Roadmap96: MAP17 - Archie | WebReference

Roadmap96: MAP17 - Archie


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"If the hill will not come to Mahomet [sic], Mahomet will come to the hill."
-- Francis Bacon, Of Boldness

Wouldn't it be great if there were some sort of "search" program that would look through hundreds of different anonymous FTP sites and tell us where all of the files that we want are located?

Well, such a search program exists; it is called "Archie".

Archie is actually a collection of servers. Each of these servers is responsible for keeping track of file locations in several different anonymous FTP sites. All of the Archie servers talk to each other and they pool their information into a huge, global database that is periodically updated.

The Archie catalog subsystem maintains a list of about 1200 Internet anonymous FTP archive sites of approximately 2.5 million unique filenames themselves containing 200 Gigabytes (that is, 200,000,000,000 bytes) of information. The current catalog requires about 400 MB of disk storage. (1)

You can search this database for file locations simply by giving an Archie client or server a keyword to search for.

A few minutes ago I did an Archie search using the keyword "roadmap". Archie sent me back a whole bunch of information in the following format:

     Host    (
     Last updated 02:55 16 Apr 1995
        Location: /pub/areaii
        FILE    -rw-rw-r--  266222 bytes  20:00 18 Sep 1995

What does all of this tell me? Well, this tells me the address of the anonymous FTP site (or the "host") is

the directory that the file is located in is


and the name of the file is

Archie does not retrieve the file for me, but it does tell me exactly where the file that I am looking for is located. Once I know the file's location (and its filename), retrieving the file using FTP is easy!

There are three ways that you can access Archie:

  1. Through an Archie client running on your local Internet Service Provider's system;
  2. Through a TELNET connection directly to an Archie server; or
  3. Through an e-mail letter sent directly to an Archie server.

The load on all of the Archie servers is incredible. If your site has its own Archie client, you should use that client instead of TELNETing or e-mailing to a distant Archie server.

To find out if your site is running its own Archie client, type the word


on your system's line, press the ENTER or RETURN key, and see what happens. If you do not get an error message, you can safely assume that your site has its own Archie client. :)

To actually conduct an Archie search using your site's Archie client, type

archie <searchterm>

replacing <searchterm> with what you want the client to search for. For example:

     What you want Archie to search for          What you should type
     ----------------------------------          --------------------
     files and directories that have the         archie squirrel
     word "squirrel" in their titles
     files that have the extension .win32        archie .win32



The following are a few of the Archie servers that you can access using TELNET. Please use the username


to login and *please* use the server that is closest to you:

     ADDRESS                    IP ADDRESS       LOCATION             Australia     Austria    Belgium      Canada   Canada      Canada      Finland     France      Germany           Israel      Italy        Japan      Korea    Korea     Korea      Norway     Poland      Spain       Sweden       Switzerland      Switzerland    Taiwan    UK     UK     UK     UK     UK     UK     UK    UK     UK   USA (MD)         USA (NE)   USA (NJ)   USA (NJ)     USA (NJ)      USA (NJ)        USA (NY)

To start an Archie search using an Archie server that you have TELNETed to, type

find <searchterm>

replacing <searchterm> with what you want the server to search for (see example above).

After Archie has finished its search and printed its results on your screen, you can have Archie e-mail the results to you by typing

mail <your Internet address>

replacing <your Internet address> with your full e-mail address. Finally, to quit your TELNET session, type




To conduct an Archie search via e-mail, find the site from the list above that is closest to you, add "archie@" to the address, and then send your e-mail letter. For example, to do an ARCHIEmail search at the InterNIC (, you would send an e-mail letter to

In the body of your letter you need to type

          find <searchterm>
          set mailto <your Internet address>

replacing <searchterm> with what you want the server to search for, and replacing <your Internet address> with your e-mail address.



The following Archie commands should work regardless of how you access Archie:

     help                   Displays a general help screen
     manpage                Displays a *HUGE* manual that tells you 
                            everything you could possibly want to know 
                            about Archie (including how to limit or 
                            expand searches)
     servers                Displays a list of all publicly accessible 
                            Archie servers worldwide.  The names of 
                            the hosts, their IP addresses and 
                            geographical locations are listed.
     whatis <substring>     Searches the Software Description Catalog 
                            for the given substring, ignoring case.  
                            This catalog consists of names and short
                            descriptions of many software packages, 
                            documents (like RFCs and educational 
                            material), and data files stored on the
                              whatis uucp
                            in part gives as a result:
                         UUCP Pathfinder
                              logfile-stats UUCP LOGFILE analyzer
                              mapstats  UUCP map statistics program.



If you *REALLY* want to learn more about Archie (and I mean *REALLY* want to learn more), try using the "manpage" command in the Archie client or server that you are using.


(1) from the Archie 3.2 manpage, available from any Archie mail or TELNET site by typing "manpage".

Start Lesson Seventeen-B | Go to the Roadmap96 Syllabus | Go to the Roadmap96 Homepage

Originally written by Patrick Douglas Crispen