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Stands for random-access memory, the computer’s short-term memory.


A reader is a person who reads content. The Web Content Style Guide defines the person who visits a website as a reader, rather than the more generic term “user,” because the primary thing a person does on a website is read. Thinking of a website as a publication and the people who use the website as readers helps you focus on the essentials: basically, if nobody reads your website, it’s a failure, no matter how technically sophisticated it may be.

reader-generated content

A key difference between Internet publishing and traditional publishing is the reader interaction possible on the Internet.

Reader-generated content is facilitated by mailing lists, discussion boards, chat, customer review boards, and so on. Properly done, reader-generated content encourages reader participation and feedback, creates cost-effective content for the website, and builds a sense of community that will generate repeat visits and a sense of loyalty. It will help you figure out what your customers want.

Reader-generated content tends to be most effective in community-oriented or entertainment-oriented websites, or in websites where you want to encourage the free flow of ideas and interaction.

It is very important to establish clear policies and procedures with regard to how such content will be managed. In particular, a clear policy statement needs to be made available to all readers who wish to contribute content. It should cover copyright with regard to the content contributed, all libel and legal issues, and termination conditions.

reader identification

You need to identify your reader before deciding what content to present them with. Depending on the nature of your publication, there can be different levels of defining your reader. For example, some websites are targeted at individuals living in a specific geographic area (say, an ISP that has access numbers for only a small area), while others are targeted at very technical readers who are extremely knowledgeable about a particular subject, and who may come from anywhere in the world. Others, such as many intranets, are targeted at busy sales reps on the road.

See also [content acquisition]

reader interaction

See [interactive]
reader, understanding the

See [online reader]
referencing online sources

How scholarly your site is will determine how much you will use citations, references, and bibliographies. For a detailed outline of how to cite and refer to online sources, see The Columbia Guide to Online Style.

However, whenever you quote from or use information from another website, it is good practice to provide a proper reference. To avoid long interruptions in the body of the text, you could provide a References list at the bottom of the page. This should contain as much of the following as possible:

  • author’s name (last name first)

  • document title

  • website title

  • date of Internet publication

  • date you accessed it

  • <URL>

related navigation

This is navigation that occurs at the end of a document. It gives a selection of documents that have been classified under the same classification as that document, and/or Webpages that relate to the document in question (see www.cnn.com for an example of related navigation).

Related documents should be presented first. They should be ordered by date, the most recent first. The text for the links should be the heading of the documents, which should be hyperlinked to those documents. Related Webpages should follow the same rules as for related documents.

There should be a clear break between the end of the document and the related navigation, perhaps with a line of text such as “Related documents/websites.”

See also [navigation]
See also [referencing online sources]


When citing a report, always tell your readers how to access the report for themselves.

See also [referencing online sources]

reusing content

See [content acquisition]

See [mouseover]

Stands for read-only memory, a storage device that stores read-only content (content that can’t be altered).


A router is a device connected to at least two networks that decides the next network path to send a data packet, based on its communication with other routers.



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