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Announcement: Glossary

The Glossary provides definitions of words that may be of interest to Transliteracies Project members, as well as to the general reading public.

Tag Cloud

“A tag cloud (or weighted list in visual design) can be used as a visual depiction of content tags used on a website. Often, more frequently used tags are depicted in a larger font or otherwise emphasized, while the displayed order is generally alphabetical. Thus both finding a tag by alphabet and by popularity is possible. Selecting a single tag within a tag cloud will generally lead to a collection of items that are associated with that tag.” (From Wikipedia.)

Cognitive Psychology

“Cognitive psychology is the school of psychology that examines internal mental processes such as problem solving, memory, and language. It had its foundations in the Gestalt psychology of Max Wertheimer, Wolfgang Köhler, and Kurt Koffka, and in the work of Jean Piaget, who studied intellectual development in children. Cognitive psychologists are interested in how people understand, diagnose, and solve problems, concerning themselves with the mental processes which mediate between stimulus and response. Cognitive theory contends that solutions to problems take the form of algorithms–rules that are not necessarily understood but promise a solution, or heuristics–rules that are understood but that do not always guarantee solutions. In other instances, solutions may be found through insight, a sudden awareness of relationships.” (From Wikipedia)


“An application programming interface (API) is a source code interface that a computer system or program library provides in order to support requests for services to be made of it by a computer program. An API differs from an application binary interface in that it is specified in terms of a programming language that can be compiled when an application is built, rather than an explicit low level description of how data is laid out in memory. The software that provides the functionality described by an API is said to be an implementation of the API. The API itself is abstract, in that it specifies an interface and does not get involved with implementation details.” (From Wikipedia)

Web Crawler

“A web crawler (also known as a Web spider or Web robot) is a program or automated script which browses the World Wide Web in a methodical, automated manner…This process is called Web crawling or spidering. Many legitimate sites, in particular search engines, use spidering as a means of providing up-to-date data. Web crawlers are mainly used to create a copy of all the visited pages for later processing by a search engine, that will index the downloaded pages to provide fast searches. Crawlers can also be used for automating maintenance tasks on a Web site, such as checking links or validating HTML code. Also, crawlers can be used to gather specific types of information from Web pages, such as harvesting e-mail addresses (usually for spam). (from wikipedia)

URI (Uniform Resource Identifier)

“A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI), is a compact string of characters used to identify or name a resource. The main purpose of this identification is to enable interaction with representations of the resource over a network, typically the World Wide Web, using specific protocols. URIs are defined in schemes defining a specific syntax and associated protocols.” (Wikipedia)

The most common URI is a URL, or Uniform Resource Locator, which both identifies a resource and describes how to find it. The URN, or Uniform Resource Name, names a resource without giving location information.

ASCII (American Standard Code for Information Interchange)

“American Standard Code for Information Interchange. The world-wide standard for the code numbers used by computers to represent all the upper- and lower-case Latin letters, numbers, punctuation, and related data. Each alphanumeric character is represented as a number from 0 to 127, translated into a 7-bit binary code for the computer. ASCII is used by most computers and printers, and because of this, text-only files can be transferred easily between different kinds of computers. ASCII code also includes characters to indicate backspace, carriage return, etc., but does not include accents and special letters not used in English. Extended ASCII has additional characters (128-255).” (TechDictionary.com).

OWL Web Ontology Language

“The OWL Web Ontology Language is designed for use by applications that need to process the content of information instead of just presenting information to humans. OWL facilitates greater machine interpretability of Web content than that supported by XML, RDF, and RDF Schema (RDF-S) by providing additional vocabulary along with a formal semantics. OWL has three increasingly-expressive sublanguages: OWL Lite, OWL DL, and OWL Full” (W3C).

Semantic Web

“The Semantic Web provides a common framework that allows data to be shared and reused across application, enterprise, and community boundaries. It is a collaborative effort led by W3C with participation from a large number of researchers and industrial partners. It is based on the Resource Description Framework (RDF)” (W3C). (more…)

Resource Description Framework (RDF)

RDF, or Research Description Framework, is a means of structuring metadata and describing relationships between resources, generally via XML namespaces. A resource can be any discrete item — a web page, .pdf file, media file, etc. A resource such as a web page might have particular properties defined such as “title,” “content,” “creator,” etc. Properties are non-hierarchical and the more properties that are defined, the better that search interfaces are able to sort through large numbers of resources. Relationships between resources can be made explicit through the defining of properties. For example, the resource “The Last Man” might be linked to the resource “Mary Shelley” via the property “author of.” (more…)


“Most images you see on your computer are composed of bitmaps. A bitmap is a map of dots, or bits (hence the name), that looks like a picture as long you are sitting a reasonable distance away from the screen. Common bitmap filetypes include BMP (the raw bitmap format), JPEG, GIF, PICT, PCX, and TIFF. Because bitmap images are made up of a bunch of dots, if you zoom in on a bitmap, it appears to be very blocky. Vector graphics (created in programs such as Freehand, Illustrator, or CorelDraw) can scale larger without getting blocky.” (From Sharpened Glossary)

Really Simple Syndication (RSS)

“RSS is a family of web feed formats, specified in XML and used for Web syndication. RSS is used by (among other things) news websites, weblogs and podcasting. The abbreviation is variously used to refer to the following standards:

  • Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91)

  • RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0)

  • Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0)
  • Web feeds provide web content or summaries of web content together with links to the full versions of the content, and other metadata. RSS in particular, delivers this information as an XML file called an RSS feed, webfeed, RSS stream, or RSS channel. In addition to facilitating syndication, web feeds allow a website’s frequent readers to track updates on the site using an aggregator.‿ (From wikipedia.)


    6. Illuminated matter or work; a picture in an illuminated manuscript, an illumination. In early use also: the action or process of rubricating letters or of illuminating a manuscript.” (From the OED.n.6)


    3. A sheet of paper printed on one side only, forming one large page.” (From the OED.n.)


    “A leaf of paper (in OE. called bóc, BOOK); a legal document or ‘deed’ written (usually) upon a single sheet of paper, parchment, or other material, by which grants, cessions, contracts, and other transactions are confirmed and ratified.” (From the OED.n1)


    1. Paper, parchment, or other writing material designed to be reusable after any writing on it has been erased. b. In extended use: a thing likened to such a writing surface, esp. in having been reused or altered while still retaining traces of its earlier form; a multi-layered record.” (From the OED.n.A,1-2)


    1. a. A piece of animal skin, esp. from a sheep or goat, dressed and prepared as a surface for writing; a scroll or roll of this material; a manuscript or document written on this.” (From the OED.n.I,1)


    1.The book containing the service of the Mass for the whole year; a mass-book. 2. A Roman Catholic book of devotions, esp. when illuminated; an illuminated book of hours, etc.” (From the OED.n1.I,1-2)


    A book printed using moveable type prior to the year 1501 AD.

    Ruthwell Cross

    7-8th century stone cross in Ruthwell, just south of Dumfries, Scotland. Latin and Runic inscriptions as well as pictorial images on each face of the cross.


    A manuscript from which another is copied.


    “A book containing a set or collection of antiphons.” (From the OED.n.)


    I. 1. The Book of Psalms, as one of the books of the Old Testament b. A translation or particular version (prose or metrical) of the Book of Psalms c. A copy of, or a volume containing, the Psalms, esp. as arranged for liturgical or devotional use.” (From the OED.n.II.1, b-c)

    Book of Hours

    An illuminated manuscript used primarily from the 13th through 16th centuries; a personal prayer book for the laity to abide by the Christian church’s daily protocol of devotional prayer.


    6. a. The embellishment or decoration of a letter or writing with bright or luminous colours, the use of gold and silver, the addition of elaborate tracery or miniature illustrations, etc.: see ILLUMINATE v. 8. b. with pl. The designs, miniatures, and the like, employed in such decoration.” (From the OED.n.6,a-b)


    1. a. Antiq. An instrument made of metal, bone, etc., having one end sharp-pointed for incising letters on a wax tablet, and the other flat and broad for smoothing the tablet and erasing what is written. 1. Also applied to similar instruments in later use.” (From the OED.n.1,a)


    “A word inserted between the lines or in the margin as an explanatory equivalent of a foreign or otherwise difficult word in the text; hence applied to a simliar explanatory rendering of a word given in a glossary or dictionary. Also, in a wider sense, a comment, explanation, interpretation. Often used in a sinister sense: A sophistical or disingenuous interpretation. b. A collection of such explanations, a glossary; also, an interlinear translation of, or series of verbal explanations upon, a continuous text. 2. A poetical composition in which a stanza of some well-known poem is treated as a text for amplification, each of the successive stanzas of the ‘gloss’ being made to end with one of the lines or couplets of the text.” (From OED.n.1-2)


    “A writer; one whose business is writing. In various specific or limited applications; 3. Used as the official designation of various public functionaries performing secretarial duties. 4. a. One who writes at another’s dictation; an amanuensis. Obs. 5. A copyist, transcriber of manuscripts; now esp. the writer of a particular MS. copy of a classical or mediæval work.” (From the OED.n1.1, 3-5)


    “A writing-room; spec. the room in a religious house set apart for the copying of manuscripts.” (from the OED.n.)