Definition

Gopher

From about 1992 through 1996, Gopher was an Internet application in which hierarchically-organized text files could be brought from servers all over the world to a viewer on your computer. Especially in universities, Gopher was a step toward the World Wide Web's Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP), which effectively replaced it within a short time. With hypertext links, the Hypertext Markup Language (HTML), and the arrival of a graphical browser, Mosaic, the Web quickly transcended Gopher. Gopher was developed at the University of Minnesota, whose sports teams are called "the Golden Gophers."

Although most Gopher browsers and files are text-based, Gopher browsers, notably HyperGopher, were developed that displayed graphic images (GIF and JPEG files) that were included in Gopher file directories. Two tools for searching Gopher file hierarchies were Veronica and Jughead.

Although the root directory for Gopher is sometimes still accessible at the University of Minnesota or elsewhere and despite some efforts to revive Gopher, virtually all Gopher servers are no longer active. It seems likely that almost all of the original Gopher content has been made accessible on the World Wide Web.

This was last updated in September 2005
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

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