AskDefine | Define notification

Dictionary Definition



1 an accusation of crime made by a grand jury on its own initiative [syn: presentment]
2 informing by words [syn: telling, apprisal]
3 a request for payment; "the notification stated the grace period and the penalties for defaulting" [syn: notice]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • (US) /ˌnəʊtɪfɪˈkeɪʃən/, /%n@UtIfI"keIS@n/
  • (US) /ˌnoʊtɪfɪˈkeɪʃən/, /%noUtIfI"keIS@n/
  • Rhymes: -eɪʃǝn


  1. the act of notifying, or something by which notice is given


act of notifying
  • Czech: upozornění
  • Finnish: tiedoksianto
  • German: Benachrichtigung
  • Japanese: (つうち, tsūchi)

Extensive Definition

A modern notification system is a combination of software and hardware that provides a means of delivering a message to a set of recipients. For example, notification systems can send an e-mail when a new topic has been added to Wikipedia. The complexity of the notification system is often dependent on the types of messages that must be sent. An e-mail noting when a page has been inserted into Wikipedia is adequate for such a straightforward task. However, notifying individuals when a building is on fire would require real-time interaction, escalation, scheduling, rosters, and fail-over scenarios.

Notification system features


A notification system is only as good is the contact data contained within. Uploading recipient data is not ideal, as data can be wrong (miskeyed number or letter), false (purposely wrong data), or invalid (phone number has changed). Therefore, notification systems with opt-in data collection can validate data in realtime for all said errors and more. In addition, due to the escallation of unwanted email (spam) and unwanted calls (do not call list), notification system providers are weary of violating existing laws and/or blacklisting by 3rd parties who carry the notification. An opt-in process of collecting data harbors the provider from unlawful use, because each recipient is giving the notification provider permission to contact him or her.

Real-time interaction

In the event of a fire, or any emergency situation that requires human intervention, notification systems can provide a way of accepting feedback. The feedback can be used to determine what tasks the system should perform. For example, a chief firefighter, when notified of a pending fire, must acknowledge that the truck is en route, thus eliminating the need for further notifications.


The criticality of an event might change before the event is finally resolved. Sometimes a small failure may trigger a chain of failures that can lead to events that require immediate attention. For example, an e-mail that fails to send is not a significant error, and may be classified as a warning. However, the original incident that noted the e-mail failure may spawn a ping of the mail server responsible for relaying the e-mails. If the ping fails, the event may be escalated to a severe level, to indicate that a more important issue requires resolution.


When deciding the list of recipients to notify of an event, a notification system might take into consideration the hours in which a recipient can be notified. Someone working a midnight shift may be available for handling emergencies between 11:00pm and 7:00am. The system should make no attempt to notify this person outside of those hours. A notification system could take into consideration vacation times, weekends, holidays, and so forth, to prevent notifying people when they are not available.


If a notification system cannot contact the intended party, often it is not sufficient to let the matter drop. In the previous example, the chief firefighter was informed of a pending fire. However, if the chief was assisting a tree-bound cat, the notification might not reach its target. Consequently the system must find another person to notify, typically by scanning a predefined roster.

Fail-over scenarios

High availability means that a system must be up and running 99.999% of the time. The only acceptable downtime is for upgrades, which must be kept to an absolute minimum. To achieve the goal of high availability (HA), software-based notification systems must take into consideration the failure of hardware upon which they are running. The hardware failure could be as simple as someone accidentally unplugging a network connection, or as messy as a hard drive crash. The "brains" of the notification systems are often distributed across separate physical machines to ensure that if one machine is no longer available, another system can handle sending messages and resolving new events.

Interactive media

The number of ways a person can interact with technology has steadily increased. Advanced notification systems support at least one and sometimes all of the following communications media:


Notification systems are used throughout the following industries:

External links

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

account, acquaintance, admonishment, admonition, alarm, announcement, annunciation, bench warrant, blue book, briefing, bulletin, bulletin board, capias, caution, caveat, circular, communication, communique, conveyance, data, datum, death warrant, declaration, deterrent example, directory, disclosure, dispatch, edict, encyclical, enlightenment, enunciation, evidence, example, facts, factual information, familiarization, fieri facias, final notice, final warning, gen, general information, giving, guidebook, habere facias possessionem, handout, hard information, hint, impartation, imparting, impartment, incidental information, info, information, injunction, instruction, intelligence, interdict, knowledge, lesson, light, mandamus, mandate, mandatory injunction, manifesto, mention, message, mittimus, monition, moral, nisi prius, notice, object lesson, position paper, precept, presentation, process, proclamation, program, programma, prohibitory injunction, promotional material, pronouncement, pronunciamento, proof, public notice, publication, publicity, release, report, search warrant, sharing, sidelight, statement, telling, the dope, the goods, the know, the scoop, threat, tip-off, transfer, transference, transmission, transmittal, ukase, ultimatum, verbum sapienti, warning, warning piece, warrant, warrant of arrest, warrant of attorney, white book, white paper, word, writ
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