Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

3.23. What's all this talk of indexers and navigators?

An indexer involves a component to gather the data, build the index, and handle user queries. An example is Archie, a tool that catalogs the holdings of thousands of anonymous FTP sites. Indexes are efforts to do virtual look-ups across thousands of Internet servers, like the holdings of anonymous FTP sites, or the menus in Gopher servers. The idea is to collect a list from each participating server, and then collect these lists into one database that can be searched, so that a single query seems to search the entire Internet.

A navigator provides the user with a view of this information, and a way to search, browse, and select things. It provides an Internet-wide view rather than a connection to only one site. For example, a single screen of a Gopher menu may point to resources at a dozen locations around the world!

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