6.6 Finding Someone on the Net
Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet

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     So you have a friend and you want to find out if he has an Internet
account to which you can write?  The quickest way may be to just pick up
the phone, call him and ask him.  Although there are a variety of "white
pages" services available on the Internet, they are far from complete --
college students, users of commercial services such as CompuServe and
many Internet public-access sites, and many others simply won't be
listed.  Major e-mail providers are working on a universal directory
system, but that could be some time away.
     In the meantime, a couple of "white pages" services might give you
some leads, or even just entertain you as you look up famous people or
long-lost acquaintances.
     The whois directory provides names, e-mail and postal mail address
and often phone numbers for people listed in it.  To use it, telnet to
No log-on is needed.  The quickest way to use it is to type
     whois name
at the prompt, where "name" is the last name or organization name you're
looking for.
     Another service worth trying, especially since it seems to give
beginners fewer problems, is the Knowbot Information Service reachable by
telnet at
     info.cnri.reston.va.us 185

Again, no log-on is needed.  This service actually searches through a
variety of other "white pages" systems, including the user directory for
MCIMail.  To look for somebody, type
     query name
where "name" is the last name of the person you're looking for.  You can
get details of other commands by hitting a question mark at the prompt.
You can also use the knowbot system by e-mail.  Start a message to

You can leave the "subject:" line blank. As your message, type

     query name

for the simplest type of search.  If you want details on more complex
searches, add another line:

     Another way to search is via the Usenet name server. This is a
system at MIT that keeps track of the e-mail addresses of everybody who
posts a Usenet message that appears at MIT. It works by e-mail.  Send a
message to

Leave the "subject:" line blank. As your message, write

           send usenet-addresses/lastname

where "lastname" is the last name of the person you're looking for.