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The (CTAN) catalogue

Finding stuff on networks was always difficult, but in recent years, search engines have become amazingly good at digging out unconsidered trifles from the myriad items of information available on the net. Confusion is added by the tendency to index the same file at several mirror sites.

Sadly, in the TeX context, search engines regularly locate out-of-date material: their users need a means of finding the relevant material on CTAN — on the grounds that such material is most likely to be up-to-date. The need to find up-to-date items, avoiding out-of-date (La)TeX material, was the motivation for developing a specialised information source: the CTAN catalogue. The catalogue contains enough information to support most users’ needs; the ideal is that the catalogue entries should appear early in search engine results, but in practice this is not always achieved.

The basis of the catalogue is a collection of small, stylised, articles; each shows basic information about a package on CTAN, and includes pointers to download address, documentation and home page if any, and related packages. Every CTAN mirror holds a copy of the catalogue, presented as a series of web pages; both alphabetic and category-based indexes are provided.

The core CTAN sites also offer a simple text search of the catalogue; the search could be improved, but manpower to do such improvements is lacking.

The CTAN catalogue

This answer was added: 2013-05-21

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URL for this question: http://www.tex.ac.uk/cgi-bin/texfaq2html?label=catalogue

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This is FAQ version 3.27, released on 2013-06-07.