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Terms starting with C

A category is “a term (meaning literally ‘predication’ or ‘assertion’) given to certain general classes of terms, things, or notions” (source: Oxford English Dictionary online). The construction and reproduction of categories—through e.g. library subject headings, tags on websites, categorization methods informing algorithms, and spatial divisions on a map—are an important ethical consideration when doing digital research or a digital project.

Class is an attribute used in HTML and CSS to select and access specific elements. Class is especially useful in applying standard styling to repeating elements across a website. This helps create a consistent look to a website.

Cloning a repository means making a copy of a repository on GitHub, to download and work on locally—on your local machine. Cloning can be especially useful when you’re joining a group project that is hosted on GitHub, and you want your changes to eventually be pushed and shared with that same repository. Cloning can also be used in conjunction with forking. For example, you could fork the GitHub repository of this lesson to your GitHub account, and then clone or download the repository to make edits and admendations. Then you would push those changes to a repository under your GtiHub account. Git and GitHub work to make sure attribution of contributions and lineage are transparent.

provides a range of color to the features of a map layer based on an attribute from the layer.

The command line is a text-based way of interacting with your computer. Another way of looking at it is that the command line is a program that accepts commands as text input and converts them into appropriate operating system functions. There are other words that can be used synonymously with “command line.” Here are some of them:

  • bash - the programming language used in the command line. (Yes, we tricked you, you’re already programming!) Short for “Born Again SHell,” for reasons people on the internet will happily tell you about.
  • the terminal - Particularly used to refer to the command line on macOS. This term made more sense when universities used mainframes and every computer was only a terminal.
  • the shell - The part of an operating system that interacts with a human. Technically, anything you do in a graphical interface is also in a shell, but in practice this is just another synonym for the command line.
  • cli - “command-line interface,” this is a super technical term for the command line used to impress everyone around you.

When you commit your changes using Git, you are created a version a file that can be referenced even after further changes to the file are made and committed. Making a commit involves 2 steps.

  • First, you need to stage  the files, or tell Git, which files it should pay attention to. Where are your changes? You use the command git add to point to them.
  • Second, you create the version by committing the changes. You use the command git commit to take the snapshot and add a label (the -m flag) that can help you in returning to that version in the future. Making a commit is a lot like taking a photo. First, you have to decide who will be in the photo and arrange your friends or family in front of the camera (the staging process). Once everyone is present and ready, you take the picture, entering that moment into the permanent record (the commit process). Before any of this can happen, you must initialize the Git folder, or put it on Git’s radar. This only needs to happen one time to a folder.

Nltk function that allows to see the characters on both sides of the word; an easy way to investigate the context of a certain word across a corpus.

To provide consent is to actively provide permission or agree to something. The more specific term “informed consent” is used to emphasize that in order to provide such permission, a person must be provided clear and correct information (not deception), and be able to comprehend such information. In the context of a research study, per The Belmont Report guidelines, a person must also be informed of their right to volunteer or not to participate in the study, and of their right to withdraw from the study at any point. Ideally, consent would also be enthusiastically given (see The Belmont Report page; also see this image from Planned Parenthood that reads “CONSENT: I [heart] FRIES: Freely given, Reversible, Informed, Enthusiastic, Specific.”

A collection of texts that are somehow related to each other. Plural: /corpora/


CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) is usually used in conjunction with HTML. HTML tells the browser what the different parts of a document are. CSS tells the browser what the parts of the document should look like. It is essentially a set of rules that are applied when rendering an HTML document. Its name—Cascading Style Sheets—refers to the fact that there is an order of precedence in how the browswer applies CSS rules to a text.

CSS Selectors select HTML elements on which to apply particular styling rules. For example, in the following CSS rule set, the h1 selector applies orange color and italics to all content in the h1 element.

h1 {
    color: orange;
    font-style: italic;

CSV or Comma Separated Values uses—-you guessed it!—-commas to separate values. Each line (First Name, Last Name) is a new “record” and each column (separated by a comma) is a new “field.” This data format stores tabular data in a clean way that facilitates the transfer between different data architectures. As data types go, it is very rudimentary (even predating computers!) and is easy to type, without needing special characters beyond a comma.

First Name,Last Name