Belnet Workgroup Information Systems (WG-IS) meeting April 22 1999
Present: Patrick Vanouplines, Michel Debar, Peter Van Rossem (chair),
Pieter Liefooghe, Eric Luyten, Jean-Marc Verbergt, Jan Torreele, Alain Vander
Velde, Paul Borgermans, Herman Van Uytven
Excused: Paul Nieuwenhuysen, Wim Holemans, Olivier Vandenput
1. Review by the workgroup of the project 'Catalogue of the Belgian Internet
Pieter Liefooghe gave an overview of the changes and additions to the project.
At present the catalogue contains:
zoomable geographical maps with location of web sites
browse or search by city
search by keyword (description of the sites)
browse by category, a new hierarchical structure was created based on a few
existing catalogue structures
a web robot indexing the registered sites
a registration mechanism
E-mail address catalogue, based on LDAP
move of the robot to another machine, since the present machine can not handle
the load very well.
A 7 pages paper about the project can be obtained from Pieter Liefooghe
Pieter reported also that the site has around 5000 hits/day, while the site
is not yet announced at a wide scale.
Since the first registrations were made semi-automatically, there can be
some errors with geographical location or categorisation of a web site, but
Belnet (and other) sites will be asked to review or add registrations of
Belnet/DWTC asked to rework the 'About' page.
The workgroup is very satisfied with the results of the project.
2. Review of project PISA (Providing Information about Internet Security
Herman Van Uytven reported that due to shortage of personnel PISA started
later than planned. One topic (Privacy of E-mail) was taken as an example
of how the PISA web site would look like. The workgroup agreed with the way
of working: a technical description of the problem, and a 3 level juridical
level 1 Yes or No, and a 1 line reason
level 2 An explanation and interpretation of the laws
level 3 Extract of laws
Since some juridical answers raised new questions, or because some topics
were not answered clear enough, the workgroup proposes to start a mailing
list to discuss these questions and answers.
The results of the juridical answers to 'Privacy of E-mail' mean that most
computing centers, postmasters, system administrators and help desks do illegal
things in their daily work. Therefore two suggestions were made:
close the pisa web site for the 'public', since the results can be used by
'criminals' to defend misbehaviour.
at the end of the project, interested people need to meet to make recommendations
(for politicians). The Belnet policy board and the deans of the university
seem to be the best way to get the possible recommendations to the decision
Jean-Marc Verbergt introduced a project to have a global Belgian directory
based on LDAP, which is also integrated with the European nameflow project.
A web interface to the directory is available at
present UA is the only connected university. Since at many places LDAP becomes
the standard directory, and because with LDAP it would be very easy to search
for people, such a project would be very useful for the Belnet community.
K.U.Leuven reported they have an internal LDAP directory, but that they are
at present afraid to open it to the outside world for two reasons:
possible misuse of E-mail addresses (e.g. by spammers), since with LDAP it
is rather easy to extract a lot of E-mail addresses
high load of wild-card character queries or a lot of queries directed to
all Belgian or European LDAP servers.
It was decided that:
Belnet sites which have an LDAP directory can connect their directory with
for other Belnet sites an entry can be made in the directory pointing to
general information (name, address, URL) of the site.
statistics will be gathered to have an idea of the use of this service.
For more information it is possible to contact Jean-Marc Verbergt.
4. Biodiversity resources database
Alain Vander Velde gave a demonstration of this project started by the workgroup
biodiversity. The workgroup was impressed by the results, the database is
an important source of information for people working in this field.
5. News from Belnet
internal Belnet backbone will be upgraded to 34M
US capacity will be upgraded. In comparison with other European countries
Belgian has relatively more connections to the US than to other European
some European networks are reached via the (overloaded) US link, while there
is enough bandwidth in Europe. Here will be worked on at the routing level.
Those days Internet traffic is around 70% web, 20% FTP and 10% other. Michel
Debar reported that measurements have shown that up to 40% of the web traffic
in the US comes from robots.
tests are done with a transparent web cache (from cacheflow). Since such
a system can not be circumvented, the question was raised whether this cache
would not give problems with the connection to some sites. Belnet reported
that cacheflow has a list of mostly older and not very well updated sites
which can give problems, but these sites are not that important. Another
possible problem is that web sites which make decisions based on the requesting
IP address or domain name will now get the address or name of the cache.
6. Election of a new chairman
Peter Van Rossem was re-elected as chairman of the workgroup, Paul Borgermans
was re-elected as vice-chairman.
Belnet Workgroup for Information Servers - 4 May 1998
Report written by: Herman Van Uytven
Maintainer: Peter Van Rossem