Category : Communication (modem) tools and utilities
Archive   : U-ADDRES.ZIP
Filename : U-ADDRES.FAQ

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Date: 03-19-92 (05:05) Number: 1438 of 1443
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ú Newsgroup: news.answers
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ú Subject: FAQ: How to find people's E-mail addresses

Archive-name: finding-addresses
Version: $Id: finding_addresses,v 1.40 1992/03/10 19:20:45 jik Exp $


A question which appears frequently on the USENET is, "I know
someone's name, and I think they might have an electronic mail address
somewhere. How can I find it?"

There are many different techniques for doing this. Several of them
are discussed below. Your best bet is to try the pertinent methods in
this posting in the order in which they are listed (well, sort of; at
the very least, please try all the pertinent methods which do not
involve posting queries to before resorting to that).

I've listed "Direct contact" near the end of this list because, for
some reason, people seem to be reluctant to call people on the
telephone or write them a paper-mail letter asking what their E-mail
address is, as long as there is even a remote chance that it might be
found without asking. This attitude is somewhat counterproductive,
since in most cases, it is much easier to get someone's E-mail address
by asking them than it is by following the other methods outlined
below. Furthermore, even if you do manage to find an E-mail address
using one of the on-line methods described below, it is not guaranteed
that the person at the other end of the line checks that address
regularly or even that it is the correct address.

Therefore, if you do have a telephone number that isn't too
expensive to call, or if you have a paper-mail address and aren't in
too much of a hurry, you can probably save yourself a lot of trouble
by skipping all of the on-line methods listed below and going directly
to "Direct contact."


*. College Email Addresses

The posting entitled "College Email Addresses" in the
newsgroup describes the account and E-mail address policies for
graduate and undergraduate students at many universities and colleges.
If you are looking for a university/college student, check that
posting for the university or college in question and follow its
instructions for finding out more.

If the posting has expired at your site or has not been posted
recently, you can get a copy of it using the instructions below (in
the "Useful USENET postings" section).

*. Inter-Network Mail Guide

If you know which network/service your target has an account on
(e.g. CompuServe, Fidonet), then the "Inter-Network Mail Guide"
posting in comp.mail.misc *may* be able to provide you with some help,
although it probably will not be particularly helpful unless you have
some sort of address to start with (a small number of networks use
full names as addresses, and the posting mentions when this is the
case, but it doesn't apply in very many cases).

No updated version of this posting has been posted recently, but you
can get a copy of it using the instructions below.

*. Usenet-addresses server

If you think that your target may be on the USENET and may have
posted a message to the USENET at some point in the past, you might be
able to find his/her address in the USENET address database on the

To query the database, send an E-mail message to
"[email protected]" with "send usenet-addresses/name" in
the body or subject of the message, where "name" is either the first
or last name of the person whose address you are seeking.
Non-alphanumeric characters in names (such as apostrophes in Irish
names) should be replaced with a period. For example, "send
usenet-addresses/o.brien". The search will be done in a
case-insensitive manner.

Note that multiple requests can appear (on separate lines) in mail
to the mail server, but each request will be answered in a separate

In many cases, you will get a list of quite a few matching
addresses, and you will have to go through it looking for ones that
may be the one you're looking for.

Note that the usenet-addresses database is accessible via WAIS on
two different hosts: and In both
cases, the database is called "usenet-addresses" and is on port 210.
Note that the version on pit-manager is slightly more up-to-date with
respect to the master address list than the version on cedar. If you
don't know what WAIS is, then don't worry about this paragraph; if
you're curious, see the "alt.wais" newsgroup.

*. NIC.DDN.MIL 'whois' database

The "whois" database on NIC.DDN.MIL contains the addresses of many
military personnel, as well as the addresses of "prominent
net.personalities." If your target is active on the Internet, he may
be in the NIC database.

If your system has the "whois" program, you can use that to query
the NIC database. If not, but you have Internet access, you can
telnet to and run the command "whois" once you are logged
in (help is available). If you do not have Internet access, you can
send mail to "[email protected]" to query the "whois" database; send
a message with "help" in the body to find out more information.

Note, furthermore, that some sites run local "whois" databases to
provide information about people inside their organizations. The only
way to find out if your site runs such a database is to ask someone
locally about it (see "Get more help locally" below), and the only way
to find out about such databases at other sites (assuming, of course,
that those databases are not mentioned in any of the other sources
listed in this document) is to contact responsible individuals at
those sites and ask (see "Finding a host name and asking someone there
for help" below).

*. Other whois databases.

Quite a few other sites also run "whois" databases that can be
connected to over the Internet using the whois protocol. Some of
those sites are listed here, and others are listed in a separate list,
described in more detail below.

The Ohio State University runs a "whois" database (on the machine
"") that has all of the faculty, staff, and students listed.
It responds to "whois" queries in the normal fashion, or you can just
send mail to [email protected] and it will try to deliver
e-mail if the person has registered an e-mail address. You can also
telnet to and look-up a person. If you are unsure of the
spelling this is a good way, as it does a soundex type search so exact
matches are not necessary. No password is necessary.

EUnet runs a "whois" database on ""; it is close to
the European counterpart to "", although its contents are
focused less on the military and more on the people who are active in
the computer networking administration and research in Europe.

Matt H. Power of MIT has compiled and
maintains an extensive list of sites that run "whois" servers. The
file can be retrieved via anonymous ftp from
/pub/whois/whois-servers.list on []. A
previous version of his list, which listed some sites whose
administrators did not want their servers widely publicized, was
included in this periodic posting because it was provided to me by a
third party without any attribution of its authorship or indication of
redistribution conditions; I apologize to Matt for quoting his work
without attributing it, and to the administrators whose servers were
publicized erroneously. Please don't use the list that appeared here
previously; use Matt's most recent list instead.

*. Other directory services

There are several other directory services you may be able to use to
search for your target.

- Many Bitnet sites have name servers that can be queried in one way
or another. To get a list of them with documentation, send a mail
message to [email protected] (a.k.a [email protected])
with the command "send bitnet servers" in the body of the message.

- The IBM Corporate Internet Gateway provides a directory of users
(which I believe contains only IBM employees, although I'm not
certain) that is available to anyone who can send E-mail to it. If
your target works for IBM (or you suspect he/she does), then this
might be useful to you.

To use it, send mail to "[email protected]" with the command "whois
lastname firstname" or "whois lastname, firstname" in the subject or
body of the message. If you use the former syntax, then both the last
name and first name specified can be a prefix of the name rather than
the entire name. If you use the latter syntax, the comma indicates
that the last name is complete (but the first name is still only a
prefix). For example, "whois Smith R" would return all people with a
last name starting with "Smith" and a first name starting with "R",
while "whois Smith, R" would return only those people with exactly the
last name "Smith" and a first name starting with "R".

- RPI runs a white pages server for people interested in the field
of communications. To find out how to use it, send mail to
[email protected] (or [email protected]) with "help" in the
body of the message.

- BITNIC (the BITNET Network Information Center) runs a name server
of more general interest. To find out how to use it, send mail to
[email protected] (again, can also be used) with
"help" in the body of the message.

- There is an X.500 white pages service run by UNINETT. It is
accessible by sending mail to the address [email protected] (send a
message with "help" in the subject or body to get more information).
Furthermore, there is software for UNIX available for use as a
convenient interface to the service. It is available for anonymous
ftp in ~ftp/directory/directory.tar.Z on the machine Finally,
if the administrator of your site registers your organization with
UNINETT (instructions about doing so are available with the software
just mentioned), people from your site can then register in the
database so that other people can look them up in it.

- PTT Research in the Netherlands runs a server that you can use to
look up addresses for its employees. If you know someone who may work
there, you can find out how to use the server by sending a mail
message to [email protected] with "help" in the body of the
message. Note that this is not a "complete" whois site; it just
supports limited mail server queries.

- AT&T runs a mailer on the host "" that can get mail to most
AT&T employees using their names as addresses. You can send mail to
"[email protected]" or to "[email protected]". If the name is
ambiguous, you will get a bounce message indicating several possible
matches, and the appropriate address to use for each.

- Tim Pozar has set up a WAIS server that contains the FidoNet email
addresses of Sysops of FidoNet BBSs. You can access it by connecting
to the "nodelist" WAIS database on port 210 of; use the
name(s) for which you wish to search as your search keywords. See
above for more information about WAIS.

*. 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.

There are three main sources from which you can get host names. The
first is the NIC "whois" database, which contains site and
organization information as well as information about individuals.
For more information about using it, see above. 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.

The second is a network directory published by the University of
Texas. 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
/ on 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.

The third is the UUCP maps 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.

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.

*. Using "finger"

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. Many sites support finger
servers that will do first-name, last-name and/or user-name searches
through their user space. For example, the machine "" supports
a directory of all staff and students at MIT; that directory can be
searched using finger by last name or by user name, and other
parameters can be used to restrict the search as well.

To finger someone at another site, you generally type "finger
name@host". If this doesn't work for you, you should check with
someone locally to find more more information about if it's possible
to finger from your site, and if so, how to do it.

*. Knowbot Information Service

The "Knowbot Information Service" (KIS) 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.

Two hosts running KIS servers are and Either can be reached on the Internet via telnet at
port 185 (e.g. "telnet 185"), or via electronic mail
to netaddress@host (e.g. [email protected]). For more
information about Knowbot, use the "man" command after connecting via
telnet or in the body of your E-mail message.

*. 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 he has an E-mail address, but he doesn't know
what it is. If this happens to you, then give him your E-mail address
and ask him to send you mail (and if he can't figure out how, tell him
to get someone at his site to help). The odds are that when you get
his message, it'll contain a valid return address in it.

*. 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 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.

*. The last resort --

If all the methods above have failed, you can consider posting a
message to asking for help locating your target.
Before doing so, however, you should read the "Tips on using" 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
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.


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 and Networks
by Donnalyn Frey and Rick Adams
ISBN 0-937175-15-3
(published by O'Reilly, E-mail [email protected])

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 0-13-565607-9.

``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.

Useful USENET Postings

Subject: College Email Addresses

Subject: Inter-Network Mail Guide
Newsgroups: comp.mail.misc

Subject: Tips on using [l/m 26/05/91]

Available via anonymous ftp from (
in the files


Available from [email protected] by sending a mail
message containing any or all of

send usenet/
send usenet/comp.mail.misc/Inter-Network_Mail_Guide
send usenet/[l_m_26_05_91]

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


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 suggesting.

Randall Atkinson , B. Blissenbach
, Mark Brader , Bruno Chatras
, Huang Chih-Hsien
, Mark-Jason Dominus
, Arthur K. Ho ,
Patrick Hoepfner , Kjetil Torgrim Homme
, Eric Ideler , Ivar Mar
Jonsson , Jonathan Kochmer
, Jerry Martin , Skip
Montanaro , Paul D. Nanson
, Jerry Peek , Tim Pozar
, John S. Quarterman , Ellen Keyne
Seebacher , Rolf E. Sonneveld
, Robert Ullmann , Peter
M. Weiss , Bill Wohler and
Peter J. Woodrow provided useful
comments, information and/or suggestions.

Jonathan Kamens [email protected]
MIT Information Systems/Athena Moderator, news.answers
(Send correspondence related to the news.answers newsgroup
{and ONLY correspondence related to the newsgroup}
to [email protected].)
* PCB/UseNet Gateway from Sparkware #3


Path: channel1!uupsi!psinntp!rpi!!!yale!!!!jik
From: [email protected] (Jonathan I. Kamens)
Newsgroups: comp.mail.misc,,news.newusers.questions,news.answers
Subject: FAQ: How to find people's E-mail addresses
Date: Wed, 18 Mar 1992 06:00:54 GMT
Expires: Wed, 15 Apr 1992 06:00:47 GMT
Sender: [email protected] (News system)
Followup-To: poster
Organization: Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Lines: 431
Approved: [email protected]

  3 Responses to “Category : Communication (modem) tools and utilities
Archive   : U-ADDRES.ZIP
Filename : U-ADDRES.FAQ

  1. Very nice! Thank you for this wonderful archive. I wonder why I found it only now. Long live the BBS file archives!

  2. This is so awesome! 😀 I’d be cool if you could download an entire archive of this at once, though.

  3. But one thing that puzzles me is the “mtswslnkmcjklsdlsbdmMICROSOFT” string. There is an article about it here. It is definitely worth a read: