About Gopher

Because the Internet can be a daunting place in which to travel, there are several tools available to make your trip more enjoyable. One of the pioneering tools is called "gopher," developed at the University of Minnesota. It was developed to provide a friendlier interface to all the information that the University of Minnesota wanted to make available to its faculty and students. Other universities now also run gopher servers, making information available to their students and faculties. Gopher servers are being replaced by WWW servers. However much useful information is still stored on gopher servers. (WWW is discussed in detail in the next section.)


Using gopher, you can browse at your leisure through all the gopher servers in the known universe (gopherspace), or you can choose to go directly to information on topics that interest you by using an Internet tool called veronica.

Veronica allows you to search all of gopherspace for a particular topic, allowing gopher to display those items wherever they may be. Veronica allows keyword searches as it scans the titles of all the files stored on the gopher servers throughout the world. Once the search has been executed, you will be presented with a list of all the files that are appropriate for the keyword you selected.

CAVEAT: Veronica is a popular tool. There are a limited number of "veronica servers" around the world, each of which allows a limited number of users at any one time. This can prove frustrating if you try to access popular servers during rush hour (e.g., during the business day at that site). Since all veronica servers can access the same information, keep trying!


As you spend more time in gopherspace, you may encounter places that you will want to re-visit. For example, you might want to be able to go directly to your favorite veronica server or to the local weather forecast. You can create a menu of "bookmarks", which is essentially a list of the information that you wish to access regularly. This information is probably scattered all over gopherspace. A bookmark menu makes all this information "appear" to be on one personalized gopher menu!

The Internet Tutorials section of this guide contains illustrations of using gopher to access Internet resources, using veronica to search gopherspace, and using bookmarks.

Index to Demystifying the Internet UD Home Page
Index to Internet Tools Index to Internet Tutorials

The University of Delaware
August, 1996