Announcing an experimental MAILGOPHER for biodbs

Gopher Mail Server mcbserve at
Tue May 25 12:49:00 EST 1993

The Biocomputing Research and User Support (BRUS) team of the
National University of Singapore (NUS) is pleased to announce
an experimental MAILGOPHER for biological databases.

Using this electronic mail server address (mailgopher at it is
possible to retrieve gopher documents, directories and carry out type=7
gopher-wais searches with just basic email facilities.

Because of the ubiquity of Biogophers and the wealth of biological
information currently available to Internet users via gopher, wais and
other network information retrieval systems, we felt it important
to provide a gateway for Bitnet and other email-only users particularly
in developing countries.

This service is currently experimental, and we are monitoring usage.
There may be bugs yet to be expunged and we appreciate if users could
inform us immediately if there are any problems. Thank you.

The MAILGOPHER HELP FILE is enclosed below.
A list of Biogopher holes offering search and retrieval of major
databases (warning 9Kb) accompanies this as a separate post.
We would appreciate too if BioGopher maintainers help us keep
this list accurate and up to date 
a) by checking the entries of their gopher hole
b) by informing us (Tin Wee - bchtantw at of any changes.

We thank the many network colleagues too numerous to list here,
who have helped us debug this program by reporting malfunctions.

Tin Wee.


Dr Tan Tin Wee, Biocomputing Research and User Support (BRUS)
Dept of Biochemistry			Tel  772-3678
National University of Singapore	Fax  779-1453
					bchtantw at			

MAILGOPHER HELP FILE  by T.W.Tan 7 May 1993 updated 24 May 1993

Welcome to the Experimental MailGopher server at the 
National University of Singapore (NUS).

This MailGopher server was developed and maintained by 
Dr Tan Tin Wee and Dr Derek Kiong of the Biocomputing Research
and User Support (BRUS) group of NUS.

GOPHER has been a global hit since its introduction several years ago. Many
biological databases are now accessible via GOPHER. However, GOPHER requires
users to have INTERNET connectivity. Many users still do not have easy
access to INTERNET, and some may only have access to electronic mail service.
This mailgopher service (experimental) provides a primitive method for
allowing such users to gain access to the wealth of biological information
currently available on the network.

We would appreciate if users keep to the usage of biological databases in
the first instance even though other types of databases may be accessible.
To use mailgopher, please send mail to 

mailgopher at

without a subject line, according to the following format (without the
comments, of course)

GOPHER					/* compulsory */                 /* compulsory */
port=70					/* compulsory */
type=1					/* only types 0,1 and 7 available */
path=1/directory			/* when retrieve subdirectories
						and files or searching
				           Note: for root directories
					   use path=1/               */
keyw=					/* only for type=7 */

The above format *MUST* be strictly followed (although the line order may be
 a bit more flexible)
Multiple requests per mail will *NOT* work.
Please send your mail requests *ONE* at a time.
This experimental facility is provided as a free service for the BioScience
Community; please do not abuse it.

How to compose your requests (with hypothetical examples)

For example, when you mail the following to mailgopher at,


what is returned to you is a list similar to the above, but with
headers describing the attributes of the entry.


name=Information about this Gopher

name=Directory of information files about Fred

name=Waissearch of a source called solid.src
keyw=sticks and stones

name=Search of a mindex in gopher

To retrieve a file type=0 or a directory type=1, just mail back the
selected entry substituting the header line with "GOPHER".


For search commands, type=7, mail back the entry attributes substituting the
header line with "GOPHER" and appending another line, the keyw=xxxx line
containing the keywords to search with. eg.

keyw=solid and stones

keyw=chlamydia and MOMP

If there are hits, you will be mailed back the hits. Select the one desired. 
Mail back the corresponding set of attributes of the entry to retrieve the
selected entry.

This is only an experimental mail server and although initial tests have
allowed us to debug the system, there may still be bugs.

Note that if the email reply does not come back to you, within minutes
(on a good day) there might be something wrong, 
and in any case, if not within a day, please email me
immediately with a copy of your query (bchtantw at
I have tested the response times from (in Seattle)
and from (in Paris) and I can essentially wait
for the reply to come back (within minutes) without growing cobwebs.

If a search of type=7 does not get you any results, either the site
has become obsolete, or there are no hits.  Try out with a positive
control first, if you are searching a particular database for the first

Your bug reports, comments and feedback will be very much appreciated.
Please send email to bchtantw at

Dr T.W.Tan
Biocomputing Research and User Support (BRUS) group
Department of Biochemistry
National University of Singapore
Kent Ridge
bchtantw at

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