Electronic mail, sometimes
called email, is a computer based method of sending messages from one
computer user to another. These messages usually consist of individual
pieces of text which you can send to another computer user even if the
other user is not logged in (i.e. using the computer) at the time you
send your message. The message can then be read at a later time. This
procedure is analogous to sending and receiving a letter.
When mail is received on a computer system, it is usually stored in an electronic mailbox for the recipient to read later. Electronic mailboxes are usually special files on a computer which can be accessed using various commands. Each user normally has their individual mailbox.
It is traightforward to send electronic mail between users of different computer systems which are connected to major networks. Most major academic and research institutions and companies throughout the world can now be reached by electronic mail. In addition, a growing number of individuals can be contacted in this way. In the UK, most academic and research institutions are linked by a network called JANET (or SuperJANET). This is effectively part of the Internet, so email can be exchanged with most national and international networks.
Last Updated 18 Aug 2000. Please mail any comments to C.B.Bayliss@bham.ac.uk
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