Netlib should be not just a warehouse but a library, and for that it must have adequate search tools. Each chapter (library) of netlib comes with an ``index'' file in a specified format, to promote searchability. Full details of the format can be found in Section 4.1 or ftp://netlib.att.com/netlib/bib/thesaurus. Briefly, each index file describes the content of a library by one ``paragraph'' of attribute-value pairs for each file or sub-library. Some of the more important attributes are: for, which tersely describes what problem the tool solves; alg, which indicates distinctive features of the algorithm used; by, which lists the authors; gams, which allows searching by category; size, which is useful when accessing netlib over limited network connections. Each library has its own index file, maintained by the author or editor. Every night all the index files are merged together into a global database to facilitate global keyword searching.
A second kind of index is found in netlib/crc/. Here can be found a list of all files in the collection, with dates and checksums. Together with the software provided in that directory, the relatively small crc file allows one to automatically check whether local copies of files are current.