11th meeting of the Belnet Workgroup on Information Servers

Date: October 14 1997

Place: VUB/ULB Computing Centre - Av. A. Buyl 91 - B-1050 Brussels


Paul Nieuwenhuysen, Patrick Vanouplines, François Vanderseypen, Pieter Liefooghe, Herman Van Uytven, Viviane Vermeire, Nathalie Verhelle, Peter Van Rossem, Paul Borgermans, Jan Torreele (Belnet), Herman Peeters


Wim Holemans, Karel Debruyne

Table of contents

  1. Review agenda
  2. Status current WGIS projects
  3. New WGIS project proposals
  4. Liaisons
  5. Other items and next meeting

1. Review agenda

See Table of Contents.

2. Status of current projects

2.1. Internet Starter Kit

The members of the workgroup gave their comments on the beta release of the Starter Kit. A lot of corrections were made to this beta version, and also information for Macintosh has been included. A final version would become available on the Belnet WWW server at the end of October 1997.

The intention to distribute the Starter Kit on CD-ROM is confirmed. However the distribution channels as well as the amount of CD-ROM's that will be made still needs to be determined, as well as the price that will be charged to interested persons. A proposal to distribute the CD-ROM freely to Belnet members will be looked into. Details and announcements will follow later.

Currently the CD-ROM contains about 200 MB of information, so there is still room to add information. There have been some technical problems for writing the CD-ROM and making one CD-ROM for both PC and Mac platforms, but those will be looked into.

The English and Dutch version have been checked by members of the RUG Computing Centre. The French translation still needs to be verified. Peter Van Rossem will ask someone from the ULB to have a look into this.

Future releases of the Starter Kit will depend on the reactions and interest of the Belnet institutes.

2.2.The Internet Landscape in Belgium

Peter Liefooghe presents the current status of the Landscape, and the features that have been included since last time:

Problem points were:

Other features include:

The workgroup had a long discussion about the feature only to allow one registration for one FQDN. This means however that sites hosted on one server and who do not have their own DNS name cannot register. Most persons of the workgroup feel that such a limitation should not be made. The workgroup proposes to start the system as it was developed, but to include a feature to allow someone to register manually. Based on the reactions and the number of sites that make use of this feature conclusions can be made.

The registration site will also be getting a separate DNS address. A proposal has been made for www.search.be, but it is not certain this will be accepted by the DNS-registration administrators in Belgium. An alternative would be to select search.belnet.be. Pieter Liefooghe and Jan Torreele will look into this.

Additional information 18/02/1998: www.search.be was not allowed, search.belnet.be will be used. Pieter will also try to register search.belgium.org

3. New project proposals

3.1. The Belnet Internet Information Port (BIIP)

The contents of this project were discussed in the meeting of August 1997. Paul Nieuwenhuysen reviews the description and explains the primary features, which will include references oriented towards academic sites, as well as  how people can get access to the Internet.

The workgroup has decided that the start of this project depends on the reactions of the public to the Belnet Internet Starter Kit.

3.2. Extension to The Internet Landscape in Belgium

Pieter has presented the additions to his Internet Landscape during the meeting in August 1997. In the meantime, as budget was still available, the extension to the Internet Landscape was approved by DWTC, and this project is being worked on since then.

Features include:

3.3. Webmanage

Herman Van Uytven presents his project as a indexing robot that also includes a tool for webadministrators to manage their site. An alternative would be to purchase existing code (e.g. Altavista), however this leaves limited possibilities about configurations and possibilities, and does not include a management tool. Furthermore, Belgacom has  recently purchased Alta Vista for indexing the Belgian sites (Belcast).

Herman Van Uytven will inquire at Skynet to make sure that Belcast includes indexing the complete WWW space in Belgium without limitations. This inquiry is necessary as AltaViste US limits indexing on the depth of WWW pages outside the US.
Update: Herman Van Uytven confirms that Belcast imposes no indexing limits at the present time.

As there are currently already lots of indexing robots available, now even for the Belgian sites, the workgroup feels that the management aspect of this project is more important. Therefore the workgroup wishes to emphasize this aspect of the project and propose this project as a management tool more than (just another) indexing robot. The management tools offers a significant surplus to Belnet and Belgian WWW administrators. Herman Van Uytven will adjust his project proposal in that way.

4. Liaisons

4.1. Status Belnet

The upgrade of the Belnet network which started in January 1997 was almost completed in October of the same year.

You can find the up-todate topology on the Belnet server.

About the Information servers maintained by Belnet:

4.2. Belnet Workgroup's project day

To introduce the different Belnet projects financed by the DWTC to the Belnet community, a special Workgroup Project's Day will be organized on November 14th 1997. During this day, the projects will be presented to the Belnet public by the project managers. During the afternoon session, members of the workgroups will debate on several topics of interest which have an impact on all workgroups. The initiative to organize this day was taken by the Belnet User Committee and will be organized at the ULB library.

5. Other items and next meeting

5.1. Anti-spam procedures

Herman Van Uytven contacted a professor of Law at the KULeuven. The main conclusion is that there are very little options if abuse comes from outside Belgium. Of course there are several ways to report the abuse, byt but the chances of recovering possible damages are slim.

5.2. Mobilization of members inside institutes of Belnet

As there will be a Belnet workgroup's day in November 1997, the workgroup decides to postpone possible actions till after the workgroups' day to see the reactions and interest of the persons present on the workgroups' day.

5.3. Hans Arents' search page

The suggestion to use similar search pages which are available in other countries was rejected. The workgroup felt that the current pages are an excellent tool to focus on the Belnet and Belgian public.

As the current search pages were not updated for a long time, they became more and more outdated. Members of the Library of the UIA made a proposal to maintain the search pages. In the meantime, members from the University of Gent who contacted Hans Arents personally already made an alternative page which you can visit at http://www.lib.rug.ac.be/internet/search.html

5.4. Next meeting

The next meeting will take place on Thursday 26th of February 1998, at the Belnet premises (was rescheduled from the 27th January). The announcement of starttime and place will be sent through the mailinglist.

Report made by: Peter Van Rossem
Updated: 18 February 1998