Using the Information Superhighway Effectively

4-State Applied Nutrition and Management Conference

Mark Varner Dep't of Animal Sciences

University of Maryland

College Park, MD 20742-2311

(301)405-1396 (voice)

(301)314-9059 (fax) (Internet) Home Page

Introduction and General Resources

The Information Superhighway can be thought of as a global network of smaller interconnected computer networks and associated software technologies. Effective use of the Information Superhighway requires utilization of various computer software technologies. The six main technologies are electronic mail (e-mail), telnet, ftp, newsgroups, Gopher and World Wide Web (Web). They have been developed during the 1980's and 1990's in the order listed above. The software associated with the Web has been available for approximately the last 2 years, and this software attempts to integrate the five technologies into one easy-to-use package.

The objective of this paper is to describe these six technologies. Examples of sites for dairy-related information are provided, along with the detailed contact information. Sources for more information on some technologies are provided, as is information on commercial computer hosts that provide access to the Information Superhighway and its technologies1. To get a copy of an up-dated list of Internet hosts, send an e-mail message to, and put the following line in the body of the message:


General resources that explain the Information Superhighway are available in print and, of course, on the Information Superhighway. An excellent book that describes the Internet and its technologies is available.2. Krol, Ed. 1994. The Whole Internet User's Guide. O'Reilly & Associates, Inc. Sebastapol, CA. Second Edition. 507 pages A set of 27 lessons for beginners concerning use of the Information Superhighway are available by either e-mail3. Lessons concerning the use of the Internet are available by e-mail. Send an e-mail message to, and put the following line in the body of the message:

get map package f=mail

or Web.4. Lessons concerning the use of the Internet are available by Web. The URL is

Electronic Mail

Electronic mail is the most popular software technology on the Information Superhighway. Individuals with common interests get together and exchange electronic mail. Software programs, like Listserv, Listproc, Almanac, MajorDomo and many others, have been developed to automate the distribution. These automated e-mail software programs have allowed for the development of broad-based e-mail groups. A number of these groups are related to dairy and beef production. Tips for effective use of listserv software are available by e-mail.

5. A list of tips for working with listserv software, including search tips, are available. To get a copy, send an e-mail message to and put the following line in the body of the message:


Dairy-L was the first of these groups on the Internet. Subscribing to Dairy-L is simple, and detailed instructions are available by electronic mail,6. To get the instructions for subscribing to Dairy-L, send an electronic mail message to and put the following line in the body of the message:

GET DAIRY-L TXT or on theWeb. AABP-L is a useful e-mail group only for members of the American Association of Bovine Practitioners. To get information on subscribing, contact the association (


Telnet is a software utility and a communication protocol for connecting to a remote computer via the Internet. An analogy to telnet is the use of telecommunication software and a modem to communicate with a bulletin board. With telnet, you connect using Internet communication lines instead of normal telephone lines. An account with a login id and password is usually required on the remote computer, but some systems allow for public or guest logins. Users can utilize the telnet utility if their workstation is connected directly to the Internet. Users not directly connected can use telnet from a local host computer, often running the Unix operating system. These latter individuals use a telecommunication software package and normal telephone lines and link to an Internet host.

Example telnet sites with dairy information:

Penn State's Penpages

telnet to (IP = and login as two letter state mail code (ie. MD)

Clemson's CUFAN

telnet to (IP = and login as PUBLIC


The standard file transfer protocol for the Internet is termed FTP, and there is a software utility for FTP. Archie software can search the Internet for files with names that match certain criteria. FTP software utilities run much faster on a workstation connected to the Internet than downloading a file from a bulletin-board system. Additionally, FTP can transfer binary files, while E-Mail usually handles only text files. Examples of binary files are executable software programs, images, and word processor files. Some FTP sites with dairy or beef software and a good selection of Window's share-ware software are below.

Maryland's Dairy-L File Storage Site

ftp to (IP = and use anonymous as login ID and your e-mail address as the password. Files are in the pub/dairy-l directory.

Maryland Dairy Decision Support Software Site

ftp to (IP = and use anonymous as login ID and your e-mail address as the password. Files are in the inforM/CompRes/Software/Educational/Dairy directory.

Bovine Software FTP Archives at Oklahoma State University

ftp to (IP = and use anonymous as login ID and your e-mail address as the password. Files are in the

gopher-data/Academic_Services/Animal_Sciences/software directory.

USDA Dairy Situation and Outlook Yearbook. Dairy production statistics in Lotus 1-2-3 format (.wk1)

ftp to (IP = and use anonymous as login ID and your e-mail address as the password. Files are in the usda/data-sets/livestock/89032 directory.

Univ. of Indiana Window's Software Archive

ftp to (IP = and use anonymous as login ID and your e-mail address as the password.


Newsgroups contain messages and discussions are conducted, similar to e-mail. The difference between e-mail and newsgroups is that your e-mail messages come to your electronic mail box and newsgroup messages stay on a server, similar to a bulletin board system (BBS). Instead of one central server, like a BBS, newsgroups are distributed on mail servers all across the Internet. Special software utilities are available to read newsgroup messages. These include rn, tin, News Express and many others.

The number of newsgroups has increased steadily, and there are over 10,000 separate newsgroups. Newsgroups are arranged in a hierarchial order, with periods used to denote subsets in the hierarchy. The number of groups with information on animal agriculture is extremely limited. Newsgroups that contain messages related to animal agriculture are below.





Gopher and Wide Area Information Servers (WAIS) started as independent Internet information search and retrieval systems. Many features of the two systems are now integrated and the same information is usually available using the same software. Gopher and WAIS both use two separate software packages; server and client software. The informational database is organized and made available on the Internet using server software. You use the corresponding client software utility to browse or search the informational database using a series of nested menus. The client software will switch servers during a menu choice, frequently without the user's knowledge. The number of Gopher/WAIS servers has increased so rapidly, that it is very difficult to find information by just browsing through the nested menus. The Veronica and Jughead software utilities have been developed to search Gopher servers for information matching certain search criteria. Veronica software searches all of the Internet for items of interest. Jughead software searches only one particular Gopher server. Users can utilize the Gopher and WAIS utilities if their workstation is connected directly to the Internet. Users not directly connected can use Gopher and WAIS from an Internet host computer. Veronica search software is located at a few sites around the world on the Internet. Jughead search software is usually only available on the same local computer as the Gopher server software. The Gopher and WAIS server software does not require excessive computing capabilities. Individual users can make their own specialized databases available to other Internet users, if their workstation is connected directly to the Internet.

Selected examples of Gopher Servers

Use Veronica to Search all Gopherspace

From a list of all Gopher Servers in the World choose:

Search titles in Gopherspace using VERONICA/

Selected examples of Gopher Servers (continued)

Search Dairy-L Archives

From a list of all Gopher Servers in the US, choose the following:


Minnesota Extension Service/

Subject Area Information/

Livestock Systems/

Search Dairy Mailist (dairy-l) <?>

USDA Market Wire Reports from Univ of Kentucky

From a list of all Gopher Servers in the US, choose the following:


University of Kentucky/

Academics......Programs, News, Etc. /

Ag.............College of Agriculture /

AgMarkets..Agricultural Marketing Info /


An extension of the Gopher client-server concept is the World Wide Web (W3 , Web or WWW) client-server software. The two types of servers are compatible, but WWW servers can also handle multimedia applications that include text, photographs, sound and moving images. Gopher servers are frequently limited to displaying text only. Further, WWW servers make extensive use of hyper-media links to information, images and sound on the same or different servers. The Netscape7. To download a copy of Netscape Ver 1.1you can use Web software with the following URL:, Mosaic and Lynx software utilities are the most popular client software used to work with WWW servers. Netscape and Mosaic software can handle text, images and sound, so it requires a graphical interface on the user's workstation. Versions of Mosaic are available for Windows, Mac's and X-Windows Unix workstations. Lynx software can handle text only, but is designed to still take advantage of the hyper-text linkages. Netscape is available for Windows only. Lynx software is available for DOS, Mac and Unix systems. Mosaic users must have a direct connection to the Internet, but Lynx can frequently be used on a local Internet host.

Selected Web Sites with Dairy or Beef Information.

Publication Collections

National Dairy Database (University of Maryland)

American Society of Animal Science

American Dairy Science Association

Sites with Extensive Lists of Web Links for Animal Agriculture

Livestock Section of CERN Virtual Library (Oklahoma State)

NetVet Cows Home Page (Washington Univ. of St. Louis)

Sites with Extensive Lists of Web Links for General Agriculture

AgriGator (University of Florida)


Forage Information System

Gateway to Agricultural Resources on the Internet

EINet Galaxy section on Agriculture

Agriculture Section of CERN Virtual Library

Sites with Dairy or Beef Info

FDA Approved Animal Drug Data Base (Virginia Tech.)

Beef Cow Culling Decision Support System (Univ. of Arizona)

Dairy Management Column (Univ. of Deleware)

Dairy Cattle Parasites (Univ. of Florida)

NebGuide Dairy Cattle Index (Univ. of Nebraska)

Dairy and Beef Fact Sheets (Oklahoma State Univ.)

American College of Veterinary Nutrition - Dairy Module (Virginia Tech)

Dairy Policy (Univ. of Nebraska)

Nutrition and Feeding (Univ. of Florida)

Current Livestock, Dairy and Poultry Legislation (U.S. Goverment Legislation)

Byproduct Feedstuffs for Beef and Dairy Cattle (Univ. of Nebraska.)

Colostrum Quality and Absorbtion in Baby Calves (Univ. of Nebraska)

Computing the Dollar Value of Concentrates and Byproduct Feeds for Dairy Cattle (Univ. of Nebraska.)

Displaced Abomasum (Univ. of Missouri)

Supplemental Fat for High Producing Cows (Univ. of Nebraska)

Dairy or Beef Farmers with Home Pages

Neil Smith

Kaehler's Mill Farm

Brent Palmer

Floyd Weaver

Commercial Web Sites Associated With Dairy

Ontario Milk Marketing Board

United Breeders

Chicago Mercantile Exchange

Monsanto's Posilac

Semex Canada

Ontario Dairy herd Improvement Corporation

Successful Farming Magazine

Internet Access Information

List of rural Internet and E-mail providers by the Morino Institute

Rural Access to the Internet

Internet Search Tools

SavvySearch (Colorado State) Yahoo Search (Stanford Univ. now commercial)

WebCrawler (Univ of Washington, now commercial)

WWWW (World-Wide-Web-Worm) (Colorado State)

Internet Fun/Cool/Nifty Places

Best of the Web - '94 (list of sites with something outstanding about each)

Current weather and forecast from Purdue

Search USDA Current Research and Information System

United States Department of Agriculture