Report of sixth Belnet Workgroup on Information Systems meeting
Date: December 19th, 1995
Peter Van Rossem, Wim Holemans, Hans Arents, Patrick Van Ouplines, Viviane Vermeire, Anne-Mie Vandermeeren, Herman Peeters, Nils Meulemans
Present from Belnet SST
Table of Contents
- Report of previous meeting
- Review agenda
- Liaisons and conference reports
- Belnet status
- Work package 1: Information servers
- Work package 2: Search tools
- Work package 3: Subject lists
- Other items and next meeting
As this report was not yet ready, the review was postponed till next meeting.
The proposed agenda was accepted with the addition of the following two items: structure of the FTP server of Belnet, reorganization of the WG's Home Page.
The following items were considered important for the WG. As they will require some preparation prior to putting them on the agenda, it was decided to postpone them until the next meeting: Hyper-G, Security in WWW, Isabel, PGP (?)
The following conferences of '96 are considered as the important WWW conferences of next year: 2nd AusWeb Conference, 5th International WWW Conference. The Working Group will try to keep track of them.
- Hans will prepare a presentation on Hyper-G
- Wim will prepare a presentation on Security in WWW
- Nils will prepare a presentation on PGP and Isabel (?)
Patrick reported on the latest On-line Conference which took place in London. This conference which is mainly oriented towards end-users was combined with an exhibition section representing Internet Providers, network tools, commercial databases, etc..
Peter R. reported on the 2nd Belnet User Forum which took place in September. Although the conference was prepared in a limited time frame and under a lot of stress, it was rather successful. Belnet will make funding available for the third User Forum conference which should be organized in '96 by an external organisation (some university perhaps).
The Working Group is however quite unhappy about the overall functioning of the User Committee. During the first year of its existence the User Committee has spent most of its time on the preparation of the User Forum conference and has hardly been representative for the Belnet user towards the Policy Board. The Working Group will try to stimulate the User Committee to become more active.
The Archie server of Belnet is fully operational and is currently receiving about 200 requests daily.
The disk capacity of the Belnet FTP server has been extended from 2 to 4 Giga byte and is expected to grow even more in the future. Belnet is counting on all user to make proposals for the contents and the structure of the server. During the meeting it was decided that replacing the Archie server by the VSL (Virtual Software Library) system would provided a more efficient search mechanism for the FTP server.
Belnet (and it's users) aren't always very happy with the network management as it is currently provided by HP. Belnet hopes this will become better near the beginning of next year. If not, Belnet will have to take actions themselves. This might mean that they will move the accent from user-oriented services towards network services. Although it was not explicitly mentioned, it was clear that not everybody in the Working Group would be happy with this situation.
Belnet reported that as of next year, for a period of four year, a budget of about 100.000.000 Bfr. might be made available to Belnet to improve end-user services and to connect several public databases to the network. This could also open up a few opportunities for funded work for the Working Group. At the same time resources might be made available to connect schools to Belnet.
- Hans will review the topics from the last International WWW Conference held in Boston and will report about them at the next meeting.
- Nils to propose a date for a User Committee meeting to be held near the beginning of February '96. The Working Group will use this opportunity to defend some of its recommendations towards Belnet
Belnet also reported that the capacity of the lines to the bigger universities has been upgraded to 800 Kbits/Sec. The international capacity will be upgraded to 3.5 Mega Bits (1.5 through MCI and 2.0 through EuropaNET)
Some time was spent on cleaning up the Home Page of the Working Group. This means mainly adding the missing meeting reports, and adding some references to information which has never been provided: mailing list information, members list, current work items, etc.. The Home Page is considered as the business card of the Working Group and as such it is the best way of promoting its work and attracting new members.
- Hans will prepare a proposal for the use of VSL by Belnet. The Working Group will present this proposal to the User Committee at its next meeting.
- If required the Working Group will invite the current manager (Isabelle Vincke) of the Belnet FTP Server at its next meeting.
- Nils to check with Marc Roger whether Belnet is able and willing to take over the News feed from KULeuvenNet as they are planning to stop the service.
The Working Group expressed its concern that already too much time has been spent on discussing the Belgian Resource Map and that Belnet doesn't seem to take up any of the recommendations that have been made. Therefore it was decided to compile for the last time a set of recommendations based on the current Belnet map.
- Peter V. will redesign the Home Page.
- Nils to make some publicity for it on the News (belnet.announce).
- Keep structure as it is
- Only list Belnet sites
- Only 1 entry per Belnet site
- Remove site-logos (to improve overview)
- Add list of clickable provinces on top of each province page
- Add a reference to the map of Yoeri (as this map still contains all sites)
- Turn "Add your server" into a real FORM
- Bring server registration in line with the "Registration Paper" on which the Working Group has spent a lot of time.
A rated list (based on completeness and userfriendlyness) of search tools and subject lists has been produced by Hans. This list is currently referenced from the WWW Home Page of the Working Group. A reference has also been added to the search tools page of the Belnet server. The group feels however that other references on this page are redundant as they are already part of the list produced by Hans. As such we propose that this list will be restructured in such a way that it will only contain pointers to the search tools located at Belnet and a reference to Hans' page.
- Nils to forward the list of recommendations to Belnet and to the Working Group mailing list.
- Nils to point Belnet's attention to the "Registration Paper" which was produced by the Working Group.
- Nils to check with Herman V. the status of the automatic list of all Belgian servers.
See Work package 2 (Search Tools).
- Hans will get a copy of the current page, restructure it and forward it to Belnet.
- Patrick will get reference information for the UDC subject list and forward it to Hans for inclusion in his search tools list.
- Nils will warn the Libraries WG (through Jan Corthouts) about the existence of this list and invite them to produce a more user-oriented version of it (as agreed during the previous joint meeting).
The next meeting of WGIS will be held on Tuesday April 16. The meeting will be hosted by UIA.
- Nils to check with the libraries Working Group whether there are any Subject Lists which we might have missed in our Search Page.
Updated: December 22nd, 1995