"Online" definition

One term I have been confused by lately is the use of "online." If someone says they are doing an online, are they talking about telecine? Are they talking about transferring digibeta to Avid for editing?

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you!
When you edit you do it at a compressed format 10:1 or 4:1 etc. The resolution is never 1:1 because the information is just too vast to work with effectively. This is called your offline edit.
If you are working on AVID systems and hiring, you offline (edit) on something like Media Composer, which is good for pulling the film together, but doesn't have all the tools of AVID Symphony. This cheaper to hire.

Once you've completed your edit you need to compile the film at full resolution so you move onto another (online) machine AVID Symphony, Nitris or Sony Xpree on which you do things like the colour grade and title sequences. This is your online edit. You then layback from the machine onto your master tapes, which then constitutes your film.
Thanks for the help, Clive. If you (or anyone else) can bear with me for a while longer, I just want to make sure I understand the concept. Let's say I have a short film shot on 35mm and have decided to stay on digital (no film print at the end of the process).

I have my 35mm negative developed and telecined to digibeta. Then I load it into the Avid for editing. We finish and output an EDL. After I conform the film, I now have my film on digibeta in its final form.

At this point we did the color timing and titles. Was the online part of the conforming?
The final form your film goes back onto is up to you. Digi-Beta is a good tape to master to, because it's very, very good at retaining information, plus it's the TV industry standard format (UK).

However, there is no reason why you couldn't master to HD, providing you did your online on Avid Nitris. I think the decision you make will depend on your final end market. If the film is going directly to DVD or TV, then layback to Digi should be fine, if you are looking for a cinema release a layback to HD and a layback to Digi-Beta is a good idea. You'll need your Digi copy for running off tapes/DVD's to send out, simply because you HD deck is a fortune to rent. We were paying $1000 a day to rent ours.