CALL FOR DISCUSSION: BIO-WWW/bionet.software.www

Foteos Macrides macrides at sci.wfeb.edu
Tue Jun 7 16:01:20 EST 1994


In article <1994Jun6.175321.29638 at comp.bioz.unibas.ch>, doelz at comp.bioz.unibas.ch (Reinhard Doelz) writes:
> In article <1994Jun6.103645.237 at sci.wfeb.edu>, macrides at sci.wfeb.edu (Foteos Macrides) writes:
> |> In article <CMM.0.90.2.770626592.kristoff at net.bio.net>, biosci-help at NET.BIO.NET (BIOSCI Administrator) writes:
> 
> |> >  moderated mailing list / newsgroup / public  archive to  be created: 
> |>                                         ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> |> >[...]
> |> >          Achievements  are  exposed  on a WWW server simultaneously. 
> |>                                        ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> |> >[...]
> ...
> |> for the groups, particular things that are possible with the existing Web
> |> software and protocols would have to be set up.  Would you mind spelling out,
> |> more EXPLICITLY what those additional, PARTICULAR things, at THAT point in
> |> time, would be?
> 
> Biologists in computer world face three problems.
> 
> (1) Awareness - 	where is a particular source
> (2) Changes -		are the items improved
> (3) Quality - 		are items still available. 
> 
> I cannot, both resoucrewise and tecnically, promise you heaven on earth. 
> What we intended to was to get a discussion forum where people can post 
> their contribution as _links_ rather than typing it all in. We would like
> to be in between a listing which is most onformatiove (a la Keith) and a 
> full-fledged page of every detail. 
> I thought to generate scripts which can automatically verify that the 
> links are still alive (certainly I can't do this manually), and I can 
> via the vehicle of moderation classify messages on the basis of 
> subject, and put those in different (searchable) pages. 
> 
> Let me clarify that I suggested to have bionet.software.www moderated
> because of the 'quality' issue. From the discussion I concluce that 
> people would like to include gopher. As I can see we are not talking 
> about the same, as there are administrator issues and user issues. 
> The idea with www was more on the USER side to solve the catch 22 
> problem on how does a www environment get updated without suggesting
> that each of us is revisiting pages periodically. 
> 

	My impression is that there is confusion, in this discussion, and in
most discussions concerning the "WWW" (World Wide Web), about what that is.
It is intended to be defined w.r.t. to the client.  Anything on the Internet
which the WWW client can access is by definition part of the Web.  For
contemporary WWW clients, that means the Web includes:  local files, http
servers, gopher servers, ftp servers, WAIS servers, CSO (qi) servers, TechInfo
servers, finger servers, ...   In the draft charter, and the subsequent
discussion, the phrase "WWW server" appears to be used specifically in
reference to an http server, to the exclusion of gopher servers, WAIS servers,
etc.  That's unfortunate, and will do nobody, certainly not "bench biologists"
one bit of good.

	Much information posted to the bionet Email/news groups is presently
archived on "WWW servers" -- as WAIS databases -- and is accessible and
searcheable via WWW-, WAIS- and gopher clients.  What I assumed you meant
in the draft is that you intended to set up a forms script on your http
server, like that set up for www-talk and a growing number of Email/news
groups, which allows one to retreive articles optionally ordered by date or
grouped by thread, with embedded anchors such that one can click on it right
then and there to read the more detailed information at another location, or
actually fetch the software being discussed.  Your "moderation" would simply
be appropriate editing to enable that.  E.g. for the announcement Rainer
recently posted in bionet.software:

>[...]
>Subject: ANNOUNCE: New EINet Mac WWW client with Forms!
>[...]
>MCC's EINet group is pleased to announce MacWeb Version 0.98 Alpha.
>MacWeb is a full-featured World-Wide-Web, hypertext  browser. It is 
>available as freeware from the URL:
>
>    ftp://ftp.einet.net/einet/mac/macweb/macweb0.98alpha.sea.hqx
>[...]

that URL would be made a clickable anchor, still readable to those who
received the announcement as standard Email or who are reading it via a
standard news reader, but useable right then and there to fetch the sofware.

	If that *were* your intention, it would be great!  At this point,
forms-capable WWW clients are available, as freeware, for every platform, and
and for every terminal type ranging from X to "dumb".  Any "bench biologist"
with access to the Internet could make use of this resource, and at the same
time help cut down the volume of what is delivered to personal Email accounts,
or plowed through in news postings, without cutting down ready access to more
detailed information and followup discussion when it really is desired by that
particular "bench biologist".

	But please, let's not let that WWW "versus" gopher, which one now
sends more packets across the Internet, etc., etc., kind of thinking or
talking interfere with the progress.  It won't do "bench biologists" one
bit of good...  Just to make sure that's avoided, perhaps the ".www" should
be changed to something that's unambiguously more inclusive in everyone's
mind.  How about ".web", which implies what's "really" intended more
effectively than does  the "WWW" acronym?

	Also, let's be clear the the "moderating" will be filtering and
revision of what get's incorporated into the http server's archive, not
filtering of what gets forwarded to the email subscribers and standard news
groups.  The idea would be to make sure the archive is maximally *efficient*
and *current* with repect to providing access to the biologically relevant
information and software, not a reflection of any particular person's views of
what constitutes "chatter" or "noise" in the bionet groups.

	I hate it when I do WAIS searches of biosci.src, and the hits are all
old, obsolete messages, and I can't think of a query that'll generate hits for
the latest, current, correct information...

				Fote

=========================================================================
 Foteos Macrides           Worcester Foundation for Experimental Biology
 MACRIDES at SCI.WFEB.EDU     222 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545
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