WWW in Experiments and for CERN information
by R. Cailliau ECP/PT
StatusSince CHEP'92, many experimental
groups have expressed interest in
using the World-Wide Web for their
At the CERN the experiments ATLAS,
CMS, EAST and RD13 have already put
some of their information on the
web; NA48, ALEPH, L3 and others are
in the process of doing so. You can
find the list using W3 itself: start
from the CERN Welcome page and follow
the "Experiments" link. This list
grows as groups feel they are ready
to go on the air.
From within the HEP community, we
have general documentation and on-line
access of some data bases through
W3 from DESY, the ZEUS and HERMES
experiments, IN2P3, KVI, NIKHEFand
RAL. Durham has provided an index
to reaction data and particle properties.
A lot of information from FermiLab,
LANL and SLAC has been available
for some time.
Documentation about Cern systems
and services is also available: STING
for software technology, WWW itself,
the ASIS software repository and
the CERN Program Library all have
been accessible for some time. Now
the entire ADAMO documentation is
on-line, the RPC user guide is there
and the CADD people provide information
about their work. You can find the
list by following "Systems and Services".
CERN general, division and group
information is partially available
and continues to grow.
How to joinThe PT group in ECP division helps
new users of W3. You need not invest
a lot of effort to start off. This
article is intended to help you identify
some of the problems and provide
solutions for successfully using
W3 within your group or experiment.
If you have any problems following
the guidelines below, contact me
Three different uses can be made
- reading information provided by others
(e.g. accessing CERN and HEP information),
- providing information about your
group to the outside world,
- creating an internal information/documentation
system for your own use.
ReadingThis is the easiest to do: you just
install the most appropriate browser
on the platform(s) of the group.
Today, on X-window systems, xmosaic
from NCSA is probably the best tool
for that job. Inside CERN, the major
machines (VM, dxcern, ASIS, ...)
and clusters already have clients
installed, just type "www" or "xmosaic".
ECP/PT group released a browser for
the Macintosh. (for more details
about recent client releases see
the web itself and the article "May
WWW News" by T. Berners-Lee).
IntroductionProviding information is somewhat
more involved. Bigger groups and
experiments will just install everything
on their own equipment, with or without
help from ECP/PT (although the procedure
given below is also available to
However, to facilitate the use of
W3 from within small groups of HEP
users from inside or outside CERN,
ECP/PT group provides a server called
www1 and some disk space, as well
as a copy of an embrionic fill-in-the-data
hypertext structure. This minimises
the effort you have to invest in
order to get off the ground.
ProcedureThe procedure is as follows:
Later on, when things grow, you will
probably wish to move on to your
own W3 server, but you may want to
remain indefinitely on www1 if you
feel that as a group you do not possess
the expertise to run your own service.
- you find a person who will be responsible
for the WWW image of your group or
experiment (if it is not yourself),
- this person contacts me, with the
wish to get assistance for a group
- a directory will be created for you,
and it can also be exported on NFS
to a Unix machine of your choice
if at CERN.
- there will already be a Welcome document,
and it will be pointed to from the
"Experiments" document or the "Systems
and Services" document, both of which
are directly linked from the CERN
- if necessary, more help is then available
for setting up the initial information.
ImagesImages can be provided if your client
station can view the drawing format.
Most X-window stations have Ghostview
for PostScript. Be aware though that
even if everyone inside your group
has a station capable of displaying
the images, many outside users do
not, so they may not have access
to part of your information.
Internal useAn internal information system for
a group can range from a few text
documents to a full-blown web with
data bases, demonstrations, on-line
documentation etc. How far you want
to go depends on the amount of effort
you wish to put in and what the return
really is. The best approach is to
experiment a little, put some of
the information in, show it to group
members and then to watch the access
frequency (the basic W3 server maintains
a log of document accesses).
It is also instructive to browse
around other people's servers and
get inspiration for your own information
layout. For example, in the PT group
we offer information about our people,
services and activities (follow "divisions,
groups and activities" from the CERN
Welcome page, then "ECP" then "PT").
If you wish to start internal use,
get an in-depth tour from me.