Netscape Navigator Tips and Tricks

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The World Wide Web is just one of many ways to get information from that vast expanse of cyberspace known as the Internet. In fact, as cool as it may be, the Web isn't exactly the optimal tool if you want to do any real research. The information is simply thrown together too randomly, and even the best search engines can be unwieldly and inefficient. Cool for serendipitous surfing maybe, but if you want to hunt for information seriously, try one of the older Internet tools like Gopher. Some call it archaic, but Gopher is still pretty good. You can easily access Gopher servers through Netscape. We'll get to access in a minute, but first let's look at why Gopher can be a more efficient way to get information. Gopher Internet servers (the name comes from the University of Minnesota where the tool was developed) present information in hierarchical menus and submenus. The subjects are arranged in a top-down, outline format that is much better for logical searches.

Now, Netscape Navigator allows you to log on to Gopher servers, and the contents are presented to resemble Web pages. To do this, you enter the Gopher server's URL in the Location (or Netsite) field as you would any WWW URL. Go ahead, enter gopher:// in the Location field. This brings you to the Gopher site of the Internet Wiretap, a storehouse of government documents and the like. Explore the Wiretap if you like; we'll have a couple more Gopher tips coming up.


Once you have accessed a Gopher site (such as gopher:// or gopher://, you notice that the menu consists almost entirely of text based links. No eyecatching but slow to load graphics here! The links that have folder icons are actually menu items that lead to submenu items (more folder icons), and eventually to files (page icons). The information is grouped hierarchically, so you click the link to drill down to the subsequent information. You can move around through the menus and files by clicking the Back and Forward buttons, just as you do in a Web site.


Gopher servers are great ways to explore or get information from the Internet. One of the most interesting and valuable of these sites is the previously mentioned WELL Gopher site. To access this from Netscape Navigator, enter the URL


in the Location box. The top menu of the WELL Gopher site appears. To get to some really meaty Internet links, click on the menu titled Internet Outbound. As you can see, the submenu contains a bunch more links, and if you're particularly interested in the Internet stuff, click the menu titled Scott Yanoff's Special Internet Connections. This site--aka, the Yanoff List--contains a vast array of links to Internet resources and info. Be sure to bookmark this list, because you will return to it again and again.

This page is designed and written by John Jenkins. If there are any questions or other issues about the content, email me, and I will deal with it in a timely manner. If specific help is requested an email address with an or domain is required. As with all programs on the internet, you, the downloader, assumes all risk of file damage or viruses that these or any programs may contain that are received over the internet. Neither CSS, ECS, nor the author will be responsible for any damage done by any program received over the internet. Please note this includes programs that are virus free but may cause problems with other programs on your computer and programs that simply won't run right on a particular machine.