411 (White Pages)

How to use the 411 program

Reviewed by Bil Hays 5/2/14

411 is a UNIX directory of all faculty, staff, students, and public rooms in the Department.  It is a quick way to find out how to get in touch with somebody, and it is more up-to-date than the printed communications lists because updates are made more frequently.

The Computer Services staff update the 411 information as we become aware that changes are needed, particularly at the beginnings of semesters.  In addition, you can may send updates at any time to help@cs.unc.edu.  Updates will normally be made within a couple of days.

To look up somebody’s contact information in 411, type the following at the UNIX prompt and press return:

411 <search word>

where the “search word” is the person’s first name, last name, or their login. Type only one search word (typing in both a person’s first andlast name will not work).  For example:

bluetang (182)% 411 quigg
 Tim Quigg  Assoc. Chair for Admin/Finance  'quigg' Rm. 104  962-1777
 Home phone: 556-4094

If more than one person in the Department has the same first or last name, you will get listings for all of them. For example:

bluetang (184)% 411 smith
 John Smith  Professor  `jbs'  Rm. 152  1792
 Home phone: 967-2001
 Don Smith  Research Professor  `smithfd'  Rm. 338  1884
 Home phone: 967-6907

411 will search for everybody it can find with that name and display all of them for you.

A person’s title/position, if one is listed in the database, will always be displayed unless you type “-t” as part of your command.

If you want to search 411 for a phone or room number or any other word or number, type the following at the UNIX prompt:

411 -a <search word>

If you want this search method to be the default method for every time you search in 411, you need to create an alias file in your home directory. To create the alias file (using vi), type:

vi .aliases

To this file, you add the line:

alias 411 "411 -a"

Exit to the command prompt and either re-login or type “source .aliases” to make the change take effect.  However if you make this method of searching the default one, you will often get more information than you needed.  For example, if you’re searching for a room number, 411 will return entries for people whose home addresses include that number, even though the home address doesn’t show up if you only type 411 -a <search word>.  To get the home address and search by number/other word all at the same time, type:

411 -la <search string>

If you have created an alias as specified above, you could not then specify other options in your search.  So if you have 411 aliased to “411 -a” and then type “411 -h” or just “411”, you will get an error:

bluetang (64)% 411 -h
 Unrecognized option(s):  -h
 411: no arguments supplied at /usr/local/bin/411 line 154.

The only way around this is to delete or change your alias or to run “/usr/local/bin/411 -h” or “\411 -h”.

If you need more information about 411, type either “411” by itself (i.e. with nothing following it), or type “411 -h”, and you will receive a set of instructions.