Unstructured Data: Data that is not organized in a database or with markup tags. The text documents that humanities scholars commonly study, for example, are unstructured data; they can have elements of structure, such as the date, sender and recipient information in a letter, but not all the text fits those categories. Information in unstructured data needs to be tagged in a consistent way or extracted and organized in a database before it can be analyzed using computational methods such as mapping and network analysis. Unstructured textual data can be analyzed with computational methods such as text analysis, topic modeling and corpus linguistics. See also structured data.
URL (Uniform Resource Locator): Commonly referred to as a web address, a URL specifies the location of a web site or web application and a mechanism for retrieving it. It is usually displayed in a web browser above the page in an address bar. A typical URL includes a protocol for how the data is transmitted (usually http or https), a domain name identifying the location of a resource (eg historians.org), and a file name (eg index.html) identifying a specific web page or a database query (/?page_id=21).
User Interface: The space where interactions between humans and computers occur. The most common user interface is a graphical user interface (GUI) that combines tactile elements (via a keyboard, mouse or touch screen) and visual elements (graphical display). Computer operating systems currently use concepts related to the desktop to help users interact more easily with the computer: the monitor as the top of the desk, with objects such as documents and folders placed on it. See also Generous interface.
Virtual reality, VR: An computer-generated simulation that immerses the user in a three-dimensional environment with which they can interact. Current technology uses headsets to generate images, sounds and sensations, and sometimes augmented by controllers to transmit vibrations and other tactile sensations.
Visualization, data visualization: Placing data in a visual context in order to analyze and communicate it; encompasses images, diagrams, graphs, maps and animations. Most computational methods produce visualizations. Visualizations in digital humanities are commonly research tools produced to explore data, but they can also be used to communicate arguments.
Web: A service delivered on the internet consisting of a series of interconnected web pages and resources stored on a web server and retrieved and displayed by a software application called a web browser.
Web application, Web app: Software that runs in a web browser rather than on your computer desktop. Web apps are stored on web servers rather than installed on your computer. See also API.
Web archive: Content collected from the web in order to preserve and provide long term access to information available online. Collection is typically done automatically using web crawlers. The information collected includes web pages, CSS style sheets, images, video and metadata. The largest web archiving organization is the Internet Archive, which aims to archive the whole web. National and local agencies are also creating web archives of specific domains.
Web browser: A software application that retrieves and displays web pages and resources stored on a Web Server. The most widely used browsers are Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
Web crawler, aka spider: An internet robot (or bot) that systematically browses the web. Generally used for indexing the web, but also to automatically collect data for web archiving.
Web hosting: Providing a web server on which files, instances of CMS and web publishing platforms, and web applications/software can be made available on the internet. Some free hosting is available, usually only for specific platforms and with limited functionality and advertising. For example, a free WordPress site is available through WordPress.com, and a free Omeka site is available through omeka.net. Users of that hosting do not need to manage the servers in anyway, so they are easy to use, but in both instances only some of the platforms features are available. A dedicated or managed hosting service leases space on its web servers, on which clients can store files and install software of their choice. Dedicated hosting requires an annual payment and some knowledge to manage. Both the cost and skill required are diminishing. Reclaim Hosting is a service widely used in higher education in the US, and offers hosting beginning at $30/year (2018) and one-click install of platforms such as WordPress, Omeka and Scalar that handles the most complex aspects of installing software.
Web mapping: Platforms such as Google Maps that offer online access to geographical data and APIs that allow users to create custom maps. An alternative to GIS used widely in digital humanities. Open source web mapping software developed for the humanities include Neatline (a set of plugins for Omeka) and Palladio.
Web Page: a file written in HTML and stored on a web server connected to the internet. In addition to text, images, video and other content can be embedded in a web page. A dynamic web page draws content from a database.
Web Server, or Server: Refers to computers connected to the internet, and to the software they run that delivers files to the web in response to requests from other computers. See also LAMP
Web Site: a collection of web pages stored on a web server connected to the internet. Web sites are now typically created by using a CMS such as WordPress or Omeka, but they can simply be a set of files written in HTML.
Word Cloud: A visualization of word frequency that gives greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in a source text. The larger the word in the visualization the more frequently the word was in the text.
WordPress: An open source content management system originally developed for blogs. WordPress allows the creation of pages and posts; pages do not have a publication date and are intended for static content in a fixed location; posts have a publication date and appear in reverse chronological order, and can be tagged and categorized. Additional features can be added to a WordPress site by installing plugins.
WYSIWYG (“What You See Is What You Get”): An interfaces for creating and editing content that displays the content as it will appear when published. They provide an alternative to interfaces that display the tags and markup language used to make the content appear in that way. The classic WordPress editorial interface provided a tab to view the content as it would appear (Visual) and a second tab to view the markup that produced that appearance (Text).
XML (EXtensible Markup Language): A markup language that uses tags to describe the content that it is identifying: title, author, year, genre etc. XML files are a form of structured data that can be analyzed using computational methods.