Zen and the Art of the Internet

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For information on database services, Commercial Databases.
Not all databases on the Internet require payment for use, though.
There do exist some, largely research-driven databases, which are
publicly accessible.  New ones spring up regularly.
To find out more about the databases in this section, contact the
people directly responsible for them.  Their areas of concentration
and the software used to implement them are widely disparate, and are
probably beyond the author's expertise.  Also, don't forget to check
with your local library---the reference librarian there can provide
information on conventional resources, and possibly even those
available over the Internet (they are becoming more common).
 Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries (CARL)
The Colorado Alliance of Research Libraries (CARL), in association
with CARL Systems Inc., operates a public access catalog of services.
Offered are a number of library databases, including searches for
government periodicals, book reviews, indices for current articles,
and access to to other library databases around the country.  Other
services are available to CARL members including an online
encyclopedia.  Telnet to, or write to for
more details.
PENpages is an agriculturally-oriented database administered by
Pennsylvania State University.  Information entered into PENpages is
provided by numerous sources including the Pennsylvania Dept. of
Agriculture, Rutgers University, and Penn State.  Easy-to-use menus
guide users to information ranging from cattle and agricultural
prices to current weather information, from health information to
agricultural news from around the nation.  A keyword search option
also allows users to search the database for related information and
articles.  The database is updated daily, and a listing of most
recent additions is displayed after login.  Telnet to
and log in as the user PNOTPA.
 Clemson Univ. Forestry & Agricultural Network
Clemson maintains a database similar to PENpages in content, but the
information provided tends to be localized to the Southeastern United
States.  A menu-driven database offers queries involving the weather,
food, family, and human resources.  Telnet to and
log in as PUBLIC.  You need to be on a good VT100 emulator (or a real
VT terminal).
 University of Maryland Info Database
The Computer Science department of the University of Maryland
maintains a repository of information on a wide variety of topics.
They wish to give a working example of how network technology can
(and should) provide as much information as possible to those who use
it. Telnet to and log in as info.  The information
contained in the database is accessible through a screen-oriented
interface, and everything therein is available via anonymous FTP.
There is a mailing list used to discuss the UMD Info Database,
welcoming suggestions for new information, comments on the interface
the system provides, and other related topics.  Send mail to with a body of
subscribe INFO-L Your Full Name
Listservs for more information on using the Listserv system.
 University of Michigan Weather Underground
The University of Michigan's Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, &
Space Sciences maintains a database of weather and related
information for the United States and Canada.  Available are current
weather conditions and forecasts for cities in the U.S., a national
weather summary, ski conditions, earthquake and hurricane updates,
and a listing of severe weather conditions.  Telnet to on port 3000 to use the system.
 Geographic Name Server
A geographic database listing information for cities in the United
States and some international locations is maintained by Merit, Inc.
The database is searchable by city name, zip code, etc.  It will
respond with a lot of information: the area code,
elevation, time zone, and longitude and latitude are included.  For
example, a query of 19013 yields
0 Chester
1 42045 Delaware
2 PA Pennsylvania
3 US United States
F 45 Populated place
L 39 50 58 N  75 21 22 W
P 45794
E 22
Z 19013
Z 19014
Z 19015
Z 19016
To use the server, telnet to on port
3000.  The command help will yield further instructions, along
with an explanation for each of the fields in a reponse.
 FEDIX---Minority Scholarship Information
FEDIX is an on-line information service that links the higher
education community and the federal government to facilitate research,
education, and services. The system provides accurate and timely
federal agency information to colleges, universities, and other
research organizations.  There are no registration fees and no access
charges for FEDIX whatsoever.
FEDIX offers the Minority On-Line Information Service (MOLIS), a
database listing current information about Black and Hispanic colleges
and universities.
Daily information updates are made on federal education and research
programs, scholarships, fellowships, and grants, available used
research equipment, and general information about FEDIX itself.  To
access the database, telnet to and log in as
 Science & Technology Information System
The STIS is maintained by the National Science Foundation (NSF), and
provides access to many NSF publications.  The full text of
publications can be searched online and copied from the system, which
can accommodate up to ten users at one time.  Telnet to
and log in as public.  Everything on the system is also available via
anonymous FTP.  For further information, contact:
STIS, Office of Information Systems, Room 401
National Science Foundation
1800 G. Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C.  20550
(202) 357-7492
(202) 357-7663 (Fax)
 Ocean Network Information Center
The University of Delaware College of Marine Studies offers access to
an interactive database of research information covering all aspects
of marine studies, nicknamed OCEANIC.  This includes the World Oceanic
Circulation Experiment (WOCE) information and program information,
research ship schedules and information, and a Who's Who of email and
mailing addresses for oceanic studies.  Data from a variety of
academic institutions based on research studies is also available.
Telnet to and log in as INFO.
 NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED)
The NASA/IPAC Extragalactic Database (NED) is an ongoing project,
funded by NASA, to make data and literature on extragalactic objects
available over computer networks.  NED is an object-oriented database
which contains extensive information for nearly 132,000 extragalactic
objects taken from about major catalogs of galaxies, quasars, infrared
and radio sources.  NED provides positions, names, and other basic
data (e.g. magnitude types, sizes and redshifts as well as
bibliographic references and abstracts).  Searches can be done by
name, around a name, and on an astronomical position.  NED contains a
tutorial which guides the user through the retrieval process.  Telnet
to and log in as ned.
 U.S. Naval Observatory Automated Data Service
Operated by the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., this
automated data service provides database access to information
ranging from current navigational satellite positioning, astronomical
data, and software utilities. A wide variety of databases can be
searched and instructions for file transfer are given.  Telnet to and log in as ads.
``My consciousness suddenly switched locations, for the first time in
my life, from the vicinity of my head and body to a point about
twenty feet away from where I normally see the world.'' Howard
Rheingold, Virtual Reality p255