"All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."
-- George Orwell, _Animal Farm_, 1945
As you burrow through gopherspace, you are constantly presented with choices. You are given a menu of options, you make a selection, you are given a new set of options, you make another selection, and so on, until you come to the information you seek -- or something else that interests you.
There is a logic and organization to the way individual menus are structured in gopherspace and to the links that connect gophers and resources. However, not all gopherspace is equal. Some parts of it are better organized and more logical than others.
Two of the first gopher sites to organize in the "subject tree" format were the Go M-Link gopher, pioneered by librarian Sue Davidsen at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (my undergraduate alma mater -- "Go BLUE!"), and the "Library without Walls" gopher, developed by librarian Eric Lease Morgan at North Carolina State University, Raleigh.
The University of Michigan's gopher was the first to employ the "top-down," tree-like, organizational structure in its menus, each succeeding layer spreading out like the branches of a tree. At NCSU, Morgan's library server was one of the first to use the library model, complete with its reference desk resources file and "study carrels" organized by discipline.
Here's a sampling of gophers with subject trees. You find these, and more, on gopher submenus available via the "Gopher Jewels" option which may be linked on your gopher root menu. "Gopher Jewels" is a mega-subject tree with a twist; it presents a *searchable* link to good subject tree collections gopher-wide. Gopher Jewels is accessible at cwis.usc.edu under "Other Gophers and Information Services" and via the WWW at gopher://cwis.usc.edu:70/11/Other_Gophers_and_Information_Resources/Gopher-Jewels
Gopher Subject Tree Collections:
Due to this trend, Gopher Jewels and many of the subject trees noted above are no longer being actively maintained (Gopher Jewels hasn't been updated since November of 1994!). Be prepared to encounter lots of empty gopher holes in your explorations, and always check for dates on available material! Because of the difficulty of maintaining two or more servers (gopher and Web), many hosts are electing to close down or at least cease to maintain information on their gopher servers and are moving much of the information previously stored there to their WWW Home Pages. However, there are still some excellent and well-maintained gopher sites on the Internet -- more than any of us reasonably could hope to explore completely in our "online" lives. And, in Lesson 16, I'll show you how to do keyword searches to locate your own personal information resource favorites in gopherspace.
So, get busy, and -- when you're gopherin', don't forget that most gopher clients display (somewhere on your screen) the name of the host you're pulling information from; if you find something neat, make a note of the location! Better yet, set a bookmark ...
Always set a bookmark! When you get deep into gopherspace, after having travelled through many layers of menus, it's almost impossible to retrace your steps a few days or weeks later, should you decide to return. Trust me, you won't remember exactly how you got there. So plan ahead; set a bookmark and you'll never regret it.
|"BCK2SKOL" is a free electronic library classroom created by Ellen Chamberlain, Head Librarian, University of South Carolina Beaufort, and Miriam Mitchell, Sr. Systems Analyst, USC Columbia. Additional support is provided by the Division of Libraries & Information Systems, University of South Carolina Columbia.|
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