You have to be something of an old-timer on the Internet or a willing student of net esoterica to know much about Gopher. It's an information distribution and display scheme invented at the University of Minnesota (the golden gopher is their mascot) in the early days of the Internet. Had not the World Wide Web taken over most of it's functions, Gopher would likely be the preeminent protocol for information retrieval today.
Wired News has a nice one page piece about Gopher, here which is still very much alive and included in many Linux distributions. It's also available to Windows and Mac users. I played with it in years past and found it quite useful. You might want to follow some of the links from the Wired News article and check it out yourself.