Whether bionet/BIOSCI in the "modern" world?

Tony Travis ajt at rri.sari.ac.uk
Tue Apr 27 06:20:30 EST 1993

Stephen Modena (nmodena at edu.ncsu) wrote:
: [...]
: And not to be mean spirited to our British colleagues, but Tony must be
: somewhere that can't afford UseNet the way I have it on my desktop
: computer.....and frankly, MOST United States academic users can't afford
: it either.

Unfortunately it's a little more complicated than that, Steve ;-(

Re-distribution of USENET news in the UK is strictly controlled by
agreements between sites who obtain their newsfeed from UKNET and are
not permitted to redistribute news to sites that do not contribute to
the cost of bringing the feed over the Atlantic.

There are, of course, several alternative USENET newsfeeds available
commercially and I *could* make a case to the management here for us to
subscribe to one of these, or for us to join UKNET.  I've also had some
helpful discussions with Alan Bleasby and others at Daresbury about
this but, on balance, it is easier to use the email distribution.

The point I wanted to make was that the mechanism by which articles are
distributed is relatively unimportant in comparison to the purpose of
having the groups in the first place.  The email distribution is
convenient in my circumstances but we see BIOSCI/bionet as newsgroups
locally here via "tin" and no-one cares if it is news or email.

: I think bionet/BIOSCI is not YET in it's ultimate optimum configuration
: to serve even the majority's needs.

I think the present distribution mechanism is *good* but that many of
the problems perceived by subscribers are a consequence of a generally
limited knowledge of the software available to handle large numbers of
articles using a 'good' mail/news reader.  Perhaps the emphasis here
should be on educating each other about how to read BIOSCI/bionet
mail/news selectively and efficiently rather than criticising the work
of the BIOSCI team?

As I have said in the past, none of us would walk into the journals
area of our library and try to read all the articles in all the
journals that have arrived since we last visited so why try to do the
same thing using BIOSCI?  If the email distribution is all that is
available/affordable at a site that does not mean articles _have_ to be
read sequentially using a primitive mail/news reader.

In my opinion, the *LAST* thing we should do is attempt to suppress
traffic on BIOSCI because some email subscribers can't cope:  we should
use BIOSCI itself (bionet.software actually ...) to help each other get
the most out of this truly amazing resource without excluding those who
access it via email subscription.

Dr. A.J.Travis,                       |  JANET: <ajt at uk.ac.sari.rri>
Rowett Research Institute,            |  other: <ajt at rri.sari.ac.uk>
Greenburn Road, Bucksburn,            |  phone: +44 (0)224 712751
Aberdeen, AB2 9SB. UK.                |    fax: +44 (0)224 715349

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