Indexing bionet.journals.contents on articles

David Kristofferson kristoff at
Fri Aug 30 13:26:01 EST 1991


No jealousy here, Rob 8-)!  The more sources that are available, the
better.  The beautiful thing about WAIS is that it allows allows any
site to become an archive; thus any site with a particular expertise
can make this available over the network in a readily retrievable

This demonstrates that, even in this arena, the need for
all-encompassing central resources is rapidly waning and a new age of
democracy is dawning!  So much for Bolshevism and central planning ...
I just hope that biologists appreciate what is being made available to
them and how valuable the network is (and will be even more so in the

We have no intention of trying to index everything under the sun at
GenBank because we have too many other irons in the fire and can't
WAISte our limited resources (that's a joke 8-).  We will put up items
that our users desire if they express an interest to us and if it is
clear that the sources will be used.  The most useful thing for us to
do would be to put up GenBank itself for WAIS retrieval, but I'd like
to get a feeling that biologists out there are getting and installing
WAIS software before consulting our project officers about expending
resources (primarily more disk space) on this.  Of course, this leaves
us open to being "scooped" on this (sob! Whatever SHALL we do????
sounds of hair being torn out, etc.).

One IMPORTANT note to people possibly interested in WAIS (and even to
those who hate new technology): the sample sessions that Rob has
posted to the net are by necessity limited to text output.  WAIS
software on the Mac has a standard Mac interface and can be easily
operated using a mouse.  I recently attended a seminar by Brewster
Kahle at XEROX PARC in which he demonstrated an elegant use of the Mac
with the Dow Jones News Retrieval Service.  He described a
collaborative project carried out with the accounting firm of Peat
Marwick and assisted by DJ News, Apple Computer, and Thinking Machines
Corp. (the source of WAIS).  Each user at Peat Marwick was able to use
WAIS to produce his/her own customized daily newspaper!  The WAIS
software would search through the scores of newspapers and magazines
published by DJ, extract items of interest by pre-selected topic, and
then present them in a fancy newspaper-like format (different fonts
and all) on the user's Mac.  Imagine being able to have your own
individual scientific journal with only items of real interest to you
personally and provided to you on a daily basis!!  This is just a
glimpse of some of the opportunities that lie ahead.

MORAL: time to dust off the cobwebs and getting moving into the future
once again (groan ...).

Dave Kristofferson

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