TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
My two-cents-worth: Use your second ref. The first source is too
limiting, probably because it's old.
Changing the definition of a term according to location sounds terriby
cumbersome and fraught with confusion.
[The situation is fraught. Fraughter than we thought.]
You're right, we shoulda stuck to "transmit" and "receive." Why did
somebody invent words that confused rather than clarified? That's
I'm fairly new to this list, so forgive me if this subject has been
discussed before. Is there any industry-standard for the use of the
words "upload" and "download"?
Two of my source books define the words differently.
upload - v. , to transfer data stored in a microcomputer system
to a storage device in a larger computer system
download - v., to transfer data stored in a larger system to a
storage devce in a microcomputer
2) from Newton's Telecom Dictionary, fifth edition
upload - to transmit a data file from your computer to another computer.
The opposite of download, which is receiving a file on your computer
from another computer. Upload means the same as TRANSMIT, while
DOWNLOAD means the same as receive. [...]
downloading - the act of receiving data from another computer into your
computer. It's also called to RECEIVE. The opposite of UPLOAD or
And, internally, we have a third definition offered for consideration --
that the meaning of upload/download are dependent on your location. The
speaker's site is always on the "high ground", so that the individual
always has files uploaded to his site and always downloads to remote
sites. (This third contribution is from a former employee of a large
data transfer organization.)
How are these terms used in your publications? Does anyone know the
origins of these terms? Too late now to change industry jargon, but
wouldn't it have been simpler to use "transmit" and "receive" to describe
Thanks for all the interesting traffic on this list. I've found the
discussions very informative.