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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
electronic mail address
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messaging (Usually "e-mail address", rarely "e-dress",
"e-ddress") The string used to specify the source or
destination of an electronic mail message.
The RFC 822 standard is probably the most widely used on the
Internet though X.400 is also in use in Europe and Canada.
UUCP-style (bang path) addresses or other kinds of sourceroute became virtually extinct in the 1990s.
In the example above, "john" is the local part which is the
name of a mailbox on the destination computer. If the
sender and recipient use the same computer, or the same LAN,
for electronic mail then the local part is usually all that is
If they use different computers, e.g. they work at different
companies or use different Internet service providers, then
the "host part", e.g. "" must be appended after
an "@". This usually takes the form of a fully qualifieddomain name or, within a large organisation, it may be just
the hostname part, e.g. "sales". The destination computer
named by the host part is often a server of some kind rather
than an individual's workstation or PC. The user's mail
is stored on the server and read later via client mail
software running on the user's computer.
Large organisations, such as universities will often set up a
global alias directory which maps a simple user name such as
"jsmith" to an address which contains more information such as
"[email protected]". This hides the detailed
knowledge of where the message will be delivered from the
sender, making it much easier to redirect mail if a user
leaves or moves to a different computer for example.