NIR WG Minutes from Houston Wed, 17 November 1993 12:21 UTC

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Subject: NIR WG Minutes from Houston
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From: Kevin Gamiel <>
Supplemented by Jill Foster <>


1. Approval of the Agenda
2. Status report on CNIDR
3. Status report on RARE related activities
4. NIR status report
        - final update and comments before the publication as RFC
        - maintenance
5. NIR evaluation:
        This is one of the areas where I feel we got carried away.
        We need to re-think what we want to do here.
6. Review of the charter
        NIR was set up to act as a clearinghouse for information on what is
        going on in this area.  The report was the natural first move on 
        this.  There are other things we could do to improve current
        awareness of what is going on.
7.  Any other business

1. Agenda approved

2. Jim Fullton gave the current status of CNIDR.  CNIDR is continuing
freeWAIS server development, the current version being 0.202.  A generic
search engine application programmer's interface is being developed to
allow the integration of any search engine under the WAIS protocol stack. 
FreeWAIS 1.0, a WAIS server based on Z39.50 1992, is being developed as
well.  Other projects include a CUSeeMe client for MS Windows and the
Global Schoolhouse project.

3. Jill gave an overview of RARE related activities. The NIR WG is a joint
IETF/RARE WG. The RARE members of the WG met in Warsaw, Poland in October.
Anders Gillner (SUNET) reported there on the Eurogopher activities and held
a BOF session on recommendations for NEPAs (National (gopher) Entry Point
Administrators).  The recommendation was that NEPAs coordinate registration
of gopher and other information services within their own countries.
Discussion included Veronica harvesting at a national level,
recommendations for structure of the top level menu and on sharing
management tools.

Other Subgroups of the RARE ISUS (Information Services and User Support )
WG include MMIS (Multi-Media Information Services) and UNITE (User Network
Interface to Everything!). The latter group has undertaken a review of how
well certain collections of software for accessing the network work
together on various platforms, with a view to seeing what is lacking.

4. NIR Report: Review - The working group split into small groups to
discuss each section of the NIR status report as a final review.  Rick
Rodgers from NLM is updating section 5 of the document in the light of
discussion and will post to Jill for re-integration.  Several additional
mailing lists were added to the report.   There was a question about adding
interactive tools such as CUSeeMe and other networked conferencing systems
to the report.  The group determined such interactive services fall outside
the scope of the report and suggested a call for comments on the list. 

Maintenance - Originally, the report was to be updated every 3 months. 
This was determined to be a difficult task and the group decided in
Amsterdam to update only once per year.  The Internic has agreed to publish
the report under WAIS, Gopher, and World Wide Web.  CNIDR will maintain and
update the report.  Updated templates can be sent via email to  Larry Manister offered his time to provide an
independent check of say four templates (to be assigned by Jill), if other
volunteers did the same.

5. April discussed the background to the "checklist".  This is to be a
simple checklist of which clients/servers are available on particular
platforms.  April had sent a checklist to the mailing list for discussion. 
The group decided to work on the checklist as a separate document in the
interest of moving the current NIR report up the food chain in the next
month.  However, the checklist should be integrated into the report as an
appendix in the future.  Changes to April's checklist include: changed word
"taxonomy" to "purpose", added "required ancillary tools" attribute and
added "stack" attribute.  It was noted that the "X.500 Tools Catalog" has a
similar template and Brendan Kehoe agreed to look into that catalog and
report to the list.  A proposal was made that the group should evaluate
individual server packages.  (UNITE has performed some informal evaluation
of client software.) The consensus was
"no", as the it was a political issue and lists devoted to each tool
already served this purpose. 

6. Review of Charter: The group was originally set up to help us keep up to
date on what was going on in the NIR area. It might be useful, for example,
to post minutes (or at least summaries) of the various related working
groups to the NIR list. The group decided to postpone this discussion until
the next meeting, by which time the NIR report and checklist should be
completed and the mechanisms for updating them should be in place.