Columbia University
Information Technology

Networks | Details | Domain Name Server | FTP | Telnet

Finding Mail Addresses

You can learn the electronic mail address of another person by asking him or by using one of the following resources: 
  • A postmaster at the recipient's organization can provide the correct address when you know the the domain name of the organization. Send a message requesting help to postmaster@domain. 
  • The DDN Network Information Center (DDN NIC) in Menlo Park, California, maintains a "white pages" directory of computer users, hosts, and domains on the Internet. You can use Telnet to access this database on a computer called Many computers also have a program called whois, which automatically accesses the DDN NIC database. Ask your system administrator whether your computer has whois. 
  • Network interest groups include bulletin boards ("bboards") and mailing lists. Messages are distributed to people who share an interest but may not know each other. 
  • Three important, organized sources of interest groups are available to people who can exchange mail with the Internet: Internet mailing lists, BITNET LISTSERV, and USENET news. There is a lot of overlap between them. Each Internet mailing list has a moderator or coordinator. You must ask to be put on the list by sending an electronic mail message to the moderator. Internet mailing lists are not highly automated. The only problem is how to distinguish the moderator from the list. 
  • A list of Internet mailing lists (about five hundred kilobytes in size) is available by anonymous FTP from the Internet host at SRI International, Menlo Park, California. Use these commands: 
    • cd netinfo 
    • get interest-groups 
  • BITNET LISTSERV is a highly automated program that automatically sends electronic mail messages and subscribes and unsubscribes users in response to formatted messages. LISTSERV programs run on many BITNET hosts. A subscribe message can be sent to any LISTSERV programQit will be forwarded to the correct host. For a complete list of LISTSERV lists, send the command list global to any LISTSERV. 
  • Telnet is a program that allows a computer user at one site to work on a computer at another site. It is the Internet standard protocol for remote terminal connection service. Telnet requires Internet access (that is, you must be on a network that gateways to the Internet). Unlike FTP and electronic mail, telnet exposes you to the commands and programs of the remote host. For example, you can use the telnet command to run a program in your directory on a supercomputer hundreds of miles away.