Power Usenet Newsgroup Service

What is Usenet?

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Usenet is a global network of servers that store and provide access to newsgroups. These global sets of servers are constantly sending and receiving information, making Usenet extremely popular for up to date and relevant discussions on just about any topic you can imagine. By the end of this article series, you will have another tool under your belt for accessing, researching, and contributing to the technology we call Usenet.

Still with me? Good. Read on.

The easiest way to explain Usenet's structure is to compare Usenet access to using your email. Email? Sure, your email. Take a look at Figure A below. Your email consists of your general email account, your email messages, and folders containing messages organized by subject. Without folders, your email inbox would just be a huge pile of unorganized email messages. To maintain structure and order, most people use folders labeled by subject to organize their email messages. Guess what? Congratulations, you pretty much understand Usenet!

Typical Email Client

Let's now compare Usenet with email. Take a look at Figure B below. Your general email account is similar to a Usenet account, email messages are similar to articles, and folders are called newsgroups.

Typical Usenet client

Similar to folders that are categorized or named by subject matter, newsgroups are organized by subject matter as well. If I wanted to read my messages (articles), I would simply navigate to a folder or newsgroup I was interested in and read the messages or articles.

There are currently over 110,000 folders or newsgroups in which to participate in discussions on different areas of interest. Similar to email being used to send and receive messages, with Usenet you can read "articles" written by other Usenet users or "post" a reply to an article or start a new discussion on a new topic.

To summarize, Usenet is a global network of interconnected servers that store and provide access to information. Similar to an email inbox, you can both receive "articles" and send messages or "posts", on a bunch of different topics. Think of Usenet as a global inbox on any subject you can imagine.

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Next: Usenet Background >> What are Newsgroups?