Date:     Tue, 05 Jan 93  08:56:57 GMT
Subject:  IETF Trip Report

 This report is about 1000 lines long - but is structured to allow you
 to skip over bits not of interest to you.  I started to edit out bits
 that weren't "NIR" specific - but found bits in discussions of NISI
 etc that were of potential interest to some of you.  You'll probably
 want to skip most of the Plenary stuff.

 Best wishes for a constructive year in NIR!

 -- Jill

 IETF - Washington: Nov 16-20, 1992
 Trip Report:
 Jill Foster - Newcastle University, UK
 Chairman: RARE Information Services and User Support Working Group

 The 25th IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) Meeting took place in
 Washington DC from 16th-20th November and was hosted by SPRINT.
 Silver coloured "25th IETF" buttons were on sale to mark the occasion.
 The attendance was just under 600, which was down slightly on the
 Boston IETF.

 My main reasons for attending (thanks to funding from RARE) were to:
 o    represent RARE Information Services and User Support Working
      Group (which I chair)
      [RARE is the Association of European Research Networks]
 o    join in the User Services and associated WG sessions.
 o    co-chair a WG session on networked information retrieval tools.

 o    co-chair a BOF session on network training materials.
 The following informal report is in note form and deals mainly with
 the areas of User Support and Networked Information Retrieval,
 although reports of the plenary sessions are also included.  Whilst
 it is as accurate as I can make it, it is naturally a personal account
 and may be inaccurate due to lack of background information or
 misinterpretation of what I heard.  Corrections of fact are welcome,
 but any discussion of items contained here would be best directed to
 the appropriate mailing lists.  Minutes of individual sessions are
 also available via anonymous ftp from
 This report will be stored on the UK Mailbase Server.  To retrieve a
 copy, email to with the following command in
 the body of the message:
      send wg-isus ietf.11.92

 Alternatively use anonymous ftp to:

 file:  pub/wg-isus/ietf.11.92

 Note: in general I have not expanded acronyms as those readers
 involved in a particular topic should know them whilst those who
 aren't familiar with the acronyms should still be able to get a
 reasonable overview of the topic.

 All addresses quoted in the report are in internet (rather than UK)

 Each section has a double underlined heading - to enable you to skip
 sections not of interest.

 The plenary sessions and some of the working group (WG) sessions were
 broadcast (audio and video) over the network.  My impression was that
 this did not go as well as it had done in Boston.  There seemed to be
 more problems - but this was almost certainly because they were being
 more ambitious.  There were many more sites involved and they were
 attempting to broadcast two parallel sessions simultaneously.

 Phil Gross welcomed attendees to the IETF and spoke about the problems
 we're facing with regard to Internet Routing and Addressing.  This was
 the major technical issue at this IETF.

 These problems are:

 o    scaling issues

 o    Class B exhaustion

 o    Routing table growth

 o    Overall IP address exhaustion.

 The IESG (Internet Engineering Steering Group) had written an RFC
 (Request For Comment) giving milestones for addressing the various
 issues.  The goal for the November IETF was to narrow the field of
 IPv7 candidates if possible; to establish firm criteria; to give
 specific feedback on each candidate based on the selection criteria.


      By December 15:
           Publish firm selection criteria as RFC and post constructive
           feedback on candidates.

      February 12:
           At least two multiple interoperable implementations.

      February 26:
           Second draft of the protocol report (from each candidate)
           indicating how each of these meets selection criteria.

 There were technical presentations on the various contenders.

 PIP (P Internet Protocol) using EIP (Extended Internet Protocol)
 - by Paul Tsuchiya  (Bellcore).

      Paul felt that PIP was not mature enough to be chosen at this
      time.  It really needed a year of design/implementation and
      testing.  The question was "was it worth waiting for?".  It is a
      very general protocol that copes with all known
      routing/addressing paradigms and is relatively efficient - and
      more importantly - easy to evolve.  Various sections of the
      design had been been specified and there were already some simple
      implementations of PIP hosts and routers.

      PIP has been linked with EIPIP (see above).  The PIP header would
      be placed in what looks like an IP option field.

 Peter Ford (LANL) and Mark Knopper (MERIT).

 TCP/UDP over CLNP addressed network.

      The basic problem is that we're running out of IP address space.
      We need to allow for >10**7 networks and >2**32 end systems.  We
      need more effective management of the IP address space to expand
      the lifetime.  (The CIDR addressing plans are already going into
      effect.) TUBA is TCP and UDP with >32 bit addresses.  This would
      allow a hierarchical "sparsely populated" address space.

      The TUBA transition will focus on the network layer.  TCP and UDP
      will be made to work over CLNP network layer.  This will allow
      the TUBA work to build on the existing CLNP experience.

 Simple Internet Protocol - Steve Deering (Xerox Parc)

      This is a new version of IP building on the lessons learned from
      IPv4.  SIP uses 64 bit hierarchical addresses.  It is more
      efficient than IPv4 in that it is only examined by identified

 IP Address Encapsulation: Bob Hinden

      IPAE is intended as a transition mechanism for the new Internet
      Protocol.  They have been working with the SIP WG.  Unlike with
      TUBA - the host software does not need changing.

 These issues are also discussed in Nov 1992 Vol 6 No.  11 of
 "Connexions - The Interoperability Report" (ISSN 0894-5926)
 (Email contact:

 NISI - Networked Information Services Infrastructure WG

 Chair: Pat Smith (Merit)

 This  group  is concerned with co-ordinating NICs (network information
 centres) and improving the service they provide.

 NIC Profile:

      In  order  to  aid  NICs  talking  to  each other, a NIC Profile
      template had been produced.  Chris Weider at Merit had set  up  a
      server,  which  would  accept completed NIC Profile Templates and
      put them into X.500.

      To  find  out  how  to  submit  a NIC Profile, NIC co-ordinators
      should email to: 
                       Subject: help

      They  will  receive  the  template  and  instructions  on  how to
      complete it.  The server auto-adds completed templates emailed to

      The  Providers would be responsible for updating the information.
      Several volunteers agreed to look at up-date  mechanisms  and  to
      decide on the intended audiences.


      The idea is that a user will type "nethelp" and be presented with
      information on how to use the network.  This would initially
      simply be a pointer to local contacts and more information.

      I  again  expressed  my  reservations.   (Apart  from the obvious
      problem that the user  has  to  know  to  type  "nethelp"  -  not
      terribly   intuitive.)  The  group  seemed  to  assume  that  the
      technical people would be able to come up with a  solution  -  so
      long  as  NISI  could  specify  what it wanted from nethelp.  The
      vague idea was that maybe this  would  be  some  software  to  be
      installed  on every PC or Mac etc (a daunting task in itself).  I
      felt  we  should  be  bringing  the  technical  people  into  the
      discussion and to try something.  Ed Krol volunteered to knock up
      a  "straw  person".   This  seemed  a  sensible course of action,
      especially as NISI has been discussing nethelp for  well  over  a

 Mailing list:

 To join, mail to


 Mailing list:

 To join, mail to

 The  latter  list is little used.  Pat suggested it would be useful to
 get all NIC personnel on to this list.

 IAFA:  Internet Anonymous File Archive WG

 Chairs:  Peter Deutsch and Alan Emtage (BUNYIP)

 This  was  probably the last meeting of this Working Group.  The draft
 version of the IAFA document(s):

 Part I: A Guide to FTP site administration

 Part II: Publishing Information on the Internet with anonymous ftp

 had been discussed extensively on the IAFA mailing list.  It was
 agreed that the document should be put forward as a draft RFC.  The
 second of these documents suggests additional information that should
 be made available on files (etc) in an archive (and about the archive
 itself).  The aim is to provide more information about the purpose and
 content of files in an archive (other than simply the often
 meaningless file name) for use by indexing tools such as archie.

 It was agreed that in parallel several volunteers should look at
 "iafa-ising" their file archives.  It will only be when we try to put
 these documents into practice that we will see where (if any) the
 problems are.  The next problem will then be convincing new archive
 sites to provide the additional IAFA information about their archive
 and individual files - and to add this information for the vast
 existing base of file archives.

 Simon  Spero  volunteered to add IAFA information to the SUN site file
 archive ( telnet to port 43).

 Someone said they felt that the first IAFA document was "guidance
 free" and suggested it needed to outline some "good things to do".
 These would be recommendations for good practice rather than
 requirements.  Ellen Hoffman (Merit) said that when they put up their
 anonymous ftp archive they looked around at several others and found
 that some were definitely easier to navigate around than others.  As a
 result of this they have a check list of good points for archives
 which they will make available.

 April Marine (who was unable to attend due to lack of funding) had
 written an introductory document to anonymous ftp.  This had been
 discussed on the mailing list and was well received.  Other
 suggestions for improvements were made at the meeting.

 The IAFA document is available from:          in the directory pub/iafa

 Mailing list
 to join, mail to

 POISED (Plenary)

 POISED = Process Organisation for Internet Standards and Developments
 Steve  Crocker  

 This group was set up as a result of the Boston "unpleasantness" and
 to answer the questions: who is in charge?  who has the right to
 determine policy and make decisions?  etc.  According to Steve, it had
 resulted from the:

 o    IPv7 debate in particular
 o    Poised WG
 o    Real problems
 o    Scaling
 o    Delay in getting things done
 o    Communication difficulties
 o    Surprise
 o    Focus
 o    Burn out

 Requests to join the mailing list for associated discussion to:

 The WG will produce an internet draft.

 There were to be three meetings - this plenary, a working group
 session and the plenary on the last evening of the IETF.  A
 presentation to the Internet Society trustees was planned for December

 Various proposals had been put forward.  Maintaining the status quo
 was an option.  POISED Working Group was suggesting that a
 redefinition and tightening up of the existing structure was now
 needed.  The IETF had grown to the point where a certain amount of
 rethinking of the structure and procedures was required.

 The draft proposal was for an Internet Technical Task Force (ITTF)
 which integrated the IETF, IRTF and IESG back into one community.

 The Working Groups would continue to remain the main focus and would
 act as open forums.  There would be different types of Working Group:
 engineering, research and architectural.  Working Groups would contain
 self selecting design teams - which would go away and come up with
 proposals and bring them back to the main group.  This is recognising
 what happens now in practice.  The ITTF leadership would be provided
 by a Technical Board (consisting of area chairs, ITTF Chair and
 architects and performing the same role as the current IAB and IESG)
 an Editor, Process Board and The Internet Society.  Procedures for
 selection of the officials and their acountability needed to be drawn
 up and there needed to be mechanisms for removing members if

 The  full  details  are  in the POISED draft RFC.  This needed further
 discussion and if there was concensus in the IETF on it  a  transition
 period would see the selection of the various officials.

 User Services Working Group      Chair: Joyce Reynolds
 US-WG is the umbrella WG for the various user services area WGs.  This
 is the group which spawns new WGs and coordinates the work in this

 Mailing list for this group:
 To join, mail to:   

 As an aside:

      two new books written by IETF us-wg people had just hit the book
      sellers and were very well received.  Both are in a very readable

      Ed Krol:

           The Whole Internet User Guide and Catalog

      Tracey La Quey Parker:

           The Internet Companion

      the latter has a foreword by Al Gore.                             

 Newcomers Guide 

      According to Steve Coya (IETF Secretariat), approximately 40% of
      attendees at IETF meetings are first-timers.  This means that for
      a significant proportion, getting up to speed is a vital concern.
      For the first time ever there was a Newcomer's orientation
      session on the Sunday afternoon before the IETF.  There had been
      much discussion amongst "old" IETF-ers as to what should be
      included and what needed documenting.  Gary Malkin had written a
      draft FYI RFC for newcomers.  (Internet draft:
      draft-malkin-newcomers-guide-00.txt) This document "Tao of the
      IETF" was seen to be very useful - and was distributed at the
      newcomers session.  I attended the session out of interest (along
      with about 100 others).  The session was felt to be of use - but
      was a little pedantic in parts.  I felt there was too much
      emphasis on how to register for an IETF (which most attendees had
      managed to do!) and not enough on what the various Working Groups
      were about.

      This was borne out by the comments of the first-timers at the
      US-WG meeting.  It was suggested that the titles of Working
      Groups were often not clear enough and that there should be short
      descriptions of each group and what files were available and
      where.  This information would be best circulated prior to the
      meeting to give people a chance to get up to speed.  Perhaps a
      pointer to "where to get information" could be given in the IETF
      meeting announcement.

      Steve Coya said they were considering doing a survey of the new
      attendees and this would ask them what their expectations were,
      etc.  Comments on the newcomers session should be sent to:

      US-WG also suggested that a guide for new working group chairs
      would be useful.

 Internet "Quick and Dirty" Document: Peter Deutsch

      Peter had posted a copy of his revised document to the us-wg on
      the Saturday evening before the IETF.  Most people had not had a
      chance to read it.  Suggested title: "A user's catalogue of
      internet tools".  It was currently 8 pages long.  It should be
      reduced to about 2 pages and should contain an

      It would be split into:


        - The basics (telnet, email, ftp)

        - Mailing lists and Bulletin Boards (Listserv, Mailbase, usenet)

        - Interactive Information Delivery (gopher and World Wide Web)    

        - Directory Services (WHOIS, X.500)

        - Indexing Services (archie, WAIS, online-libraries)

      Where to go next?

        - References to other FYIs and books

      The draft document may be retrieved via anonymous ftp from:

      file: pub/uswg/quickanddirty.doc

      Comments to:

      Mailing list


      and to join, mail to:

 RIPE Report:  Joyce Reynolds

      Joyce mentioned that she'd attended the last RIPE meeting
      (Association of European IP Networks).  She said that the Eastern
      Europeans in particular are very keen to get all they can in the
      way of RFCs and Internet Documentation.  Some of the RFCs (in
      particular the FYIs) had been translated into Czechoslovakian.

 Eastern Europe

      Alan Emtage ( talked about the initiative to
      send unwanted old editions of computing and networking text books
      to eastern Europe.  The Internet Society is acting as a
      repository for donations.  Alan suggested that individual sites
      might like to act as network "buddies" to eastern European or 3rd
      World sites which are just embarking on networking.

 RARE ISUS WG Report: Jill Foster

      The RARE Information Services and User Support WG met in Pisa at
      the beginning of November, immediately preceding the European
      Network Services Conference.  An "electronic meeting" had also
      been held in September.  I had previously circulated a report to
      the us-wg mailing list prior to the IETF.  The main points
      covered were:

      o    formation of joint IETF/RARE/CNI WG on networked information
           retrieval (see later in this report).
           [CNI - Coalition for Networked Information]

      o    co-ordination and registration of European gophers.

      o    formation of joint IETF/RARE network training materials

      o    starting to get librarians involved (very important -
           particularly in NIR work).

      o    need for a 'Total solution user information' - access to all
           network services via one GUI as the ultimate goal.

      o    update (Nov) of RARE Technical Report 1 on information
           services and user support in RARE community  
           [available via anonymous ftp from: 
                         file: pub/rare-wg3-usis/rtr-usis-92    ]

      There is a need for collaboration and co-operation on user
      support in Europe and the world.  Users can roam the global
      network so we have

        "Le 'user' sans frontieres"

      What we need now is

        "Le 'user support' sans frontieres"

      i.e.  co-operation on a global scale without worrying about
      whether we're members of RIPE, EARN, RARE, IETF, etc.

      Mailing list of ISUS:

      To join, mail to:

      the command (in the text of the message):

      subscribe  wg-isus  firstname lastname

      (substituting your own first and last name) 

 FYI 4 and 7 (FAQ): Gary Malkin

      FYI  7  "FYI  on Questions and Answers: Answers to Commonly Asked
      'Experienced Internet User' Questions", (Also RFC 1207), February

      FYI  4  "FYI  on Questions and Answers: Answers to Commonly Asked
      'New Internet User' Questions", (Also RFC 1325), May 1992.

      Gary wanted to update the new user and experienced user
      Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) RFCs.  He suggested "creating"
      questions for FYI 4.

      FIY 7 contains actual questions.

      FYI 4 is RFC 1177, 1206, 1325:  The latest version being RFC 1325
      - May 1992.

      Now need to look at experienced user FAQ (FYI 7).  He wanted
      volunteers to monitor lists and mail in FAQs to quail discussion
      To join the list, mail to:  QUAIL-request@XYLOGICS.COM

      It was suggested that people who had to answer user questions
      should send in their own "top 5" frequently asked questions.

 Document: What is the Internet?  Ellen Hoffman

      Ed Krol had had permission from his publisher to put this
      together from his book.  The draft document was circulated for

 RFC 1359/FYI16: Connecting to the Internet

      FYI  16 "Connecting to the Internet: What Connecting Institutions
      Should Anticipate", (Also RFC 1359), August 1992.

      This RFC explains what is required to get connected to the
      Internet and whom to contact.  Joyce felt it needed to be
      expanded and should move away from being US centric.  Pat Smith
      said that the RFC is a good start but that it currently aims at
      the university community and the Internet is now broader than
      this.  The RFC needs separate sections for universities, schools,
      individuals at home etc.  European input from RIPE and RARE was

 User Document 2: Ellen Hoffman and Lenore Jackson

 FYI on Introducing the Internet 

      This was a short bibliography for a complete newcomer on where to
      get more information on getting connected, etc.  The draft will
      be revised following comments and then recirculated on the user
      doc mailing list.

 Comments on Documentation

      In the past US-WG has kept away from providing end user
      documentation.  Ed Krol said we should stop writing technical
      documents supposedly for end users.  It was suggested (by someone
      else) that US-WG should not in fact be writing documents for end
      users - we should leave that to those in the community who write

      The fact is that over the last year we have seen documents being
      produced that are being used by real users.  They were all they
      had - and so better than nothing.  There are some good books now
      written - but it still remains a worthwhile effort to write short
      end-user oriented jargon-free documents that are freely available
      - and which could be taken and incorporated into a site's set of
      end user documents.  I personally feel that us-wg should not
      spend effort in typesetting documentation (as discussed) - but
      should spend time collecting good short descriptions in ascii
      text - that a site can take and format in its own house style.
      We've only made a start in this area and have a long way to go
      before the documents produced are suitable for end users.  Some
      of the documents overlap and the content and audience are not
      always obvious from the title.  Some rationalisation is required
      here.  Meanwhile sites such as Merit (on are setting
      up directories called


      with some of these articles which end users are consuming

 Mailing list:
 To join the list, mail to:

 Information Infrastructure: lunch meeting

 The  chairs  of  the  Working Groups concerned with various aspects of
 information retrieval and tools (IIIR, NIR, WNILS, URI, URL) met  over
 lunch  to  discuss  co-ordination  of  the  work  of  these groups.  A
 statement is to be drawn up to show how these groups inter-relate  and
 what  parts  of  the puzzle they are intended to cover.  Note that the
 NIR Group was set up explicitly to help track  the  various  different
 groups and projects in this area.  It was decided to draw up a list of
 areas,  so  that  if  for  example  a  new  tool  was  developed which
 effectively indexed information resources - then  it  would  be  dealt
 with  by  a generic "indexing tool working group" rather than set up a
 new working group for that application.

 I personally feel that there needs to be some tightening up of the
 descriptions and scope of the various working groups.  It is not at
 all obvious to new members (or old!) as to which group deals with
 what.  Some of the descriptions are very similar and some quite
 misleading.  For example: NISI - Network Information Services
 Infrastructure sounds like it should be concerned with information
 architecture - whereas it was set up primarily to improve the dialogue
 between NIC personnel.

 Training Materials BOF: Ellen Hoffman and Jill Foster

 The  proposal  was  to form a joint IETF/RARE Working Group on network
 training materials and the problems associated with network training.

 The main objectives are:

 o    to  provide  a  comprehensive package of "mix and match" training
      materials for the broad academic community.

 o    to provide a catalogue of existing training materials.

 I briefly described the UK NISP/ITTI Training Materials Project (which
 has very similar aims) and circulated a print out of the catalogue of
 training materials collected so far.  The fields used were based on
 the TopNode Data Elements - but some more discussion is needed.  (Pete
 Percival and Craig Summerhill of TopNode were at the IETF.)

 The members of the BOF (Birds Of a Feather) introduced themselves and
 described their training activities.  Many gave presentations to their
 users on using the network and the networked services, but only a few
 provided hands on training.  Those that were noted that this was very
 popular and successful.  The group agreed to help to produce a
 catalogue of training materials on using the network (using the
 TopNode Data elements).  CNIDR volunteered to host that database.  The
 group plan to evaluate existing training materials and to identify
 materials to be produced.  Problems related to network training were
 also discussed.  The charter was agreed (with some changes for
 clarification) and it was proposed that a Training Materials WG be

 Discussion  is  to  take  place  initially  on  the us-wg list.  Other
 "network training" lists are:

 o    the "Internet/BITNET Network Trainers" list


      (which is quite "noisy" but nontheless useful)

      To join, mail to: 

           the command (in the text of the message):

           subscribe  nettrain firstname lastname

           (substituting your own first and last name) 

 o    the UK ITTI Network Training Materials Project email list


      To join, mail to:

           the command (in the text of the message):

           subscribe  itti-networks firstname lastname

           (substituting your own first and last name) 

 The Merit/NSFnet Training Sessions included presentations followed by
 informal hands on workshops.  Their Internet Cruise (disk based
 presentation) was also well known.  It had been translated into

        "El Cruso!"                                                       

 Also mentioned were:

 o    The Internet Hunt (a monthly set of questions, the answers to
      which can be found scattered across the Internet) 

 o    Mining the Internet: UC Davis - a hands on workshop 

 o    Navigating the Internet.  An Interactive Workshop.  (Made
      available over the network and which closed subscriptions at

 Some  sites  put information on disk for training session attendees to
 take away.  This information ranged from:  Zen  and  the  Art  of  the
 Internet to the various directories of information and mailing lists.

 Networked Information Retrieval WG 

 Co-chairs: Jill Foster, George Brett

 This is a joint working group between the IETF, RARE ISUS WG and CNI.

 George Brett reported on the $1.2M funding from NSF for a new Clearing
 House for Networked Information Discovery and Retrieval (CNIDR).
 George Brett is Director, Jane Smith is Assistant Director.  Jim
 Fullton will be working as their programmer.  Given the current
 concerns about the reliance of the community on software tools
 developed by volunteer effort and the pressure being brought to bear
 on some of these volunteers by their employers - the setting up of a
 centre for support was welcomed.

 I reported on the RARE ISUS WG meeting and the sessions concerned with
 NIR.  The Pisa conference had sessions on WAIS, WWW, gopher, archie,
 Soft Pages and Hyper-G.  ISUS WG members have agreed to co-ordinate
 informally the European gophers and to work on subject specific
 gophers.  This work and discussion is progressing in co-operation with
 the IETF/CNI groups and TopNode Project, Library of Congress and some
 Australian gopher people.

 Since  the  Boston  NIR BOF, the templates, for collecting information
 about groups involved in NIR work and about the various NIR tools  and
 applications,   had   been  agreed  on  the  nir  mailing  list.   The
 information on most of the groups and tools had  been  collected  from
 the  appropriate  contacts  and  had been edited together into a draft
 document which had been made available prior to the IETF.

 Access details: anonymous ftp from

 file name:  pub/nir/

 At the meeting the draft of the "Consumer Report" on NIR Tools was
 reviewed and discussed at length.  There was discussion about the
 tools and the groups that have been included in the report.  It was
 suggested that Hyper-G and Soft Pages should not be in the main part
 of the report.  An appendix of "Forthcoming Attractions" was suggested
 and it was felt that a short description of Hyper-G and Soft Pages and
 WHOIS++ would be appropriate there.  A number of other appendices were
 recommended to provide a broader base of information for the users and
 providers of the information.  The templates and the report were well
 received.  It is planned to update the templates on a quarterly basis.

 The working group also discussed future plans to evaluate the tools,
 and the general usefulness of this report.  This "evaluation" was seen
 more as completing a matrix of characteristics on each tool - so that
 the "consumer" could check for the features required and see which
 tools provided them.  The evaluation would therefore be an objective
 checklist rather than of the "best buy" variety.  The working group
 concluded its work with a discussion about future dissemination of the
 report in varied media.  There was consensus that the report will have
 to be made available across the many networked information retrieval
 tools and that we will have to be prepared to ensure that the form of
 the information accommodates these tools.  One of the first online
 archives for the "Consumer Report" on NIR Tools will be hosted at
 CNIDR.  The working group will continue to collect and verify
 information for the templates.

 The nir list is currently hosted at McGill and needs to be moved.  All
 subscribers should now subscribe to the list on the UK Mailbase server.


        to join:  mail to:

           the command (in the text of the message):

           subscribe  nir firstname lastname

           (substituting your own first and last name) 

           For example:  subscribe nir Jill Foster

        archives in directory:   pub/nir       on

 An announcement will also be made on the existing nir list.

 Uniform Resource Indicator WG: Peter Deutsch, Alan Emtage

 URI is now the union of Uniform Resource Location and Uniform Resource
 Indicator.  The idea is to identify information resources uniquely and
 to allow the location of these by navigational tools.

 Tim  Berners Lee (who was unable to attend due to lack of funding etc)
 had adapted one of his WWW documents to discuss URIs.  There was  some
 discussion  of  this (which was a little one sided as Tim wasn't there
 to defend it).  There was some objection to the use of "name"  in  the
 document  and  some discussion on "fragmentation" and whether to allow
 partial form URIs.

 The group felt the document should have an overview section that could
 be read on its own.  This should define the various acronyms (URI,
 URL, URN, URSN, etc).  It was felt that there should be the
 Berners-Lee document and then a document putting the counter
 arguments.  Input from the library community is needed and the
 overview document will be circulated widely - including to the CNI.

 mailing list:
 to join, mail to:

 [I'm not sure which list is currently being used - but mail to
 ietf-url-request and ask to be put on the list for URI discussion!]

 WHOIS  and  Network  Information Look Up Service Working Group: WNILS:
 Joan Gargano

 This  group  had  met as a BOF at the last IETF.  It had been a stormy
 meeting with the X.500 set saying why re-implement X.500  features  in
 WHOIS  when  X.500  does  it  all and the WHOIS set saying - "why not?
 Maybe we can do it quicker and with less overheads."

 Since  the  last  IETF  Jim  Fullton,  Peter Deutsch, Chris Weider and
 others had  worked  on  implementing  a  WHOIS++ Server  and  had  some
 prototype software working.

 The WHOIS++ project aims to develop a lightweight useful Internet
 Directory Service using simple technology.


 o    template oriented data model
 o    simple command syntax
 o    database technology selected by operator
 o    "centroids" system allows summary information to be easily


 o    Easy to use
 o    Servers easy to create, install and maintain
 o    database  maintenance separate from server (allows using existing
 o    clients easy to write
 o    centroids simplify the task of finding suitable servers

 Structure of WHOIS++ database (logical)

       Template type 1               type 2             type 3 etc
             ---------              ----------             ----------    
            | 1       |            |          |           |          |   
          ---------   |          ----------   |         ----------   |   
         | 2       |  |         |          |  |        |          |  |   
       ---------   |--        -----------  |--       -----------  |--    
      | 3       |  |         |           | |        |           | |      
      |         |--          |           |-         |           |-       
      |         |            |           |          |           |        
       ---------              -----------            -----------         

 Every  item  and  each  database  has  a  unique WHOIS database handle
 (issued by IANA).

 Search terms: "handle", template type, attribute.

 The work the sub-group was doing was a proof of concept piece of


 Client  --->  Front End 
                     Search Engine  ----> optional gateway
                                      --> database


 Centroid information propagates up the tree.  Clients can query parent
 servers to find servers with given keywords.

 Keywords  stored  only once and just hold pointers.  Can search at any
 level.  Bottom up driven approach to finding information.

 Command Set:

 o    Template oriented
 o    backwards compatible with WHOIS
 o    system commands and search commands
 o    search command: Attribute, Value, Template or Handle, Search All
 o    Constraints on searches

 Status since Boston:

 o    Bar BOF in Boston
 o    Joan Gargano's overview document
 o    Peter Deutsch's basic architecture
 o    Chris Weider etc centroids architecture
      (sent to list - are in archive)
 o    WNILS working group now formed
 o    Centroids propagating: 2 running now, more to come.
 o    Public domain version.  Then supported by BUNYIP.  Clients -
      X-Windows, etc.
 o     Centroid code written

 Chris Weider:

      Centroids: "forward" information propagated around.

      A poll mechanism allows the server to get forward information
      from below.  Servers know what it is being polled by and can let
      server "above" know when information is changed.  So a user can
      query any level in the mesh and the query is passed to the point
      in the tree where it is most likely to be answered.  Don't need
      to know where or how servers/data distributed in order to be able
      to prune search tree and find information want/looking for.  With
      a distributed mesh it is easy to build Yellow Pages services.  A
      server can specialise on a particular attribute.

 Having got a rough prototype - what's next?

 They talked about privacy and security issues, replication of servers
 etc.  There are currently 100 WHOIS servers which don't talk to each
 other.  WHOIS++ would help to provide some glue between their servers
 and encourage new servers. 

 It started to sound all too familiar: Problems of replication and
 security; The massive problem of getting the data in the database -
 All problems X.500 has been faced with.  We'll have to see whether
 WHOIS++ fares any better.  Peter Deutsch likes to talk about Darwinian

 Integration  of  Internet  Information Resources Working Group (IIIR):
 Chris Weider

 The purpose of this working group was to start to pull together some
 of the applications (WAIS, gopher, archie) and to work on
 interoperability issues, what new tools should do and to discuss
 gateway protocol design.

 Several people were asked to report on the work they were doing in
 this area.

 Tim Howes and gopher/X.500 gateway:

      This was proving popular with some 2000 queries/day to the
      UMichigan directory via the gopher/X.500 gateway.  (This is
      2000/day out of 15000/day total queries at U Michigan).  Various
      other sites are running such gateways too.

      Tim said people don't want WAIS, archie, gopher or X.500 - they
      want information and they don't want to flip clients to get
      different information.  [Agreed!  Neither do they want to swop
      tools to change from searching to browsing.]

 Peter Deutsch: WHOIS++

      Peter talked about WHOIS++ (see above) and the possible use of
      Prospero to provide user centred views of the information (as
      Prospero currently does for archie).

 Jim Fullton: WAIS

      Jim had been working with NASA.  They have satellite data
      accessible via WAIS.  A user can choose the format for display.
      Gopher has no concept of different formats.  The main problem was
      gatewaying from the "maximal" WAIS server to the "minimal" gopher

 The group decided to write an Internet draft on: Gateway Protocol,
 common exchange format and query routing protocol.  A registry of
 gateways would be useful too.

 We need to avoid an explosion of protocols that are basically the
 same.  (One of the aims of the NIR report is to help contain this
 explosion by disseminating information about what is already
 available.) We need "classes" of protocols - with one working group
 per class.  It was stated that we're not a closed community and that
 we should bring in the information retrieval people, the IRTF group on
 information retrieval (Mike Schwartz etc) and the librarians.

 A mailing list was not mentioned for this group.  However enquiries
 could be sent to

 Concluding Remarks

 This IETF seemed more hectic than normal with more Working Groups and
 meetings over dinner and lunch.  There was unfortunately little time
 for general conversations or (for me) to attend the Mail and
 Directories Working Group meetings.  Shortly before the IETF - the
 closure of the Automatic Mailing List Server WG was announced.  I had
 understood it had been put on hold, so was disappointed to hear this.

 On a positive note: the CNI held their meetings near Washington at the
 end of the same week as the IETF.  Several key CNI members attended
 the IETF and there was to be cross representation at the CNI meetings
 too.  George Brett and Alan Emtage had set up meetings at the Library
 of Congress.  OCLC and the Library of Congress are working on
 classifying or cataloguing networked information resources.  The
 TopNode Project is looking at doing this too - but are, I believe,
 taking a different approach.  This was an opportunity for these people
 to get together and to start mutual discussions.

 So  -  I feel that this IETF and the events surrounding it saw another
 significant milestone on the road to bringing order to  the  chaos  as
 far  as  networked information is concerned.  We still have a long way
 to go in satisfying end users of course.  We still have  the  plethora
 of  different  tools  -  but  at  least  we're all starting to pull in
 approximately the same direction.

 Finally, a reminder that these notes are my view of the IETF.  They
 may not be an accurate view, and certainly do not cover the wide range
 of topics discussed at the workshop.  Apologies for the delay in
 getting this report out.  I went straight from the IETF to Australia
 to take part in their Networkshop and to look at some of their network
 training, returning shortly before Christmas; but that's another
 Jill Foster         (

>From Tue Jan  5 11:51:34 1993
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Date:     Tue, 05 Jan 93  09:41:30 GMT
Subject:  NIR list moving
Message-Id: <>
Status: RO

 Attention all list members!!

 Way back in November - Alan Emtage, Peter Deutsch and I discussed
 moving the nir list from McGill to Mailbase at Newcastle.  This was
 agreed at the IETF meeting in Washington.  (I've been on the road or
 on holiday since - so have only just got back to it.)

 The McGill list should be used until an announcement that the new list
 is operational.

 The reasons for moving;

 o    McGill may not be willing to host the list now that Alan and
      Peter have "moved" to BUNYIP.

 o    Members had to be added to the list by hand and therefore when
      Alan or Peter were busy/travelling this could cause delays.

 o    There was no way of seeing who else was on the list.

 The list is now "global" - so hosting it in the UK rather than Canada
 isn't a problem.

 Mailbase is an automatic mailing list server.  It requires your name
 as well as your email address (taken from your message header) in
 order to produce a meaningful list of members.  As the McGill list
 does not have your names (only email addresses) - you will need to
 subscribe to the new list. Apologies for the hassle!

        to join:  mail to:

           the command (as the only text of the message):

           subscribe  nir firstname lastname

           (substituting your own first and last name) 

           For example:  subscribe nir Jill Foster

 Message archives and files associated with nir will be in directory:

      pub/nir on

 They may be retrieved via email or anonymous ftp.

 Please subscribe now while you remember. 

 Mail for NIR should be sent to the McGill list until you see an
 announcement on the two lists saying that the move is complete.

 Mail to the new list should then be sent to:

 Thanks for your patience and cooperation.

 -- Jill Foster (NIR WG chair)

>From Tue Jan  5 21:00:54 1993
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Date: 5 Jan 93 16:51:16 GMT
Cc: (Shelly London ), (Susan Estrada ), (Scott Williamson ), (Don Mitchel ), (Steve Wolff )
Received: from egrimmelmann by attmail; Tue Jan  5 17:16:05 GMT 1993
Phone: 908-234-6798
Fax-Phone: +1 908 234 7655
Subject: NSF Directory/Database Award
Content-Type: Text
Status: RO

We apologize if you receive multiple copies of this announcement; it is posted 
to several news groups

For further information: 

Shelly London 908 221-4355 


AT&T Will Provide Directory & Database Services to the National Science 
Foundation NSFNET 

Basking Ridge, NJ--AT&T announced today that it has signed a cooperative 
agreement with the National Science Foundation to provide directory and 
database services for NSFNET, the National Science Foundation national data 
network that is part of the Internet.  The Internet is comprised of more
than 5,000 computer networks that facilitate  collaboration among members
of the research and education community.  The Internet, and in particular 
NSFNET, is projected to serve as a basis for evolution to the National 
Research and Education Network (NREN).  

Under the terms of the agreement, AT&T will develop and maintain a 
Directory of Directories which will serve as a pointer to numerous
resources on the Internet.  It will include lists of FTP (File Transfer 
Protocol) sites, lists of various types of servers available on the
Internet, lists of white and yellow pages directories, library catalogs 
and data archives.  The Directory of Directories will enable even novice 
users to obtain references to information they need through simple, 
easy to use interfaces.  AT&T also will provide white and yellow pages 
type directory services, such as names of users, organizations and 
resources on the Internet, using X.500 technology, the current standard 
specification for distributed information storage and retrieval. 

As part of its database services, AT&T will establish database servers to 
extend and supplement the resources of the NSFNET, including databases of 
contributed materials of common interest to the user community and 
communications documents.  AT&T also will offer database design, 
management and maintenance services to organizations and groups for 
inclusion in the Internet. 

Initially, access to all services will be provided through several 
currently popular in-use interface methods; with time, it is anticipated
that X.500 will become the primary method of access. 

In providing these services, AT&T will work cooperatively with two other 
organizations:  CERFNet, a General Atomics project, which was awarded a 
similar agreement for information services, and with Network Solutions, 
Inc.(NSI), which was awarded a similar agreement for registration 
services.  The three corporations will collaborate under a common 
concept called INTERNIC. 

"We all feel intuitively that the domestic Internet and the distributed 
collaboration that it facilitates are rapidly creating a national 
'workplace without walls'", said Steve Wolff, Director, Division of 
Networking and Communications Research and Infrastructure, NSF.  "These
three awards to geographically dispersed organizations for Network 
Information Services will both exploit and demonstrate the success of the 
network in enabling  distributed collaboration." 

"These directory and database services are essential components of the 
emerging national information infrastructure," said Erik Grimmelmann, 
Marketing Director, Internet/NREN, AT&T Data Communications Services.  
"This agreement marks an important step for the Internet as well as for 
AT&T because services such as these and the related ones to be provided 
by our INTERNIC collaborators will make the Internet even more useful 
than it is today." 

The cooperative agreement is for a five-year period, with annual reviews.  
It is expected that the NSF will contribute approximately one third of the 
costs, with another third provided by AT&T and the remainder recovered in 
user fees. The user fees, which have been proposed for maintenance of 
special databases and extensive directory listings, are consistent with 
Federal Networking Council (FNC) cost recovery guidelines.  The user fees 
were part of AT&T's proposal, which was evaluated by an NSF review panel 
and approved by the NSF. The full text of the NSF statement on INTERNIC 
user fees is included at the end of this release. 

The agreement is a natural extension of AT&T's strong commitment to 
education, research and the advancement of high-speed data networking.  
For example, AT&T operates XUNET (Experimental University Network), a 
high speed experimental research network for the academic community, and 
is a key participant in the CNRI (Corporation for National Research 
Initiative) sponsored BLANCA gigabit testbed.  AT&T also supports 
collaborative applications research projects of direct relevance to the 
Internet, including  an information retrieval service, an image retrieval 
service and a newly developed directory concept called "nomenclator" that 
has been shown to improve response time tremendously when searching large 


Text of NSF statement on user fees: 

Consistent with FNC guidelines on obtaining reasonable cost recovery from 
users of NREN networks, the NSF has determined that the INTERNIC 
Information Services provider may charge users beyond the U.S. research 
and education community for any services provided.  Also, the INTERNIC 
Directory and Database Services provider may charge a fee for maintenance 
of special databases, for extensive directory listings and may charge 
users beyond the U.S. research and education community.  Finally, because 
the registration function provided by the INTERNIC Registration Services 
applies to domestic and international, commercial and individual users in 
addition to research and educational users, it is expected that an 
appropriate registration fee structure will take time to develop.  
NSF expects to engage in an extensive discussion with the domestic and 
international Internet community on the motivation, strategy and tactics 
of imposing fees for these services during the next fifteen months.  
Decisions will be implemented only after they have been announced in 
advance and an opportunity given for additional public comment.