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Burrowing Deeper

As fascinating as it can be to explore "gopherspace," you might one day want to quickly retrieve some information or a file. Or you might grow tired of calling up endless menus to get to the one you want. Fortunately, there are ways to make even gophers easier to use.

One is with archie's friend, veronica (it allegedly is an acronym, but don't believe that for a second), who does for gopherspace what archie does for ftp sites.

In most gophers, you'll find veronica by selecting "Other gopher and information services" at the main menu and then "Searching through gopherspace using veronica." Select this and you'll get something like this:

              Internet Gopher Information Client v1.1

-->  1.  Search titles in Gopherspace using veronica.
     2.  FAQ:  Frequently-Asked Questions about veronica  (1993/08/23).
     3.  How to compose  veronica queries (NEW June 24) READ ME!!.
     4.  Search Gopher Directory Titles at PSINet <?>
     5.  Search Gopher Directory Titles at SUNET <?>
     6.  Search Gopher Directory Titles at U. of Manitoba <?>
     7.  Search Gopher Directory Titles at University of Cologne <?>
     8.  Search gopherspace at PSINet <?>
     9.  Search gopherspace at SUNET <?>
     10. Search gopherspace at U. of Manitoba <?>
     11. Search gopherspace at University of Cologne <?>

Press ? for Help, q to Quit, u to go up a menu                Page: 1/1

A few choices there! First, the difference between searching directory titles and just plain ol' gopherspace. If you already know the sort of directory you're looking for (say a directory containing MS-DOS programs), do a directory-title search. But if you're not sure what kind of directory your information might be in, then do a general gopherspace search. In general, it doesn't matter which of the particular veronicas you use -- they should all be able to produce the same results. The reason there is more than one is because the Internet has become so popular that only one veronica (or one gopher or one of almost anything) would quickly be overwhelmed by all the information requests from around the world.

You can use veronica to search for almost anything. Want to find museums that might have online displays from their exhibits? Try searching for "museum." Looking for a copy of the Declaration of Independence? Try "declaration."

In many cases, your search will bring up a new gopher menu of choices to try.

Say you want to impress those guests coming over for dinner on Friday by cooking cherries flambe. If you were to call up veronica and type in "flambe" after calling up veronica, you would soon get a menu listing several flambe recipes, including one called "dessert flambe." Put your cursor on that line of the menu and hit enter, and you'll find it's a menu for cherries flambe. Then hit your `q' key to quit, and gopher will ask you if you want to save the file in your home directory on your public-access site or whether you want to e-mail it somewhere.

As you can see, you can use veronica as an alternative to archie, which, because of the Internet's growing popularity, seems to take longer and longer to work.

In addition to archie and veronica, we now also have jugheads (no bettys yet, though). These work the same as veronicas, but their searches are limited to the specific gopher systems on which they reside.

If there are particular gopher resources you use frequently, there are a couple of ways to get to them even more directly.

One is to use gopher in a manner similar to the way you can use telnet. If you know a particular gopher's Internet address (often the same as its telnet or ftp address), you can connect to it directly, rather than going through menus. For example, say you want to use the gopher at info.umd.edu. If your public-access site has a gopher system installed, type this

gopher info.umd.edu
and you'll be connected.

But even that can get tedious if there are several gophers you use frequently. That's where bookmarks come in. Gophers let you create a list of your favorite gopher sites and even database queries. Then, instead of digging ever deeper into the gopher directory structure, you just call up your bookmark list and select the service you want.

To create a bookmark for a particular gopher site, first call up gopher. Then go through all the gopher menus until you get to the menu you want. Type a capital `A'. You'll be given a suggested name for the bookmark enty, which you can change if you want by backspacing over the suggestion and typing in your own. When done, hit enter. Now, whenever you're in gopherspace and want to zip back to that particular gopher service, just hit your `V' key (upper- or lower-case; in this instance, gopher doesn't care) anywhere within gopher. This will bring up a list of your bookmarks. Move to the one you want and hit enter, and you'll be connected.

Using a capital `A' is also good for saving particular database or veronica queries that you use frequently (for example, searching for news stories on a particular topic if your public-access site maintains an indexed archive of wire-service news).

Instead of a capital `A', you can also hit a lower-case `a'. This will bring you to the particular line within a menu, rather than show you the entire menu.

If you ever want to delete a bookmark, hit `V' within gopher, select the item you want to get rid of, and then hit your `D' key. One more hint: If you want to find the address of a particular gopher service, hit your `=' key after you've highlighted its entry in a gopher menu. You'll get back a couple of lines, most of which will be technicalese of no immediate value to most folks, but some of which will consist of the site's address.

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