A Terminology Survival Guide

During my first week at OU Web Communications this summer, I left most meetings with a list of terms or acronyms to look up.  Even though the team always took the time to explain things to me, sometimes I wasn’t sure I knew enough to ask the right questions. I hope what I learned helps you.

CMS (Content Management System) – We use this acronym all the time. A CMS is software designed to organize large amounts of material for a website. Content may include documents, photos, logos or videos. OU Web Communications uses Day Communique for web content management. We have more than 50 OU websites in the CMS, and we’re always adding more.

blog — Originally short for “web log,” the term “blog” is now even accepted in Scrabble and Words With Friends. Blogs are generally characterized by reverse chronological ordering, rapid response, linking, and robust commenting. Then came our lil’ blog….

CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) – This controls the look and feel of a website. If you watch a web page that loads slowly, you will often see the text first load and then “snap into place” with its look and feel. CSS, which was first introduced by the World Wide Web Consortium in the late 1990s, helped eliminate the clumsy and often repetitive markup in the original HTML syntax. We create this for colleges, departments and organizations in our campus CMS, so they can focus on content. PS – Libby is a rockstar.

HTML (Hypertext Markup Language) — This dominant formatting language is used on the World Wide Web to publish text, images and other elements. Invented by Tim Berners Lee in the early 1990s, HTML uses pairs of opening and closing tags (also known as elements), such as <title> and </title>; each pair assigns meaning to the text that appears between them. Again colleges, departments, and organizations in the CMS will not use this, but it is helpful to know what happens behind the scenes.

URL (Uniform Resource Locator) — Often used interchangeably with the “address” of a web page, such as http://ou.edu. While humans are familiar with URLs as a way to see web pages, computer programs often use URLs to pass each other machine-readable content, such as RSS feeds or Twitter information. In addition, words that appear in URLs often help boost search rankings. Do you need to request a URL for your organization, college or department? Contact OU Information Technology or complete their online form.

Hope this helps to clarify some of the language used in our office and by other techies!

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