Information Technology Division

Email Glossary

binary file attachment
File attached to a message that is encoded into alphanumeric characters by the sender and decoded back into binary format by the receiver

A type of encoding that allows the transportation of binary files (such as word processing, spreadsheet, etc.) from one e-mail service to another.

Paradigm that exists when clients (personal computers, workstations, etc.) run software locally that operates by accessing applications running on a server.

directory service
In the context of e-mail, a directory service provides a list of information about users on a computer network such as names, e-mail addresses, phone numbers, and office locations.

disconnected mail access
A mail access paradigm in which a mail client connects to the mail server, makes a "cache" copy of selected messages, and then disconnects from the server, later to reconnect and resynchronize with the server.

distribution list
A group of email addresses that can be used to send a
message to all members of the group. Whenever a message is addressed to
the name of list, the message is routed to all of the members.

file transfer protocol (FTP)
The transferring of files from one computer to another. For example the transfer of a file from a server to a personal computer.

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP)
A method of accessing electronic mail messages that are kept on a server. It permits a "client" e-mail application to access remote message stores as if they were local. This is the best solution for a user who needs to access mail from different computers.

Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP)
A directory service backed by Netscape and other vendors, designed to identify all network resources to clients using a subset of the X.500 directory standard. LDAP is used to query and receive information from standards based directories.

Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME)
A type of encoding used to transport non-ASCII files (such as spreadsheets, executable files, video, audio, etc.).

nickname (or alias)
An easily remembered substitute for a standard e-mail address or group of addresses (see distribution list). It is usually a plain-English word or phrase that calls up a longer address (for example, "John" for

Post Office Protocol (POP)
A protocol used to retrieve e-mail messages that are kept on a server. It works best when the user is accessing mail from only one personal computer.

offline mail access
A mail access paradigm in which messages are delivered to a shared server, and a workstation or a PC user periodically connects to the server and downloads all the pending message to the client machine.

online mail access
A mail access paradigm in which messages are left on the mail server and manipulated remotely by the mail client programs.

An encoding algorithm that allows files to pass from one e-mail service to another. The sender's PC converts files to ASCII text, which the recipent can decode, reconstructing the original data.

An International Standards Organization (ISO) standard for listing names in an electronic directory e.g. electronic white pages for e-mail addresses. This standard enables the directory to be accessed by computer networks.