General Glossary

Term Meaning
Alphanumeric A combination of alphabetic and numeric characters e.g. AB12.
Application Programming Interface (API) A particular set of rules and specifications that software programs can follow to communicate with each other. The API serves as an interface between different software programs and facilitates their interaction, similar to the way the user interface facilitates interaction between humans and computers.
Business Name A business name is a name used by any person, partnership or company for carrying on business, unless it is the same as their own name. British law requires a business to disclose :
  • the corporate name (if the company uses a different trading name); or
  • the name of each partner; or
  • the individual person's name; and
  • in relation to each person named, an address at which documents can be served.

This information has to be shown:

  • in any place where you carry on your business and where you deal with customers or suppliers;
  • on business correspondence;
  • on websites;
  • on written orders for the supply of goods or services;
  • on invoices and receipts;
  • on written demands for the payment of business debts.

This is a guide only and should be read with the relevant legislation:

  • Business Names Act 1985
  • Companies Act 1985
  • Companies Act 2006
  • The Companies (Trading Disclosures) Regulations 2008 - SI 2008/495
Character A number, letter or symbol on a keyboard, screen or printer.
Consignment A separate identifiable number of goods (available to be) transported from one consignor to one consignee via one or more than one modes of transport and specified in one single transport document.
Note: In the United States of America the word shipment is used instead of the word consignment.
Consignment Number (Consignment Reference) A reference number assigned by the carrier that is used to identify an individual consignment. Consignment numbers may be alphanumeric. Whilst the consignment numbers issued by a carrier are usually unique, this cannot be relied on; in any event separate carriers may use overlapping ranges of consignment numbers.
County The county in which the address may be found (e.g. Devon).

Since 1995, the Royal Mail have not required a postal county to be quoted as part of any postal address, provided that the post town and full accurate postcode are included. Indeed, for many large towns - like London, Manchester or Edinburgh - the county has not been used as part of the postal address for over 50 years.

It does not matter if a postal county, administrative county or geographical county is included in an address: Royal Mail simply ignore the county because they sort by postcode alone.

When dealing with other postal and courier services, it may be helpful to include the postal county name so as to avoid confusion with similar place names (e.g. "Sleaford, Hampshire" and "Sleaford, Lincolnshire").

Cursor Character or image on the screen that shows you where you are. Cursors are usually flashing squares or underlines.
Data Information.
Database management system (DBMS) A large store of information that can be handled by a computer.
Database schema This uses a formal language to describe the structure of a database management system (DBMS) and refers to the organization of data to create a blueprint of how a database is constructed. The formal definition of database schema is a set of formulas (sentences) that specify integrity constraints imposed on the database.
Note: Additional information appears on the Data Query page.
Default Automatic setting by the computer if no selection has been made.
Delivery Note A document recording the delivery of products to a consignee (customer). See also Picking List
Dependency/ Double Dependency Subdivisions within the address which are essential to uniquely identify two or more places linked by the same location, e.g. Hamlin Hamlet, Small Village, Exeter and Ham House Hamlet, Small Village, Exeter.
District A locality defined by the Royal Mail. Districts can comprise of more than one place name, e.g. Hamlet, Small Village, Exeter. These names are referred to as Dependencies and Double Dependencies.
Drop Ship The conveyance of goods directly from the vendor to the buyer. Frequently used if a third party acts as intermediary agent between vendor and buyer. May also be termed "Direct Delivery".
Field An area on a computer screen requiring the input of information, usually enclosed by brackets.
Large User A large User has a unique address because of the volume of mail received, a unique postcode and normally a PO box number.
Locality The locality of the village/hamlet or the locality within the town (e.g. Chelsea is a locality within London).
MPS The Mailing Preference Service (MPS) provides subscribers with access to an MPS PERSONAL file containing names and addresses both of those individuals who have registered have registered their wish not to receive unsolicited advertising material by mail ("P") or who are flagged as deceased ("X"). The data is updated on a monthly basis.

Khaos Control's data protection flags offer a convenient method of identifying deceased persons and those who do not wish to receive unsolicited advertising material by mail.

PAF The Royal Mail Postcode Address File, which contains address data to uniquely identify each address in the United Kingdom.
Partnership A business carried out by two or more people in which each is 'jointly and severally' liable for the debts of their business.
Picking Taking products or components out of a stock.
Picking List A list used to collect items from stores needed to fulfil an order. See also Delivery Note
Postal Addresses A correct postal address is a sorting and routing instruction to the Royal Mail staff and does not necessarily describe where the addressee lives geographically or administratively.

Please refer to Royal Mail's "Address Management Guide" for more information.

Postcode A minimum five character alphanumeric code used by the post office to identify the postal area, district and sector within the district. Postcodes can be separated into Outcodes and Incodes. These are best explained using a postcode e.g. EX4 6DW.
Outcode " EX4 is the outcode, comprised of the postal area (EX) and the district (4).
Incode " 6DW is the Incode. (6) represents a district sector, the last characters identify a group of addresses within the sector. Postcodes can represent a maximum of 100 addresses although the average number is 15.
Post Town The postal town for the postcode.
Premises The name/number of each building within the thoroughfare.
Printer A machine that prints computer output.
Program A sequence of instructions that directs the computer to perform specific operations.
Public Limited Company A public limited company (PLC/plc) is a company which is registered as such and complies Companies House regulations regarding PLCs.
Registered Office The legal address of a company as recorded at Companies House. An appointed representative of the company should always be available here to receive mail. May be the main trading address of the company or could be the address of the company's accountants, solicitors or associated company. Must be an address in the UK.
Schema In computer terminology, a schema may refer to:
Shipment A separately identifiable collection of goods to be carried.

Note: In the United States of America the word shipment is used instead of the word consignment.

Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP) This is a protocol specification for exchanging structured information in the implementation of Web Services in computer networks. It relies on Extensible Markup Language (XML) for its message format, and usually relies on other Application Layer protocols, most notably Remote Procedure Call (RPC) and Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), for message negotiation and transmission. SOAP can form the foundation layer of a web services protocol stack, providing a basic messaging framework upon which web services can be built. This XML based protocol consists of three parts: an envelope, which defines what is in the message and how to process it, a set of encoding rules for expressing instances of application-defined datatypes, and a convention for representing procedure calls and responses.
Small User A small user has a postcode which identifies a group of delivery points, varying between 1 and 100.
Software Computer programs.
Sole Trader An individual running a business. All revenues and payments from the business are incorporated within the individual's personal financial and tax affairs.
Thoroughfare The name of the road, street, lane, cul-de-sac etc.
TPS The Telephone Preference Service (TPS) is a central opt out register whereby individuals can register their wish not to receive unsolicited sales and marketing telephone calls. It is a legal requirement that companies do not make such calls to numbers registered on the TPS.

The original legislation was introduced in May 1999. It has subsequently been updated and now the relevant legislation is the Privacy and Electronic (EC Directive) Regulations 2003.

One way of recording individuals that have opted out is to insert "TPS Regd" into the person's telephone number field, replacing their telephone number, together with the date you first became aware of this. For example: "TPS Regd 28-Sep-2011"

Validate The term used to indicate that the system has checked data against known rules and found it to be satisfactory.
XML schema A way to define the structure, content and, to some extent, the semantics of XML documents.

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