Laptop and DuSable Museum of African American History, The Interface Between Public History 
Museums and Their Websites: A Case Study of Three Museums by Marcy McDonald.

Glossary of Web Terms

  • Animation: Using software such as Macromedia's Flash (two-dimensional imagery) or Maya (three-dimensional imagery) to create moving pictures. See the Flash definition for an example.
  • Cookie: A message sent between user and browser that identifies the user and possibly enables Web pages to be tailored to the user, such as providing a list of books the viewer might want to buy.
  • Customization: Features that enable a user to modify a website to individual requirements, such as bookmarking or rearranging pages.
  • Download: To copy data from a main source (such as a website) to a peripheral device (such as a computer’s hard drive or desktop, a floppy disk, zip disk, CD, etc.).
  • Flash: Macromedia’s Web animation technology; colorful animation using text, shapes, and images. Typically made of vectors (lines) so that it does not take up much disk space. For a frivolous example, click here. You will need to load Macromedia Flash (it's free) if you haven't already; click here.
  • Hierarchy: The organizational structure of a website. A horizontal hierarchy organizes pages so that they link more or less subsequently, similar to a manuscript. A vertical hierarchy organizes materials into sections and subsections with multiple links within and/or between sections (or even the website). (These are images, so use the back button on your browser to return.)
  • Home page: The opening or main page of a website, intended chiefly to greet visitors and provide information about the site or its owner; also called the “start page” or the “front page.” “Front page” might instead refer to the first full page of a section.
  • IMM: Interactive Multi-Media Installation. A hybrid technology that combines a mix of texts, graphics, still images, animation, video, and/or audio.
  • Learning museum: Online learning resources with a deep hierarchy.
  • Link: A connection to another document, image, website, etc.
  • MP3 file: A compressed audio or video file.
  • Orphan pages: Unidentified pages within a site—no log, no home link, no link to a section page. In printing technology, these are called widows.
  • PDF file: Print download format; this “translates” html documents into a format that will (or should) print within standard (8 1/2 inches by 11 inches) page boundaries. Usually available through Adobe Acrobat Reader or other programs available free through the Internet.
  • Personalization: Systems that adapt the interface for the user by collecting information provided by the user or by monitoring the user’s actions through site “cookies.”
  • Pop-up: A secondary window that opens in the browser; may contain text, images, audio, video, animation, etc.
  • QuickTime Player: A software program, downloadable for free, that plays audio and video files.
  • QuickTime Virtual Reality (QTVR): A program that displays multimedia content (such as animation, audio, and video) on computers. Enhanced versions can display and rotate objects in three dimensions. Usually available through a free download.
  • RealAudio: A program that enables audio files on the Internet to be heard via a computer. Usually available through a free download.
  • Rollovers: A technique that shows a different text or image (or both) when the cursor is moved over the original one. The example here is of a disjointed rollover; the image changes in a different spot than where the cursor is moving.
  • Site map: A page that shows the content and structure of a website. It can be created in a graphic form or as a list, like an outline. For a sampling of graphic styles, click here.
  • Stereolithography (STL): Image files of objects that are interactive, load instantly, and can be prototyped into scalable three-dimensional objects.
  • Streaming: A video or audiofile that starts loading within seconds so that the images become available before the whole file opens. This website begins with a streaming video: click here.
  • Three-dimensional (or cubic) video: Allows a visitor to manipulate their view in all directions.
  • Upload: To transmit data from a computer to a mainframe, network, or bulletin board.
  • Virtual museum: Electronic artifacts and information resources on the World Wide Web.

Go to the next section: partial list of websites visited

Laptop and DuSable Museum of African American History, The Museum and the Web: Three Case Studies, by Marcy McDonald.