A Biologist's Guide to Internet Resources
smith-una at yale.edu
Tue Jul 13 14:39:18 EST 1993
Last-modified: 13 July 1993
A Biologist's Guide to Internet Resources
Version 1.5, 13 July 1993
Una Smith Department of Biology smith-una at yale.edu
New Haven, Connecticut 06511
1. How to Use this Guide
1. Conditions of Use
2. How to Get Updates
1. Some Mind-Boggling Statistics
1. Newsgroups of Special Interest
2. Special Usenet Hierarchies and Gated Mailing Lists
3. Usenet FAQs about Usenet
4. Listserver Mailing Lists
3. Gateways to Usenet
5. Other Mailing Lists
3. Information Archives
1. Systematic Databases
2. Search Engines
5. List of Archives
6. Access Tools
2. Anonymous FTP
6. Wide-Area Information Servers (WAIS)
7. World-Wide Web (WWW)
7. Access by E-mail
4. Commercial Services
5. Useful and Important FAQs
1. What's an FAQ and where can I get one?
2. Does anyone have an e-mail address for X?
3. How do I find a good graduate program?
4. Where can I get old newsgroup/mailing list articles?
5. Where can I find biology-related job announcements?
Appendix. Assorted Listserver Mailing Lists
-*- 1. How to Use this Guide
If you find this guide difficult to understand, you might want to read
one of the published Internet guidebooks listed in the bibliography and
mentioned several times in this guide. In the interest of brevity, no
information that is easily obtained elsewhere is duplicated here in any
detail, thus for a full understanding of the resources and tools listed
here it is helpful to read the cited material as well.
-*- 1.1. Conditions of Use
This guide may be freely distributed, provided that the text is not edited
in any way beyond removal of the headers; the format may be changed in
any way that is convenient for printed or electronic presentation. This
guide may be freely adapted, provided that the source is acknowledged.
However, this guide may not be sold for profit, in either the original or
an adapted form, without permission from the author.
Virtually every service or resource mentioned in this guide (and this
guide itself) is the un-paid, voluntary contribution of scientists and
students, both graduate and undergraduate. Please give credit where due.
If you make significant use of any document, data or software provided
via the Internet, the authors would be grateful if you would cite them or
otherwise acknowledge their efforts. Any publicly available material
should be considered formally published, and cited as such. You need
not acknowledge the administrators of archives from which you obtain data,
software, or other material, but if you find the archive especially useful
in and of itself, please contact the administrator to ask about the
prefered form of acknowledgement.
A suggested citation for this guide is:
Smith, Una R. (1993) "A Biologist's Guide to Internet Resources."
Usenet sci.answers. Available via anonymous FTP and e-mail from
rtfm.mit.edu as file pub/usenet/news.answers/biology/guide. 35 pages.
-*- 1.2. How to Get Updates
This guide is updated more-or-less monthly. The most current version is
available via Usenet, gopher, FTP and e-mail, as follows:
- In Usenet, look in sci.bio or sci.answers.
- Gopher to sunsite.unc.edu, and choose this sequence of menu items:
Or, from any gopher offering other biology gophers by topic, look for
the menu item "Ecology and Evolution [at UNC and Yale]". The guide is
stored there in two ways: as a file for easy retrieval and as a menu
- FTP to rtfm.mit.edu. Give the username "anonymous" and your e-mail
address as the password. Use the "cd" command to go to the directory
and use "get guide" to copy the file to your computer. The file is
actually stored as guide.Z, which is a compressed binary file, but if
you specify "guide" it will be uncompressed and translated to readable
ASCII before it is transfered to your computer. You can also use
anonymous FTP to sunsite.unc.edu, where this guide is stored as
- Send e-mail to mail-server at rtfm.mit.edu with the text
"send usenet/news.answers/biology/guide". Because the guide is long,
you will probably receive it in parts: save each part separately,
delete the e-mail headers, and merge them.
See section 3.6, Access Tools for more information about retrieving
information from the Internet.
-*- 2. Networking
The Internet has become an excellent place in which to look for academic
and professional job announcements, conference announcements and calls
for papers, and important notices about recent events in many fields of
biology. Generally, notices of all forms appear on the Internet well in
advance of traditional journals and newsletters. Scientific interest
groups, both formal and informal ones, maintain electronic discussion
groups, directories, digests and newsletters. These resources are
distributed in three principal ways: via Usenet newsgroups, (automated)
listserver mailing lists, and mailing lists administered by real people.
Increasingly, the two forms of mailing list have "gateways" connecting
them with Usenet newsgroups.
-*- 2.1. Some Mind-Boggling Statistics
Recently, approximately 370 thousand articles per week were distributed
worldwide through Usenet (Anonymous 1993). This traffic constituted
roughly 50 megabytes per day of announcements, questions and answers,
advice and bits of program code, references, heated debates, and data in
various formats. There are now nearly a million registered computers
on the Internet, and thus tens of millions of people; an estimated
7 million people have accounts on 65 thousand computers carrying Usenet,
and nearly 2 million people read Usenet news at least occasionally
(Reid 1993b). There are several thousand world-wide Usenet newsgroups,
several thousand listserver mailing lists, and several thousand other,
generally small mailing lists.
It appears that there are on the order of 10 thousand people who read
biology-related Usenet newsgroups (Reid 1993a), and there may be that
many using mailing lists for topics in biology. All together, there are
a hundred or so newsgroups and mailing lists (most via listservers)
that may be of particular interest to biologists. They are listed below.
-*- 2.2. Netiquette
The professionally-oriented newsgroups and mailing lists fol
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