7.2 Your Friend Archie
Big Dummy's Guide to the Internet

Go to Table of Contents. Visit Gifcom.

     How do you find a file you want, though?
     Until a few years ago, this could be quite the pain -- there was
no master directory to tell you where a given file might be stored on
the Net. Who'd want to slog through hundreds of file libraries looking
for something?
     Alan Emtage, Bill Heelan and Peter Deutsch, students at McGill
University in Montreal, asked the same question.  Unlike the weather,
though, they did something about it.
     They created a database system, called archie, that would
periodically call up file libraries and basically find out what they had
available.  In turn, anybody could dial into archie, type in a file name,
and see where on the Net it was available. Archie currently catalogs
close to 1,000 file libraries around the world.
     Today, there are three ways to ask archie to find a file for you:
through telnet, "client" Archie program on your own host system or e-
mail.  All three methods let you type in a full or partial file name and
will tell you where on the Net it's stored.
 If you have access to telnet, you can telnet to one of the following
addresses: archie.mcgill.ca; archie.sura.net; archie.unl.edu;
archie.ans.net; or archie.rutgers.edu.  If asked for a log-in name, type
and hit enter.
     When you connect, the key command is prog, which you use in this
            prog filename
followed by enter, where "filename" is the program or file you're
looking for. If you're unsure of a file's complete name, try typing in
part of the name. For example, "PKZIP" will work as well as
"PKZIP204.EXE."  The system does not support DOS or Unix wildcards. 
If you ask archie to look for "PKZIP*," it will tell you it couldn't
find anything by that name.  One thing to keep in mind is that a file is
not necessarily the same as a program -- it could also be a document. 
This means you can use archie to search for, say, everything online
related to the Beetles, as well as computer programs and graphics files.
     A number of Net sites now have their own archie programs that
take your request for information and pass it onto the nearest archie
database -- ask your system administrator if she has it online. These
"client" programs seem to provide information a lot more quickly than the
actual archie itself!  If it is available, at your host system's command
line, type
     archie -s filename
where filename is the program or document you're looking for, and hit
enter.  The -s tells the program to ignore case in a file name and lets
you search for partial matches. You might actually want to type it this
          archie -s filename|more
which will stop the output every screen (handy if there are many sites
that carry the file you want).  Or you could open a file on your computer
with your text-logging function.
      The third way, for people without access to either of the above, is e-
     Send a message to archie@quiche.cs.mcgill.ca. You can leave the
subject line blank.  Inside the message, type
          prog filename
where filename is the file you're looking for.  You can ask archie to
look up several programs by putting their names on the same "prog" line,
like this:
          prog file1 file2 file3
     Within a few hours, archie will write back with a list of the
appropriate sites.
       In all three cases, if there is a system that has your file,
you'll get a response that looks something like this:
 Host sumex-aim.stanford.edu
     Location: /info-mac/comm
            FILE -rw-r--r--     258256  Feb 15 17:07  zterm-09.hqx
     Location: /info-mac/misc
            FILE -rw-r--r--       7490  Sep 12 1991  zterm-sys7-color-icons.hqx
     Chances are, you will get a number of similar looking responses
for each program.  The "host" is the system that has the file.  The
"Location" tells you which directory to look in when you connect to
that system.  Ignore the funny-looking collections of r's and hyphens
for now.  After them, come the size of the file or directory listing
in bytes, the date it was uploaded, and the name of the file.