Is there an official listing of the groups and their official purpose, or what they are supposed to contain or for that matter where they started?
One I wonder about is the alt.binaries.pictures.12hr
it seems to have time lapsed images or something but I'm curious.
Some names simply don't make any sense at all and must be acronynms... anyone know of such a list?
telnet news.yourserver.com 119
AUTHINFO USER yourusername
AUTHINFO PASS yourpassword
Another place to look is deja.com. They have archives going back to 1981. In some cases you can read the first articles posted to a group, or read about its formation in news.groups. Use the advanced search option to set a date range.
Here's some text about 12hr:
Classic Hypermodern Imagery... posted/mailed every 12 hours... perfect trans-avant-garde memes for the 00`s! A continuum of minimalist masks in the face of catastrophe; conjuring up transformative metaphors for the everyday... A poetic reversibility of exclusive events.
A post-rhetorical, continuous, apparently random sequence of imagery... genuine gritty, greyscale... corruptable, compact, collectable and compelling convergence. The voluptuousness of the grey imminence: the art of making the other disappear. Continual visual impact; an optical drumming, sculpted in duration, on the endless present of the Net.
An extension of the printed ISBN-Book (0-9690745) series... critically unassimilable... imagery is gradually acquired, selected and re-sequenced over time... ineluctable, vertiginous connections. The 12hr dialtone...
Let it optionally get and save the "list groups" information and possibily have some button to let you view this saved list with notepad or wordpad?
would help your users select good groups to search and would look good on your "buy me I do all these things" screen...:p