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3.1.6 Browsing

Archie is a useful complement to FTP since it helps you find files. However, it is limited to matching search strings with the names of files. The next step in complexity is searching for files with contents that match a search string. There are three such services available to Internet users. We will give a very brief description of each one here; you will need to read the man pages or an Internet resource book (e.g. [4]) before you use them. Gopher is a system developed at the University of Minnesota. When you start gopher you will see a list of information services. When you select a service gopher will retrieved the information you want. One reason gopher is so useful is that it can retrieve and display a wide variety of types of information. For example, if you select a satellite image, gopher will start xv and use it to display the image when it arrives. Another interesting feature of gopher is that what you select can also be an interactive program, not just a static piece of information. You can select the on-line card catalog of your university library, for example, and be connected to the information service for the library. From that point on, until you exit the service, you would be interacting directly with the system at the library. Normally gopher is similar to archie, in that it displays a list of titles to you and you need to guess which one has the information you are looking for. However, there is a program named veronica that is available through gopher. You can give veronica a string and it will search files available through other gopher systems to find those that contain your search string.