Your Internet Consultant - The FAQs of Life Online

4.23. What is the Knowbot information service?

The Knowbot Information Service (KIS) is another "white pages" service that performs a broad name search, checking MCI Mail, the X.500 White Pages Pilot Project, various Whois servers at various organizations (Whois is yet another directory service), and the UNIX finger command. It can be used either as a client program resident on your local machine, through e-mail, or by Telneting to a public server.

KIS uses subprograms called Knowbots to search for information. Each Knowbot looks for specific information from a site and reports back to the main program with the results.

Two hosts running KIS servers are and You can access either one by electronic mail (send mail to, for instance) or using Telnet. (If you Telnet to a KIS server, you need to request port 185: instead of typing telnet, you'd actually type telnet 185.)

Because searching can take several minutes, I prefer to use the e-mail method; once KIS knows the results of the search, it mails them back to you.

In the body of your mail message to netaddress, put names of your associates, one per line. You may use first and last names or a login if you know them. Sending johnson will search the default list of directory servers for user johnson. Because KIS checks a predefined set of services, you do not need to supply an organization name to check for.

KIS also includes commands for narrowing your search and searching for an organization. For more help, include the word man in your e-mail to KIS or your interactive session.

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