newsoverview − netnews overview files
Each newsgroup directory contains a file named ‘.overview’, containing one-line summaries of articles in that group. Fields are separated by tabs, and any tabs or newlines in the original articles headers have been replaced with spaces. The fields are, in order: article number (file name), subject, author, date, message-id, references, byte count, line count, and optionally other headers, as arranged locally (none are supplied by the database maintenance software, as shipped). The line-count and references field may be empty. If the optional other headers are present, they include their header keyword and colon; if they are absent entirely, the tab after the line-count field may also be absent.
The file is maintained in numerical order, by article number.
At the time of writing (late 1992), the lines in an overview file are typically 150−300 characters long, and an overview file for a typically busy group is often 30,000 bytes to 60,000 bytes long, with notable exceptions exceeding 500,000 bytes.
A few lines from one overview file, with tabs displayed as ‘⎪’ and lines continued after ‘\’.
⎪18 Sep 1992 19:57:16 GMT⎪<19dcasINNce@hpscdf.scd.hp.com>⎪⎪821⎪
8871⎪Re: BNF rule for newsgroup names?⎪firstname.lastname@example.org (Kristian Koehntopp)\
⎪Fri, 18 Sep 1992 17:51:09 GMT⎪<1992Sep18.email@example.com>\
<BuLG5A.xH@cs.psu.edu> <339@blars.UUCP>⎪926⎪⎪Supersedes: <1234@foovax>
Written by Geoff Collyer as part of the C News project.
The contents of the line-count field should not be believed and are really pretty worthless yet popular.