20 Computer Terms connected to Publishing

A computer is a device for processing, storing, and displaying information; the term almost universally refers to automated electronic machinery. In this post, I’ll outline and explain 20 computer terms that are connected to publishing.

The first computers were used primarily for numerical calculations. However, as any information can be numerically encoded, people soon realized that computers are capable of general-purpose information processing. And as such it has tremendously enhanced publishing.

Publishing is the manufacture, publication, and distribution of information. The process involves the selection of a manuscript (books), copy (newspaper/magazine), the editing of it, the designing, the final appearance, and the distribution/circulation of such material to readers.


Computers are used for different purposes in offices, and different sector of the economy, here are the 20 computer terms used in publishing.

20 Computer Terms connected to Publishing

  • Programme
  • Graphics
  • PostScript
  • Database
  • Personal digital assistant (PDA)
  • Import
  • HTML (hypertext markup language)
  • Queries
  • XML (extensible markup language)
  • Spreadsheet
  • Text tool
  • Resolution
  • Smart drawing tool
  • Web scripting
  • Crop
  • SGML (standard generalized markup language)
  • Word processor
  • WYSIWYG (pronounced wi-ze-wig)
  • Pick tool


This is a computer term which is on detailed plan or procedure for solving a problem with a computer; more specifically, an unambiguous, ordered sequence of computational instructions necessary to achieve such solution.

This is also software programme e.g CorelDraw, Microsoft clip organizer, Microsoft access, Microsoft office excel Microsoft outlook and so on, and all these programmes have enhanced publishing in achieving the set objectives most importantly in planning an attractive page.

A programme is prepared by first formulating a task and then expressing it in an appropriate computer language presumably one suited to the application.


This is also called electronic database, it is any collection of data, or information that is specially organized for rapid search and retrieval any time.

In publishing, database is created where the information is collated for retrieval before final publication. It must be noted that database records and files must be organized to allow retrieval of the information.

In the 21st century computer age, stories ranging from politics, business/stock to fashion/style and sports stories are arranged systematically to allow for easy retrieval by the production department; in the case of books, the chapters are arranged too.


These are the main way computer operators retrieve database information. An operator can request, for instance, all records in which the content of the field for a person’s last name is the word Bright.

In newspaper publishing, for example, the computer operator uses queries to get the compilation of the next reports ready for publication before sending such to newspaper printing plates.

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This is a computer programme that represents information in a two-dimensional grid of data, along with formulas that relate the data. Historically, a spreadsheet is accounting information useful for managing a business.

But with the invention of computer in publishing, spreadsheets are not limited to financial data, they are frequently used to represent scientific data and to carry out computations; for instance, books that contain calculations (engineering books), mathematics books and accounting books.

Personal digital assistant (PDA)

Booksellers and publishers sell e-books over the internet in the form of computers files. A reader makes a purchase, then downloads the text to a PDA, which could be published or transferred to an external drive at his/her own convince. With computer, PDA is connected to publishing as a holder (of PDA) can get books, newspapers, magazines and other printable materials at a go. PDA is a hand-held computer that helps with such tasks as taking notes.


This means to transfer data, better still, to transfer data from one location to another within a computer or from one computer in a network. For instance, a document could be imported from a hard disk or external drive to an already existing ones or when a change of format is required.

Pick tool

Pick tool is another computer term, which is a device that enhances importation of a drawn picture, graphical representation and texts from another file into an already planned page within a window.

For instance, in page planning, a file could be imported and placed outside the column frame, the pick tool is used to select the ones needed and placed into the frame that is the planned columns.


This is picture editing. Cropping has its origin from the conventional picture editing. However, with the invention of computer in publishing, devices (software) were designed to help in editing pictures.

Cropping is done for two reasons: one, for content, which is a way of removing unnecessary or disturbing area of a picture thereby focusing on the important feature of the picture. Two, to fit space, here the shape of illustrations could be changed to conform to the shape of the finished product.

Microsoft office picture manager and Picasa photo viewer are some of the computer software that employed to crop pictures.

HTML (hypertext markup language)

HTML (hypertext markup language) is the markup language for encoding Web pages. HTML markup tags specify document elements such as headings, paragraphs, and tables. They mark up a document for display by a computer program known as a Web browser.

The browser interprets the tags, displaying the headings, paragraphs, and tables in a layout that is adapted to the screen size and fonts available to it.

XML (extensible markup language)

HTML does not allow one to define new text elements; that is, it is not extensible. XML (extensible markup language) is a simplified form of SGML intended for documents that are published on the Web. Like SGML, XML uses DTDs to define document types and the meanings of tags used in them.

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XML adopts conventions that make it easy to parse, such as that document entities are marked by both a beginning and an ending tag, such as <BEGIN>…</BEGIN>.

XML provides more kinds of hypertext links than HTML, such as bidirectional links and links relative to a document subsection.

11. Page

This is a block of information that fills a page, which can be transferred as a unit between the internal and external storage of a computer. In relation to the world wide web (a system for displaying text, graphics, and audio retrieved over the internet on a computer monitor), each retrieval unit is known as a web page, and such pages frequently contain “links” that allow related pages to be retrieved.

Closely related to this is “page impressions” which is the combination of one or more files presented to a user as a single document as a result of a single request received by the server. Page impressions are used to measure the number of actual pages of content displayed.

Word processor

Computer programme used to write and revise documents, compose the layout of the text, and preview on a computer monitor how the printed copy will appear. The last capability of word processor is called WYSIWYG.

WYSIWYG (pronounced wi-ze-wig)

This is an acronym for “what you see is what you get”. A display method that shows documents and graphic characters on the screen as they will appear when printed. WYSIWYG attempts to duplicate print output as closely as possible but is not always exact. WYSIWYG requires display hardware capable of operating in graphics mode rather in text mode.


Xigen Li, the editor of the book, Internet Newspaper, says “graphics refer to news photos and graphs used to illustrate stories or display advertisements”. The term ‘graphics’ is mathematical and is also related to architectural engineering, in a conventional use, graphics is the presentation of information in the form of diagrams and illustrations instead of as words or numbers, but it now computer term, which is used closely to publishing.

SGML (standard generalized markup language)

SGML is a computer term that consists of notations called tags, which specify the function of a piece of text or how it is to be displayed.

SGML is used to specify DTDs (document type definitions). A DTD defines a kind of document, such as a report, by specifying what elements must appear in the document—e.g., <Title>—and giving rules for the use of document elements, such as that a paragraph may appear within a table entry but a table may not appear within a paragraph.

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A marked-up text may be analyzed by a parsing program to determine if it conforms to a DTD. Another program may read the markups to prepare an index or to translate the document into PostScript for printing. Yet another might generate large type or audio for readers with visual or hearing disabilities.


This is page description language. Such languages describe documents in terms that can be interpreted by a personal computer to display the document on its screen by a microprocessor in a printer or a typesetting device.

Postscript commands can, for example, precisely position text, in various fonts and sizes, draw images that are mathematically described, and specify colour or shading.

Text in various fonts and sizes are employed to achieve different effects in publishing. Postscript is normally produced by text formatting programs, word processors, graphic display tools. It is also a good match for high resolution laser paper.

Text tool

This device affords the page planner to draw the number of columns he wants in which the texts would be inserted.

Web scripting

Web scripting is one of the computer terms which can add information to a page as a reader uses it or let the reader enter information that may, for example, be passed on to the order department of an online business. CGI (common gateway interface) provides one mechanism; it transmits requests and responses between the reader’s Web browser and the Web server that provides the page.

The CGI component on the server contains small programs called scripts that take information from the browser system or provide it for display.

A simple script might ask the reader’s name, determine the Internet address of the system that the reader uses, and print a greeting. Scripts may be written in any programming language, but, because they are generally simple text-processing routines, scripting languages like PERL are particularly appropriate.

Smart drawing tool

This is the device used for drawing caricature and other graphical representation e.g bar chart, pie charts.


This is the measure of the sharpness of an image or of the fineness with which a device, a printer, or scanner can produce or record such image usually expressed as the total number or density of pixels in the image. Resolution is used to aesthetically bring out the needed part of an image.


Encarta premium (2009) “Computer Technology”

Encyclopedia Britannica “Computer programming language” Ultimate Reference Suite.

Li, X. ed. (2006). Internet Newspapers: The making of a mainstream medium , New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Orhewere, J. and Akindele, R. (2002). Editing and production in print journalism, Ibadan: Adalef Communication.

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