CALL FOR DISCUSSION: Protein crystallography bulletin board

Dave Kristofferson kristoff at GENBANK.BIO.NET
Thu Mar 19 20:30:27 EST 1992

> Hugh Nicholas (nicholas at, Helen Berman
> (berman at, Judy Flippen-Anderson
> (flippen at and myself (teneyck at were preparing
> a somewhat similar proposal when this one came along.  Our interests
> initially are more focused on crystallographic software, but the other
> topics are very welcome.  Overall we were thinking of something more
> than a network news group, though.  Our experience leads us to believe
> that overall crystallographers are a fairly conservative bunch when it
> comes to adopting new tools -- and a fair number of sites don't get
> network news at all.  We were planning to propose a moderated news
> group, with secondary distribution by e-mail lists for those who prefer
> that method of access, and of course the archives available by FTP.

There is nothing different in your proposal from the current one for a
BIOSCI newsgroup.  All USENET newsgroups on BIOSCI have parallel
e-mail lists and always have had them.  It appears that some of the
people looking at the newsgroups from the USENET side still aren't
aware of the parallel e-mail lists.

> We were also planning to collect and redistribute useful software,
> databases, and generally any form of information for which there
> appeared to be a demand.  We had hoped to build a database from the
> responses which would show which labs had what equipment and software,
> so that questions could be readily directed to someone who may have
> already solved your problem.

The BIOSCI messages are currently automatically archived in a WAIS
server, so such a facility exists for those who have access to WAIS.
There would be nothing preventing you from collecting messages off of
this newsgroup and creating a database for access through means other
than WAIS.

> In the long run we wanted to see where the problems are, to determine
> where the National Supercomputer Centers could usefully do some
> software development/maintenance/distribution.  We have all had
> experience in the past of developing what we thought was just the right
> thing, and having it greeted with a big yawn, which is why we are
> looking for ways to find out what is really wanted and needed before we
> go charging off in all directions.
> If there would be interest in something like this perhaps we could form
> a software subgroup.  We do NOT want to reinvent wheels or jump on other
> people's projects; we DO want to be useful resource to the crystallographic
> community.

It looks to me like you could easily perform this useful function by
participating in this group.  Unless the idea of taking on the
responsibility for tracking down bad addresses on mailing lists
intrigues you, it appears to me that you can still do everything that
you wish to do to help the crystallography community except for
mailing list and newsgroup maintenance.


				Dave Kristofferson
				GenBank Manager

				kristoff at

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