Worm Community System Release 2.0

Laura Shoman shoman at csl.ncsa.uiuc.edu
Sat Oct 22 10:58:19 EST 1994

Community Systems Laboratory at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign, is pleased to announce the availability of the Worm
Community System, Release 2.0.  The biological data has been updated to
ACeDB 2.14.  The documents include Worm Breeder's Gazette, to vol. 13,
issue 3 (issue 4 is on the way), and much of the CGC bibliography.

Beta version users should pick up the new front end, since it includes new
functionality, performance enhancements, and bug fixes.

The system overview, including contents, system requirements, and retrieval
information are outlined below.

Many thanks to our users for their patience,  continued feedback and
support.  Thanks to Jean Thierry-Mieg and Richard Durbin for the genome
data from ACeDB and to Theresa Stiernagle and Bob Herman who provide stock
data and edit the Worm Breeder's Gazette (WBG) which CSL then digitally

Where to get WCS Software and Documentation

The front-end needed to run WCS is available via anonymous ftp from
csl.ncsa.uiuc.edu ( The users' manual is also available via
anonymous ftp from csl.ncsa.uiuc.edu. Formats include Postscript, and plain
ASCII Text.   A limited number of printed copies of the manual are
available, upon request.

Please review the Systems Requirements below.

Announcements of WCS data and feature updates will be announced on the
usenet group, bionet.celegans, and on the celegans listserve.
                System Overview

The Worm Community System (WCS) is a digital library that contains
information about Caenorhabditis elegans and a software environment that
enables you to interact with this community library across the
international computer network, the Internet. The functions of the software
environment enable you to (1) search and browse the existing knowledge of
the community and (2) add your own data and literature to the library, for
your own private use, collaboration with colleagues at local or remote
sites, or for wider distribution to the community. The purpose of the
system is to support the display and recording of patterns in the
information space, where the patterns are formed by links between objects
and represent important relationships. The capacity for dynamically
updating the information, both from central archives and from local labs,
should help to better propagate the knowledge across the community.

                WCS Contents

The information in the worm community library attempts to span the range of
all that you might find useful, including formal and informal literature
and data. The literature includes abstracts from most of the CGC
bibliography, full text of all articles from the complete Worm Breeder's
Gazette (WBG), and citations from the most recent worm meetings. The data
include genomic data from the MRC/WUSTL mapping and sequencing project
(genes, maps, sequences), community data from the Minnesota stock center
(strains, people), and the beginnings of cellular data (cells, lineage).

As a tool, WCS complements ACeDB. WCSr2 contains version 2.14 data from
ACeDB. Although WCS and ACEDB are both hypermedia-based biological
databases, they differ in a number of ways. WCS is a community system. To
that end, it allows interactive creation and editing of new objects by end
users within the system. It also supports editorial and privacy controls,
allowing users to restrict access to data and to determine how reliable a
particular piece of data is. Finally, while ACEDB distributes its database
with the software, WCS has a client-server architecture with a central
database. This allows all users immediate access to new data, instead of
relying on periodic updates of the database.

                What's New in r2.0?

*  As mentioned above, the system architecture in this release is different
from that in WCSr1.  Release 2 has a client-server architecture with a
central database. This allows for instantaneous updates from both the
central site (CSL), and the remote labs connected to the system.

*  There is no gateway to the ACeDB database from the WCSr2 interface.

*  You can enter new information of any known type as documents or forms.

*  You can restrict access to data you enter to control its propagation to
the community.

*  Two types of search windows are available:  a quick and dirty Simple
Window, and the Full Search Window that allows several different methods of
searching. You can search all the data, or restrict searching to particular
data types and/or fields. You can also create complex searches using
Boolean operators (AND/OR).

*  You can browse different data types, selecting a specific name within a
type to gain direct access to related information.

*  You can revise your personal information.

                System Requirements

*       Network Connections
You will need to have an Internet connection from a Sun workstation (the
local client) in order to access the CSL server. (The data, search engines,
thesaurus server, etc., reside on the Community Systems Laboratory (CSL)
server at UIUC.)  If you choose to run a node off the local Sun
workstation, you will need an Ethernet connection between the workstation
and the node.

*       Local Client
We suggest the following machines for local clients: SparcStation 5 (a
fast, good machine), SparcStation LX (older, slower, but less expensive),
SparcStation 10 or 20. The system can also be run on slower, less expensive
machines such as the SparcStation 2, 1+, and IPX.  The Sun station should
run at least 32 megabytes of RAM (more is better, 64 or more is optimal).
These workstations should run version 4.1.x of Sun's operating system or
Solaris 2.3 or later. We have not tested WCS r2 on earlier version of
Solaris. You must have the SunOS 4.*.* binary compatibility package
installed to use WCSr2 with Solaris.

*       X-Windows Environment
The local software (front end) requires an X-windows environment and, in
addition to that environment, will take approximately 10 megabytes on a
hard drive. This disk space requirement may increase over releases, but no
dramatic increase is anticipated. On Sun workstations, we use both X11R5
and OpenWindows (the Sun product) with good results. We run MacX on our
Macintosh nodes. The previous release ran fine on a PC-clone using the NCD
X- windows package.

*       Nodes from your Local Client
If you run a Macintosh node, your Mac should have a minimum of 8 megs of
RAM (more is better). The Mac should also be in the 68040 processor family
(faster is better). Higher-end 68030 Macs will run MacX acceptably IF no
other applications are running.

If you run a DOS-based node, your node should have a minimum of 8 megs of
RAM (more is better). The processor should be a 486/66 (faster is better).

The node monitor should have a resolution of 1024 x 768 pixels. Apple's 16"
monitor has a resolution of 800 x 600 pixels and has been called tolerable
by some of our users here. One site is using an NEC MultiSync 5FGe Monitor
on a Mac Quadra 650. NEC has control panel software ("DPI on the fly") that
allows for changing the resolution of the monitor on the fly while the
machine is running (no rebooting): thus, one can change easily between
1024x768 for WCS, and return to 832x624 or 640x480 for word processing.

*       Input Devices
The interface requires a keyboard and a mouse (or trackball) input device.

*       Output Devices
Printing can be done from a Sun workstation transparently; Printing from a
Macintosh is done through MacX.

If you have comments or suggestions

Community Systems Laboratory has moved from the University of Arizona to
the Graduate School of Library and Information Science and the National
Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois,
Urbana-Champaign. Your comments, questions or suggestions are always
welcome. Please email them to wcs at csl.ncsa.uiuc.edu.

Laura M. Shoman, User Coordinator, Worm Community System
                           Community Systems Laboratory
                   University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
shoman at csl.ncsa.uiuc.edu                                       217-244-7472

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