I think you will be hearing more about these in the future...they
are still evolving. I picked up the Mac client for gopher today
thanks to Rob's note.
It was amazing to me... click on a "start gopher" button, and I am
looking at a library of information at U. Minnesota, including electronic
books, newspapers, various databases with keyword search functions.
Click on the "Other locations" folder in that library, and I am looking at
folders into North America, Europe, Pacific, ... Open up those with
a click, and I'm looking at computerized libraries that are
evolving on scores of university campuses around the globe.
Gopher is very accessable -- easy to get started with -- compared to
WAIS, because it adds "browsing", or a way for you to look around to see
what information is there. With WAIS, you sort of need to know what to
ask, how to phrase questions, before it is useful. On the other hand,
WAIS now has several biology data sources. I did not find much of that
yet thru Gopher, but I think that will be coming.
In terms of concept, and underlying software, both WAIS (Wide Area
Information Servers) and Internet Gopher are similar, and they address
similar needs -- making wide-flung computerized data more available to
anyone with a networked computer.
I think it was in Rob's previous post, but to remind you, you can pick
up Gopher software, both for client (reading) and servers (setting up
your own data server), by anonymous ftp to boombox.micro.umn.edu. There
is an alt.gopher newsgroup.
Don Gilbert gilbert at bio.indiana.edu
biocomputing office, biology dept., indiana univ., bloomington, in 47405