Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

4.22. How do I use Netfind?

Netfind is a "white pages" service that uses a number of sources to find electronic mail addresses. Netfind can locate users at over 5,000 sites worldwide. The majority of the domains it can access are educational institutions, so this service is good for locating students. However, Netfind can also access a vast number of commercial, military, government, and other organizational computers. Its operators estimate that it can locate about 5.5 million people.

It works best for sites that do not insulate themselves from the outside world. Some sites, for privacy or security reasons, do not allow offsite users to finger their computers or access other information. Although this may be best for the company, it hinders Netfind, which uses this information, when it can, during its search.

Netfind can be used either as a client program running on your local computer or accessed by Telneting to one of several public servers. The public servers don't require the Netfind software to be on your local host, so we'll look at that venue for searching.

To use Netfind, Telnet to (or another Netfind server, listed in following text), armed with the names to search for and their places of business or schools. At the login prompt, type netfind. Most servers are limited to a certain number of searches at any given time, so you may be denied access. If so, try again later or choose a different server.

Netfind displays a menu of selections. For searching for a specific person, enter 2 (search). You'll then be asked to enter person and keys. Enter one word for the name followed by one or more words defining where to look. For instance, entering simon san diego state university will check for San Diego State in Netfind's "seed database." If it has something to go on, it will begin checking domain names for the keys. If not, try a less restrictive key (in this case, just san diego). Next is a search for hosts. Netfind uses several remote services, including the finger command and the Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (STMP) to query each computer that might have an account name, in this case Simon. (A more complete explanation of this process is available in Netfind's online help.)

If Netfind finds too many machines that match your keys, it will list them and ask you to choose up to three.

If a match is made, Netfind gives you as much information as it can about the match. If there is no match, or it can't get access to information from a secure site, you are told why.


$ telnet
Connected to
Escape character is '^]'.

SunOS UNIX (bruno)

Login as `netfind' to access netfind server

login: netfind

Welcome to the University of Colorado Netfind server.
Top level choices:
        1. Help
        2. Search
        3. Seed database lookup
        4. Options
        5. Quit (exit server)
--> 2
Enter person and keys (blank to exit) --> savetz a2i
( 1) SMTP_Finger_Search: checking domain
        Login: waffle                           Name: Kevin Savetz
        Directory: /files/home/waffle           Shell: /local/bin/tcsh
        Mail last read Fri May 13 20:27:22 1994
        On since Fri May 13 19:43 (PDT) on ttyp8

        Freelance computer journalist.

        Publisher of the Internet Services Frequently Asked Questions
        Publisher of the Unofficial Internet Book List.
        Publisher of the Internet Fax FAQ.
           All of these documents are available via e-mail. For info, send
           To:            Subject: send help

        Author, "Your Internet Consultant - the FAQs of Life Online"
        Publishing to be released June 1994.)
Telnet to the nearest address, login as netfind AARNet, Melbourne, Australia University of Colorado, Boulder National Council for Technical and Scientific Research, Venezuela InterNIC Directory and DB Services, S. Plainfield, NJ California State University, Fullerton, CA University of Southern California, Los Angeles Korea Network Information Center, Taejon, Korea Technet Unit, Singapore Catholic University of Chile, Santiago Imperial College, London, England University of Minnesota, Minneapolis Australian National University, Canberra McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada Warsaw University, Warsaw, Poland University of Sao Paulo, Sao Paulo, Brazil OpenConnect Systems, Dallas, Texas San Jose State University, San Jose, California Liberec University of Technology, Czech Republic Academy of Sciences, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia University of Alabama at Birmingham

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