Mutech Glossary

This glossary defines many of the special terms that have been used in the website, in The Mu Primer, The Mudoc Technology (The Mudoc Corporation's business plan), and The Metafarm plan. Most apply to reading psychology, to the mudoc technology, to linguistics, or to electronic publishing. Some have other meanings in other disciplines or in other contexts.


accelerated speech: See compressed speech.

acuity: See visual acuity.

add-in board: An expansion board installed in a microcomputer or other electronic system to provide additional capabilities or to perform special functions that were not provided by or performed by the original hardware. The board may simply make the system faster, or give it greater capacity, or make it more powerful. The board may include software as well as microprocessors and other electronic circuitry. See expansion board and firmware.

add-on software package: Supplemental software developed to run with and add capabilities to an existing software application.

algorithm: A precisely defined set of rules or a structured procedure that provides the solution to a problem in a finite number of steps. An algorithm is like a "recipe" in that it can be used in many different kitchens to achieve a desired result. In computer science, algorithms are step-by-step procedures that can be used with many different computers. The algorithm spells out the rules that need to be followed in developing a particular program that will run under a particular operating system in a particular computer using a particular programming language or computer language. The algorithm details the procedure in a language that humans can understand. The program provides specific coded instructions for a particular type of computer in a language that the computers can understand. See annotation algorithm and formation algorithm.

algorithmics: The area of human study, knowledge, and expertise that concerns algorithms, including their theory, development, and use. Algorithmics is central to, but not limited to, computer science. Algorithmics is relevant to most areas of science, technology, and business - and to many other areas of human activity.

analog computer: Analog computers and other analog devices deal with continuously variable values or signals as opposed to digital devices that deal only with digits or discrete integers.

anamorphic lens: A lens that distorts images in a prescribed manner for a specific purpose. A second lens can be used to restore the images to their original shape.

(the mudoc) annotation algorithm: One of the two basic algorithms used in the mudoc software. (The other is the formation algorithm.) A full description is provided in Appendix C of The Mu Primer. The annotation algorithm permits multiple sets of text to be combined as a single set in a special digital format. Text in the mudoc digital format can be displayed in any of a variety of typographical formats, e.g. in the conventional linear typography or in a one-line, two-line, three-line, four-line, or five-line mu format. Without the annotation algorithm, mudoc text would require several times more storage space than conventionally stored text. With it, mudoc text in most languages will require little more storage space in digital media than conventional text.

application: A software package that enables a computer to carry out a particular set of tasks or functions. Applications are often called programs, but most applications consist of collections of many different but related programs. WordPerfect, Acrobat, QuarkXpress, QuattroPro, and PowerPoint are examples of applications. See program.

ASIC: Acronym for application-specific integrated circuit, a microprocessor or co-processor designed to perform a specific function or set of functions. ASICs are often designed to provide special or additional capabilities to a particular computer system.

assimilation: As used in The Mu Primer, the visual or aural input of new information and the interpretation of that information through the use of previously acquired information.

auditory cortex: The area of the cerebral cortex where auditory nerve impulses are processed. Also the area where sound perception is mediated.

aural: Relates to the sense of hearing; information received through the ear or devices used in research of the ears. Often confused with "oral." Because "aural" and "oral" sound so much alike, "auditory" is often used instead of "aural."

binary arithmetic: Mathematical operations performed using the binary digits, 1 and 0.

binary code: A system for representing information by combinations of two symbols, usually ones and zeros.

bit-mapping: Describing or displaying computerized images on a pixel-by-pixel (dot-by-dot or point-by-point) basis, with each pixel representing a bit (binary digit) 0 (off) or 1 (on).

bit: Bit is a contraction of binary digit. The smallest unit of information in a digital computer, equivalent to a single zero or one.

brainware: See grayware.

byte: The amount of memory space required to store one character, which is normally 8 bits. A computer with 8-bit bytes can distinguish 28 = 256 different characters. The size of computer memories and the capacities of computer storage systems are usually measured in kilobytes (210 = 1,024 bytes), megabytes (220 = 1,048,576 bytes), gigabytes (230 = 1,073,741,824 bytes), or terabytes (240 = 1,099,511,627,776 bytes).

CASL: (Pronounced like castle.) Acronym for Center for Advanced Study in Linguistics. A private not-for-profit corporation that will soon be chartered in Arizona, California, Japan, or India. The CASL will be endowed, in part, with monies, patent rights, stock, or other gifts from The Mudoc Corporation. Its primary long-term goal will be the development and propagation of Easy. Other goals will include investigation of the effectiveness of the mu method, the development or enhancement of translation tools for use with computers, and other research that will advance the study of linguistics, particularly as it relates to the mudoc technology.

CD-ROM: Initials of Compact Disc Read Only Memory. CD-ROMs are the same kind of 4.72 inch compact discs that are used for audio recordings, but CD-ROMs may contain many additional types of digital data, including text, pictures, graphics, and any other kind of information that can be digitized. Compact discs are non-erasable optical discs that, with today's technology, have a maximum capacity of 682 megabytes of digital data (that is, two to three hundred thousand pages of text). The DVD technology provides a 25-fold increase in that capacity (see "Role of the DVD in the mudoc technology").

cerebral cortex: The surface layer of the cerebrum that consists of about 9 billion cell bodies, bodies that have a gray appearance (from which we get terms like "gray matter" and "grayware"). Localized in the cerebral cortex are the primary sensory centers for motor control and the complex areas that govern the higher mental processes.

character-mapping: The computerized display of text with the characters occupying uniformly-sized blocks of space arranged in a matrix of rows and columns - that is, the display of text without proportional spacing. From the computer's standpoint, this is the most efficient way of displaying text. From the reader's standpoint, however, efficiency is reduced because character-mapped text is not as readable as proportionately spaced text. See Chapter I of The Mu Primer for a discussion of the perceptual efficiency of various kinds of text displays.

code: In information theory, the process by which a receiver translates signals into messages. Visual stimuli may be treated as signals that one's photoreceptors encode into neural impulses that are decoded by the brain.

compact disc: Compact disc, or CD, is a generic term that refers to any digital storage technology that uses 12-centimeter optical discs. The most popular CD technology is CD audio, which uses compact discs to store music in a digital format. CD audio players can be used with any stereo system. See also CD-ROM.

compressed speech: Recorded speech accelerated electronically without changing its pitch or tone of the speech. Speech recorded with analog recorders (see VSR) is accelerated by removing extremely small segments of the sound flow. Digitally recorded speech and synthetic speech are much easier to compress, extend, and modify in other ways.

concordance: An alphabetic listing of all words found in a document, with references to their location in the document. See mudoc concordance.

cone: One of two types of photosensitive cells (photoreceptors) in the retina that is capable of transforming the energy of light into nerve impulses. Cones enable us to perceive different colors, whereas rods (the other type of photoreceptor) only enable us to differentiate between black, white, and shades of gray. There are approximately seven million cones in each retina, compared with 120-125 million rods.

consortium: (Pronounced con-sor´shi-um; the plural of which is consortia, pronounced con-sor´shi-a.) A coalition of organizations that are functioning as partners or collaborators in carrying out efforts of mutual interest, usually with a written agreement to work together in a particular manner. See mudoc consortium.

(Easy) content character: The type of Easy character that carries the specific meaning or substance of the meaning unit. Easy content characters will include (1) the most frequently used words, (2) the equivalents of roots, prefixes, suffixes, and (3) the Easy alphabetic and numeric characters.

(Easy) core character: One of the small, relatively intricate characters of Easy that are used in the center of the Easy muglyphs.

cortical data: Data that is processed by or in the cerebral cortex of the brain.

data: (Pronounced day´ta by computer scientists and academicians.) Data are specific facts or representations of facts, concepts, numbers, letters, symbols, or instructions suitable for communication, interpretation, or processing. Data are the basic elements of information used to describe objects, ideas, conditions, or situations. Data is the plural of datum (pronounced day´tum), which means a single fact. Data processing is the act of using data for making calculations or decisions.

digital computer: A computer that represents information in discrete form, as opposed to an analog computer, which allows representations to vary along a continuum.

digital: Employing discrete integers (usually the binary digits, 0 and 1) to represent data and information.

digital versatile disc: A high-capacity compact disc that makes possible the use of mudoc reference substructures. See mudoc reference substructures in this glossary and "Role of the DVD in the mudoc technology" in the website.

digital video disc: See DVD.

DVD: Stands for digital versatile disc. Originally the initials stood for digital video disc, but because the DVD disc and its underlying technology are coming to be used for many purposes in addition to movie and video presentations, digital versatile disc is becoming its more common meaning.

Easy: A special language for readers now under development by The Mudoc Corporation. The general perceptual and logical requirements of the language are discussed in Chapter IV of The Mu Primer. The perceptually more efficient symbols of Easy will permit readers to assimilate larger muglyphs than is possible with existing natural languages. Easy will also be an artificial language that can be used in the same ways that we use natural languages. It will be a computer language that will facilitate interaction with computers. Its development will be completed by the Center for Advanced Study in Linguistics. See CASL, and the Easy Development section of the Mudoc Corporation business plan.

ergonomics: The study of the problems of people in adjusting to their environments. Usually used in a more narrow sense as the science that seeks to adapt work and working conditions to suit the worker. The Mudoc Corporation has a special interest in how people use and work with computers. See telereader terminal.

euphonic: Generally, having a pleasant or agreeable sound. In phonetics, "euphonic" refers to words that have evolved to the point that they are easily pronounced by the dropping of dissimilar sounds or by having dissimilar sounds become alike. For example, in the word "cupboard," the "p" sound has been changed so the word is easier to pronounce.

expansion board: A supplemental board for a computer system that includes special microprocessors, application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), ROM chips, and/or additional RAM capacity to give the system capabilities that it otherwise would not have. See add-in board.

far-point video display system: A display system that permits the viewer to use their far-point vision instead of, or in addition to, their near-point vision.

far-point vision: The mode of vision used in looking at distant objects. Many vertebrates can vary the lenses of their eyes to focus on both nearby and more distant objects. The visual systems of some of those species (including Homo sapiens) are primarily far-point systems, but, through an accommodation of the eyes' lenses, objects that are close to the eyes can be brought into focus. Others species have visual systems that are primarily near-point systems, but distant objects can be brought into focus through lens accommodations (accomplished by contraction of selected ciliary muscles in the eyes). One of the most common causes of human vision disorders is the extended viewing of near-point objects with far-point eyes - such activities as reading and looking at computer displays. One of the advantages of the telereader is that the user can read and work using their far-point vision. See telereader terminal and near-point vision.

firmware: Software that is provided to a computer system in some fixed form, such as read-only memory (ROM) chips. For example, one means of providing the mudoc software to users could be by marketing mudoc expansion boards for various kinds of personal computers and operating systems (as an alternative to the incorporation of the mudoc algorithms in their applications by software publishers or to the marketing of separate add-on software packages that include the mudoc algorithms).

fixation: In reading, the brief period during which the eye is at rest and focused on a target object in the center of the visual field. It is during these periods that the visual system can process printed information.

flat panel displays: Electronic video displays that do not require the kind of electron gun employed in cathode ray tubes and, hence, display images on flat panels rather than the face of a bulky CRT. The principal types of flat panel displays now being used and/or developed are liquid-crystal, gas plasma, electroluminescent, vacuum fluorescent, and field emission displays.

floppy disk: Electromagnetic storage medium consisting of a thin mylar sheet that revolves within a flexible jacket. See also microdiskette.

font: The collection of all the various characters and symbols of a typeface in one particular size and typestyle. For example, 18-point Helvetica italic is one of the fonts of the Helvetica typeface. In some word-processing and desktop publishing applications, however, the term font is used to designate what has traditionally been called typeface in the printing and publishing fields. See typeface.

(the mudoc) formation algorithm: One of the two basic algorithms used in the mudoc software. (The other is the annotation algorithm.). The formation algorithm permits the user to manipulate text that has been stored in the mudoc digital format. The user can have text displayed as muvies, with muglyphs up to five lines in height, as pages of text in one to five line mu-text formats, or as pages of text in the conventional linear typography. It also permits users to specify other characteristics and parameters of the text that will be displayed, such as typeface size, typestyle, text advancement procedures, etc. A full description of the algorithm is provided in Appendix C of The Mu Primer.

fovea centralis: A small depression at the center of the retina that provides the highest acuity in the human visual system. There are about 35,000 cones in the fovea and one nerve fiber for each cone. It is the one-to-one photoreceptor-to-nerve fiber ratio that provides the high acuity.

gigabyte: See byte.

grayware: Perceptual, logical, or linguistic tools used to improve the performance of those psychophysical systems that human beings employ to process, store, and manipulate information. The mu method, muvies, and Easy, are examples of grayware tools that are being developed by The Mudoc Corporation. Such tools are sometimes called human software or brainware.

hardware: The physical apparatus of a computer system.

HDTV: See high-definition television.

high-definition television: High-resolution television system that provides photo-like images. Resolution is four times or more that of present television display systems. The early Japanese efforts involved analog systems, however American electronics manufacturers concluded that HDTV should be a digital technology and have led HDTV technology in that direction.

high-level language: A programming language that approximates human language more closely than does machine code or assembly language, and in which one instruction may invoke many machine-language or assembly-language instructions.

homograph: A word with the same spelling as another but with a different meaning and origin, and sometimes, a different pronunciation; for example, bow, as in a tie, a violin tool, etc., and bow, as in to bend or stoop, the front end of a ship, etc. Homographs are one of the inherent limitations of natural languages that limit their computerizability. (For other examples of homographs, see primer, below.)

horizontal span of apprehension: See span of apprehension.

human software: See grayware.

human technology: The technology concerned with the use and development of human systems - and of tools to increase the effectiveness and efficiency with which we use those systems. The Mudoc Corporation is in the human technology business. It is developing grayware, software, and hardware to improve the performance of those psychophysical systems that human beings use to process, store, manipulate, and utilize information.

hypermedia: A term that has been coined (perhaps by Lucasfilm, who uses it) to avoid the ambiguity of the term multimedia. Multimedia originally meant the use of or combination of two or more media in a single presentation. (See multimedia.) Now, however, multimedia is often used by speakers who are discussing presentations that combine different types of audio/visual displays (e.g., text, tables, charts, still pictures, moving pictures, animated pictures, computer graphics, speech, music, sound effects, etc.) in a single medium, such as a CD-ROM or other type of optical disc. Thus the term hypermedia is coming into use to designate those multimedia presentations that permit interactivity, that are usually all-digital, and that can incorporate any kind of audio/visual display that might be desired. Mudoc publications are usually referred to as hypermedia publications.

hypertext: A recently coined word that designates a new class of software tools used to organize and explore libraries stored in electronic media, tools that permit any information in the library to be quickly retrieved and displayed. At its most basic level, hypertext is a database management system that lets users connect screens of information using associative links. At its most sophisticated level, hypertext is an interactive software environment that permits collaborative work, communication, and knowledge acquisition. Hypertext products mimic the brain's ability to store and retrieve information by referential links for quick and intuitive access. The effectiveness of the mudoc software will be increased through the use of hypertext applications. Hypertext tools will be employed in the mudoc depositories operated by the MuServe organizations. Hypertext tools will, through hierarchical concordance searches, permit any user to locate all references to a particular topic or subject in any mudoc depository.

inclusive reading: Reading in which all the words are seen and seen in their proper sequence, as distinguished from skimming and scanning, in which all the words are not seen. Perfect comprehension can be achieved only with inclusive reading.

(Easy) indicator characters: The large and relatively simple characters of Easy that are used in the outer portions of the Easy muglyphs to show such things as (1) the relationships of the various elements of the core (although the core characters' relative positions will also show relationships, to some extent), (2) grammatical characteristics such as number, tense, case and gender, (3) the relationship of the muglyph to the preceding and following muglyphs, (4) punctuation, and (5) indentation.

information dispensary: A free (that is, subsidized) or low cost facility that makes mudoc publications, Mu Readers, and other electronic learning and information tools available to people in less-developed countries. See Chapter III of The Mu Primer.

interactive movable type: Interactive movable type is text set in a specially-encoded digital format that permits the reader to manipulate and present the text in whatever ways will optimize his or her own information processing capabilities, however limited or however extensive those capabilities may be. In interactive text special characters called musensors replace the spaces between words and/or characters. Each of the 48 musensors in interactive text is an instruction set that can be read by the computer to determine how to carry out the instructions provided by the publisher or the reader. When preparing interactive text for publication, the publisher will provide two sets of specifications, one for text that is to be presented as static displays in the mu typography - and one for muvie displays. The reader can have the text presented with either set of the publisher's specifications or can have the specifications modified to satisfy his or her particular needs or desires. The reader can change any of the document's specifications before starting to read or at any moment while the reading is in progress.

The interactive movable type software is text compression software that combines in a single character string text that has been set in the five mu formats. The encoding scheme in the interactive movable type software is a formatting procedure that can be used with any written natural or artificial language. (For more information see mudoc software and interactive process in this glossary, and the documents offered in the website such as The Mu Primer.)

interactive process: The exchange process between two systems, two devices, or a person and a system or device, where either of the two can transmit data to the other and immediately affect or change the other. Playing a video game is an example of an interactive process. Interactive processes can be contrasted with passive processes - like watching a movie or a television program, or reading a print-on-paper book, or listening to a recording - where there is a one-way flow of information between the transmitter and the receiver, but with little or no two-way interaction between the them. Reading mudocs that are supported by mudoc reference substructures, especially in hypermedia/hypertext environments, may be highly interactive processes.

interface: In mathematics, a surface forming the common boundary between adjacent solids, spaces, etc. In computer science, the place at which and/or process by which two entities in a system meet or interact to exchange data. The exchange of data is usually between a computer and a peripheral device, between two computers, or between a person and a computer. The telereader terminal is a human/computer interface that eliminates or reduces many of the impediments inherent in the input/output devices now in use. The interface provided by the telereader will make the user an integrated and interactive element of the system.

Interlink: Planned international telecommunications system that will allow all MuServe utilities to exchange mudocs with each other. See the MuServe section in The Mudoc Technology.

International Reading Corps: An organization proposed by The Mudoc Corporation. It would be similar to the Peace Corps but would be sponsored by most of the advanced nations to help the less-developed countries move to higher levels of literacy. National information dispensary systems and the tools of the mudoc technology will facilitate their efforts. See The Mu Primer.

jukebox: See optical jukebox.

kilobyte: See byte.

LDC: Abbreviation of less-developed country. According to Professor Ezra Solomon of Stanford University, the term that is generally used by and preferred by economists and geopolitical scientists in referring to "developing," "underdeveloped," "emerging," "poor," and/or "disadvantaged" nations.

linear: Having the direction of or relating to a line; extended in a line or in length. A linear typography is one in which the words or characters are arranged in lines of print. See also planar.

linear typography: The display of text in the conventional format, that is, as lines of print. See typography and mu typography.

linear-to-mu conversion: The rearrangement of words and/or characters in text from the conventional linear typography to a planar typography like the mu typography or the planar form of Easy. The mudoc software performs a linear-to-mu conversion and vice-versa, with natural languages. Easy will be designed to simplify linear-to-mu conversions.

line-break: In a mudoc, the point at which a musensor is inserted to indicate the start of a new line in a muglyph.

logograph: a written symbol representing an entire spoken word without providing any specific information about its pronunciation. Logograph and logogram are used interchangeably, but usually logogram is used when speaking about symbols such as "&," "$," "@," and "%," symbols used to represent words in English, where logograph is more often used when discussing the kind of characters that are used in a language like Chinese.

logographic language: A natural language (such as Mandarin) in which the written characters are used to represent words. Logographic characters do not include information about how the word is to be pronounced, in contrast with phonographic languages (such as Spanish and, to a limited extent, English) where the pronunciation of the word can be determined from the letters in the word. Some logographs (sometimes called logograms) are also used in phonographic languages, such as "&," "$," "@," and "%," symbols that represent words but do not provide information about how the words are to be pronounced.

macula lutea: A yellowish area about two millimeters in diameter in the center of the retina that contains and surrounds the fovea centralis.

meaning unit: See mu.

megabyte: See byte.

MetaBook Club: One of The Mudoc Corporation's mudoc marketing programs. Generally, there will be one MetaBook club in each nation. Outside the United States, most MetaBook Clubs will be joint ventures of The Mudoc Corporation and one or more other firms of the mudoc consortium in the nation involved. All publications that have been published in the mudoc format will be available from each MetaBook Club. If a MetaBook Club member wants a particular language version of a mudoc that is not available from his or her national MetaBook Club, that club will request the desired publication from the appropriate MuServe depository or other source. MetaBook Club members can have mudocs delivered by mail or by telephone or satellite - or they can pick them up at the nearest MuCenter. Any mubook that is in print can also be acquired from any MetaBook Club. If a mubook is out of print, the MetaBook Club member can ask the Club to print and send a copy of the publication, or a portion of the publication if the mudoc version is available from any source. Or, the member can have a hard copy printed and bound at any MuCenter. The MetaBook Clubs will also provide Mu Reader systems and other hardware products, software packages, instructional packages, and other products that might be needed by mudoc readers. So, any individual who does not have ready access to a MuCenter can acquire whatever products he or she needs to become mudoc readers by joining their nation's MetaBook Club. Club members will have no minimum purchase requirements, but will receive increasingly large discounts in accordance with the number of documents purchased. See pages 31-35 of The Mudoc Technology for a full description.

metacommunication: Compound word formed by combining meta, the Greek word meaning along with, after, beyond, between, among, transcending, and communication, hence metacommunication might be defined as communication that transcends or goes beyond ordinary communication.

metafarm: The Metafarm is a novel by Wayne R. Porter. It is one of the three books that comprise The Mu Primer trilogy. Metafarms are the principal habitats of most information age workers in the 21st century. Metafarms are non-commercial farms where residents produce most of their own food. But most of the work performed by metafarm residents involves information age products or services, not agricultural products. The novel depicts a reversal of the trend toward urbanization that has been seen around the world during the last few centuries. The principal character, Gerald Harold Fliess, is a physicist who has developed the aquaverter, a solar powered device that efficiently turns water into hydrogen and oxygen, allowing hydrogen to be used as an inexpensive and non-polluting fuel. Fliess is also the developer of metalingua, a new kind of language derived from modern theoretical physics (described below). A synopsis, chapter summaries, and the production and marketing plan of The Metafarm is a separate addendum to The Mudoc Technology, Mudoc Corporation's the business plan.

metalanguage: A language that is used to analyze or describe another language. Metalingua is a language that is used to describe and analyze all other languages.

metalingua: A special linguistic system used to describe and discuss other linguistic systems and to analyze statements made in other languages. Metalingua is not subject to the kind of rules and regularities that are generally imposed on the natural and artificial languages that have been developed by human beings. Metalingua employs non-empirical, non-rational methods of analysis and description that are derived from modern theoretical relativistic physics. Metalingua is not a new kind of symbolization (as Easy is), but is simply a different way of talking about the world. With metalingua, one speaks more from the viewpoint of a single atomic particle than from that of a complex organism - a viewpoint that, in The Metafarm, Fliess calls "the particle perspective." Metalingua is more a linguistic and physical reorientation than a new language. The use and value of metalingua is best shown with examples, so it is used and discussed extensively in The Metafarm.

microdiskette: Floppy disks 3.5 inches in diameter that are surrounded by a rigid jacket. See floppy disk.

mu: (Pronounced with a long u, as in mutation.) The twelfth letter of the Greek alphabet. In The Mu Primer, it is an acronym for meaning unit, which is defined in english as a sentence or a logical subdivision of a sentence. See muglyph and Chapter I of The Mu Primer.

MuBook: A book that differs from conventional books in only one major respect: it is set in the mu typography.

mubreak: The point selected by the musetter or the musetting program to end a muglyph. The point is at a period, a semi-colon, or another logical breaking point in the text.

MuCenter: A neighborhood information store, communications center, and reading room. Any publication that has been issued in the mudoc format in any language can be obtained from any MuCenter. Mudocs that are not available in a MuCenter's optical jukebox can be requested from the nearest MuServe depository via fiber optic cable or satellite. Hard copies of any mudoc, or any part of any mudoc, can be printed at any MuCenter. Additionally, any publication that is available as a mudoc can be ordered and/or acquired through any MuCenter. The full description of the kinds of publications, hardware and software products, and services that will be offered by these new convenience stores are described in "The MuCenter" section of The Mudoc Corporation's business plan, The Mudoc Technology.

mudoc: Contraction of meaning unit document. Mudoc is a general term applied to any document that has been treated by the annotation algorithm and has its text stored as interactive movable type. Specific types of mudocs will include muviebooks, muviemags, muviejournals, muviepapers - that is, books, magazines, journals, newspapers, etc. whose text has been set in interactive movable type. (See annotation algorithm, interactive movable type, and muvie entries in this glossary and "What is a mudoc anyway?" at

mudoc concordance: An index created for a mudoc by generating an alphabetical list of all the words in the mudoc. The concordance permits the reader to immediately find any word or word combination in the document. Before generating the concordance, certain common words may be excluded, articles like a, an, and the, prepositions like of, with, by, on, in, but, etc., conjunctions like and and or, pronouns, common verbs, and others. But all words in the document that are not specifically excluded will be in the concordance. All common and proper nouns and most verbs and adjectives will be included. The storage requirements of the concordance may equal that of the original document in size. Mudoc concordances will facilitate the use of hypertext tools with mudocs. See concordance and hypertext.

mudoc consortium: A group of organizations formed in a particular nation to bring the products of the mudoc technology to the people of that nation. The International Development section of The Mudoc Corporation business plan describes how the consortia will be organized and how they will operate. See consortium.

mudoc digital format: The special digital format that is generated when text is treated with the mudoc annotation algorithm. The annotation algorithm is described in detail in Appendix C of The Mu Primer.

mudoc reference substructure: A database and software support system that facilitates the use of mudocs with a Mu Reader. Each substructure will include a collection of reference works on one or more DVDs or other high capacity storage devices that provide the readers of mudocs with immediate access to vast quantities of informational materials, including dictionaries (general, special, dual-language, etc.), thesauruses, grammars, visual and aural spelling tools, translation tools, encyclopedias, and other reference works selected by the reader. Each substructure will also include software products. Speech synthesis software will permit the Mu Reader user to hear any of the text that is included in any mudoc. Speech recognition software will permit the user to give oral commands to, and to ask questions of, the Mu Reader. With the addition of artificial intelligence software, users will be able to carry on more complex oral conversations with the Mu Reader. Dual-language reference substructures will be employed when one is learning a new language or when reading mudocs that are not in one's native language. The use of the reference substructures (and the visual/aural nature of mudocs) will permit illiterate individuals to read and understand any text that has been stored in the mudoc format - and will enable most of those who are now unable to read to teach themselves to read.

mudoc software: Software now being developed that will enable computers to function as electronic reading machines. In addition to displaying documents on computer screens, the mudoc software will be used to typeset print-on-paper publications in the mu typography. (The mu typography is described and illustrated below and in "Text set in the Mu Typography".) The software employs two new algorithms, the annotation algorithm and the formation algorithm. (The algorithms are described briefly in this glossary and more fully in The Mu Primer.)

mudoc technology: The collective term applied to the array of tools and techniques in computer software, computer hardware, optics, communications, linguistics, and "grayware" that are being designed and developed by Mudoc Corporation to extend the capabilities of individuals in acquiring, handling, understanding, and using printed information. Three of the principal new products of the mudoc technology are (1) the mudoc software, (2) the telereader terminal, a new computer display system, and (3) Easy, a special language for readers(see "Mudoc Corporation's New Tools for Learning, Reading and Working.") Other products include mudocs and mudoc reference substructures (see "What is a mudoc anyway?"). These products are described in this glossary, in The Mu Primer, and in The Mudoc Technology, Mudoc Corporation's business plan.

mu format: Text displayed in the mu typography with a particular limitation in the number of lines in the muglyphs. For example, a "three-line mu format," means that the text is displayed in uniformly spaced muglyphs, with a maximum height of three lines per muglyph, but said text may also include some one and two line muglyphs.

muglyph: A meaning unit with the words centered about is single point in the center of the clutter so it can be seen with a single fixation of the eyes, see illustration in mu typography.

multimedia: When originally coined, the term was used to designate media presentations in which more than one medium was to be employed. For example, a multimedia presentation might include moving or animated pictures, video recordings, audio recordings, photographic slides, overhead projector displays, opaque projector displays, blackboards, paper charts or posters, and/or paper handouts. With the development of electronic recording and display systems that could, in various ways, coordinate or consolidate different kinds of visual and aural displays, the use of the term started changing. The introduction and use of high volume digital storage devices and computer-generated images in media presentations led to further changes in the use of the term. The term is now used by some (such as those working with the CD-ROM technology) to mean presentations that are made with all-electronic, and often all-digital, display systems that employ a variety of visual and aural stimuli obtained from different kinds of media sources. The newer multimedia presentations sometimes permit some kinds of interactivity between the user and the contents of the data in the presentation. The ambiguity and confusion that has resulted from the changing use of the term multimedia has led to the coining of a new term, hypermedia, to designate a multimedia system that is all-electronic and interactive. See hypermedia.

multitasking: The operation of several separate but interrelated tasks within a single program identity. For example, a microprocessor-controlled multitasking VCR system might combine text displays with full-motion video, moving animations, still pictorial or graphic displays, multi-channel sound, and interactive games using either digital or analog data from the tape.

multitasking operating system: An operating system that is used to handle a number of random, asynchronous inputs. Such systems use procedures in which separate but interrelated tasks operate within a single program identity. Most hypermedia systems employ multitasking.

multivoice sound generator: A sound generating system for computers that can produce a wide range and variety of sounds.

mu method: The method of reading normally used when reading information displayed in the mu typography, that is, reading one meaning unit after the other, making a single fixation on each muglyph.

Mu Reader: A computer system that contains all the components and capabilities needed to display mudocs. The term is always capitalized to avoid confusion of the term with other kinds of readers, particularly human readers.

musensors: Markers or tags installed in mudoc text that permits the user to specify various parameters and conditions under which the information is to be presented. Musensors are normally invisible to the user, but can be brought to visibility at any time by the user (or writer or typesetter or musetter) to let him/her insert new musensors or to change any of the musensors that have already been incorporated in any text - if that text is in a modifiable medium (such as RAM or magnetic media).

MuServe: An information utility that serves as a depository and distribution center for publications issued in the mudoc digital format. Many of the publications will be hypermedia publications that include non-text components. Most MuServe organizations will be operated by telecommunication companies. There will normally be one MuServe organization per nation, although some may serve larger areas. For example, AT&T might operate MuServe North America and serve the U.S., Canada, Mexico, and the other central American and Caribbean basin countries. The MuServe utilities will distribute publications through fiber optic cables, satellites, or other communication channels. (See the section of The Mudoc Technology entitled "MuServe America and Other MuServe Utilities.")

musetter: A person who, with the help of the mudoc software, sets text in the mu typography.

mutech: A contraction of "mudoc technology."

mutext: Text that has been set in the mu typography. See next entry.

mu typography: The arrangement and display of text as muglyphs, logically-related groups of words arranged in clusters, each of which can be seen by a normally-sighted reader in a single fixation. (See Chapter I of The Mu Primer.) For example the sentence, "The quick red fox jumps over the lazy brown dog," might be displayed in the mu typography as three mu glyphs:

 The quick
red fox


the lazy
brown dog.

or it might be displayed as a single ten-word muglyph:

quick red fox
jumps over
the lazy brown

muvable type: A shorthand expression for interactive movable type. It emphasizes a basic characteristic of text set in interactive movable type -- that the text consists of series of meaning units rather than strings of individual words.

muvie: A succession of muglyphs in the same space (much as a movie is a succession of pictorial images in the same space), with the display rate, muglyph size, type size, typestyle, and other elements of the display controlled by the Mu Reader user through the use of the mudoc software. When the user stops a muvie, a page of muglyphs will appear on the screen, usually with the "stopped-on" muglyph appearing at or near the center of the display screen. When reading a muvie, the reader can specify either a visual display rate, in muglyphs per second, or an aural presentation rate in phones per second.

national information dispensary system (NIDS): A general information utility system designed to serve, through satellite communications, a large number of information dispensaries in a less-developed country. NIDS will be an affordable way of giving a less-developed country's general population access to Mu Readers and the kinds of informational materials and products and services that will be provided by MuServes and MuCenters in the advanced nations. Some NIDS are expected to evolve into MuServe organizations and, if that happens, many information dispensaries will become full-fledged MuCenters, franchises and all. See the MuServe section of the business plan and Chapter III in The Mu Primer.

natural languages: Ordinary human written and/or spoken languages that have developed or evolved gradually (e.g., English, Mandarin, Hindi, Spanish, German, French, Latin, or any of the myriad languages that have been or are now being used around the world in personal intercourse), in contrast with artificial languages such as computer, programming, or machine languages, or artificial languages like Esperanto, Interlingua, or Basic English, artificial languages that have been developed for human intercourse.

near-point vision: The mode of vision used for looking at objects that are short distances from the eyes. See far-point vision for explanation and comparison.

nerve fiber: Any of the threadlike, hairlike projections emanating from a cell body and making up a nerve, such as the nerve fibers connected to the rods and cones that make up the optic nerve.

nerve impulse: A wave of electrical excitation transmitted along a nerve fiber and continuing until the resulting current has been discharged into the appropriate sensory or motor channels.

NIDS: See national information dispensary system.

operating system: A set of programs used to control, assist, or supervise all other programs that run on a computer system - a set of programs that makes it possible for users to enter and run their own programs. Also see multitasking operating system.

optical disc: A high capacity data storage disc on which the bits of information are stored as pits that are burned into the disc by laser beams. Digital versatile discs (DVDs) are one particular type of optical disc. Most optical discs now in use are non-erasable, but erasable disc systems have been developed and are now being marketed. Optical disc system capacities are usually measured in megabytes or gigabytes.

optical jukebox: A large capacity data storage system that resembles a musical jukebox in that a number of optical discs are available in a transport system that will take the discs to one or more disc drives to access data that is stored on the discs.

optic nerve: One of the two nerves of sight, connecting the retina of the eye to the brain. The optic nerves are the pathways that carry information from the eye to the brain.

optics: The branch of physics dealing with the nature and properties of light and vision.

oralize: To vocalize while reading. Synonyms include "subvocalization," "inner speech," "silent speech," and others. Oralization is an unconscious activity that impedes the efficient processing of text. Oralizations range from whispers to muscle movements so minute they can only be detected with electrodes attached to the reader's larynx. Oralization slows reading considerably because it subordinates our sense of sight, our dominant sense, to our sense of hearing. About 90% of readers are oralizers. The remaining 10% of readers tend to become the most proficient readers because they interpret the text directly as visual data without being slowed by the visual-to-aural translation.

perception: The process of knowing objects and objective events through any of the senses and the use of this raw sensory information to help an organism make sense of its environment.

peripheral devices: Devices that are added to a computer system to extend its capabilities or to enable it to perform additional functions that it otherwise could not perform - or could not perform as well.

peripheral images: Images that fall in the outer portions of an individual's visual field where the acuity is low and sensitivity is high. See discussion in Chapter I of The Mu Primer.

phone: A single speech sound.

phoneme: (Pronounced fo´neem.) One of the basic, elemental sounds of a spoken language. In English, there are about forty phonemes that make up, in various combinations, the sound system of the language.

phonemic transition: (Pronounced fo-neem´ick.) A program-generated change that turns a printed word into its spoken sounds in a speech synthesis program.

phonographic language: A natural language (Spanish, for example) in which the written symbols usually contain the information needed to pronounce the spoken counterparts (and, conversely, in which the spelling of the word can usually be determined by the way the word is pronounced) -- or an artificial language (Esperanto, for example) in which there is a regular consistent relationship between the spoken and written words. Because there are many irregularities and inconsistencies between the words and sounds, English is a only semiphonographic language, a great hindrance in attempting to develop effective text-to-speech and speech-to-text applications.

photophone: A telephone that transmits still pictures as well as conversations, as contrasted with videophones, which can transmit full-motion video pictures as well as still images and conversations.

photoreceptors: Nerve receptors for which the adequate or normal stimulus is light. In Homo sapiens, there are two types of photoreceptors, rods and cones. The photoreceptors are the only nerve endings in humans that get information directly from the external world. There are about 125 million photoreceptors in each human retina. The retinas are literally the individual's window on the world. The retinas transmit data to the brain through the optic nerves' two million nerve fibers. In sighted individuals, the optic nerves provide over two-thirds of the neural impulses processed by the brain.

pixel: Short for Picture Element. A pixel is a single point in a graphic image. A graphic image consists of pixels arranged in rows and columns and so close together they appear to be connected. The number of bits used to represent each pixel determines how many colors or shades of gray can be displayed. In 8-bit color mode, a color monitor uses 8 bits for each pixel, making it possible to display 2 to the 8th power (256) different colors or shades of gray. In colored images, each pixel is actually composed of three dots -- a red, a blue, and a green one. The quality of a display system largely depends on its reolution, how many pixels it can display, and how many bits are used to represent each pixel. In printing on paper, a pixel refers to one of the dots on the page.

planar: Of or pertaining to a plane; lying in one plane; flat; two-dimensional. See also linear.

p-o-p: Contraction of print-on-paper.

primer: (Pronounced with a short i - as in prim and proper.) 1. originally, a prayer book; 2. a book for teaching children how to read or spell; 3. a textbook that gives the first principles of any subject; 4. in printing, either of two sizes of type: a) great primer, or 18 point, b) long primer, or 10 point. Primer is often confused with its homograph, primer (pronounced with a long i, as in prime minister), which means: 1. a person or thing that primes, such as an undercoating for a coat of paint, or 2. a small cap, tube, etc. containing a small explosive charge that is used to fire the main charge of a gun or bomb.

program: A specific set of instructions that a computer can execute to perform a particular task or function. Programs can be written in a high level language, such as C++, BASIC or Pascal, or in an assembly language. The programs that direct a computer are called software.

psycholinguistics: Study of the operation and use of the information handling and storage systems of Homo sapiens and other species in processing speech, text, and/or other linguistic and symbolic data.

psychometrics: (Also called psychometry.) The field of study concerned with the development, use, and analysis of psychological and educational tests and measurements. Psychometric instruments may be of many different types and may be used to evaluate knowledges, verbal skills, mathematical skills, motor skills, dexterity, eye-hand and other types of coordination, aptitudes, interests, personality traits and temperaments, or specific abilities like typing, taking dictation, interpreting, translating, musetting, etc.

psychometrist: A psychological test developer, interpreter, researcher, or other professional practitioner of psychometrics.

psychophysics: The study of the optical, acoustic, electrical, chemical, mechanical, and other physical processes attendant to the psychological functions of Homo sapiens and other animal species.

RAM: Acronym for random-access memory, a form of temporary internal storage whose contents can be retrieved and altered by the user. RAM data usually disappears when a computer is turned off or when there is a loss of power.

rational: Of, based on, or derived from reasoning, usually involving the use of deductive systems of logic and analysis.

Reading Corps: See International Reading Corps.

regression: In reading, a backward glance to reread a portion of the text that has already been read.

resolution: The degree to which details of an image can be separated or resolved. Resolution is usually measured on computer displays by the number of pixels, or dots, that appear on the display, e. g., a resolution of 1200 x 1000 means that 1,000 lines of 1,200 dots each form a matrix of 1,200,000 pixels on the display surface. Such a resolution is usually stated as "1200x1000 resolution" but, sometimes, as "1200 dots x 1000 lines," or perhaps as "1200 by 1000 pixels." A resolution of 1200x1000 is considered high in a personal computer display, although 1600x1200 displays are now being marketed - and 4000x3000 workstation displays are now available. Some older personal computer displays have resolution as low as 480x200. The manufacturers of high-resolution displays now usually specify dots per inch (dpi), as well as dots per screen. They feel that dpi is a more meaningful specification because, while screens come in many sizes, inches come in only one. A definite trend in computer displays is higher and higher resolution - with continuing advances in the technology and in manufacturing processes. With television displays, resolution is usually given in the number of scanning lines (from top to bottom) in the TV image, with conventional television having 525 scanning lines. The digital high-definition television systems now coming on the market have 1080 scanning lines with 1920 dots per line (i.e., 1920x1080 resolution) providing far greater definition than today's conventional TV images. The resolution of computer printers is usually stated in dots per inch. Dot matrix printers range in resolution from 50 to 360 dpi. Ink-jet printers range from 300 to 1440 dpi. Most laser printers now being marketed fall into the 300 to 1200 dpi range, but high resolution commercial printers can provide copy up to 3200 dpi.

resolving power of the eye: The ability to distinguish objects or stimuli under various specified conditions of illumination, distance, size, color, etc.

retina: The innermost surface of the eyeball that contains the light-sensitive rods and cones and receives visual images that are transmitted as neural impulses to the brain via the optic nerve.

rod: One of the elongated, rod-shaped photosensitive cells (photoreceptors) in the retina with which we perceive black and white and shades of gray. Each human retina has about 120 million rods. See cone.

ROM: Acronym for read-only memory, permanent internal memory containing data or operating instructions that can be read but not altered by the computer or the user.

saccade: (Pronounced sä-käd´.) The movement of the eye that occurs between fixations in reading.

scanning: Passing the eyes over quickly, often to determine the presence of certain items; glancing at, reading hastily.

skimming: Glancing through a document without reading word for word; making a hasty and superficial perusal.

software: The programs, routines, languages, and procedures used in a computer system that tell the computer what to do. Software products include assemblers, generators, subroutines, programming language compilers and interpreters, operating systems, word-processing programs, financial decision-making packages such as spreadsheets, database management programs, and games. The term software is contrasted with hardware, which refers to the actual physical machines that make up a computer system. The hardware by itself is of little value without the instructions that tell it what to do. One may also prepare or obtain software designed to fulfill a specific task, such as maintaining a firm's general ledger or solving a particular type of scientific program. Software that is made a permanent part of a computer's hardware, such as a read-only memory chip, is sometimes called firmware.

span of apprehension: As used by reading psychologists, the length of the span in which an individual can see and understand words. The maximum average horizontal span of apprehension of readers of English language text arranged in the conventional linear typography is three words (when measured with text that averages between five and six letters per word).

span of recognition: The number of words that a reader sees and comprehends in one fixation.

speech recognition: Conversion by computer of spoken sounds to printed text or other form that can be used in data processing applications. Some developers and manufacturers use the term voice recognition. The two terms are interchangeable. Speech recognition software will be employed as part of the mudoc reference substructure to permit Mu Reader users (1) to give spoken commands or to ask questions, (2) to have spoken words converted to printed text, and (3) to have spellings provided by the computer for words spoken into the Mu Reader's microphone. See voice recognition.

speech synthesis: Computer-generated simulation of the sounds of any particular language. The quality of speech simulation is improving dramatically through the collective efforts of many different research organizations. The mudoc software will be combined with speech synthesis software to permit aural presentations of mudoc text and/or pronunciations of any word in the text. Mu Reader users will specify desired aural presentation rates - up to the limits of the Mu Reader's sound system and the reader's own aural apparatus. These limits will be accurately assessed only through experimentation and research, but they are expected to be several hundred words per minute for most people - and for some, possibly 1,000 or more. (The aural display limits with Easy are expected to be substantially higher than the limits of today's natural languages.)

stereoscopic images: The perception of depth or distance usually due to the merging of two slightly dissimilar drawings or images on the retina of the eyes so that the brain sees a three-dimensional scene.

stimuli: Any change in physical energy that activates or incites a receptor cell to action or increased action.

tachistoscope: An apparatus for testing attention, memory, etc. by exposing material for very brief durations of time, usually fractions of a second. The general principle of operation is similar to that of a camera shutter.

telereader terminal: An ergonomically designed computer terminal that capitalizes on the particular sensory, perceptual, cognitive, and motor capabilities of the individual user - however extensive or limited each of those capabilities may be. The telereader will effect completely and precisely controlled visual and aural environments for the user. When using a telereader, the user will literally enter into and become part of the computer system. The telereader will permit easier, faster, and freer interaction between the user and the other elements of the system. Mudoc Corporation is developing the telereader's optical system. The new optical system will permit sighted users to see three-dimensional stereoscopic images, to use their far-point vision, and, through the use of special anamorphic lenses, to see text images that conform better to the distribution patterns of photoreceptors in the user's eyes. The telereader will also, however, make the use of computers easier by the unsighted. The nature and variations of human visual and aural systems are discussed in Chapter I of The Mu Primer. The design and capabilities of the telereader are discussed and illustrated in Chapter II of The Mu Primer. Simple interactive telereaders will be used with personal computer systems. Intelligent telereader terminals will be used in schools, libraries, and businesses where minicomputer and mainframe computer systems and networks are employed. See interface.

terabyte: See byte.

(the mudoc) text-formation algorithm: See formation algorithm.

time-sharing: The simultaneous use of a computer or computer system by more than one person.

typeface: The entire group of fonts in all the various typestyles and sizes of a particular design, such as Times, Century Schoolbook, Helvetica, Palatino, etc. In some computer applications, the term font is used to mean typeface, which is leading to substantial confusion about the use of the terms. See font.

typestyle: A particular design of or design enhancement to a typeface, such as plain typestyle, bold typestyle, italic typestyle, etc. (See typeface.)

typography: Generally, the art and science of using printed characters. Specifically, the process of selecting typefaces, type sizes, and other features of the type to be used, as well as spacing requirements for the layout of a printed document, with particular attention to the arrangement and appearance of text on a page or other display surface. Linear typography refers to the arrangement of text in lines of print. This text is displayed in the linear typography. The mu typography is explained and illustrated under its entry in this glossary.

vanity publisher (or vanity press): A book publisher that edits, produces, publishes, and/or markets books, the costs of which have been paid by the author.

variable speed recorder: See VSR.

vertical span of apprehension: See span of apprehension.

vertical style: The arrangement of word clusters in columns, the clusters being read by making successive vertical fixations down the column. See example in Chapter I.

visual acuity: The resolving power of an eye, that is the degree of sharpness or definition with which a given image can be seen under a particular set of conditions. In normal human visual systems acuity is highest in the center of the visual field - a result of the arrangement of photoreceptors in the retina. In the center of each retina is an area called the fovea centralis, a tightly packed cluster of about 34,000 cones connected to an equal number of nerve fibers. The fovea subtends an arc of about one degree which, on a printed page 12 inches from the eye, would be an area about 1/4 inch in diameter. Acuity is lower in those portions of the visual field that fall on the retina outside the fovea centralis, primarily because of the increasing ratio of photoreceptors to nerve fibers as the distance from the fovea increases. Where there is a 1:1 ratio of photoreceptors to nerve fibers in the fovea, the ratio is as high as 1700:1 in the periphery of the retina. So, while humans have a field of vision that, with two eyes, exceeds 180 degrees and permits them to effectively survey their environment for food, hazards, and mates, the acuity needed to discern images as small and detailed as 10-point type [this is 12-point type] is provided in only a small area in the center of their visual fields. Clearly, Homo sapiens' eyes were not designed for reading as it is now done. But the mudoc technology will permit readers to optimize their visual capabilities in acquiring text and other information from mudocs. For a more extensive discussion of the human visual system, see pages 13-19 of The Mu Primer.

visual cortex: The region of the cerebral cortex presumed responsible for the analysis of visual information.

voice messaging system: A computerized digital communications system that receives, stores, distributes, and transmits voice messages and other data in accordance with specific instructions provided by the message provider and/or the message recipient(s). Messages are received only by those for whom the message was intended. Voice messaging functions will be performed by Mu Readers.

voice recognition: Term applied by some developers and manufacturers to their speech recognition products. The term speech recognition is more widely used in the industry and in the literature. See speech recognition.

VSR: Initials of variable speed recorder. Analog audio recorder that compresses speech by breaking the speech sounds into extremely small units and then removing units in proportion to the degree of compression desired. For example, to double the rate of presentation, every other unit would be removed electronically as the tape is being played back (the recording itself is not modified). With this process, the tone and pitch of the speech is not changed, the speech is still understandable, and the rate of presentation can be increased to the limits of the listener's hearing, neurological, and cognitive systems.

word processing: Using a computer system to write, edit, format, and otherwise prepare a letter, manuscript, publication, or other document for printing or for electronic display.

word recognition: See speech recognition.

WORM: Acronym for write once, read many(or, write once, read as many times as you want). Applied to those optical disc drives that can record digital data on the surface of the disc. The data can then be read as many times as desired, but cannot be erased or changed. The MuCenters will use WORM drives for publication storage and for placing mudocs on customers' optical discs.

write-once optical storage: See WORM.

WYSIWYG: (Pronounced wiz´ee-wig.) Acronym for What you see is what you get. Designation of those computer systems with which the image that is displayed on the screen is essentially the same as the image that will appear when the image is printed. Bit-mapped systems are usually required for WYSIWYG - to achieve such characteristics as proportional spacing. Character-mapped systems do not show what proportionally spaced text will look like when printed.

Mudoc home page

Call for Collaborators

©1999, The Mudoc Corporation (rev. 10/07/00)
If you would like to reprint or reproduce this document electronically or on paper, submit your request to The Mudoc Corporation by FAX, email, or letter describing how it will be used, how it will be reproduced and distributed, and the audience for whom it is intended.