Commercial Archives

Robert Harper harper at
Mon Jun 24 02:49:43 EST 1991

Has anybody read the railway/highway model for networking? The railway model
points out that the "west was won" when private commercial companies
built the railroads that opened up the west. The highway model is where
the government handles all of the communications infrastructure.

Ask yourself if you are about to be railroaded?
Check out COMP.ARCHIVES.ADMIN for some lively talk on the new
information brokers...

***************************  CLIP ***********************************
In <EMV.91Jun23144034 at> emv at (Ed Vielmetti) writes:

>   The current comp.archives appears to be driven by "technology
>   push": you have the data available, so you're saving it.
>   Business doesn't work that way; it works by "pull."  You
>   have to find customers who need a specific type of data,
>   then you let them pay for the archiving, indexing, and
>   knowledgeable data experts.

>There's something that you're missing here, I think.  No doubt there's
>some domain-specific knowledge involved in the production of
>comp.archives; it's useful to have a feel for which of the 1000+
>archive sites in the world have the greatest likelihood of having
>current stuff, which authors are most reliable, who is best organized.

>But there's more to it than that.  One of the fundamental technologies
>involved is taking a piece of text and answering the question "Is this
>interesting?", or more likely "Is this likely to be interesting to Ed
>Vielmetti, or Chris Torek, or Mark Moraes, or Richard Stallman, or
>Mitch Kapor?"  That's not an easy question, but if you can solve it
>(for free) for the person involved, then you can instantly market what
>you have to everyone else in the world who respects these people's opinions.

>   As an extreme case, you can imagine a host of consultants,
>   each with his or her own archive.  Each consultant advertises
>   a specialty, collects related data, indexes it according to
>   personal needs, seeks out customers, prepares reports, and
>   occasionally even publishes a book.

>That's a good model to follow, and I would hope to start following it.
>One of the things that's going to be part of the <tm> MSEN Archive
>Service </tm> which is not in comp.archives now is a further breakdown
>by subject classification; you'll be able to subscribe to
>"msen.archives.tex" and get just the latest and greatest on TeX
>software announcements and reviews, or "msen.archives.x" to track the
>progress of X11 stuff.  You'll particularly want the last one once
>X11R5 rolls around.  Each of these collections will have its own
>archivist, who is responsible for quality control and additional

>I'm planning to apply the same technology to related fields as well,
>subject to the availablility of some copyrighted information (and the
>time and investment to pull it off).  For instance, an <tm> MSEN Patent
>Watch </tm> subscription would get you news of patent filings,
>cross-license agreements, technical information (and raw speculation)
>on the viability and challengability of <kw> software patents </kw>,
>etc, culled from every available source and tagged (by experts) with
>an assessment of quality and value.  I'd bet that this on could even
>make a go for itself on paper.

>   Instead of following the consultant model, you seem to be
>   following the public library model.  Why?  There's no money
>   in it.

>One of the problems with the consultant model is that it doesn't scale
>too well; you have to do all of the development yourself, and it's
>hard to find like-minded people because you're hoarding all of your
>efforts.  By pursuing a strategy that includes some component of
>public service / pro bono / for the good of the net, and by
>aggressively tracking Internet standards (like the multipart,
>multimedia "richmail" spec), it's possible to get a substantial amount
>of goodwill, and perhaps enough visibility for people to take you

>After all, this sort of thing is very old, it's just a high tech
>"clipping service".  It's something that I would do <o>just for
>myself</o> except that that hasn't been lucrative enough to buy the
>necessary hardware and software I'd need to store all of the
>interesting things I find, or to license the necessary rights to the
>copyrighted newsfeeds (let alone have anything left over for me) .  It
>doesn't matter if there's "no money in it", so long as the venture is
>self-supporting and sustainable.

>Edward Vielmetti, vice president for research, MSEN Inc. emv at
>"MSEN Archive Service" and "MSEN Patent Watch" are trademarks of MSEN, Inc.
>On the Net, the Net-way is best.
>	It's just that we are trying to figure out what the Net-way is.
>						e. miya

>Markup information provided for use by news readers which implement
>the experimental "Mechanisms for Specifying and Describing Internet
>Message Bodies", available for anonymous ftp from 
>	<msen-archive-information>
>	<site></site>
>	<directory>/pub/nsb</directory>
>	</msen-archive-information>
>This text has been marked up in the hopes that someone will be able to
>print it out on paper and make it pretty!  A five dollar reward goes
>to the first nice paper copy.  Send submissions to
>	Edward Vielmetti
>	MSEN, Inc.
>	317 S. Division, Suite 218
>	Ann Arbor, MI 48104-2203
><kw> key words </kw>
><o> emphasis </o>
><tm> trademark </tm>
><sig> signature </sig>
><snail> paper mail ("snail mail") address </snail>
><snappy-quote> when in doubt, quote an RFC. </snappy-quote>
><msgid> message id </msgid>
><from> from </from>
>	<msgid> LAWS.91Jun22223423 at </msgid>
>	<from> laws at (Kenneth I. Laws) </from>

% Robert Harper                   %   HARPER at FINFUN   %   HARPER at CSC.FI   %
% Finnish State Computer Centre   %      Bitnet       %     Internet      %
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