What is E-mail?


What is Email?

Electronic mail (also known as email or e-mail) is one of the most commonly used services on the Internet, allowing people to send messages to one or more recipients. Email was invented by Ray Tomlinson in 1972.

It is a system used for creating, sending and storing textual data in digital form over a network. Earlier, the e-mail system was based on Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) mechanism, a protocol used for sending e-mails from one server to another. 

Today's e-mail technology uses the store-and-forward model. In this model, the user sends and receives information on their own computer terminal. However, the computer is used only for connecting to the e-mail architecture. 

The creation, transmission and storage of e-mail takes place, only when the connection with this e-mail architecture is established.

E-mail is one of the many technological developments that have influenced our lives. It has changed the medium of communication. So, it becomes necessary for us to have a look at the benefits and harmful effects of this popular mailing tool.

General Description of Electronic Mail

Electronic mail, email, is a computer based method of sending messages from one computer user to another. These messages usually consist of individual pieces of text which you can send to another computer user even if the other user is not logged in (i.e. using the computer) at the time you send your message. The message can then be read at a later time. This procedure is analogous to sending and receiving a letter.

Originally, email messages were restricted to simple text, but now many systems can handle more complicated formats, such as graphics and word processed documents. When mail is received on a computer system, it is usually stored in an electronic mailbox for the recipient to read later. 

Electronic mailboxes are usually special files on a computer which can be accessed using various commands. Each user normally has their individual mailbox.

It is straightforward to send electronic mail between users of different computer systems which are connected to major networks. Most major academic and research institutions and companies throughout the world can now be reached by electronic mail. In addition, a growing number of individuals can be contacted in this way.

In the UK, most academic and research institutions are linked by a network called JANET (or SuperJANET). This is effectively part of the Internet, so email can be exchanged with most national and international networks.

Email Facilities

All email systems have the ability to send, receive and discard mail. Most systems have facilities for storing mail which is to be kept rather than discarded. It is important to discard mail which does not need to be kept, as it uses storage space on disks. 

Mailboxes can soon accumulate a large number of mail messages making it difficult to read and process new mail, in addition to wasting disk space.
There is almost always a connection between the email system and the computer's standard file system which allows mail to be read from files or written to files. 

This enables greater flexibility in how the mail system is used. For example, a mail message may be prepared in a normal file using a familiar text editor and then sent by the email system. Sections of other files may be included in the mail message as well.

Most systems have a reply facility, although some of these do not always work as expected. Care should be taken when using this facility in electronic mail, as replies do not always go back to the sender.

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