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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.
Sadly, in the TeX context, search engines seem to excel in locating
out-of-date material, while the service users need a means of finding
relevant material on CTAN — on the grounds that such material
is most likely to be up-to-date. The need to find such items, thus
alleviating tendency to end up with out-of-date (La)TeX material,
was the motivation for developing a specialised information source:
the CTAN catalogue. The aim is that they contain enough
relevant information that they will appear early in a search engine’s
The basis of the catalogue is a collection of small
articles; each shows basic information about a package on CTAN,
and includes pointers to download address, documentation and related
packages. Every CTAN mirror holds a copy of the catalogue,
presented as a series of web pages; indexes (both alphabetic and
category-based) are provided.
The core CTAN sites also offer a simple text search of the
catalogue. This is a tolerable means of finding a package you need,
but it is not really a substitute for a good information retrieval
system: the problem of providing such a system has not yet been solved.
- The CTAN catalogue
This answer was added: 2011-05-19
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This is FAQ version 3.26, released on 2013-02-25.