Report of sixth Belnet Workgroup on Information Systems meeting

Date: December 19th, 1995

Place: ARC/RUG


Peter Van Rossem, Wim Holemans, Hans Arents, Patrick Van Ouplines, Viviane Vermeire, Anne-Mie Vandermeeren, Herman Peeters, Nils Meulemans

Present from Belnet SST

Peter Raeymaekers

Table of Contents

  1. Report of previous meeting
  2. Review agenda
  3. Liaisons and conference reports
  4. Belnet status
  5. Work package 1: Information servers
  6. Work package 2: Search tools
  7. Work package 3: Subject lists
  8. Other items and next meeting

1. Report of previous meeting

As this report was not yet ready, the review was postponed till next meeting.

2. Review Agenda

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 (?)

Action Points

3. Liaisons and conference reports


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.

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..

User Forum

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.

Action Points

4. Belnet status


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.

Network Management

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.

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)

Action Points

5. Work package 1: Information servers

Status of the WG-IS home page

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.

Action Points

Belgian resource map

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.


Action Points

6. Work package 2: Search Tools

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.

Action Points

6. Work package 3: Subject Lists

See Work package 2 (Search Tools).

Action Points

7. Other items and next meeting

The next meeting of WGIS will be held on Tuesday April 16. The meeting will be hosted by UIA.
Updated: December 22nd, 1995