York College Library

Internet Users' Guide

Internet Newsgroups

What are newsgroups?

Internet newsgroups, also known as discussion groups or Usenet, consist of thousands of electronic bulletin boards. Unlike a listserv, which operates through email, anyone can read newsgroup messages, which are also called postings. These are not "chat rooms."

What kind of information is available?

Just about anything! Newsgroups are arranged in a hierarchy. Here are some examples:

alt. For alternative/controversial topics, such as alt.politics.clinton

biz. For business-related topics, such as biz.comp.accounting

comp. For computer-related topics, such as comp.ibm.pc.hardware

news. For news about discussion groups, including FAQs

rec. For recreational topics, such as rec.collecting.coins

sci. For science-related topics, such as sci.chem.analytical

soc. For social issues, such as soc.history.medieval

How do you access newsgroups?

Aside from using a dedicated newsgroup server (which is not accessible using the Library's WWW computers), the easiest way to access newsgroups is through a search engine. One of the most popular is DejaNews (http://www. dejanews.com), which allows the user to search for, read, and post newsgroup articles. Newsgroup articles can also be searched/retrieved on some of the standard WWW search engines, such as AltaVista (http://altavista.digital.com), Infoseek (http://www.infoseek.com), or Hotbot (http://www.hotbot.com)-however, when using one of the standard search engines, you must select either "Usenet" or "newsgroups" from the main menu to avoid searching the Web.

Prepared by John Drobnicki, York College Library