A cute little e-creature that will help you burrow your way through the internet

By Danny Green, Contributing Writer,

Last month I wrote about Archie. I noted that the major problem with Archie is it is easiest to use if you already know what you want before you go after it. This month I will cover what to do if you don't know exactly what you want or just want to browse. For this you can use Gopher, Veronica, and Jughead.

Gopher is a client program; it connects to a gopher server, the gopher server does the work behind the scenes, and gets the things that you request. I will refer to it simply as Gopher. Gopher is not difficult to use at all; it simply involves going through a series of menus until you get to the particular item that you want. Most gophers are organized by subject. For example if I were to access a gopher for a hypothetical medical college M.D. University, I would expect most or all of the items listed in the menu to be related to the medical field. Note the word MOST. There are no restrictions that require it to be in this fashion. I am sure there are many menus out there that don't follow any format at all.

One of the advantages of using gopher is that you do not have to FTP to the site that has the file that you want. The gopher program will retrieve it for you. Another advantage is that the gopher menus may connect you to anywhere on the net without your having to disconnect from your current location and log onto another host site. There may be another institution, M.D. College for instance, that also has on-line information. The gopher may allow you to access the information there simply by selecting the appropriate menu item. It's that easy! The biggest problem with using a gopher program is that because you are using a series of menus, it is difficult or impossible to get to things that the person who wrote the menu did not think were useful or important. You are sacrificing control for ease of use.

The commands for using Gopher are easy. Many of the commands are the same as lynx. Remember that article? If not, you should be able to get back issues of The Amiga Monitor from the same place as you got this one (Plug, Plug ).

Here is a brief list of some of the basic Gopher commands:

Q               quit Immediately
q               quit but ask for confirmation
?               help
=               displays technical information
O               gopher options
s               save current item to a file
D               download current item to a file
a               add current item to a bookmark file
A               add current menu or search to a bookmark file
d               delete a bookmark
v               view your bookmark file

There are many more commands; just enter a question mark for a more complete list.

When you enter the gopher (usually by entering the command "gopher"), you will see a menu similar to this:

GEnie Internet Gopher
                         Main gopher

  1. >> About this Gopher
  2. >> How to Use Gopher
  3. >> Finding People on the Internet
  4. >> Finding Information on the Internet
  5. >> Featured Information
  6. >> Resources by Subject
  7. >> Electronic Books and Journals
  8. >> What's New
  9. >> GEnie Announcements
 10. >> Burrow to Other Gophers

Enter #, <Q>uit, or <H>elp>

Using the menu is obvious. For some reason, Genie doesn't use them but, you will sometimes see a slash at the end of the line. For example:

4. >> Finding Information on the Internet/

The slash means that this choice leads to another menu. Another common symbol is the period. The period tells you that this choice leads to a Document.

1. >> About this Gopher.

Here are some other codes that you may see:

<Tel>           Telnet
<?>             Searchable database
<CSO>           A name server, useful to get information about someone at M.D.U.
                   (E-mail address etc.). For Example:
                   10. >> MD University <CSO>


You may see the term "Gopherspace." This is a name for all gophers collectively. Veronica is basically a gopher that searches gopherspace for other gophers. It is useful to search for gophers dealing with a subject you are looking for. Systems that have Veronica on them will offer detailed instructions for Veronica requests. Basic queries are simple. Just enter the terms that you are looking for. For example, "Amiga Software".


Jughead is similar to Veronica except that you are only searching for gophers in a certain area of gopherspace. Lets say that each Department at MD University has its own gopher. You are looking for a gopher on pathology, because there is a research paper on-line that was written by someone working at the university in the Pathology Dept. If there is a Jughead program at M.D.U., you can search all of the gophers there for the one that belongs to the Pathology Dept.

Well that's it for this month. I hope you find the information useful.

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 |  __  \  Crew-Dog KC-10A     aka: D.Green7@Genie.Com
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