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5. Searching

There are many avenues open when searching for something particular. Remember you can also use the web search engines and that some, like

can also search Usenet news.

There are numerous search engines available but they are not all equal neither in method of rating relevance nor in size of database. For established, authoritative pages I recommend using Google since it scores pages by the number of links pointing to them. People often link to pages they find important or useful and Google uses this.

Google takes time to score a page properly so it is not that useful for searching for the newest or more exotic topics. For that I normally recommend either the very fast and wide spanning AllTheWeb or meta engines, web systems that forwards your request to a number of other search engines, receives the results, collates and scores before presenting you with the result. My favourite meta engine is Go2Net formerly known as MetaCrawler.

Such preferences are all subjective and the systems improve continuously so you need to experiment yourself. There is no perfect search engine and as less than 10 percent of all pages are indexed you need to try several engines if you don't succeed at first.

Also remember that Deja is a dedicated news searcher that keeps a news spool from early 1995 and onwards.

Even though more and more things take place of the web these days, do not forget that there is a lot of information available on the various ftp servers around the world. Some web search engines also index ftp servers but the tool of choice is still the Archie servers, systems that regularly scan major ftp servers around the world and keep lists of files. These can be accessed in many ways, either by Archie clients like archie or the X11 version xarchie which should be available on any well maintained linux system. Failing that you can access archie servers using telnet to any of the servers listed

Of course you should try to use the server closest to you, and to see the list of current server you can either start the Archie client with no arguments or, if telnetting, by querying the server. Online help is available. Unfortunately not all servers are synchronised, so you might have to search a few before finding what you are looking for.

Recently a more user friendly ftp index server entered the net, the ftpsearch engine, featuring many options and with a rather stark interface, in the best Unix tradition.

Most of these offer help on efficient searching techniques, reading this can speed up your searches enormously. Investing a little time here will pay off in the long run.

If you have trouble getting onto the Internet but have mail then you should have a look at the access via mail FAQ. Naturally you can get it over e-mail using the US, Canada and South America server entering only this line in the BODY of the note:

send usenet/news.answers/internet-services/access-via-email

or Europe, Asia etc server entering only this line in the BODY of the note:

send lis-iis e-access-inet.txt

or look through your news spool if you have one locally in news.answers newsgroup.

Finally, you might wish to get more information from a person, say an author of a software package. usually you can find the e-mail address in the accompanying documentation which normally would be in the documentation subdirectory but failing that and also if the given address is no longer valid you could find help in the FAQ for finding e-mail addresses.


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