Reading Usenet Newsgroup Postings

You can read newsgroups with a news reader client. Tips on searching newsgroups, sorting, and access to newsgroups through email are described below.

Searching. Searching is always a powerful information sorting function. For example, you can search a newsgroup for messages that have senders or subjects that match certain keywords of interest to you. This can be useful if the newsgroup has a lot of messages so you can quickly find those discussing subjects you are interested in. Once you find a message you want to read, you can highlight that message, sort the message window by sender (see below), and then read any other messages by the same author.

The newsgroup search function is typically under an application menu item like “Edit / Find” or “Edit / Search Messages”. Some news readers will even let you search through the contents of the messages without downloading them, by sending a message to the news server which does the search and returns the results.

Sorting. You usually select a newsgroup by clicking on its name in the newsgroup list of your news reader. Typically a window will open that lists all of the messages posted to that newsgroup in the past several days. You can then sort the list by clicking on the title at the top of the column that you want the list to be ordered by, such as those listed below:

  • Date. Sorts the list from first to last by the time they arrived on your news server. News servers usually normalize all message times according to the GMTdate of their origination, so that later messages are consistently listed after earlier messages.
  • Lines. Orders the messages from smallest to largest, so that you can see approximately how much space each one takes up.
  • Sender. Orders the messages so that all those sent by the same sender are collected together, so that you can see successive messages by the same person.
  • Subject. Sorts the list into an alphabetical listing by subject, with similarly spelled subjects grouped together.

Email. The site News2mail.comwill forward newsgroups postings to your email account, which can be handy if you have email access to the Internet but not newsgroup access.