The internet and the ARPAnet before it had existed in the lives of university programmers a decade or more before it entered public awareness as an information source. This report by Jean Armour Polly describes this dawn. pdf revised
> Veronica indexes the TITLES on all levels of the menus, for most gopher sites in the Internet. 258 gophers are indexed by Veronica on Nov. 17, 1992; we have discovered over 500 servers and will index the full set in the near future. We hope that Veronica will encourage gopher administrators to use very descriptive titles on their menus.
Note that federated wiki has grown to proportions similar to gopher in 1992 and that veronica is so similar to our simple search.
See Information Surfer for deeper history of the term.