BIOSCI not in Science ... :-(

Una Smith smith-una at
Tue Apr 20 15:27:37 EST 1993

Dave Kristofferson <kristoff at> writes:

>[...] (1) that many biologists are not aware of
>network resources such as BIOSCI; (2) how useful BIOSCI/gopher/WAIS

Isn't that "USENET/gopher/WAIS"?  BIOSCI is the provider of e-mail
subscriptions to a small domain of Usenet newsgroups.  It is not 
unique, and it's not a resource so much as a service provider.  To be
fair, why not include the LTERnet and EMBLnet domains of Usenet, with
their associated e-mail subscription services.  And perhaps also the
inet and bit.listserv domains, particularly the bit.listserv one.
And why not mention the many other biology-related mailing lists,
whether having gates to Usenet or not, rather than just the few
administered by BIOSCI?

>etc. has been to their own research, and (3) urging Science to do a
>story on these free resources that are available to biologists [...]

Well, this is all good, but it sounds more like advertising/promoting
something that's not quite there yet, rather than informing the general
scientific community of a success story.  The physics community has
taken advantage of the (proto-)Internet a lot longer than biologists
have, and only now are they getting any kudos from the journals.

>[...]  Science is doing the biology
>community a disservice by withholding this information from biologists
>at large.  Surely if they can do a story for physicists, they can help
>the biology community [...]

Well, that's not Science's job, is it?  Science didn't do a story "for"
physicists, they did one *about* physicists, *for* the rest of us in the
scientific community, who aren't as skilled at using the Internet as the
physicists are.  Yet.  We're going to change that, aren't we?  When we
have something enviable that the other disciplines can't match, then I
bet we'll get attention from Science et al.

>I am not asking just for an article on BIOSCI.  I
>think that all of the currently available major resources should be
>described and people like Dan Davidson, Don Gilbert, Rob Harper, and
>Dan Jacobson, et al., should be recognized.

That would be nice.  It would also be nice if Gene Spafford, Jonathan
Kamen, Jim Macintosh, and the many other people who have done so much
to make Usenet a powerful tool, were given due credit too.  But I've
never seen them mentioned.  Come to think of it, I didn't see anyone
get much credit for the stuff mentioned in the Science article.  The
point seemed to be that this was something created by the physics 
community as a whole, the actual service providers being just part of
the community.

Rather than writing letters to Science, I suggest that we focus our
attention on sharing our knowledge of Internet resources with our
colleagues:  others in our own departments, and our collaborators
elsewhere.  I know that many bionet.general readers have written
what amount to proto-FAQs.  How about fixing those up and writing 
short introductory sections, so that we can distribute them to our
friends without having to explain what they're about?


      Una Smith      Biology Department       smith-una at
                     Yale University
                     New Haven, CT  06511

More information about the Bioforum mailing list