Mac Tools Image How to Use Gopher

The Gopher system allows users to navigate gopherland through a client, accessing information stored on servers throughout the Internet. The Gopher client displays information in a "Mac-like" fashion; resources appear upon your screen as files, folders, and applications inside windows. TurboGopher, an improved version of the original Gopher client, operates faster and uses a multiple window approach. Similar to Fetch and MacSamson, TurboGopher can also transfer files or launch Telnet sessions. In the example below, we'll use TurboGopher to select Stanford's own Gopher server in order to find a list of local book catalogues and book clubs.

TurboGopher, developed at the University of Minnesota, is an application optimized for raw speed while fetching documents and directories.

How to Begin

Double click on the TurboGopher icon. TurboGopher connects to the gopher server designated as the default. You can change this default behavior by selecting the Configure Gopher... command under the Setup Menu and entering the gopher address of your choice.

Connecting to a Host

  1. Select Another Gopher... from the File Menu. A dialog box will appear.

  2. Type in the Server name box, and 70 in the Server port box.

  3. Click on OK.
Gopher Connection Window
Gopher Connection Window

Requesting a File

  1. Double click on the News icon. A new window will appear with the contents of the News folder.

  2. Double click on the USENET News icon.

  3. Scroll down and double click on the rec icon.

  4. Double click on the arts icon.

  5. Double click on the books icon.

  6. Scroll down to the Book Catalogues and Book Clubs icon.
Select File Window
Select File Window

Reading Your Request

Double click on the Book Catalogues and Book Clubs icon. The list will appear in a new window. You can copy and save the information in this list as you would any other text.
  1. If the file is too long, you will get a Save dialogue box that will prompt you to save the file to your hard drive before reading it. Rename the file, if you wish, and click Save.
Save File Window
Save File Window

Gopher resources you may want to know about

Resource Name Gopher Path Description of resource
Project Gutenberg Home Gopher Server
Univ. of Minnesota
/Libraries/Electronic Books
The Project is a non-profit, volunteer effort to get as much literature as possible into machine readable form. Alice in Wonderland, Moby Dick, Paradise Lost, Shakespeare's complete works, and other texts are found here as plain text.
Historical Documents Home Gopher Server
Univ. of Minnesota/Libraries
/Electronic Books/By Title
Documents and speeches, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, the "I Have A Dream speech," the Gettysburg Address, et. al.
Library Catalogs Home Gopher Server
Univ. of Minnesota/Libraries
/Library Catalogs via Telnet
Several hundred of these library catalogs and data- and Databases bases are available through Gopher in the form of Telnet information.
Usenet News
/News/Usenet News
Contains online discussion groups on just about any topic imaginable, from art to zoophilia.

More about Gopher

Bookmarks: Resources that you tend to use on a regular basis can be accessed more quickly with "Bookmarks." Simply highlight the resource you want and select Set Bookmark from the Gopher Menu. This will place the icon for your resource in the Bookmark Window that opens whenever you start Gopher.
Icons: Different icons lead to different resources:
These are readable text documents: you can open, save or print them as you would any other kind of text.
These will let you search for other documents by whatever keywords you specify.
These will connect you via Telnet to another computer, so you can access whatever services that computer provides. If your computer uses System 7, TurboGopher will actually start up another program, called NCSA Telnet. You'll have to follow the instructions it provides in order to use the program and disconnect when you're done.

The information on Gopher servers may be restricted (for instance, certain databases are provided to a school under the provisions of a site license that restricts the database's use to faculty, staff and students only). In such cases, Gopher will tell you that it cannot open that resource. In other cases, you'll find that Gopher cannot make a connection: this is usually because the computer on the other end is not responding.

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RITS Publications
April 1996