alternate mosaic entry to iubio archive

Don Gilbert gilbertd at sunflower.bio.indiana.edu
Fri Apr 22 10:58:25 EST 1994


For those who prefer to use the Mosaic client from NCSA for
internet browsing, an alternate entry to the IUBio Archive
for mosaic is this URL:

gopher://ftp.bio.indiana.edu/11%09%2Btext/html

This will provide an HTML page with entries for the gopher items.
Mosaic still is not a gopher+ client, and there are many items
in this archive that can only be used by gopher+ clients.


I still regard gopher and html/www as competitors, and feel
that gopher in general is as good or better a protocol for
network information services as html/http/www.  But the pretty
face of Mosaic has lured away many people from gopher use.

As people find some of the hypertext linkages, and built-in
graphics displays, useful for browsing & searching bioscience 
information, I plan to try adding some of that to my gopher client.
I don't have the time and resources that NCSA/CERN have for building
their systems, so my work won't be as fancy.  However,
it is pretty straight forward to get gopher to do hypertext type
links, and graphic and rich text displays. 

If you have a view on gopher+ versus mosaic/http/html/www for use
in biosciences information services, please feel free to comment here
or by mail to me.  I'd not like to spend time developing gopher further
if every one moves away from it to the other side. 

Some of point which I see make gopher preferable to mosaic are these:

gopher is a single protocol,  www is an amalgam of all the internet
protocols.  The upshot of this is that any usable www client has to
know a kitchen sink of network protocols, whereas gopher can be a 
simpler program.  I can put a gopher client inside a more complex
biosciences program; putting a Mosaic into another program would be
a larger task.

mosaic/www rely on images and rich text heavily, which imposes much
more demand on network and client computer resources.  Gopher can
work well over slow telephone lines and on simpler computers.

hypertext is not as important a way of organizing information as the
simpler table-of-contents and index format that gopher uses.  Though
I agree there are cases where hypertext is useful, there are more cases
where it is more confusing than is a more organized table-of-contents
style of information.  Macintosh users have had hypertext in the form
of Hypercard for many years, and I've yet to see any significant use
of the hypertext capabilities of Hypercard for biological information.

gopher presents a "file cabinet" view of network information, compared
to mosaic's hypertext view.  This is certainly a point of individual
preference, but I think that the folders and files view thru gopher
better fits the majority of network information than does hypertext views.
It is my impression that www server administrators must put in much more
effort creating a usable HTML view of their information than gopher
server administrators need to put in organizing data for gopher 
presentation.


-- Don




-- 
-- d.gilbert--biocomputing--indiana u--bloomington--gilbertd at bio.indiana.edu




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