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Except where indicated, all definitions derive from Wikipedia. Terms were edited for brevity and simplicity; this glossary is only meant for quick reference during the conference.

formal public relations campaigns which try to create the impression of being a spontaneous, grassroots behavior. The name comes from the artificial grass ("AstroTurf”) and is a metaphor to indicate "fake grassroots," or "fake environmentalism." Astroturfing is used to disguise a political client’s agenda or to orchestrate the actions of apparently diverse and geographically distributed individuals.
a method of transferring files, primarily through peer-to-peer file distribution. It is designed to distribute large amounts of data widely without huge increases in costly server and bandwidth resources. Some sources claim that BitTorrent accounts for 35% of all traffic on the Internet. BitTorrent programs can prepare and transmit text, audio, video, encrypted content, and all other types of digital information. See peer-to-peer.
blog, weblog, video blog, vlog
an online diary or personal log of thoughts published on a Web page. A typical blog is updated regularly and combines text, images, and links to other bogs and Web pages. Blogs are usually not reviewed or edited by outside writers, review boards, or subject to other kinds of journalistic oversight.
a transmission network with a bandwidth exceeding that of the telephone network. This includes line systems with a transmission rate of at least 1 MHz where the transmission may also occur via satellite, coaxial cable or fiber-optic cable.
compulsory license
license to use a patent, copyright or other exclusive right that the government forces the holder to grant to others.
Creative Archive
Set up by the BBC, the British Film Institute, Channel 4 and the Open University, the Creative Archive Licence Group makes their archive content (moving images, audio and stills) available for downloading under a single, shared-user license. Fully accessible only in the U.K, Creative Archive invites visitors to “share, watch, listen and re-use this content as a fuel for your own creative endeavours.”
Creative Commons
A non-profit organization devoted to expanding the range of creative work available for others legally to build upon and share. The intention is to avoid the problems that current copyright laws create for the sharing of information. The project provides several free licenses that copyright holders can use when releasing their works on the Web.
Digital Rights Management, DRM
any of several technologies used by publishers to control access to and usage of digital data (such as software, music, movies) and hardware. The term is often confused with copy protection and technical protection measures. These two terms refer to technologies that control or restrict the use of digital media content on electronic devices with such technologies installed, acting as components of a DRM design.
the process of turning an analog signal into a digital representation of that signal; the scanning of analog sources, such as printed photos and taped video into computers for editing. Digitizing is the primary way of storing images in a form suitable for transmission and computer processing. The term is sometimes used to refer to importing footage into a computer via a cable. Technically, the footage is already digital so it is not being digitized but rather encoded into whatever format the software uses.
the removal of intermediaries in a supply chain: "cutting out the middle man." Instead of going through traditional distribution channels with some type of intermediary (a distributor, wholesaler, broker, or agent), companies deal with every customer directly, for example via the Internet. Disintermediation can also be initiated by consumers, who bypass the middlemen in order to buy directly from the manufacturer and so pay less.
download / upload / post
related terms used to describe the transfer of electronic data between two computers or similar systems. To download is to receive data from a remote system, such as a Web site, server, or other similar systems. To upload is to send data from a local system to a remote system. Downloading is often used to mean the massive retrieval of music, DVD movies, software, and more. By extension, an upload is any file that has been uploaded, particularly if it is awaiting the recipient's attention; a download is any file that is offered for downloading or that has been downloaded.
flash application, flash player, flash video
a file format used to deliver video and interactive applications over the Internet.
systems to organize and find content that are not as highly organized as formal taxonomies and, from an information scientist's point of view, are relatively unsophisticated. Folksonomies are popular on the Internet because they dramatically lower content categorization costs. This is because there is no complicated, hierarchically organized nomenclature to learn. One simply creates and applies tags (defined below) on the fly.
Instant Message, IM
a form of real-time communication between two or more people based on typed text conveyed via computers connected over a network such as the Internet. Popular instant messaging services on the public Internet include Qnext, Windows Live Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, Yahoo! Messenger, Skype, Google Talk, .NET Messenger Service, Jabber, QQ, Excite/Pal iChat and ICQ.
IPTV (Internet Protocol Television)
content that is not delivered through traditional formats and cabling, but instead is received by the viewer through the technologies used for computer networks; a digital television service that is delivered using the Internet Protocol over a network infrastructure, which may include delivery by a broadband connection. For residential users, IPTV is often provided in conjunction with Video on Demand and may be bundled with Internet services such as Web access and VoIP, with the combination sometimes referred to as a Triple Play. In businesses, IPTV may be used to deliver television content over corporate LAN's and business networks.
long tail
A phrase coined by Chris Anderson, popularized in an article he wrote for Wired in October 2004. Anderson argued that products that are in low demand or have low sales volume can collectively make up a market share that rivals or exceeds the relatively few current bestsellers and blockbusters, if the store or distribution channel is large enough. Examples of such mega-stores include and Netflix. A former Amazon employee described the Long Tail as follows: "We sold more books today that didn't sell at all yesterday than we sold today of all the books that did sell yesterday."
in music or video, a genre that consists entirely of parts of other songs or videos, edited to appear as one; in new media, a Web site or web application that combines content from more than one source. Chronologically, first there were music mashups, where two or more tracks are combined, often with one acapella track by one artist over a second backing track by another. Then there were software mashups in which two or more sets of data are combined over the Internet to create a new entity; an example would be overlaying houses for sale over a Google Map. Most recently the video mashup has become popular thanks to sites like YouTube.
data that describe other data; descriptive information about the context, quality, and condition or characteristics of the data. Used for tagging, cataloging, archiving and finding assets.
a modification of a game made by a player; also a modification of a story made by the audience (source:
delivery of information to a group of destinations; typically used to refer to IP Multicast, which is a delivery method for efficiently sending data to multiple receivers at the same time on networks by way of a multicast destination address.
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
a messaging system that allows users to send messages including multimedia files (images, audio, video, rich text), not just text messages as in Short Message Services (SMS). It is mainly deployed in cellular networks along with other messaging systems like SMS, Mobile Instant Messaging and Mobile E-Mail. See Short Message Service (SMS)
open content
any kind of creative work that is published in a format that explicitly allows the copying of the information. Technically, it is share-alike without any prohibitions; content is either in the public domain or under a license that offers open access.
open source
a program whose source code is available to the general public for use and/or modification from its original design, free of charge. Open source code is typically created as a collaborative effort.
participatory journalism / citizen journalism / grassroots journalism
the act of citizens "playing an active role in the process of collecting, reporting, analyzing and disseminating news and information... The intent of this participation is to provide independent, reliable, accurate, wide-ranging and relevant information that a democracy requires." (We Media: How Audiences are Shaping the Future of News and Information, Shayne Bowman and Chris Willis). It includes user comments attached to news stories, personal blogs, photos or video footage captured from personal mobile cameras, local news written by residents of a community, independent news and information Web sites (such as the Drudge Report), full-fledged participatory news sites (OhMyNews), and collaborative and contributory media sites (Slashdot, Kuro5hin).
participatory media
media such as blogs, wikis, RSS, tagging and social bookmarking, music-photo-video sharing, mashups, podcasts, and videoblogs that share three common, interrelated characteristics:
  • they function as many-to-many media, broadcasting and receiving text, images, audio, video, etc. to and from every other person.
  • their value and power derives from the active participation of many people.
  • they create social networks that amplify information and communication to enable broader, faster, and lower cost coordination of activities.
peer-to-peer (P2P)
a computer network that relies primarily on the computing power and bandwidth of the participants in the network rather than concentrating it in a relatively low number of servers. P2P networks are typically used for connecting nodes via largely ad hoc connections. Sharing content files containing audio, video, data or anything in digital format is very common using P2P technology. Associated with P2P production are the concepts of peer governance (referring to the manner in which peer production projects are managed) and peer property (referring to the new type of licenses which recognize individual authorship but not exclusive property rights, such as the Creative Commons License).
Personal Digital Assistants (PDAs)
handheld devices that were originally designed as personal organizers, but became much more versatile over the years so they now can be used as a calculator, clock, or calendar; for playing computer games, accessing the Internet, sending and receiving E-mails; as a radio or stereo or mobile phone; for video recording, making notes, keeping an address book, and as a spreadsheet.
podcast, also vodcast
the method of distributing multimedia files, such as audio or video programs, over the Internet using syndication feeds, for playback on mobile devices and personal computers. Usually a podcast features one type of 'show', with new episodes released either sporadically or at planned intervals such as daily or weekly. In addition, there are podcast networks that feature multiple shows on the same feed.
public domain
knowledge and innovation (especially creative works such as writing, art, music, and inventions) which is freely available to the public, i.e., no person or legal entity can establish or maintain proprietary interests within a particular legal jurisdiction. This body of information and creativity is considered to be part of a common cultural and intellectual heritage, which, in general, anyone may use or exploit, whether for commercial or non-commercial purposes. If an item is not in the public domain, this may be the result of a proprietary interest as represented by a copyright or patent; however, when a work's copyright or patent restrictions expire, it enters the public domain and may be used by anyone for any purpose.
public media
in general, media whose mission is to serve or engage a public. Public media include traditional publicly-funded broadcasters and networks (such as local public TV and radio stations, National Public Radio, the Public Broadcasting Service, and the British Broadcasting Corporation) as well as public uses of new platforms and distribution mechanisms, such as the Internet, podcasting, blogging. Increasingly the term "public media" is less associated with taxpayer supported media; it may be for profit so long as its ultimate purpose is to serve the public and not to turn a profit.
rip, mix, burn
to rip means to copy; to mix means to re-edit or re-form however the user wants; to burn means to publish in a way that others can see and hear. (Lawrence Lessig, The Future of Ideas, p. 9)
a family of web feed formats; variously used to refer to the following standards: Really Simple Syndication (RSS 2.0), Rich Site Summary (RSS 0.91, RSS 1.0), RDF Site Summary (RSS 0.9 and 1.0). Typically, a content provider publishes a feed link on their site which users register with an aggregator program running on their own machines. When instructed, the aggregator asks all servers in its feed list if they have new content; if so, the aggregator either makes a note of the new content or downloads it. Aggregators can be check for new content periodically, which means users can be notified of new content or have content automatically downloaded without having to actively check for it.
Short Message Service (SMS)
a service available on most digital mobile phones, other mobile devices or desktop computers that permits the sending of short messages (also known as text messages, or more colloquially SMS, texts or even txts) between other devices and even landline telephones. See Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS)
smart phone, sphone
any electronic handheld device that integrates the functionality of a mobile phone, personal digital assistant (PDA) or other information appliance. This is often achieved by adding telephone functions to an existing PDA (PDA Phone) or putting "smart" capabilities, such as PDA functions, into a mobile phone. The applications can be developed by the manufacturer of the handheld device, by the operator, or by any other third-party software developer.
social network
a social structure made of individuals or organizations that are connected through various familiarities ranging from casual acquaintance to close familial bonds. In the Internet, social networking refers to a category of applications that connect friends, business partners, or other individuals together using a variety of tools. Examples of social networking sites include,,,
streaming media
media that is consumed (read, heard, viewed) while it is being delivered; a technique for transferring data so that it can be processed as a steady and continuous stream usually over the internet in a continuous flow
a keyword or descriptive term associated with an item as means of classification. Tags are usually chosen informally and personally by the author/creator of the item, not as part of some formally defined classification scheme. Typically, an item will have one or more "tags" associated with it, as part of some classification software or system. This allows for multiple "browseable paths" through the items which can quickly and easily be altered with minimal effort and planning.
Uniform Resource Locator, URL
a site “name” which identifies the site and provides a means of locating it by describing its network location.
Video on demand, VOD
systems that allow users to select and watch video content over a network as part of an interactive television system. VOD systems either "stream" content, allowing viewing while the video is being downloaded, or "download" it so the program is brought in its entirely to a set-top box before viewing starts. All download and some streaming video on demand systems provide the user with a large subset of VCR functionality including pause, fast forward, slow forward, etc. For streaming systems this requires more effort on the part of the server, and may also require greater network bandwidth.
viewer created / user created / user generated content
on-line content that is produced by users of Web sites, as opposed to traditional media producers such as broadcasters and production companies. It reflects the democratization of media production through new technologies that are accessible and affordable. These include digital video, blogging, podcasting, mobile phone photography and wikis. Prominent examples of Web sites based on User Generated Content include Flickr, Friends Reunited, eBay, FourDocs and Wikipedia.
Web 2.0
a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media in 2004 to refer to a “second generation” of Internet-based services that let people collaborate and share information online in new ways such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies. It has become a popular, though ill-defined and often criticized, buzzword amongst the technical and marketing communities.
a type of Web site that allows visitors to easily add, remove, or otherwise edit and change content, sometimes without the need for registration. This ease of interaction and operation makes a wiki an effective tool for collaborative authoring. The term wiki can also refer to the collaborative software itself or to certain specific wiki sites, including online encyclopedias such as Wikipedia.
a Web-based free-content multilingual encyclopedia project that exists as a wiki, a Web site that allows any visitor to freely edit its content. Wikipedia is written collaboratively by volunteers, allowing most articles to be changed by almost anyone with access to the Web site. Currently Wikipedia has more than 5 million articles in many languages, including more than 1.3 million in the English-language version, and it has been ranked among the top 20 most visited sites. There has been controversy over Wikipedia's reliability and accuracy, with the site receiving criticism for its susceptibility to vandalism, uneven quality and inconsistency, systemic bias, and preference for consensus or popularity over credentials.