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Short for electronic mail, the transmission of messages over communications networks. The messages can be notes entered from the keyboard or electronic files stored on disk. Most mainframes, minicomputers, and computer networks have an e-mail system. Some electronic-mail systems are confined to a single computer system or network, but others have gateways to other computer systems, enabling users to send electronic mail anywhere in the world. Companies that are fully computerized make extensive use of e-mail because it is fast, flexible, and reliable.

Most e-mail systems include a rudimentary text editor for composing messages, but many allow you to edit your messages using any editor you want. You then send the message to the recipient by specifying the recipient's address. You can also send the same message to several users at once. This is called broadcasting.

Sent messages are stored in electronic mailboxes until the recipient fetches them. To see if you have any mail, you may have to check your electronic mailbox periodically, although many systems alert you when mail is received. After reading your mail, you can store it in a text file, forward it to other users, or delete it. Copies of memos can be printed out on a printer if you want a paper copy.

All online services and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) offer e-mail, and most also support gateways so that you can exchange mail with users of other systems. Usually, it takes only a few seconds or minutes for mail to arrive at its destination. This is a particularly effective way to communicate with a group because you can broadcast a message or document to everyone in the group at once.

Although different e-mail systems use different formats, there are some emerging standards that are making it possible for users on all systems to exchange messages. In the PC world, an important e-mail standard is MAPI. The CCITT standards organization has developed the X.400 standard, which attempts to provide a universal way of addressing messages. To date, though, the de facto addressing standard is the one used by the Internet system because almost all e-mail systems have an Internet gateway.

In recent years, the use of e-mail has exploded. By some estimates, there are now 25 million e-mail users sending 15 billion messages per year.

Another common spelling for e-mail is email.


More Information

Outstanding Page All about the World Wide Web
A comprehensive site containing information about different aspects of the Web including: e-mail, browsers, newsgroups, finding information, and histories and overviews. Updated on Mar 11, 1998

Outstanding Page Internet on-line course links
Provides links to courses that cover the World Wide Web, e-mail and newsgroups topics, and HTML basics. Courses contain many links to useful references and downloadable software. Updated on Jul 9, 1998

Outstanding Page Setting up e-mail in DOS
This guide shows you how to setup e-mail in DOS with a dialup connection. Updated on Aug 5, 1998

  Communicating effectively in e-mail
Focuses on the content of e-mail: how to say what you need to say. Updated on May 15, 1998

  Cyrus Electronic Mail Project
Presents information on a project under development by Carnegie Mellon University to create a standards-based enterprise mail system. Standards included are IMAP4, IMSP, SMTP, RFC822, Kerberos Version 4 and MIME. Updated on May 23, 1997

  DeLiberation product page
The DeLiberation Consultative Framework is a service that supports group discussions via e-mail. This site provides links to a press release, product information, and customer success stories. Updated on Aug 3, 1998

  E-Mail Assistant information page
Describes E-Mail Assistant, an internet marketing and communications software package developed Arial Software. Updated on Jul 4, 1997

  E-mail Guide
Offers discussion groups and mailing lists directories, as well as links to e-mail software, guides, and resources.

  Electronic Mail and Newsgroup Protocols
Provides information on the standards and protocols used to manage the distribution of electronic mail and messages between newsgroups.

  Electronic messaging integration products
Home page of ReSoft International, provider of electronic messaging integration products. Their site offers links to product and company information, news and messaging resources. Updated on Jul 31, 1998

  Email access with virtual servers
Virtual Mail Service page describes how you can use email as a useful business tool. By using email aliasing, it allows your company to have e-mail addresses linked to your own domain. Updated on Aug 27, 1997

  Enhanced Messaging Utility (emu) product page
Provides details on a utility that allows users to access their e-mail through any web browser using an Internet connection. Updated on Mar 28, 1998

  Esys Corporation home page
Contains links to information on Simeon, an organization-wide messaging product that includes both e-mail and LDAP/X.500 directory services from Esys Corporation. Updated on Jun 18, 1998

  ForeverMail's home page
Home page for ForeverMail, a provider of personalized e-mail services. With this service you can customize your e-mail name and domain name. Information on available domain names, as well as pricing information for this service can be found here. Updated on Apr 26, 1998

  Get-Mail, e-mail service
Describes a free service that allows users to retrieve their e-mail from any web browser. Updated on Aug 4, 1998

  IMAP based e-mail software
A product description page for MailDrop -- free IMAP based e-mail software for the Macintosh. Updated on Jun 13, 1998

  International e-mail accessibility FAQ
This document is a guide of country codes, showing the countries which have access to Internet or general e-mail services. The country codes have been derived from the International Organization for Standardization standard ISO 3166. Updated on Aug 1, 1998

  Internet Mail Standards
Describes what Internet mail standards are and contains links to related RFCs, Internet draft documents, and IETF working groups.

  NEXOR
Home page for NEXOR, developer of electronic messaging and directory system products. In addition to product and company information, the site also includes a collection of fact sheets, articles and conference papers about the messaging and directory industry.

  Protect your email with encryption
CNET article (February 1998) on how to use PGP to encrypt messages and add digital signatures. Updated on Jul 10, 1998

  Security Domain home page
Security Domain specializes in security systems for all aspects of electronic messaging, including e-mail, EDI, and certification systems for public key infrastructures. Their home page includes product, service and support information. Updated on Sep 1, 1997

  Setting Up Internet E-Mail
Family PC article (June 1998) with step-by-step instructions for setting up Internet e-mail for Eudora Pro, Outlook Express and Netscape Messenger. Updated on Aug 4, 1998

  TIMES discussion page
This page hosts documents describing TIMES (Token Based Internet Messaging Standard), a proposed Internet e-mail standard. Updated on Jul 1, 1998

  Universal Fax and E-mail
Article by Carol A. Monaghan and Gary C. Kessler (July, 1997) that describes the integration of fax and e-mail services, using the Internet as the transport mechanism. Updated on Feb 12, 1998

  VanityMail Web site
Provides information on VanityMail, a global e-mail address and forwarding service.

  webTeacher's graphical description of e-mail attachments
Describes the process of attaching a text file or image to an e-mail message and how to open an attachment upon receiving the message.

  Who sent the first e-mail?
PreText Magazine article (March 1998) on who sent the first e-mail message and what it said.

  Yahoo!'s e-mail page
Yahoo!'s directory of e-mail. Updated on Jul 21, 1998

  Yahoo!'s electronic mail provider free e-mail page
Yahoo!'s directory to links to internet electronic mail providers that offer free electronic mail access. Updated on Aug 4, 1998

  Yahoo!'s electronic mail service provider page
Yahoo!'s directory of electronic mail service providers. Updated on Aug 1, 1998

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