Rob Harper harper at
Wed Feb 3 06:08:50 EST 1993

	I would just like to thank Dave and Jackie for proposing
	the establishment on BNFNET-L on the BioSci network.

	To give some background information about BNFNET-L
	This list has been running for a couple of years now, and
	it has over 130 members. I have been involved as co-list owner
	with Jackie Foo. We originally started the list at the 8th
	International Conference on Nitrogen Fixation which was held
	in Knoxville USA.

	The participants on the list have steadily grown and some famous
	laboratories on nif research are members of the list... the Sprent
	group in Dundee and the Kondarosi group in France. 
        We also have participants from such diverse places as Brazil, 
	Japan, Taiwan, Ukraine, Hawaii etc.

	Nitrogen fixation is a very broad subject, and most people associate
	the main area nif research as the symbiosis between rhizobium and 
	legumes, but we would like BNFNET to cover associative fixation, and 
	well as fixation by free living cyanobacteria.

	The reason that BNFNET is seeking a "new home" is the fact that
	the LISTSERV at FINHUTC will be decommisioned within the next
	few months, and having polled the members, the majority were in
	favour of being integrated into the BioSci network.

>Proposed USENET name: bionet.biology.n2-fixation
>E-mail address: BNFNET-L

	Regarding the usenet name for the group. We were not all that
	happy with .n2-fixation  A few alternatives were proposed.

	1) .nif	2) .n2fix  3) .nitfix  4) .bnfnet

	Most of them are acronyms wich are well known to the nif community
	Short and simple was deemed to be the best, with no confusion
	between minus (-) and underscore (_)
>Discussion will now be open through 7 February on
>BIOFORUM/bionet.general (*not* on BIONEWS/bionet.announce).

	I thought it best to generate some discussion since I have
	observed that a newsgroup stands a better chance of being formed
	if it is brought to the attention of the public. Plants went through
	due to the spade work put in by Dr Travis, and Women-in-biology
	because of the discussions about bionette. (I still think that 
	was a great name.)
>Discussion leader:  Eng-leong Foo
>                    Director, Unesco Microbial Resources Center
>                    Karolinska Institute, 10401 Stockholm, Sweden
>                    Phone: 46-8-7287145    Fax: 46-8-331547
>                    email: eng-leong_foo_mircen-ki%micforum at

	Jackie Foo has been involved in "electronic conferencing" since 1984
	He has a keen eye for what is happening in the developing world, and
	he has always sought to involve developing countries in networking.
	He has travelled extensively telling people about BNFNET, and one
	of his main goals is to link the MIRCENS (Microbial Resource Centers)
	via computer networks. The MIRCEN in Brazil, Japan and Hawaii are
	already subscribed to BNFNET, and there is a real and desperate need
	to see some of the culture collection situated at these sites brought
	online via a gopher server such as the one run by Joe Hanus from
	the Microbial Germplasm Database... Joe also happens to be a member
	of BNFNET. The aims of BNFNET are once again outlined below.

>Biological Nitrogen Fixation Electronic Network (BNFNET) was
>established in 1990 by UNESCO's MIRCEN (Microbial Resources
>Center) Network for Environmental, Applied Microbiological and
>Biotechnological Research. BNFNET aims to (i) foster better
>communication and cooperation among MIRCENs and between MIRCENs
>and other organizations, (ii) encourage and help laboratories and
>individuals to use e-mail for communications in BNF (iii) help
>researchers to identify resources of culture collections.

	Jackie has also organised "on-line" poster sessions on BNFNET
	That is to say people have been able to post an abstract of their
	research work, and then have the rest of the BNFNET community
	comment on it via e-mail, there has also been the opportunity
	to share identification techniques... I suppose that could be
	classified as BNFNET's own materials @ methods.

	So to summarize BNFNET already has a broad-base user population,
	and it would like to become integrated into the BioSci network
	so that it can reach an even wider audience.

	When the call for votes is issued on the 8th of Feb, and if you have
	an interest in nif research (no matter what kind) then please cast
	a YES vote.

	Any coments or questions welcomed.

	Best regards -=ROB=-

 ~ Rob Harper                    ~ E-mail:          harper at    
 ~ Finnish State Computer Centre ~ Molbio/software: harper at
 ~ P.O. Box 40                   ~ Telephone:       +358 0 457 2076
 ~ SF-02101 Espoo Finland        ~ Fax:             +358 0 457 2302

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