Digital Communications Systems Glossary
3-D effects — Used for enhancement purposes.
Accent — Way of speaking that is characteristic of a geographic region.
Access — The act of reading data from or writing data to a storage device.
Acoustic model — Set of mathematical formulas that analyzes human voice patterns and
evaluates the probability of spoken words matching words in the speech recognition
Active Cell — The cell ready for data entry.
Agenda — Includes the order of topics to be covered at a meeting and the individuals
responsible for each topic.
Align (Justify) — Refers to the arrangement of data in relation to a fixed point. Example:
Left align arranges all data so that the left side of all data begins at the same point.
Alignment — When data is entered into a cell, the default alignment is labels to the left and
values to the right.
Announcement — A document created to inform individuals of an event or occasion. No
response is usually required. Usually sent to individuals within a targeted interest group.
Antivirus Program — A computer program that detects viruses and repairs files.
Ascending — Sorting data in alphabetical order from A-Z or numerical order from 0-9.
Assembly – the members present at a meeting.
Automatic Speech Recognizer (ASR) — Speech recognition software, sometimes called a
speech engine, which listens to human speech and converts the spoken words to text.
Backspace — delete items to left of cursor.
Barcode Scanner — Input devices that read bar codes that allow you to track both assets
and inventory, check items in, manage item locations, maintain physical inventory, and control
Beam – method of transferring information from one handheld to another handheld.
Bibliography (also References or Works Cited) — A list on the last page of a report of all
reference material used in a report.
Biometric Device — Authentication techniques that rely on measurable physical
characteristics that can be automatically checked.
Bold -- Prints text darker than other copy as it is keyed.
Bold/italics -- Causes text to appear darker than other text and also letters slope up
toward the right.
Bomb — A destructive computer code or virus designed to activate at a specific time.
Bound Reports — Typically longer reports than unbound reports that are bound with covers
Carpal tunnel syndrome — Painful, inflammatory condition that affects the carpal or wrist
portion of the median nerve. Often associated with repetitive actions such as typing. Can be
caused by physical trauma or hereditary conditions that inflame tendons around the nerve,
disrupting hand function and resulting in numbness and pain.
Cell — Intersection of a row and column and is identified by a cell reference.
Cell range — A selected group of cells that form a rectangle.
Cell reference — The column letter and the row number. Example: B12
Chair (chairman) – presiding officer at the meeting.
Change case -- Used to change the case of characters.
Clipboard — store cut or copied data.
Column — Data aligned from top to bottom.
Columnar Headings — Used to identify the data in each column of a table, they appear
underlined and immediately above the column data.
Command-line Interface – type of user interface in which the user types commands or press
special keys on the keyboard to enter data and instructions.
Commercial Software — Software whose copyright is owned by the author/software
Communications Connectivity — A computer buzzword that refers to a program or device’s
ability to link with other programs and devices.
Comparison Operators — Symbols used in search criteria. (>, <, =, >=, <=, <>)
Connectors — Words such as AND, OR and NOT that join certain conditions together when
performing a search.
Continuous Speech Recognition (CSR) — Speech recognition system that enables users to
speak normally, pausing only to give commands and insert punctuation marks.
Copy — show data in more than one place in the document.
Copyright — Protection giving the owner the exclusive right to reproduce or distribute copies
of his or her own work.
CPU (Central Processing Unit) – the “brains” of the computer where the work is done.
Cradle – piece of hardware used to synchronize information between the handheld and the
Currency — A numeric type which add a $ sign to number.
Cut — move data from one location in document to another location
Database - An organized collection of information.
Database Management System — Software that allows the computer to create a database;
add, change, and delete data in the database; sort the data; retrieve the data; and create
forms and reports using the data in the database.
Date data — Entries in a database that are formatted for data in a particular style. (i.e.
04/15/03 or April 16, 2003).
Decision-making – the ability to make a final choice.
Delegating – assigning or allocating responsibilities, time, or authority to others.
Delete — remove data from of document.
Descending — Sorting data the opposite of ascending order. (Z-A & 9-0)
Dictation mode — Enables users to dictate text into a computer application.
Digital Camcorder — A camcorder that produced video recordings with highly accurate color
and crisp, clear resolution – far better than the resolution offered by television broadcast.
Digital Camera — A camera that images rather than recording on film. Once a picture has
been taken, it can be downloaded to a computer and then manipulated and printed.
Discrete speech — Speech recognition system that requires the user to pause momentarily
between each word.
Divider Line — A line, usually approximately 1.5” in length, which separates the body of the
document from the reference (source) information located below it.
Dragon — Company, also known as Dragon Systems, that released the first continuous speech
recognition (CSR) product in 1997 with over 30,000 words in its speech dictionary. The
product was called NaturallySpeaking.
Drop Cap -- Used to format paragraphs to begin with large initial capital letters that take
up two or more lines.
Ellipsis (…) — Used to show an omission of words from quoted material.
Encryption — Process of converting readable data into unreadable characters to prevent
Endnotes — Complete documentation for a reference, formatted with superscripted
numbers, which is placed at the end of the document.
Enhancements — Visual additions to attract a reader’s attention to specific text.
Entry — Data that is keyed into a field.
Enumerated Items — Numbered or listed items.
Ethics — The moral guidelines that govern the use of computers and information systems.
Field — A category of information in a database.
File — A group of related records.
Filter/Query/Search — A method to find specific data within a database that meets certain
Find — locate data in a document.
Fire Wire Device — A very fast external bus standard that supports data transfer rates of
up to 400 Mbps.
Flyer — A document created to inform individuals of an event or occasion. No response is
usually required. Can be sent to a targeted interest group, but may also be posted for the
general public to view.
Font -- A digital typeface that can vary in type and size.
Font effects -- Examples include shadow, emboss, small caps, outline.
Font size -- The way that keyboarding characters are measured (i.e. 10pt. or 12 pt.)
Footnotes — Complete documentation for a reference, formatted with superscripted
numbers, which is placed at the bottom of the same page and preceded by a divider line.
Format painter — copy selected formatting of text.
Formula — Equations with symbols for math operations. Example =B6+B7+B8+B9
Form view — A method of viewing or inputting data that displays only one record at a time.
Freeware — Software that is given away free of charge, but whose author still retains all
Function — Special formulas that do not use operators to calculate a result. i.e. A shortcut
formula. Example: sum(A6:A9)
Gavel – used by the president to call a meeting to order.
Global Positional System — By using three satellites, GPS can calculate the longitude and
latitude of the receiver based on where the three spheres intersect.
Go to — move to selected area of document.
Grammar checker — mark possible grammar errors and offers suggestions for correction.
Graphical User Interface — a menu based interface known as icons (pictures that appear on
the desktop environment).
Graffiti – method of entering data using stylus.
Hacker — A person who secretly gains access to computers and files without permission.
Handheld Computer (Pocket PC) — A portable computer that is small enough to be held in
one's hand. Although extremely convenient to carry, handheld computers have not replaced
notebook computers because of their small keyboards and screens. The most popular hand-
held computers are those that are specifically designed to provide PIM (personal information
manager) functions, such as a calendar and address book. The most popular are IPAQ and
Handwriting Recognition — The technique by which a computer system can recognize
characters and other symbols written by hand. In theory, handwriting recognition should free
us from our keyboards, allowing us to write and draw in a more natural way. It is considered
one of the key technologies that will determine the ultimate success or failure of PDAs and
other hand-held devices.
Hard buttons – part of the handheld that will initiate some of the applications by pressing
with your finger.
Hard Copy — a printed page of text or graphics.
Hardware — the physical equipment of a computer system that you can touch.
Hoax — A program intended to scare users into thinking they have a virus.
Impact Printers — a printer that strikes the paper in order to form images. Example: Dot
Incidental motion – a motion that arises out of a pending motion.
Input Device — used to enter information into the computer. Examples are keyboard,
joystick, modem, mouse, scanner, voice recognition, touch screen, microphone, light pen, and
Insert — place data in select areas of document.
Interactive Whiteboard — Whiteboards that are connected to a computer and input can be
accomplished by writing or tapping on the whiteboard through interactive software.
Invitation — A document sent to specified individuals in order to inform them and request
their presence at an event or occasion. A response (reply) to the invitation is often required
to indicate whether or not the individual will attend.
Invoice — A form that the seller/supplier completes and sends to the buyer during the
month indicating how much is owed for items bought or services rendered and the due date
for payment/payment terms.
Italics -- Prints letters that slope up toward the right.
Itinerary — A list which includes the dates, times, schedules, lodging, and method of travel
to be used on a trip.
Jargon — Unique vocabulary includes technical terms, slang, and phrases not used by the
general public. Also called shop talk.
Job Application — An employment form used by employers to document information
pertaining to job applicants.
Keyboard — an input device that enters data with letters, numbers, symbols, and special
Label — Text, symbols, dates, or numbers not used in calculations.
Language bar — Speech recognition or voice control center providing easy access to speech
and handwriting recognition tools in Microsoft Office.
Laptop Computer — A small, portable computer – small enough that it can sit on your lap.
Laptop computers are more frequently called notebook computers.
Launcher – soft button used to go to the main screen that displays all of the applications.
LCD (liquid crystal display) — A type of display used in many portable computers and flat
screen monitors. LCD displays utilize two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal
solution between them. An electric current passed through the liquid causes the crystals to
align so that light cannot pass through them. Each crystal, therefore, is like a shutter, either
allowing light to pass through or blocking the light.
Lernout & Hauspie — Early leader in the development of speech recognition and translation
software. Pioneered many speech recognition technologies and translation tools with
Microsoft. Pioneered Natural Language Technology (NLT) commands in its Voice Xpress
List view — A method of viewing or inputting data that displays several records at a time.
Long Quotation — A quotation within a report that is four or more lines in length.
Main Heading (Primary Heading) — Keyed in all capital letters, this is the main title of the
Media Storage Device — Objects on which data can be stored. These include hard disks,
floppy disks, CD-ROMs, smart media, flash disks, memory sticks, and tapes.
Memo Pad – application on handheld computer used to write messages.
Minutes — A summary of the events and business conducted during a meeting. Minutes are
the official record of a meeting and are kept by the secretary of an organization.
Modem — computer hardware that allows information to be passed through the telephone
Monitor — the video screen of the computer.
Motion – a formal proposal by a member in a meeting on which the group takes action
Mouse — a pointing device used primarily with graphical interfaces.
Natural Language Technology (NLT) — Commands that make speaking to a speech
recognition system almost as natural as talking to a person.
NatuallySpeaking — First accurate, continuous speech recognition product with over 30,000
words in its speech dictionary.
New Line command — Ends the current line of text and moves the insertion point to the next
New Paragraph Command — Ends a paragraph and moves the insertion point to the next line.
Generally, there is more white space between paragraphs than between lines within a
Non-impact Printer — a printer that forms images without striking the paper. Example:
Laser or Inkjet Printers. (Laser printers are considered to be the Cadillac of all printers)
Notebook Computer — An extremely lightweight personal computer. Notebook computers
typically weigh less than 6 pounds and are small enough to fit easily in a briefcase. Aside
from size, the principal difference between a notebook computer and a personal computer is
the display screen. Notebook computers use a variety of techniques, known as flat-panel
technologies, to produce a lightweight and non-bulky display screen.
Numeric data — Entries in a database that are formatted for numbers and can be used in a
Orientation — The determination of how material is arranged on a page in either portrait or
landscape style. On an 8 ½” x 11” size paper, portrait orientation has the short side of the
paper at the top; landscape has the long side of the paper at the top.
Outline — A type of enumeration that organizes information for a report.
Output — the information that leaves the computer.
Output Device — displays or prints information produced by a computer. Printers and
monitors are examples of output devices. A printer produces a hard copy output while a
monitor produces a soft copy output.
PDA – personal digital assistant.
Paragraph Headings – Indented and underlined secondary headings in a report.
Password — A safeguard for access to a computer or computer program.
Paste — copy stored data to select location in document.
Paste special — copy stored data to select location in document in designated format.
Phage — A program that modifies other programs, operating systems, and databases.
Phrase — Group of words that express an idea.
Piracy — The illegal copying and distribution of software.
Primary key — The field selected as a unique identifier for the database.
Primary sort — The first field that a database is sorted on.
Probe (scientific devices) — These devices are connected to a computer to be able to
translate data received.
Processor — the device that processes data into information.
Profile — Special file that collects data about a user’s speech patterns. A user profile
enables the speech recognition system to store speech patterns and vocabulary for individual
Pronunciation — Sound of words when they are spoken.
Public Domain Software — Software that is not copyrighted and is free to copy and
Purchase Order — A form prepared by a business (buyer) and sent to another business
(seller/supplier) to order items or services.
Purchase Requisition — A form to be completed by individuals within a business to request
that items or services be purchased.
Random Access Memory (RAM) — a type of memory that can be read from and written to by
the processor and other devices. Ram memory is volatile.
Read Only Memory (ROM) — a type of memory that is used to store permanent data and
instructions because it is nonvolatile.
Record — A group of fields related to one topic.
Repetitive strain injury (RSI) — Condition, such as carpal tunnel syndrome, that causes
painful, inflammation that affects parts of the body involved in constantly repeated actions
such as typing.
Replace — remove data and put in other data.
Repeat typing — repeat last action.
Resume — Usually a one-page document, a resume is a summative document which usually
outlines six major areas describing an applicant: Personal Information; Objective; Education;
School/Community /Employment Awards, Honors and Accomplishments; Work Experience;
Row — Data aligned from left to right.
Say what you see — Voice-activated technology that enables users to access any function or
command visible in a dialog box, menu bar, toolbar, or task pane.
Scanner — used like a copy machine to allow information to be input into the computer.
Scratch That — Voice command that erases the last word or phrase dictated.
Second – immediately follows a motion made by another member; indicates endorsement and
willingness to discuss the motion.
Secondary Heading (Sub Heading) — Keyed in initial capital letter, this heading, if used,
appears a double space below the main heading and above the column headings/body.
Select text — highlight specified text.
Shareware — Copyrighted software distributed free of charge on a trial basis with payment
by the honor system.
Side Headings — Underlined primary headings which begin at the left margin in a report.
Soft buttons – part of the screen area of the handheld device that will initiate some of the
applications by using the stylus.
Softcopy — output viewed on the monitor.
Sort - To arrange data in alphabetical or numerical order.
Space bar — expand or condense area between characters.
Speech balloon — Display messages about the current status of the speech recognition
software and warns users if the current speech is too loud or too soft for processing.
Speech dictionary — Contains words recognized by CSR software. Speech dictionaries
containing over 300,000 words are now common.
Speech Recognition — The field of computer science that deals with designing computer
systems that can recognize spoken words. Note that voice recognition implies only that the
computer can take dictation, not that it understands what is being said.
Speech vocabulary — List of words a speech recognition program recognizes. Only words in
the vocabulary can be displayed.
Spell checker — correct spelling errors.
Spreadsheet — A program that allows you to use rows and columns of data to manage,
predict, and present information.
Strikethrough -- Draws line through text.
Storage — the device that saves data so it can be used again. Disk drives are used to store
data on disks.
Style -- Predefined set of formatting options that have been named and saved.
Stylus – device used to enter data and make selections on screen of PDA.
Subscript -- Text placed slightly lower than other text on a line.
Superscript -- Text placed slightly higher than other text on a line.
Synchronize – method of transferring data from handheld to desktop computer and vice
Table of Contents — An outline of the side and paragraph headings in a report with their
respective page numbers.
Tables — A simple way to organize information using rows and columns to align data in an
Tablet PC — A type of notebook computer that has an LCD screen on which the user can
write using a special-purpose pen, or stylus. The handwriting is digitized and can be converted
to standard text through handwriting recognition, or it can remain as handwritten text.
Tablet PCs also typically have a keyboard and/or a mouse for input.
Tablet — An input device that enables the user to enter drawings and sketches into a
computer. A digitizing tablet consists of an electronic tablet and a cursor or pen. A cursor
(also called a puck) is similar to a mouse, except that it has a window with cross hairs for
pinpoint placement, and it can have as many as 16 buttons. A pen (also called a stylus) looks
like a simple ballpoint pen but uses an electronic head instead of ink. The tablet contains
electronics that enable it to detect movement of the cursor or pen and translate the
movements into digital signals that it sends to the computer.
Textbox -- Used for labels or as callouts in documents.
Text data — Entries in a database that represent text; such as, phone numbers, names,
Textual (Within Text) Citations — References which give credit for paraphrased or quoted
material. They appear, keyed in parentheses, immediately following the material referenced
within the report and include the author(s) name(s), the year of publication, and the page
number(s) of the reference material.
Thesaurus — find synonyms, antonyms, or related words.
Title Page (Cover Page) — The first page of a Business Report (not an Academic Report) that
includes the title of the report, the writer’s name, and the date. It may also include the
course or teacher’s name.
Touch Screen — A touch-sensitive transparent panel covering the screen. Instead of using a
device such as a stylus, you can use your finger to point directly to a selection on the screen.
Train — Process in which a user reads a sample script aloud, enabling the speech recognition
system to record an individual’s unique speech patterns, increasing the accuracy of the
conversation from spoken words to the text.
Trojan Horse — A virus that is disguised as a useful piece of software.
Typeface -- The design of letters such as Times New Roman and Courier.
USB — Acronym for the Universal Serial Bus, an interface connection to a personal computer.
USB speech recognition headsets and microphones bypass the sound card and input speech
more directly and with less distortion into a computer processor.
Unbound Report — A short report prepared without the use of a cover or binder. If the
report has multiple pages, it is usually held together with a paper clip or staple in the upper
left corner of the document.
Undo typing — allow one to undo a previous action.
Universal Serial Bus (USB) flash drive (Pen Drive) - Plug this devise into your USB port and
you instantly have an additional hard drive.
Underline -- Places a line under text as it is keyed.
Value — A number entered into a spreadsheet cell that will be used for calculations.
ViaVoice — Continuous voice dictation software created by IBM.
Virus — A computer program designed to cause damage to computer files.
Voice Command mode — Enables users to give verbal commands to control menus and format
documents in any Microsoft Office application.
Voice Xpress — Speech recognition product crated by Lernout & Hauspie. It pioneered many
Natural Language Technology or NLT commands.
Watermark -- Text or graphic appears on top or behind document's text.
Webcam — A camera that broadcast images through the Internet through a computer or
web cell phone.
Web Cell Phone — A cellular telephone that also allows users to access the Internet via
Web TV — A small box with a keyboard that connects to your telephone line and television.
It makes a connection to the Internet via your telephone service and then converts the
downloaded Web pages to a format that can be displayed on your TV. These products also
come with a remote control device so that you can navigate through the Web.
Wireless Communication — The ability to send data or video without being connected to a
wire, either by telephone or handheld computers.
Word art -- Changes text to graphic object.
Worm — A destructive computer program that bores its way through a computer’s files or
through a computer’s network