Gopher, FTP, WAIS, Archie, Veronica, Jughead.
What do all these strange terms mean? Basically, these are older tools or network services that represent different ways of searching and retrieving files on the Internet. With the development of the World Wide Web, most of these services declined in popularity, and you really don't need to know the gory details of how to use these anymore, but in case you're interested, read on.
Gopher is an application that organizes access to Internet resources using a menu-based search and retrieval system. It indexes the many databases, online library catalogs, bulletin board systems and campus-wide information services available on the Internet, by subject, type of service, or geographic location. While you are “sniffing” around Gopherspace, you are actually doing things that are not obviously visible to you, like transferring files, changing directories, connecting to computers and querying servers all over the world.
Gopher automatically takes care of finding whatever data you want, no matter where it is. You may use a dozen or more different Gopher servers in a single session, but you hardly know it. You need a Gopher client to access Gopher. The good news is that several open-source browsers, including Lynx, support the Gopher protocol.
Veronica is an acronym for Very Easy Rodent-Oriented Internet-wide Index to Computerized Archives–whew, that's a mouthful! It's an application that offers a keyword search of most gopher-server menu titles. A Veronica search produces a menu of Gopher items, each of which is a direct pointer to a Gopher data source. Jughead is another less powerful search utility for Gopher.
FTP stands for File Transfer Protocol, which is a widely used method of copying files from one system to another on the Internet. With FTP you can list the files in a directory and upload or download files to and from that directory.
We should point out that the FTP protocol is still widely used to move files and directories on and off of password-protected web servers. However, in the past, FTP was also commonly used as a way to host files for public access. While this is still done on occasion, the practice has largely fallen by the wayside.
The transfer of publicly available information is one of the most widespread uses of the file transfer capability on the Internet. Many organizations connected to the Internet provide openly accessible file transfer sites with information that anyone can obtain. Files are stored in “open” areas of computers. You access them by using FTP to connect to those systems. These are called Anonymous FTP sites because to access them you log in with the word anonymous, and use your e-mail address as the password. If you are not using a web browser with built-in FTP capability, or if you want to upload files to a remote server, you need an FTP client program.
If you go to one of the Internet software sites, like Download.com, you can find many FTP programs. We like WS_FTP for Windows and Fetch for the Mac. FTP is also built into many applications, like Web management tools, word processors and so on.
Archie is to FTP, what Veronica is to Gopher. It lets you search publicly available FTP sites that contain files with the keyword you are searching for. To use it you have to log in to an Archie server and type some commands. It will do a search and turn up a list of all the sites that have what you're looking for.
WAIS is an acronym for Wide Area Information Servers. It's a networked information retrieval system. Unlike Gopher, which searches files by their titles, WAIS servers search the full text of files and return a list of documents that contain the keyword you are searching for. The WAIS method of search and retrieval is what most search engines on the Web are based on.