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A Biologist's Guide to Internet Resources (4 of 6)

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Archive-name: biology/guide/part4
Last-modified: 10 November 1993

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
-*- 4. Useful and Important FAQs

    You will learn a great deal about the Internet and what it has to offer
    if you read some of these FAQs.  If you still want to know more, browse
    around in Usenet.  Also, a number of books have been published recently
    that give a very thorough guide to the Internet;  see the bibliography
    and check your local academic bookstore or university library.  

    The files below are stored in pub/usenet/news.answers/ in the anonymous
    FTP archive on, and are posted frequently to the Usenet
    newsgroups news.answers, comp.answers and sci.answers, as appropriate.
    See sections 3.6.2 and 3.6.3 for help retrieving these FAQs via FTP or
    e-mail.  See section 2.3.3, Usenet FAQs about Usenet, for other titles. 

||  Most if not all of these FAQs are available via gopher on

               Title                            Archive filename

                        General resources

    Gopher [FAQ]                                gopher-faq
    comp.infosystems.wais FAQ			wais-faq/getting-started
    WAIS FAQ					wais-faq/sources
    FAQ: College Email Addresses                college-email/part[1-3]
    FAQ: How to find people's E-mail addresses  finding-addresses
    FAQ: International E-mail accessibility	mail/country-codes
    How to Get Information about Networks       network-info/part1
    Public Dialup Internet Access List          pdial
    Updated Internet Services List              internet-services
    Mailing Lists Available in Usenet           bit/gatelist
    How to find sources                         finding-sources
    Anonymous FTP List - FAQ                    ftp-list/faq
    Anonymous FTP List - Sites                  ftp-list/sites[1-3]
    Mail Archive Server (MAS) software list     mas-software

                        Scientific resources

    A Biologist's Guide to Internet Resources   biology/guide
    Biological Information Theory               biology/info-theory
        and Chowder Society
    Computer Science Technical Report           techreport-sites/list
        Archive Sites
    Computer Graphics Resource Listing          graphics/resources-list/
    FAQ in			neural-net-faq
    Sources of Meteorological Data FAQ          weather-data
    Space FAQ                                   space/* [15 parts]

    Amos Bairoch has assembled a very useful list of Molecular Biology
    Archives and Mailservers which is available on many FTP sites, and
    in the Usenet newsgroup bionet.announce.

 |  Paul Hengen keeps the "FAQ list", a file of useful molecular biology tips
 |  and tricks, for bionet.molbio.methds-reagnts.  The FAQ list is available
 |  via anonymous FTP from as the file pub/methods/FAQlist.

    Virgil Sealy and Lisa Nyman have written an FAQ for comp.infosystems.gis
    (and the gated GIS-L mailing list).  You can also get this FAQ by sending
    e-mail to (no message necessary), or
    you can get it via anonymous FTP from in the file /gis/faq. 
    Bill Thoen has written "Internet Resources for GIS/CARTO/Earth Science",
    which is available via anonymous FTP from in the COGS/ directory.

    Ken Boschert keeps The Electronic Zoo, a list of mailing lists, archives,
    and dial-up BBS systems that have something to do with animals (including
    humans).  The most recent version can be retrieved via anonymous FTP from in /doc/techreports/ 
    The list has many items not mentioned in this guide.

    Lee Hancock keeps Internet/Bitnet Health Sciences Resources, a document
    that can be retrieved via anonymous FTP from, in the pub/nic/
    directory, file name medical.resources.<version>.  In the same directory
    is Wilfred Drew's Not Just Cows, a guide to Internet resources in
    agriculture and related sciences;  get the file named agricultural.list.

-*- 4.1. What's an FAQ and where can I get one?

    There are now hundreds of Internet documents, including this one, written
    expressly to answer frequently asked questions.  They are often refered
    to in the Usenet community as FAQs.  You will find them in the Usenet
    newsgroup news.answers (and subsets in sci.answers, comp.answers, and
    news.answers.newusers).  The Usenet FAQ repository is an anonymous FTP
    archive on (RTFM stands for Read The <bleep> Manual), in
    the directory pub/usenet/news.answers/.  See sections 3.6.2 and 3.6.3
    for details on anonymous FTP, including instructions for retrieving any
    Usenet FAQ via e-mail.

-*- 4.2. Does anyone have an e-mail address for X?

    Please, don't ask this in a newsgroup or mailing list.  It's rude!

    The quickest, most efficient way to answer this is to call or write to X
    directly.  If anyone can help you with this, it's X.  To date, most
    biologists don't have e-mail addresses, or if they do, they don't read
    their e-mail very often, so you really are better off contacting them
    directly.  If you must try to find this information via the computer
    networks, please start by reading Kamens (1993a) or Lamb (1993) or the
    relevant section of one of the books listed in the bibliography.  Also,
    you can check for the latest strategy in bionet.users.addresses.  But
    wait, there's more:  many gopher servers listed in this guide have
    searchable directories of biologists (see section 3.2, Directories).

-*- 4.3. How to find a good graduate program?

    Go talk to the undergraduate or graduate advisor in your department,
    if you're a college student.  Start browsing through the scientific
    journals, and the new book stack in the library.  Ask your favorite
    professors for advice.  Sadly, the Internet can not be all things to all
    people, and questions about how to pick graduate programs generally
    do not get satisfactory replies.

    One way you can use the Internet to explore graduate programs is by
    browsing through campus information directories via gopher.

-*- 4.4. Where can I get old newsgroup/mailing list articles?

    All the biology-related Usenet newsgroups (since 1991) are archived for
    searching via gopher, WAIS, and anonymous FTP on, in
    the directory /usenet/bionet/.  The bionet newsgroups (some dating back
    to 1987) are archived for WAIS and anonymous FTP on  Browse
    through gopher land for additional Usenet newsgroup archives.

    Most listserver mailing lists are archived on the computer where they
    are administered.  To subscribe and get an index of log files on the 
    listserver archive for the ECOLOG-L mailing list, for example, send
    e-mail to with the text:

	subscribe ECOLOG-L Your Name
	index ECOLOG-L

-*- 4.5. Where can I find biology-related job announcements?

||  The newsgroup is a good place to start, but headhunters
||  beware:  read the frequently posted guidelines first.

||  You might also want to check (a.k.a. the ECOLOG-L
||  mailing list), which is sponsored by the Ecological Society of America
||  and carries many job announcements.  The ECOLOG-L list has a special
||  file that you can order by e-mail from  send the
||  text "get jobs job_lst".

    Most other newsgroups and mailing lists carry occasional job notices. 
    The American Physiological Society offers job announcements appearing
    in their journals via gopher on (port 3300).

-*- 5. Commercial Services

    The three most common types of commercial services are (1) restricted-use
    computer accounts allowing Internet access (e-mail or full access) via
    modem from personal computers, (2) on-line bibliographic databases that
    can be searched via modem or over the Internet, and (3) access via modem
    or the Internet to private Usenet-style special-interest networks, but
    only e-mail access to the rest of the Internet.  This third type of 
    service is rapidly disappearing as vendors add full Internet access to
    keep their subscribers from going to another service vendor.

    For the benefit of people without full Internet access (telnet and FTP
    in addition to e-mail), Peter Kaminski maintains a list of commercial
    access providers (Kaminski 1993).  E-mail requests for this list can be
    sent to  use "send PDIAL" as the subject.

    The best sources of information about Internet resources, for readers
    who do not have access to the Internet, are the books on the Internet
    listed in the bibliography, and many other published literature with the
    words "Internet", "on-line" or "database" in the title.  There are many
    such books available now, as publishers everywhere realize that money
    can be made on the new Electronic Frontier. 

    However, much of the information in these compendium books is out of date
    even before the book appears in print.  Also, it is generally compiled by
    people who are not well acquainted with the materials, and thus poorly
    organized.  Much of the information was gathered by soliciting data from
    administrators or suppliers of databases.  This data, in current form,
    is best gathered directly from the source, via the Internet.  The best
    strategy is to learn to cruise the Internet yourself, with the help of a
    a "tool" book such as Kehoe (1992) or Krol (1992; or if you can't find
    those at your local bookstore, some alternatives are Goldman 1992, Lane
    and Summerhill 1992, LaQuey and Ryer 1992, or Tennant et al. 1993) and
    learn where in the Internet to look periodically for notices about
    resources of interest to you.  

-*- Acknowledgements

    This guide is Santa Fe Institute Working Paper # 93-06-038.

    This guide would not have been written without the financial support and 
    intellectual tolerance of Duke and Yale Universities;  it was organized
    (or organized itself) during the 1992 Complex Systems Summer School of 
    the Santa Fe Institute. 

 |  Contributors of additions and corrections to this version of the guide 
 |  include:

 |  Harvey Chinn, for dotting i's and crossing t's, and pointers to new stuff,
 |  Rob Harper, on how to post Usenet articles via e-mail,
 |  Larry Mason, for information on the dynamical systems mailing list,
 |  Eugene Miya, for the e-mail address of the comp.theory.* list admin.,
 |  Mario Nenno, for the Henikoff (1993) citation,
 |  Francis Ouellette, on address changes for various e-mail servers.

    Many, many thanks to

        James Beach, Harvey Chinn, Dan Davison, Reinhard Doelz,
        John Garavelli, Don Gilbert, Rob Harper, Dan Jacobson,
        Jonathan Kamens, David Kristofferson, Steve Modena,
	Francis Ouellette, Renato Sabatini, and Tom Schneider,

    who have provided ideas and material for this guide and/or advice on
    related issues.  Harvey Chinn has served as my editor, and many
    improvements of organization were suggested by him.  Additional material
    and suggestions were contributed by: 

        David Bridge, Steve Clark, Jemery Day, Josh Hayes, Tom Jacobs,
	Andy Johnston, Jim McIntosh, Dean Pentcheff, Jon Radel, Ross Smith,
	Roy Smith, and Christophe Wolfhugel,

    and many, many readers of earlier versions of this guide.  Thank you!

    There exists a (mostly anonymous) cast of thousands who have made very
    large, even enormous voluntary contributions to the resources mentioned
    in this guide, and who are largely responsible for the thing we call the
    Internet in its broadest sense.  They must all be very proud of what
    they have helped to create. 

	Una Smith

Yale University, Department of Biology, Osborn Memorial Laboratories,
PO Box 6666, New Haven, Connecticut  06511-8155

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