o Finding a host name and asking someone there for help

If you know the organization, company, or whatever at which your target's
account is likely to be located, then you might be able to get your hands on
the host name of a machine at that location. Once you've done that, you can
usually write to someone responsible for E-mail support at the site and ask
for help finding the address you are seeking. See the section on below.

Once you've got a host name and the person to contact, you need to figure
out how to get the mail there, if it's on a network you don't know how to
reach. See the "Inter-Network Mail Guide" posting referenced above if you
need help with that.

If you do go this route, make sure you provide as much information as you
can about the person whose address you are seeking; remember that the more
detailed (and polite!) you are, the more likely it is that the person you
are contacting will be able to help you. Remember, too, that the person you
are contacting is probably very busy, and responding to requests like yours
is probably not one of his/her highest priorities, so be patient.

o Using 'finger' Changed: Mon Sep 2 1996

Finger is a user information lookup program. If you've found a potential
host name for your target using one of the other methods described here, and
if you have direct access to the Internet, then you may be able to use the
"finger" program/protocol to look up your target at a remote site. To
finger someone at another site, you generally type "finger name@host".
Andrew Starr maintains the Finger FAQ at
URL: http://www.emailman.com/finger/ . Some sites provide Web-based
interfaces to finger, such as Middlebury College at
URL: http://www.middlebury.edu/~otisg/cgi/HyperFinger.cgi .

o Netfind

Netfind is a "white pages" service that allows you to query one service and
have it search several other address databases of various sorts for
addresses matching your query. It is a program for SunOS workstations and
requires your computer to be directly connected to the Internet. The source
code is available by anonymous FTP from ftp.cs.colorado.edu, in

People without a Sun on which to run Netfind on can telnet to any of the
following Netfind servers and log in as "netfind" (with no password):
bruno.cs.colorado.edu University of Colorado, Boulder
dino.conicit.ve Nat. Council for Techn. & Scien.
Research Venezuela
ds.internic.net InterNIC Directory and DB Services,
S. Plainfield, NJ
lincoln.technet.sg Technet Unit, Singapore
macs.ee.mcgill.ca McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
malloco.ing.puc.cl Catholic University of Chile, Santiago
monolith.cc.ic.ac.uk Imperial College, London, England
mudhoney.micro.umn.edu University of Minnesota, Minneapolis
netfind.oc.com OpenConnect Systems, Dallas, Texas
netfind.vslib.cz Liberec University of Technology,
Czech Republic
nic.nm.kr Korea Network Information Center, Taejon, Korea
nic.uakom.sk Academy of Sciences, Banska Bystrica, Slovakia
redmont.cis.uab.edu University of Alabama at Birmingham

There is a mailing list where new releases of netfind will be announced; you
can subscribe by sending mail to netfind-users-request@cs.colorado.edu.

Netfind was developed by Mike Schwartz schwartz@cs.colorado.edu   and Panos
Tsirigotis panos@cs.colorado.edu .

o Knowbot Information Service

The "Knowbot Information Service" (KIS) is another white pages service.

Two hosts running KIS servers are info.cnri.reston.va.us and
regulus.cs.bucknell.edu. Either can be reached on the Internet via telnet
at port 185 (e.g. "telnet info.cnri.reston.va.us 185"), or via electronic
mail (kis@cnri.reston.va.us  or netaddress@regulus.cs.bucknell.edu ). For
more information about Knowbot, use the "man" command after connecting via
telnet or in the body of your E-mail message. In addition,
info.cnri.reston.va.us' KIS server can be reached using the Internet "whois"
protocol described above.

o Searching LISTSERV mailing lists Changed: Tue Jul 4 1995

Many sites around the network are running the VM/CMS LISTSERV package for
managing mailing lists. If you have some reason to believe that a
particular user may be a member of a mailing list on a LISTSERV site, you
can ask that LISTSERV to send you a membership list and search it for your

To do this, send mail to listserv@host (if "host" is a BITNET host, try
using listserv@host.bitnet ; if that doesn't work, you'll have to ask someone
at your site how to send mail to BITNET hosts). In the body of your
message, include the command "review list-name", where "list-name" is the
name of the mailing list you wish to search.

Alternatively, sending mail to the server with the line
WHOIS <name>
may catch the person. For example, listserv@buacca.bu.edu . This is an
unlikely option. It also does not work with all listserv implementations.

If you don't know what LISTSERV is and dont' know of any LISTSERV sites or
mailing lists, then this technique probably isn't worth bothering with.

o Direct contact

If you have a paper mail address or telephone number for your target, call
them or write to them and ask for an E-mail address.

In that case, you might encounter the somewhat common situation where your
target knows s/he has an E-mail address, but s/he doesn't know what it is.
If this happens to you, then give him/her your E-mail address and ask
him/her to send you mail (and if s/he can't figure out how, tell him/her to
get someone at his/her site to help). The odds are that when you get
his/her message, it'll contain a valid return address in it.

o Get more help locally

Often, the postmaster at your site (or whomever is responsible at your site
for answering mail-related questions) has a large amount of knowledge that
will help him/her to help you find the answer to your question. If you have
been unable to find the answer for yourself, check with people locally and
see if one of them can help you out.

o postmaster Changed: Thu Jul 1 1993

Most sites have an individual responsible for network and mail operations at
the site, usually with the userid of 'postmaster'. These people are usually
very busy, so before bothering one of them, try telephoning the person you
are trying to reach. Long distance is expensive for you, but less
expensive, globally, than the postmaster's time. The one reasonable
exception is if you're sending mail and getting messages in response that
suggest some sort of mail system problem; you might report the problem to
postmaster at your own site, who may in turn contact postmaster at the
destination site.

Many postmasters will refuse to answer questions about user identification,
for reasons of privacy, though they may be willing to forward *your* address
so your intended recipient can write to you.

o The last resort -- soc.net-people

If all the methods above have failed, you can consider posting a message to
soc.net-people asking for help locating your target. Before doing so,
however, you should read the "Tips on using soc.net-people" posting in that
newsgroup. If it has expired, you can get a copy using the instructions
below (note that the name in the instructions below may change when a new
version with a new date is posted, so you may need to ask for an index of
the soc.net-people archive to find out the name of the most recent version).

Note that this is listed as THE last resort, to be tried even later than
using a telephone number or paper mail address. Any posting to the Usenet
uses the resources of the sites on the Usenet and of the networks that carry
it; certainly, the total cost of transporting a Usenet message is more than
the cost of a stamp or a short phone call. Since the benefit gained is to
you and not to the Usenet as a whole, you should avoid posting if you
possibly can.

* Finding Host Names *

o Whois

The NIC "whois" database mentioned above contains site and organization
information as well as information about individuals. Organization entries
in the NIC database will usually list an administrative, technical and/or
zone contact person, with his/her address, to whom you can write. You can
also write to "postmaster" at almost any Internet host to get in touch with
someone responsible for E-mail.

o U. Texas Network Directory

The University of Texas publishes a network directory. Although it hasn't
been updated in a few years, it still provides a useful list of many site
names. It is available for anonymous ftp from several different locations,
including /net.directory/1988.netbook on emx.utexas.edu. It is BIG, so you
might not have room to store it locally, unless you ask someone in charge to
set up some space for it. You should NOT transfer it to /tmp every time you
need it, or something like that; that's a horrible waste of network
bandwidth. Contact people are usually listed in the site entries in the net
directory, but you might want to try "postmaster" first. This directory is
superseded by the book "The user's directory of computer networks," whose
bibliography information is provided in the section below. Of course, you
have to pay for the book, and you can't grep dead trees, but it's probably
more up-to-date than the University of Texas directory.

o UUCP maps Changed: Tue Jul 4 1995

The UUCP maps are posted in the comp.mail.maps newsgroup. See the posting
"UUCP map for README" in that directory for more information. You can grep
in the news spool or use your news reader's search facilities to search for
a particular string (e.g. an organization name) in the comp.mail.maps
postings. Each UUCP map entry lists the contact person for the entry. You
can also search the UUCP maps by connecting to the "uumap" WAIS database on
port 210 of wais.cic.net. For more information about WAIS, see above.

o Netinfo

You can also search UUCP maps using the University of California at
Berkeley's Netinfo service (which also supports other services, such as
looking up IP addresses for hosts on the Internet). You connect to it at
port 117 of netinfo.berkeley.edu, e.g. on some systems, "telnet
netinfo.berkeley.edu 117". The "ufind", "ufile", "uhost" and "upath"
commands are used to look up information in the UUCP maps. For more
information about Netinfo, connect to it and type "?".

o Merit Network NetMail database

Allows one to find the appropriate bitnet, internet or uucp address for a
site given part of the address.
telnet hermes.merit.edu
At the "Which Host?" prompt, type netmailsites then enter any part of the
address you want.

o nslook/nslookup and hostq programs

Some sites have programs which will give you information about a host given
its name or IP address. Some such programs include nslook, nslookup, and

o /etc/hosts Changed: Mon Feb 15 1993

Mail routing on UNIX machines on the internet use to use a large file called
/etc/hosts to validate host names. We used to advise you to examine this
file to guess host names when all else fails - but that really isn't useful
anymore. Use one of the above methods instead.

* Commercial Networks *

o Internet to America Online Changed: Sat Dec 7 1996

Creating the Internet version of an America Online address requires that you
know the conversion rule. You ignore the case, remove the spaces, and add
"@aol.com" to the end of the address. Thus, an America Online address "Jane
Doe" becomes anedoe@aol.com  (without the quotes, of course). Internet
mail incoming to America Online is trucated at 27 kilobytes. To find
addreses, send e-mail to NameSearch@aol.com   and provide the user's real
name, state, and city. Their World-Wide Web service at
URL: http://home.aol.com/  allows you to search for members' home pages
containing the search terms you specify.

o Internet to Compuserve Changed: Sat Dec 7 1996

If someone's Compuserve ID is 77777,7777 you can send Internet mail to
77777.7777@compuserve.com  (change the comma to a dot, and append the site
name). Their Web directory at
URL: http://www.sprynet.com/ourworld/searchow/   lets you search for people
by name, location, or occupation.

o Internet to DELPHI Changed: Sat Dec 7 1996

Delphi users can receive Internet EMail at <username>@delphi.com. Usernames
are user-defined and vary from handles to real names. Their Web directory
at URL: http://www.delphi.com/dir-html/simple_web_search.html   lets you
search for member Web pages containing your search terms, or browse their
username directory.

o Internet to GEnie Changed: Sat Dec 7 1996

Creating the Internet version of a GEnie address requires that you add
"@genie.com" to the end of the address. Thus, a GEnie address "J.DOE3"
becomes J.DOE3@genie.com  (without the quotes, of course). There is no
added cost to GEnie users (beyond normal connect-time charges) to send or
receive Internet mail. GEnie addresses are case-insensitive, but you should
preserve periods.

o Internet to Prodigy Changed: Sat Dec 7 1996

Prodigy users receive Internet mail via the address format
where "abcd12a" is the recipient's Prodigy user ID. We have not found an
Internet-accessible directory.

o Internet to T-Online (Germany) Created: Wed Nov 22 1995

Since Summer 1995, T-Online (former BTX) users have access to the Internet.
Use the T-Online Id of the recipient and add -000x where x is the
appropriate user number, mostly 1. The T-Online Id is mostly equal to the
telephone-number of the person, inculding the city prefix. To send a mail to
a T-Online user in Frankfurt (city prefix: 069), with the telefon number
123456, send Internet mail to 069123456-0001@T-Online.de .

* References *

If you want to learn more about computer networks and how they interact with
each other, these books and articles might be interesting and useful to you:
* !%@:: A Directory of Electronic Mail Addressing & Networks by Donnalyn
Frey and Rick Adams ISBN 1-56592-031-7 (published by O'Reilly, E-mail
nuts@ora.com) (current edition published in August 1993; $24.95 cover
* The Matrix: Computer Networks and Conferencing Systems Worldwide, by John
S. Quarterman, Digital Press, Bedford, MA, 1990. $50. Digital order
number EY-C176E-DP-SS, Digital Press ISBN 155558-033-5, Prentice-Hall ISBN
* ``Strategies for Finding People on Networks,'' by John S. Quarterman,
Matrix News, Vol. 1, No. 6, pg. 3, Matrix Information and Directory
Services, Austin, Texas, September 1991.
* The user's directory of computer networks, ed. Tracy L. LaQuey, Digital
Press, Bedford, MA, 1990. Digital order number EY-C200E-DP, ISBN
* Zen and the Art of the Internet: A Beginner's Guide, by Brendan Kehoe,
Prentice Hall, July 1992. ISBN 0-13-010778-6. (This is the second
edition. The first edition is available for free on-line. To find out
how to get it, send mail to archive-server@cs.widener.edu   with "send zen
hints" in the body of the message.)

* Useful Usenet Postings *
Subject: FAQ: College Email Addresses 1/4 [Monthly posting]
Subject: FAQ: College Email Addresses 2/4 [Monthly posting]
Subject: FAQ: College Email Addresses 3/4 [Monthly posting]
Subject: FAQ: College Email Addresses 4/4 [Monthly posting]
Newsgroups: soc.college,soc.net-people,news.answers
Subject: Updated Inter-Network Mail Guide
Newsgroups: comp.mail.misc,alt.bbs.lists,alt.internet.services,comp.misc,comp.answers,
Subject: Tips on using soc.net-people [l.m. 13/09/92]
Newsgroups: soc.net-people

[Same as above -- check the archives for a newer version if this one isn't

Available in the indicated Usenet newsgroup(s), or via anonymous ftp from
rtfm.mit.edu in the files:

Also available from mail-server@rtfm.mit.edu   by sending a mail message
containing any or all of:
send usenet/news.answers/mail/college-email/part1
send usenet/news.answers/mail/college-email/part2
send usenet/news.answers/mail/college-email/part3
send usenet/news.answers/mail/college-email/part4
send usenet/news.answers/mail/inter-network-guide
send usenet/soc.net-people/Tips_on_using_soc.net-people_[l.m._13_09_92]

Send a message containing "help" to get general information about the mail

* Credits *

This FAQ was originally maintained by Jonathan I. Kamens; David Lamb took
over maintenance in January 1994. In July 1995 David merged in the general
information on finding addresses from the College E-mail FAQ, originally
created by Mark Kantrowitz.

Comments about, suggestions about or corrections to this posting are
welcomed. If you would like to ask me to change this posting in some way, the
method I appreciate most is for you to actually make the desired modifications
to a copy of the posting, and then to send me the modified posting, or a
context diff between my posted version and your modified version (if you do
the latter, make sure to include in your mail the "Version:" line from my
posted version). Submitting changes in this way makes dealing with them
easier for me and helps to avoid misunderstandings about what you are

These people provided useful comments, information and/or suggestions:
Randall Atkinson <atkinson@itd.nrl.navy.mil>
Ed Blackman
Mark Brader <msb@sq.com>
Bruno Chatras
Jim Cheetham
Huang Chih-Hsien
Marcel Dorenbos
Alessio Dragoni <drago@ats.it>
Ralph E. Droms <URL:http://www.bucknell.edu/~droms/>
Donald E. Eastlake, III
Marshall Gene Flax
Arthur K. Ho
Patrick Hoepfner <hoepfner@heasfs.gsfc.nasa.gov>
Dan Hoey <hoey@aic.nrl.navy.mil>
Kjetil Torgrim Homme <kjetilho@ifi.uio.no>
Ivar Mar Jonsson
Jonathan I. Kamens <jik@security.ov.com>
Mark Kantrowitz <mkant+@cs.cmu.edu>
Dan Kegel (dank at alumni.caltech.edu)
Jonathan Kochmer
Patt Leonard <leonard@alexia.lis.uiuc.edu>
Jerry Martin <nic@osu.edu>
Skip Montanaro <URL:http://www.automatrix.com/~skip/>
Dan Muller <danm@zipnet.net>
Eric De Mund <ead@ixian.com>
Hank Nussbacher <hank@ibm.net.il>
Jerry Peek <jpeek@jpeek.com> <URL:http://www.jpeek.com/~jpeek/>
Tim Pozar <pozar@kumr.lns.com>
Mark Prior
John S. Quarterman <URL:http://www.mids.org/>
Gowri Ramanathan <URL:http://www.cs.orst.edu/~ramanag/>
Michael Santullo <santullo@Four11.com>
Jenny Schmidt <jenny@whowhere.com>
Ellen Keyne Seebacher
Rolf E. Sonneveld
Andrew Starr <URL:http://www.amherst.edu/~atstarr/>
Donald Stoy
Robert Ullmann
Edward Vielmetti
Peter M. Weiss <pmw1@psuvm.psu.edu>
Bill Wells <URL:http://ack.berkeley.edu/~wcwells/>
Sean White <sean@whowhere.com>
Martin Westphal <martin@PNN.sgz-bank.com>
Bill Wohler <wohler@sap-ag.de>
Peter J. Woodrow

* Copying *

You can reprint (or archive, or make CDs of) this FAQ posting anywhere you
want, as long as the following conditions are met:
* You use as recent a version of the FAQ as possible.
* The copyright holders' names (as well as the section listing other people
who have contributed) stays on it.
* Any modifications (other than typesetting changes) you make to it are
clearly designated as your modifications. If you are significantly
reformatting the information in the FAQ, then you don't have to explicitly
show every change from the original, but you make clear that what you are
printing is derived from our FAQ rather than a direct copy of it.
* You tell people where to find updated versions of it, i.e., what
newsgroups it appears in.
* If paying outside authors for articles is standard practice of the forum
in which you wish to reprint it, then we would appreciate some sort of
reimbursement for the reprinting. However, we leave this to your
discretion (i.e., you can pay us or not; if you choose to pay us, the
amount can be whatever you think is appropriate).

Known mirrors of this site include:
* Australia at URL: http://ecco.bsee.swin.edu.au/inet/email/   .
* Russia at URL: http://wgc.chem.pu.ru/mirrors/finding-addresses/finding.html .
"Yo' ideas need to be thinked befo' they are say'd" - Ian Lamb, age 3.5