Veronica FAQ (Part 2 of 2)


- June 23, 1994: Steven Foster

This document is an introduction to using veronica. 278 lines. gopher://

veronica: very easy rodent-oriented net-wide index of computerized archives.



veronica is an index and retrieval system which can locate items on most of the gopher servers in the Internet. The veronica index contains about 10 million items from approximately 5500 gopher servers (June 1994).

veronica finds resources by searching for WORDS in TITLES. It does not do a full-text search of the contents of the resources; it finds resources whose titles contain your specified search word(s). The "title" is the title of the resource as it appears on the menu of its HOME gopher server.

veronica is used with a gopher client. You will choose "veronica" from the menu of some gopher server, and enter a set of query words or special directives. When the search is finished, the results will be presented as a normal gopher menu. You may browse the discovered resources in this menu, as you would use any other gopher menu. TYPES OF SEARCHES

Most veronica-access menus offer several types of searches. In addition to these pre-defined types, you can compose veronica queries using a number of special options to focus your search more precisely. You should use these options when appropriate, as they will make it much easier to locate resources. (See sections below for PRE-DEFINED SEARCH TYPES and FINDING RESOURCES OF A CERTAIN GOPHER TYPE ) MULTIPLE SERVERS

Many veronica-access menus offer a list of various veronica server sites; in this case you will have to choose a server site to use. Ideally, it does not matter which server you use, as all servers will give the same answers. In practice, the servers do not all update the index at the same time, so there will be some difference in the results. Some servers will return an answer faster than others, depending on load and network traffic.

Many other veronica-access menus offer a single entry rather than a list of servers. In this case, simply click on the search type desired, and submit your query in the dialog box. PRE-DEFINED SEARCH TYPES:

Most access menus offer two predefined search types:

Search GopherSpace by keywords in Titles

This search will find ALL TYPES of resources whose titles contain your specified search words. The resources may be of any Gopher data TYPE; e.g. ascii documents, gopher directories, image files, binary files, etc.

Search Gopher DIRECTORIES ONLY for keywords in Titles.

This search will find only Gopher DIRECTORIES whose titles contain the specified words. This search can be very useful to find only major holdings of information which relate to your query. After veronica finds the gopher directories, you can open any of them to see the contents in more detail. This is especially useful to avoid being overwhelmed by too many results if you are searching with a common word such as "women" or "internet"!

You can define your own query, specifying only certain TYPES of gopher resources, by using the -t option. For instance, you could search for ONLY image files by including the phrase "-tI" in your query. See below for more about the -t option. ENTERING A QUERY

When you select a query type, your gopher client will present a dialog box. Enter your query words. The search is NOT case-sensitive.

You may get better results by entering a multi-word query rather than a single word. Multiple word queries will find only those items whose titles contain ALL of the specified words. For instance, "women" will find 5223 items; but "league women voters" will find 126 items. Be as specific as you can.

It also helps to be imaginative. Think about how gophers are organized; the information you want may not be found under "league of women voters", but under the more general heading of "politics".

A multiple-word query does not require that the words be adjacent in the title, nor that they appear in any particular order. So, "marx brothers" will locate the same items as "brothers marx".

There is more information on composing queries below. DEFAULT MAXIMUM ITEMS and the "-m" option.

By default, the veronica servers will deliver only the first 200 items which match your query. You can request any number of items by including the "-mX" command phrase in your query. X is the number of items you wish. If X is omitted ( "-m" ), there is no limit to the number of items delivered.

For instance:

"women" will provide 200 items.
"women -m1000" will provide 1000 items.
"women -m" will provide all available matching items.

You may find a message at the end of your veronica results menu, like "*** There are 576 more items matching your query". If you are not satisfied with the 200 items you got, you can resubmit the query, requesting more items with "-m".

Note that some veronica servers will provide more than 200 items by default. QUERY LOGIC, BOOLEAN SEARCHING, and WILDCARDS.

The search understands the logical operators AND, NOT, OR, (, and ).

If you use a simple multiple-word query, it is the same as using AND between the words. For instance "acid rain" is the same query as "rain and acid". "League women voters" is the same as "league and women and voters".

As noted above, we recommend using AND to create a tightly-focused query.

We recommend that the word "OR" be used VERY RARELY. Usually, OR will just produce thousands of hit-or-miss results. OR is best used in conjunction with other operators, as "rice and (fried or curr*) ".

An asterisk ("*") at the TRAILING END of a query word will match anything. Use it as a limited form of wildcard search. The asterisk character may be used ONLY at the end of words; the search will fail if a "*" is placed within a word or at the beginning of a word.

Search words must be at least two characters long. Shorter words will be ignored.

Interpretation of the query starts from the right-hand, interpreting operators as encountered. If in doubt about order of interpretation, USE PARENTHESES! The veronica server at University of Koeln ( june94 ) interprets the query logic from left-to-right. FINDING RESOURCES OF A CERTAIN GOPHER "TYPE": the "-t" flag.

You can use veronica to find resources of (only) a specified gopher type. You specify the type(s) of interest by adding the "-tX" option phrase to your query.

The -t flag may appear anywhere in the search specification. For example:

"women -t1"
"-t1 women"

Either of these search phrases will find resources with the word "women" in the title. All the resources will be gopher DIRECTORY items ( type 1 ).

There must NOT be any spaces between the -t and the type specifier.

You may specify MORE THAN ONE type in the query. DO NOT use separate -t options to do this; simply put all the types together (with no spaces) after the -t. For example:

"-tgs mac" returns a menu of GIF images or SOUNDS with the word "mac" in titles.

Official gopher types, from the Gopher Protocol Document, are:

          0  -- Text File
          1  -- Directory
          2  -- CSO name server
          4  -- Mac HQX file.
          5  -- PC binary
          7  -- Full Text Index (Gopher menu)
          8  -- Telnet Session
          9  -- Binary File
          s  -- Sound
          e  -- Event    (not in 2.06)
          I  -- Image (other than GIF)
          M  -- MIME multipart/mixed message
          T  -- TN3270 Session
          c  -- Calendar (not in 2.06)
          g  -- GIF image
          h  -- HTML, HyperText Markup Language
    -t	limit the search to items of specified data type(s).
    -m	specify maximum number of items to find.
    -l  create a file of links for the discovered resources.  The file
 	will be displayed as the first item on the veronica results menu.
 	You can then retrieve that file and include the links in menus 
 	which you may be building.  Not all veronica servers support the
 	"-l" option.

Just include the options in the search query. They will work with any gopher client. You can put options before the query words, after the query words, or even between query words.

DO NOT cluster more than one option behind a single hyphen; instead, use a separate hyphen for each separate option. For example:

gopher -t1s -m400

This example requests 400 items containing the word "gopher", and specifies that we want only items whose type is "directory" or "sound".

EXAMPLES (from Fred Barrie):

Simple examples:

Search on the word "internet". This will return a menu list of (at most) 200 records that have the word internet in the title field.

Just type-

Search on the word "internet", but specify 1000 items instead of the default 200.

internet -m1000

-m1000 internet

Search on the words "chicken" and "wine". This returns a menu list of (at most) 200 records that have _BOTH_ "chicken" and "wine".

chicken and wine

Search for the keywords "chicken" or "wine", specifying directories only. This returns a menu list of resources that have _EITHER_ chicken or wine, and which are GOPHER DIRECTORY entries. Type-

chicken or wine -t1

-t1 chicken or wine

Examples for the operator "NOT":

To use the operator "NOT" in a query:

chicken not wine
(will search for all titles with the word chicken _BUT NOT_ the word wine)
chinese food not msg
(will search for our health nuts all the titles with the words chinese _AND_ food _BUT NOT_msg. Remember there is an implied _AND_ between two words)

Examples for parenthesis queries:

chicken (wine or curry) -m
(will list ALL titles with the words chicken _AND_ either wine _OR_ curry. -m asks for ALL records.)
(chicken or wine) not (msg or growing)
(will search for titles with the words chicken _OR_ wine _BUT NOT_msg _OR_ growing)

Examples for word stemming: The metacharacter "*" matches anything at the TRAILING END of a search word.

(will search for all titles with the word chicken, chickens, ...)
chicken* or wine*
(will search for all titles with the word chicken, chickens, ... _OR_ wine, wines, wineries, ...)

Go to Part I.