in it so that clicking on it initiates some kind of action or result. On a web page, a clickable image is any image that has a URL embedded in it.


The term "client software" is used to refer to the software that acts as the interface between the client computer and the server. For example, if you use Microsoft Outlook to check your email, Outlook is your "email client software" that allows you to send and receive messages from the server.

Clip Art

Clip art is a collection of pictures or images that can be imported into a document or another program.


An area used to temporarily store cut or copied information. The Clipboard can store text, graphics, objects, and other data. The Clipboard contents are erased when new information is placed on the Clipboard or when the computer is shut down.


The term "cloud" comes from early network diagrams, in which the image of a cloud was used to indicate a large network.  Cloud services are hosted on Internet servers, rather than users' local computers.  Web hosting, email and social networking websites such as Facebook and LinkedIn are technically cloud-based services, since they store your information online.

Cloud Computing

Refers to applications and services offered over the Internet. These services are offered from data centers all over the world, which collectively are referred to as the "cloud." This metaphor represents the intangible, yet universal nature of the Internet. The idea of the "cloud" simplifies the many network connections and computer systems involved in online services.

Cloud Storage

Cloud storage is essentially a system that allows you to store data on the Internet, as you would save on a computer.

Coaxial Cable

A type of cable that contains two conductors. The center conductor is surrounded by a layer of insulation, which is then wrapped by a braided-metal conductor and an outer layer of insulation.

Cold Boot

To perform a cold boot (also called a "hard boot") means to start up a computer that is turned off. It is often used in contrast to a warm boot, which refers to restarting a computer once it has been turned on.


Technical specifications, or the "tech specs" of the computer. These specs typically include processor speed, the amount of RAM, hard drive space, and the type of video card in the machine.

Contactless Technology

Contactless form of communication technology that makes it possible to pay by card just by putting the card close to the point of sale (POS) terminal.

Control Panel

The Control Panel is a feature of the Windows operating system that allows the user to modify system settings and controls.


A file sent to a web browser by a web server that is used to record one's activities.


Stands for "Central Processing Unit” and is the primary component of a computer that processes instructions. It runs the operating system and applications, constantly receiving input from the user or active software programs. It processes the data and produces output, which may be stored by an application or displayed on the screen.

Central Processing Unit; the brains of the computer. The CPU interprets and executes the actual computing tasks.


A problem (often caused by a bug) that causes a program, or the entire operating system, to unexpectedly stop working.


Credentials refer to the verification of identity or tools for authentication. They may be part of a certificate or other authentication process that helps confirm a user’s identity in relation to a network address or other system ID.


A digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange that uses strong cryptography to secure financial transactions, control the creation of additional units, and verify the transfer of assets.


Cybercrime is any type of illegal activity that is undertaken (or relies heavily) on a computer. There are thousands of types of cybercrime, including network intrusions, identity theft and the spreading of computer viruses.


A term used to refer to the electronic universe of information available through the Internet.


Cybersecurity refers to measures designed to protect your computer, device or network from cybercrime. This involves preventing unintended and unauthorised access, change and damage.


DaaS  (Desktop as a Service)

A cloud computing offering in which a third party hosts the back end of a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) deployment. With DaaS, desktop operating systems run inside virtual machines on servers in a cloud provider's data center.


A file created by a database manager that contains a collection of information organized into records, each of which contains labeled categories (called fields).

Data Port

Any socket that provides an outside line for communicating data for example. a telephone line as it is used when sending a fax via modem.


Degaussing is the process of reducing a magnetic field. It can be used to reset the magnetic field of a CRT monitor or to destroy the data on a magnetic storage device.


Defragmenting your hard disk is a great way to boost the performance of your computer. Though the term "defragment" sounds a little abrasive, it is actually a simple and helpful process. After all, a defragmented hard disk is a happy hard disk.

Dialog box

A window that displays additional options or questions when a command is chosen.


Data or voltages consisting of discrete steps or levels, as opposed to continuously variable analog data.

Digital Footprint

A digital footprint is a trail of data you create while using the Internet. In includes the websites you visit, emails you send, and information you submit to online services.

Digital Signature

Digital signatures are used to authenticate the contents of electronic documents. They can be used with PDF, email messages, and word processing documents.


Stands for "Domain Name System." Domain names serve as memorable names for websites and other services on the Internet. However, computers access Internet devices by their IP addresses. DNS translates domain names into IP addresses, allowing you to access an Internet location by its domain name.

Docking Station

A docking station, or dock, is a device that connects a laptop to multiple peripherals. It provides a single connection point that allows a laptop to use a connected monitor, printer, keyboard, and mouse. This allows a laptop to function like a desktop computer.

Domain Name

A domain name is a unique name that identifies a website. For example, the domain name of the Tech Terms Computer Dictionary is "techterms.com." Each website has a domain name that serves as an address, which is used to access the website.

Domain Name Server (DNS)

A computer that converts host names, such as rohan.sdsu.edu to its corresponding IP Address, such as An SDSU computer provides this service any time mail is sent or received and permits users to use TELNET and FTP between SDSU and other sites.


Download can be used as either a verb or a noun. As a verb, it refers to the process of receiving data over the Internet. Downloading is the opposite of uploading, or sending data to another system over the Internet. As a noun, download may refer to either a file that is retrieved from the Internet or the process of downloading a file.


A piece of software that tells the computer how to operate an external device, such as a printer, hard disk, CD-ROM drive, or scanner. For instance, you can't print unless you have a printer driver. Hard disk drivers are invisible files that are loaded into memory when you start the computer, while scanner drivers are usually plug-ins accessed from within a particular application.


The act of copying raw data from one place to another with little or no formatting for readability. Usually, it refers to copying data from main memory to a display screen. Dumps are useful for diagnosing software bugs or hardware component malfunction.



Electronic Mail. Private messages sent between users on different computers, either over a network or via a modem connection to an on-line service or BBS.


A way of coding information in a file or email message so that if it is intercepted by a third party as it travels over a network it cannot be read.

End of Life (EOL)

A term used with respect to a product supplied to customers, indicating that the product is at the end of its useful life (from the vendor's point of view), and a vendor stops marketing, selling, or rework sustaining it. The vendor may simply intend to limit or end support for the product.


Enterprise hardware includes telecommunications systems such as large-scale network equipment, telephone systems, and SIP devices. It also includes server farms and infrastructure used for cloud computing. Though enterprise hardware often describes large-scale hardware systems, it may also refer to an individual device, such as workstation or laptop designed specifically for business purposes.

Enterprise Services

A team within the Division of Information Technology at Morgan State University responsible for maintaining the Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system (Banner), integrating it with other systems, and providing ad-hoc reports and data sets.

Enterprise Technology Services

​A service provider, which plans, acquires or develops and manages the organization's enterprise applications and systems.

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP)

A business process management software that allows an organization to use a system of integrated applications to manage the business and automate many back office functions related to technology, services and human resources.


Encapsulated PostScript. An EPS file usually has two parts: a PostScript (text) description that tells a PostScript printer how to output the resolution-independent image, and (optionally) a bit-mapped PICT image for on-screen previews. (EPS files without a PICT preview is usually displayed as a gray rectangle.) EPS files generally can't be edited, even by the program that created them (Illustrator files are exceptions).


Ergonomics is the study of how humans interact with manmade objects. The goal of ergonomics is to create an environment that is well-suited to a user's physical needs. While ergonomics is relevant in many areas, it is commonly applied to the workplace environment. This may involve choosing customized desks and chairs that fit each individual's body type. It may also include providing employees with ergonomic keyboards and wrist rests that provide better typing posture.


Ethernet, is the standard way to connect computers on a network over a wired connection. It provides a simple interface and for connecting multiple devices, such computers, routers, and switches. A standard Ethernet cable is slightly thicker than a phone cable and Ethernet ports look similar to telephone jacks, but are slightly wider.


In a personal computer application, to export is to convert a file into another format than the one it is currently in. Once the file is exported to the desired format (specified in its file name suffix), it can be opened and worked on by an application that recognizes and uses this format.

External Hard Drive

Nearly all personal computers come with an internal hard drive. This drive stores the computer's operating system, programs, and other files. However, if the internal hard drive becomes full or if the user wants to back up the data on the internal hard drive, and external hard drive may be useful.



A favicon is a small icon that identifies a website in a web browser. Most browsers display a website's favicon in the left side of the address bar, next to the URL. Some browsers may also display the favicon in the browser tab, next to the page title. Favicons are automatically saved along with bookmarks or "favorites" as well.


A collection of information on a disk, usually a document or a program, that's lumped together and called by one name.

File Permissions

When you place files on a UNIX system you can assign the files various levels of permission, specifying who can access them, and what type of access they can have.

File Server

A computer that shares its resources, such as printers and files, with other computers on the network. An example of this is a Novell NetWare Server which shares its disk space with a workstation that does not have a disk drive of its own. A server that provides access to files. It acts as a central file storage location that can be accessed by multiple systems.

File System

The file system is created when you initialize or format your hard disk. It sets up the root directory and subsequent directories beneath it. The file system allows you to create new files and folders, which are added to different parts of the "file tree" on your hard disk.


A flowchart is a diagram that describes a process or operation. It includes multiple steps, which the process "flows" through from start to finish.


A mechanism that isolates a network from the rest of the Internet, permitting only specific traffic to pass in and out.


An object that can hold other objects, such as other folders and files.

Folder Redirection

Folder Redirection and Offline Files are used together to redirect the path of local folders (such as the Documents folder) to a network location, while caching the contents locally for increased speed and availability. Roaming User Profiles is used to redirect a user profile to a network location.


The software that creates a typeface on a computer screen.

Format (also see initialize)

To initialize a disk to prepare it for use. The disk is checked for errors and organized so that data can be recorded and retrieved. Formatting a used disk erases any previously stored information.


A condition where parts of a file are stored in different locations on a disk. When a file is fragmented, the drive's read/write head has to jump from place to place to read the data; if many files are fragmented, it can slow the drive's performance.


File Transfer Protocol. The Internet standard high-level protocol for transferring files from one computer to another across the network.

FTP site

A computer which stores files that can be retrieved using FTP. FTP sites which allow anyone to retrieve files (without having an account on that computer) are known as Anonymous FTP sites.



A special-purpose dedicated computer that attaches to two or more disparate networks and converts data packets from one form to another.

GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

A regulation in European law on data protection and privacy for all individual citizens of the European Union and the European Economic Area. It also addresses the export of personal data outside the EU and EEA areas. 


Graphic Interchange Format (pronounced jiff). A file compression format developed by CompuServe for transferring graphic files to and from on-line services.

Gigabit (Gb)

Gigabit. 10^9 bits of information (usually used to express a data transfer rate; as in, 1 Gigabit/second = 1Gbps).

Gigabyte (GB)

Gigabyte. A unit of data storage size which represents 10^9 (one billion) characters of information.1,024 megabytes, or 1,048,576 kilobytes of digital data.

GIGO (Garbage In Garbage Out)

Used to express the idea that in computing and other spheres, incorrect or poor quality input will always produce faulty output.


One gigahertz is equal to 1,000 megahertz (MHz) or 1,000,000,000 Hz. It is commonly used to measure computer processing speeds.

Glassed Up

Anti-social, insulated form the real world under layers of technology.

Google Apps

Google Applications that are customized for different industries, as described below: Google Apps (free): Gmail (up to ten free email accounts), Google Calendar, Google Sites, and Google Docs.

Governance (ITG)

IT Governance (ITG) is defined as the processes that ensure the effective and efficient use of IT in enabling an organization to achieve its goals.


An integrated suite of secure, cloud-native collaboration and productivity apps powered by Google AI. Includes Gmail, Docs, Drive, Calendar, Meet and more



While this term originally referred to a clever or expert programmer, it is now more commonly used to refer to someone who can gain unauthorized access to other computers.

Hard Copy

A hard copy is a printed document. It may be a text file, photograph, drawing, or any other type of printable file.

Hard Drive

The hard drive is what stores all your data. It houses the hard disk, where all your files and folders are physically located.


A hashtag is a number symbol (#) used to label keywords on social media platforms.

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface)

Is a standard that supports the connection between high definition video devices.


Stands for "High-Definition Video."


The portion of a packet, preceding the actual data, containing source and destination addresses, error checking and other fields. A header is also the part of an electronic mail message that precedes the body of a message and contains, among other things, the message originator, date and time.

HECVAT (Higher Education Cloud Vendor Assessment Tool)

The Higher Education Cloud Vendor Assessment Tool (HECVAT) attempts to generalize higher education information security and data protection questions and issues regarding cloud services for consistency and ease of use.

Home Page

The document that is displayed when you first open a web client program. Also, commonly used to refer to the first document you come to in a collection of documents on a Web site.


The main computer system to which users are connected.

Hot Spot

A physical location where people may obtain Internet access, typically using Wi-Fi technology, via a wireless local area network (WLAN) using a router connected to an internet service provider. Public hotspots may be created by a business for use by customers, such as coffee shops or hotels.

HTML (HyperText Markup Language)

A system for tagging various parts of a Web document that tells the Web client programs how to display the document's text, links, graphics and attached media.


A hyperlink is a word, phrase, or image that you can click on to jump to a new document or a new section within the current document such as a webpage.


Describes hypertext in which various types of data can be stored - sound, images, video and so on - as regular text.


A text-linking strategy that lets you jump between related information in a document by clicking on a button or highlighted word. On-line help systems often use hypertext links, as do some programs designed for the electronic distribution of documents.


Identity Management

Identity management is an activity that concerns the governance and administration of a unique digital representation of a user, called identity or user account, including all associated attributes and entitlements.

I/O (Input/Output)

The activity of sending information to or from peripheral devices, terminals, storage devices, tape drives, printers, etc.

Image Map

A graphic divided into regions or "hotspots". When a particular region is clicked, it calls up a web page that has been associated with that particular region.


To bring data into a document from another document, often generated by a different application.

Inactive Window

A window that is open but is not the top window.

Information Technology

Includes matters concerned with the furtherance of computer science and technology, design, development, installation and implementation of information systems and applications.

Initializing (also see formatting)

Setting up a disk (any kind) to receive information. When a disk is initialized (formatted), its magnetic media is divided into tracks and sectors, and structure files that your computer uses to keep track of data are created.


The way a computer interacts with a user or a peripheral.


While the term has a singular meaning, it has many different applications within the IT world. It may describe a hardware component, a software program, or the combination of hardware and software. With regards to software solutions, system integration is typically defined as the process of linking together various IT systems, services and/or software to enable all of them to work functionally together.

Intellectual Capital

Intellectual property refers to the ownership of intangible and non-physical goods. This includes ideas, names, designs, symbols, artwork, writings, and other creations. It also refers to digital media, such as audio and video clips that can be downloaded online.


Input/Output (or I/O) is the communication between an information processing system, such as a computer, and the outside world, possibly a human or another information processing system. An input device sends information to a computer system for processing, and an output device reproduces or displays the results of that processing. 


The Internet (note the capital “I”) is the largest internet in the world. It is a three level hierarchy composed of backbone networks (e.g., NSFNET, MILNET), mid-level networks, and stub networks. The Internet is a multiprotocol internet.

IaaS (Infrastructure as a Service)

Infrastructure as a service are online services that provide high-level APIs used to dereference various low-level details of underlying network infrastructure like physical computing resources, location, data partitioning, scaling, security, backup etc.

IOT (Internet of Things)

An umbrella term that refers to anything connected to the Internet. It includes traditional computing devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones,

IP Address

An IP address, or simply an "IP," is a unique address that identifies a device on the Internet or a local network. It allows a system to be recognized by other systems connected via the Internet protocol.

ISP (Internet Service Provider)

A company that provides access to the Internet.

ISSO (Information System Security Office)

A functional team within the Division of Information Technology at Morgan State University responsible for information security of the university’s technologies and intellectual assets.

ITS (Infrastructure Technology Services)

The Infrastructure Technology Services (ITS) team within the Division of Information Technology at Morgan State University is responsible for managing user accounts, Google Apps, virtual environments, servers, and storage.



Specified words used in text search engine

Kilobyte (Kb)

KiloByte. A unit of data storage size which represents 10^3 (one thousand) characters of information. 1,024 bytes of digital data.


One kilohertz (abbreviated "kHz") is equal to 1,000 hertz. Like hertz, kilohertz is used to measure frequency, or cycles per second.



An object-oriented programming language to create executable content (i.e. self-running applications) that can be easily distributed through networks like the Web.


Joint Photographic Experts Group is a graphic file format that has a sophisticated technique for compressing full-color bit mapped graphics, such as photographs.


LAN (Local Area Network)

A network of directly-connected machines (located in close proximity), providing high speed communication over physical media such as fiber optics, coaxial cable, or twisted pair wiring.

Learning Management System (LMS)

A software application for the administration, documentation, tracking, reporting, and delivery of educational courses, training programs, or learning and development programs.


Synonymous with anchors, hotlinks and hyperlinks.


A distribution list management package whose primary function is to operate mailing lists. It allows groups of computer users with a common interest to communicate among themselves.

Local system

The system you are using. Interactions between your computer and another computer on the Internet are sometimes described using the terms "local" and "remote" systems. The local system is your computer and the remote system is the other computer.


The account name used to access a computer system.


MAC Address

Stands for "Media Access Control Address," and no, it is not related Apple Macintosh computers. A MAC address is a hardware identification number that uniquely identifies each device on a network. The MAC address is manufactured into every network card, such as an Ethernet card or Wi-Fi card, and therefore cannot be changed.

Mail Merge

The merging of database information (such as names and addresses) with a letter template in a word processor, in order to create personalized letters.

Mailing List

A list of Email users who are members of a group. A mailing list can be an informal group of people who share Email with one another, or it can be a more formal LISTSERV group which discusses a specific topic.


"Malware" is short for malicious software. It refers to a software program that has been developed to do harm to other computers. Types of malware include viruses, worms and spyware.

Media Player

A type of application software for playing multimedia computer files like audio and video files. Media players commonly display standard media control icons known from physical devices such as tape recorders and CD players, such as play, pause, fastforward, backforward, and stop buttons.


A meme is a concept or behavior that spreads from person to person. Examples of memes include beliefs, fashions, stories, and phrases. In previous generations, memes typically spread within local cultures or social groups. However, now that the Internet has created a global community, memes can span countries and cultures across the world. Memes that are propagated online are called "Internet memes."


In general, another word for dynamic RAM, the chips where the computers store system software, programs, and data you are currently using. Other kinds of computer memory you may encounter are parameter RAM (PRAM), video RAM (VRAM), and static RAM (SRAM). Most computer memory is volatile, that is, its contents are lost when the computer shuts down.

Menu Bar

The horizontal bar that contains the name of the available menus. The menu bar is located below the title bar


Megahertz. A million cycles (occurrences, alterations, pulses) per second. Used to describe the speed at which a computer's processor (or CPU) operates. A 25-MHz processor can handle 25 million operations per second.


Multi-purpose Internet Mail Extensions. A format originally developed for attaching sounds, images and other media files to electronic mail, but now also used with World Wide Web applications.

MMS (Mobile Management Services)

The Mobile Management Services (MMS) team within the Division of Information Technology at Morgan State University (formerly known as Telecommunications) manages mobile device acquisitions and chargebacks, the university’s main phone line, and PRI/SIP data lines.


A device which converts digital signals into analog signals (and back) for transmission over telephone lines (modulator and demodulator).


The motherboard is the main circuit board of your computer and is also known as the mainboard or logic board which hosts chips for things like the processing, RAM, and ROM.


A file extension found on the World Wide Web that denotes that the file is a movie or video in QuickTime format.


Moving Pictures Expert Group. MPEG is an international standard for video compression and desktop movie presentation. You need a special viewing application to run the MPEG movies on your computer. MPEG II is a newer standard for broadcast-quality video.


The wireless network at Morgan State University that is available to Morgan State University guests.


The secured wireless network at Morgan State University for actively enrolled students and actively employed faculty and staff.


The wireless network at Morgan State University specifically used at the Earl Graves School of Business & Management.


Any presentation or software program that combines several media, such as graphics, sound, video, animation, and/or text.


Navigation Tools

Allows users to find their way around a website or multimedia presentation. They can be hypertext links, clickable buttons, icons, or image maps.

NCS (Network & Communication Services)

The Network & Communication Services (NCS) team within the Division of Information Technology at Morgan State University is charged with maintaining the connectivity and security of the university’s network.


A form of online etiquette. This term refers to an informal code of conduct that governs what is generally considered to be the acceptable way for users to interact with one another online.


The chief priest of network operating systems.


In general, a group of computers set up to communicate with one another. Your network can be a small system that's physically connected by cables (a LAN), or you can connect separate networks together to form larger networks (called WANs). The Internet, for example, is made up of thousands of individual networks.

NGN (Next Generation Network)

A body of key changes in telecommunication core and access networks. The general idea behind the NGN is that one network transports all information and services by encapsulating these into IP packets, similar to those used on the Internet.


Network Operations Center. A location from which the operation of a network or internet is monitored. Additionally, this center usually serves as a clearinghouse for connectivity problems and efforts to resolve those problems.


A computer that is attached to a network; sometimes called a host.



Actively connected to other computers or devices. You're on-line when you've logged on to a network, BBS, or online service. A device such as a printer is online when it's turned on and accessible to a computer. If you're not online then you're off-line.

Online Service

A commercial service that (for a price) provides goodies such as email, discussion forums, tech support, software libraries, news, weather reports, stock prices, plane reservations, even electronic shopping malls. To access one, you need an Internet connection.

Open Educational Resources (OER):

Free and openly licensed educational materials that can be used for teaching, learning, research, and other purposes

Operating System (OS)

Software that supervises and controls tasks on a computer.


PaaS (Platform as a Service)

A service provider offering an environment from which companies can deploy and manage applications.

Parallel Cable/Parallel Port

A cable used to connect peripheral devices through a computer's parallel port. A type of port that transmits data in parallel (several bits side by side).


A route used in finding, retrieving, and storing files on a disk. The course leading from the root directory of a drive to a particular file.


Portable Document Format. A PDF file is an electronic facsimile of a printed document

PII (Personal Identifiable Information)

Personal information, personally identifying information, or sensitive personal information, is any information relating to an identifiable person.


Pharming is yet another way hackers attempt to manipulate users on the Internet. While phishing attempts to capture personal information by getting users to visit a fake website, pharming redirects users to false websites without them even knowing it.


Phishing is similar to fishing in a lake, but instead of trying to capture fish, phishers attempt to steal your personal information. They send out emails that appear to come from legitimate websites such as eBay, PayPal, or other banking institutions. The emails state that your information needs to be updated or validated and ask that you enter your username and password, after clicking a link included in the email. Some emails will ask that you enter even more information, such as your full name, address, phone number, social security number, and credit card number. However, even if you visit the false website and just enter your username and password, the phisher may be able to gain access to more information by just logging in to your account. 


When someone installs and uses commercial software without paying for the program, it is called "pirating" the software.


When someone installs and uses commercial software without paying for the program, it is called "pirating" the software.


Picture element. Digital images are composed of touching pixels, each having a specific color or tone. The eye merges differently colored pixels into continuous tones.


Extends the capabilities of a web browser, allowing the browser to run multimedia files.


A server using the Post Office Protocol, which holds users' incoming email until they read or download it.


One of several rendezvous points where TCP/IP connections can be made on a computer. Ports are numbered, with several locations reserved for specific types of network activity, such as telnet on port 23, HTTP traffic on port 80 and USENET news (NNTP) on port 119.


An internet portal is a web site that acts as a starting point for browsing the Web. Portals typically include search engines and large directories of websites. Though the primary purpose of a portal is to find other sites for you, many now include a lot of information within their own sites.


Pixels per inch or pixels per centimeter. Units of measurement for scanned images.


Pages per minute (PPM) generally refers to the speed of a printer.


The processor is the brain of your computer. It is responsible for performing calculations and tasks that make programs work. The faster the processor, the faster the computer works.


Information about an object, including settings or options for that object. For example, you look at properties of a file for information such as the file size, file type, and file attributes.


When data is being transmitted between two or more devices something needs to govern the controls that keep this data intact. A formal description of message formats and the rules two computers must follow to exchange those messages.

Proxy Server

Most large businesses, organizations, and universities these days use a proxy server. This is a server that all computers on the local network have to go through before accessing information on the Internet. By using a proxy server, an organization can improve the network performance and filter what users connected to the network can access.


Software that has no copyright or fee, which means you can copy, use, and even alter and sell it.



The process by which a web client requests specific information from a web server, based on a character string that is passed along.



Random Access Memory. RAM is the most common type of computer memory, and it's where the computer stores system software, programs, and data you are currently using. It's formally called dynamic RAM (DRAM) because it's volatile, that is, the contents are lost when you turn off the computer (or crash). It's pronounced ram and measured in megabytes.


Rainbow is a cloud-based telephony collaboration service that will empower us all to connect and collaborate with colleagues, business contacts (such as vendors), and stakeholders (students/families).

Read Only

A read only file cannot be edited, modified or deleted.

Remote Access

Being able to connect to another machine remotely.

Remote Desktop

Remote desktop technology makes it possible to view another computer's desktop on your computer. This means you can open folders, move files, and even run programs on the remote computer, right from your own desktop.

Remote Support

The ability to connect to and control another machine remotely once a connection has been made.

Remote system

Another computer on the Internet to which you connect. Interactions between computers are often described using the terms "local" and "remote" systems. The local system is your computer and the remote system is the other computer.


In general, this refers to how sharp and clear an image looks on screen or on paper, and how much detail you can see. It's usually determined by the number of dots (or pixels) per square inch (the more there are, the higher the resolution) and is used to describe printers, monitors, and scanners.

RGS (Record & Go Studio)  

Video studio available for Morgan faculty, staff and students.


Read-Only Memory. It's like software that's hard-wired into your computer - basic, permanent information that tells it things like how to load up the operating system when you turn it on.


A networking device that forwards data packets between computer networks. Routers perform the traffic directing functions on the Internet.

RSS (Really Simple Syndication)

A method of providing website content such as news stories or software updates in a standard XML format. Websites such as The Wall Street Journal and CNET's News.com provide news stories to various RSS directories that distribute them over the Internet. RSS content can be accessed with an RSS-enabled Web browser or other programs designed for retrieving RSS feeds.


Rich Text Format. A file format for text files that includes formatting instructions. Also called Interchange Format.


SaaS (Software as a Service)

Is a software distribution model that is a function of Cloud Computing where data is input onto software and then the data is transformed remotely through a software interface without the actual computer being involved. The software applications are centrally hosted and licensed on a subscription basis.


A device that converts images (such as photographs) into digital form so that they can be stored and manipulated on computers.

Screen Saver

A moving picture or pattern that is displayed on the screen when no activity takes place for a specified period of time.


A type of program that consists of a set of instructions for another application or utility to use.

Scroll Bar

The bar that appears at the right side or the bottom of a window that contains more information that can be displayed. The scroll bar is used to scroll an object or parts of a document into view when the entire object or document does not fit in the window.

Search Engine

Google, Bing, and Yahoo are all search engines. They index millions of sites on the Web, we can easily find web sites with the information we want. By creating indexes, or large databases of web sites (based on titles, keywords, and the text in the pages), search engines can locate relevant web sites when users enter search terms or phrases.

Security Awareness Training

A formal process for educating employees about computer security. A good security awareness program should educate employees about corporate policies and procedures for working with information technology (IT).


Stands for "Search Engine Optimization." Webmasters optimize their site if they want it to appear in the top listings of all the major search engines. SEO involves a number of adjustments to the HTML of individual Web pages to achieve a high search engine ranking.

Serial Cable

A cable used to connect peripheral devices through a computer's serial port. Normally a 25-pin connector on each end, yet can be a 9-pin on one.

Serial Port

A Serial Port can either be plugged into an expansion slot on the motherboard of your computer or built into the motherboard itself. Serial ports are used for such devices as printers, mice, and modems.


A computer that shares its resources, such as printers and files, with other computers on the network. An example of this is a Novell NetWare Server which shares its disk space with a workstation that does not have a disk drive of its own.

Service Desk

A team within the Division of Information Technology at Morgan State University providing Tier 1 phone and remote support for hardware, software, peripherals, applications, and network connectivity.


A set of programs that allow Macromedia Director Animation files to be played over the internet with a web browser.


Organization or facility where a host is located.


Through negotiations with a vendor, a renewable fee has been paid to allow a fixed number of copies of copyrighted software at one site.


Smishing is a combination of the terms "SMS" and "phishing." It is similar to phishing, but refers to fraudulent messages sent over SMS (text messaging) rather than email.


Simple Mail Transfer Protocol. Internet standard protocol for transferring electronic mail messages from one computer to another. SMTP specifies how two mail systems interact and the format of control messages they exchange to transfer mail.

Social Media

Social media is a collection of Internet-based communities that allow users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. Examples include Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Linkedin.


Refers to the practice of blindly posting commercial messages or advertisements to a large number of unrelated and uninterested newsgroups.

Specs (Specifications)

A type of technical standard. They often refer to particular documents, and/or particular information within them.


A number-related document whereby calculations and formulas are applied to the data organized in rows and columns of cells.


Structured Query Language, a syntax used by many database systems to retrieve and modify information.

SSID (Service Set Identifier)

A unique ID that consists of 32 characters and is used for naming wireless networks. When multiple wireless networks overlap in a certain location, SSIDs make sure that data gets sent to the correct destination.


SSL, or secure sockets layer, is a protocol that allows Internet users to send encrypted messages across the Internet. It is generally used when transmitting confidential information (e.g. personal data or credit card details). A web address that begins with "https" indicates that an SSL connection is in use.


Data streaming, commonly seen in the forms of audio and video streaming, is when multimedia files can be played back without being completely downloaded first.


In computer science, synchronization refers to one of two distinct but related concepts: synchronization of processes, and synchronization of data.

System Integration

With regards to software solutions, system integration is typically defined as the process of linking together various IT systems, services and/or software to enable all of them to work functionally together.



Formatting codes used in HTML documents. These tags indicate how the parts of a document will appear when displayed by a Web client program.


An area that runs across the bottom (usually) of the Windows 95 desktop. Running applications are represented as buttons on the taskbar, the current window is shown as a depressed button, all other applications are displayed as raised buttons.

Terabyte (TB)

A terabyte is 1012 or 1,000,000,000,000 bytes. One terabyte is equal to 1,000 gigabytes and precedes the petabyte unit of measurement.


Threads are typically given a certain priority, meaning some threads take precedence over others.


A high-speed I/O interface that was developed by Intel and was introduced by Apple in 2011. It is based on the PCI Express and DisplayPort technologies and supports both data devices and displays.


Tag Image File Format. A graphic file format, TIFF files are also bit maps, but they can be any size, resolution, or color depth. It is the most versatile, reliable, and widely supported bit-mapped format and is the standard format for saving scanned images. However, the format does have several variations which means that occasionally an application may have trouble opening a TIFF file created by another program.

Title bar

The horizontal bar at the top of a window. The title bar shows the name of the window.


A collection of buttons that typically make the more common tools for an application easily accessible.

TPM (Technology Program Management)

A team within the Division of Information Technology at Morgan State University managing IT student internships and project management.



To unzip a zip file is to extract and decompress compressed files from it. If you are sent a zip file via email, you will need to unzip it before you can access the files inside it.


A software update, which is sometimes called a software patch, is a free download for an application, operating system, or software suite that provides fixes for features that aren't working as intended or adds minor software enhancements and compatibility. 


A software upgrade is a new version of the software that offers a significant change or major improvement over your current version.


While downloading is receiving a file from another computer, uploading is the exact opposite. It is sending a file from your computer to another system.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator)

Refers to a string of characters that represent the location or address of a resource on the Internet and how that resource should be accessed. World Wide Web pages are assigned a unique URL. Each hyperlink on a web page contains the URL of the page to be linked to. For example: https://www.morgan.edu        


Stands for "Universal Serial Bus." USB is the most common type of computer port used in today's computers. It can be used to connect keyboards, mice, game controllers, printers, scanners, digital cameras, and removable media drives, just to name a few.


VCL (Virtual Computing Lab)  

The Virtual Computing Lab (VCL) is a system that enables faculty, students, and staff to remotely access specialized software on any computer.

VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure)

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is virtualization technology that hosts a desktop operating system on a centralized server in a data center. VDI is a variation on the client-server computing model, sometimes referred to as server-based computing.  

VGA (Video Graphics Array)

It is the standard monitor or display interface used in most PCs. A monitor that is VGA-compatible, should work with most new computers.  


A program that replicates itself from one file or disk to another without your consent. They are spread through floppy disks, networks, and on-line services and can go undetected (unless you have an antiviral utility) until something goes wrong. Some viruses deliberately destroy data, and even those designed to be benign can cause crashes, slowdowns, and file corruption.


A Virtual Local Area Network (VLAN) is a group of devices on one or more Local Area Networks (LAN) that are configured to communicate as if they were attached to the same wire, when in fact they are located on a number of different LAN segments.

VM (Virtual Machine)

Virtual machines allow you to run an operating system in an app window on your desktop that behaves like a full, separate computer.


Video On Demand.


Stands for "Voice Over Internet Protocol” and is basically a telephone connection over the Internet. The data is sent digitally, using the Internet Protocol (IP) instead of analog telephone lines. This allows people to talk to one another long-distance and around the world without having to pay long distance or international phone charges.

VPN (Virtual Private Network)

A network term that describes how a private network is "tunneled" through a wide area network WAN such as the Internet. This means the network does not have to be located in one physical location like a LAN. However, by using encryption and other security measures, a VPN can scramble all the data sent through the wide area network, so the network is "virtually" private.


Video RAM. A type of memory dedicated to handling the image displayed on a monitor. VRAM is built into many Macs, and it also comes on display cards.



Wide Area Information Server. WAIS is best at searches for various sources of academic information that has been indexed based on content. Its indexes consist of every word in a document and each word carries the same weight in a search.

WAN (Wide Area Network)

Is similar to a Local Area Network (LAN), but a lot larger. Unlike LANs, WANs are not limited to a single location. Many wide area networks span long distances via telephone lines, fiber optic cables, or satellite links. They can also be composed of smaller LANs that are interconnected. The Internet could be described as the biggest WAN in the world.


A graphical pattern displayed on the desktop.

Web browser

Also known as a Web client program, this software allows you to access and view HTML documents. Netscape, Mosaic, Lynx, WinWeb, and MacWeb are some examples of Web browsers.

Web page

A document created with HTML that is part of a group of hypertext documents or resources available on the World Wide Web.


A person or group of people who maintain and administer a web server. Webmaster also refers to a standard Email address at most web hosts where comments and questions can be sent. 


A cloud-based print solution for students available across a network of touch-screen printing & scanning kiosks.


Wi-Fi is a wireless networking technology that allows computers and other devices to communicate over a wireless signal.


Microsoft software that adds a Mac-like graphical user interface to IBM PCs and compatibles.


A networked personal computing device with more power than a standard IBM PC or Macintosh. Typically, a workstation has an operating system such as UNIX that is capable of running several tasks at the same time. It has several megabytes of memory and a large high-resolution display.


The World Wide Web or W3 is the hypermedia document presentation system that can be accessed over the Internet using software called a Web browser.


What you see is what you get. The image you see on the screen matches what will print on paper. Pronounced wizzy-wig



Compressed version of a program or document.

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