Eight guidelines for Good Gophering

The following list of guidelines for successful use of Gopher come from Joel Snyder (jms@opus1.com). These first appeared in the March/April 1994 issue of Internet World magazine and are used with permission.
  1. You can't see it all: Remember that Gophers are microscopic views on the overstuffed world of the Internet. If you think you're seeing it all, you're not even close. To find something, you may have to take many twisty passages, all seemingly alike.
  2. Learn to dig: Even in the world of Gopher, cross-system index tools like Veronica, Jughead, and Archie are quite incomplete. There is no lazy way out of hard digging with your Gopher client.
  3. Take notes: When you find a well-organized place in Gopherspace, make yourself a note using Gopher's "bookmark" facility so that you can come back. Your personal list of Gopher jewels is something you'll come back to again and again.
  4. Information without organization is a waste of time: If you think being a Gopher master is for you, make sure you've got the commitment to keeping your Gopher up to date and accurate. Otherwise, don't even bother. If you're a Gopher user, remember that there is no quality assurance on the data you are getting, and there is no guarantee that what you have is the latest and greatest.
  5. Share: When you do find a particularly tasty resource, make sure that others know about it. Some wonderful resources are well hidden on the Internet. If you know about one, share the wealth.
  6. Be flexible: Gopher searches are only as good as where you start. If your strategy isn't working, start somewhere else.
  7. Gopherspace is not hierarchical: There is no information architect. There is no "top" below which everything falls into neat pigeonholes. There is no guarantee that you can get there from here or that you're not going around in circles.
  8. When you take information from the Internet, remember that you owe a debt to those who made it available: Repay your debt by making your own contribution. Ask your local Gopher master; he or she will probably be happy to accept a donation of time to help organize, update, index, and improve the system.

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Copyright © 1994, 1995, 2004 by Kevin Savetz. The information in this book was collected in 1994-1995 and has not been updated since.