Informal IETF Report Wed, 03 May 1995 09:43 UTC

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Date: Wed, 03 May 95 09:22:48 BST
Subject: Informal IETF Report
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 Apologies if you receive more than one copy of this. Jill

 IETF - Danvers: April 3rd - April 7th, 1995

 Trip Report:
 Jill Foster - Newcastle University, UK
 UK Mailbase Manager


 The IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) met in Danvers near Boston.
 The final number of attendees was around 800.  The local hosts were
 FTP Inc and Steve Knowles headed the local host team.

 This was the first time the format did not include plenary technical
 sessions.  There are now over 100 Working Groups (WGs) with around 70
 of these meeting in Danvers, therefore there is an increasing
 difficulty in finding enough slots for them all and in avoiding
 overlaps.  I found even more overlaps this year (ie parallel WG
 sessions of interest to me).

 The IETF started as normal with the new attendees session at 4pm on
 Sunday, followed at 6pm by registration and the reception.  The
 programme itself started at 8am Monday morning with the WG chairs
 meeting and continued with WG sessions all week scheduled until 10pm
 each day.

 The WG chairs meeting (quite large in itself) discussed the ways of
 dealing with "disruptive" behaviour in WGs.  There were two sessions
 during the week for new WG chairs on how to be an effective chair.
 (There is an RFC on Guidelines and Procedures for IETF Working

 My main reasons for attending this IETF were to:

 o    provide an informal liaison report on behalf of the TERENA
      Information Services and User Support Working Group
      [Terena is the Trans European Research and Education Networking

 o    join in the User Services and associated WG sessions.

 o    chair the WG 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.  (It is
 shorter than my previous reports and contains fewer URLs due to a
 change in my own work roles.  I no longer work for TERENA on a part
 time basis and my own "volunteer" effort is now committed elsewhere.)
 Whilst this report 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 available via anonymous ftp from

 for example as

 or from the IETF Web server.  Note that the charters of most working
 groups and other WG and IETF related information is also now on the


 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.

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

 USAC: User Services Area Council

 Chair: Joyce Reynolds - ISI

 Joyce Reynolds is chair of the IETF User Services Area (USV).  She has
 a small group of 'advisers' known as the User Services Area Council.
 The main role of USAC is to advise on USV direction and to review
 proposed RFCs in the USV area.  Joyce held an extended lunch meeting
 on the first day for the USAC members and Working Group chairs in the
 User Services area.  This was a useful exchange of information at the
 start of the week on what was happening in the various WGs and any
 problems etc that we had as chairs.  (Erik Huizer had started such
 meetings in the Applications area about a year or so ago and it was
 felt to be a very useful method of ensuring coherence between the

 User Services Working Group

 Chair: Joyce Reynolds - ISI

 This is the umbrella group for the working groups within the User
 Services area.  Several Working Groups (WGs) had recently closed
 leaving the following WGs in the USV area:

 IDS: Integrated Directory Services (joint with Applications area)

 IIIR: Integrated Internet Information Resources (joint with
      Applications area)

 URI: Uniform Resource Locator (joint with Applications area)

 ISN: Internet Schools Networking

 NISI: Network Information Services Infrastructure

 Trainmat: Network Training Materials

 RUN: Responsible Use of the Network

 SSH: Site Security Handbook (joint with Security area)


 USWG: User Services Working Group (the umbrella group)

 The Arts and Humanities BOF met for the third time.  They were to
 become a full WG in the near future.


 Joyce reported that there had been an IETF related session at Networld
 Interop 95, which had taken place the previous week in Las Vegas.
 Interop is a huge trade fair with 65,000 attendees.  The various IETF
 Area Directors had each spoken about their area and the work being
 done.  Attendance of this session had been disappointing.


 Joyce attends the European RIPE meetings as a liaison member.  She now
 reports on IETF USV WG issues to the RIPE plenary (rather than a RIPE
 WG on Network Information Discovery and User Support (NIDUS).  This WG
 is effectively closed down.  It looks to the results of the IETF WGs
 and TERENA ISUS (Information Services and User Support) WG.


 I reported on the TERENA Information Services and User Support WG
 activities.  The group had met just before the last IETF and had not
 yet met this year.

 TERENA was formed in October by the merger of the two European
 networking associations: RARE and EARN.  TERENA is the Trans European
 Research and Education Networking Association.  There were still
 problems following the merger resulting from a conflict of interests
 and culture and the fact that the members of the new association had
 widely differing needs.  A satisfactory method of working together and
 developing (or not) a technical programme needs to be found before
 there is much progress on the technical side.

 The European Commission has a funding programme called Fourth
 Framework.  This has one section, Telematics for Research, which has
 some 50Mecu (very approximately 50M dollars) of funding.  TERENA has
 bid to provide a supporting role to the Telematics for Research part
 of the programme (project SCIMITAR).  This would:

 o    ensure that results of the programme were fed into the standards
      process by bringing them to the IETF

 o    provide a user community (via the working groups) for the testing
      and validation of results

 o    provide experts (via the working groups) to evaluate the results
      of the programme.

 In addition, members of the ISUS WG and others had put together a bid
 for a 5Mecu project called DESIRE.  This was to:

 o    build an information infrastructure (based on much of the work on
      whois++, URIs etc)

 o    provide better support for the full range of multi-media
      information.  (Fourth framework aims to move from text based to
      multi-media based communication and information services.)

 o    provide support for information gateways.  These are valued added
      services where information resources of interest to a particular
      subject area are collected (ie pointers to them) and selected
      (judgement on their quality and relevance).  URCs are built and
      held for these resources (abstract, size, author etc) so that the
      user has meta-information that can be viewed prior to retrieving
      the resource itself.

 o    training for selected user communities in the use of the new
      networked information discovery and retrieval tools developed as
      a result of the programme.

 The TERENA ISUS WG is similar to the IETF USV area.  It has a range of
 Task Forces (like IETF WGs).  Joyce and I have worked together to
 ensure liaison and to minimise overlap.  Each ISUS TF has a home page
 with information about the charter, current documents, mailing list
 archives etc etc.  (USV WGs are encouraged to do the same!)



 Susan Calcari, Mark Kosters and Debbie Hamilton had been working on
 the USV Web pages.  These had been moved from to following the "exit" of General Atomic from the
 InterNIC.  The pointer given was (may move):

 Susan Calcari would like comments. (

 Web versions of FYI RFCs:

 Janet Marcisak (FTP Inc) has completed marking up ALL of the FYI RFCs
 (including the NIR report)!  These will be moved to ISI with the other


 The Trainmat WG had wanted to investigate using the MBONE to deliver
 network training.  It was suggested that USV people could do some
 preliminary testing to gain some experience and then to use it to
 spread the word about USV.  Joyce reported that there has been no real
 progress in getting permission to use the MBONE.  Mark Prior (Trainmat
 co-chair) had pointed out that if the MBONE could be used to broadcast
 a Rolling Stone's concert...

         Mailing list: 
         To join, mail to:

 NISI - Networked Information Services Infrastructure WG

 Chair: April Marine (NASA)

 This group is concerned with co-ordinating NICs (network information
 centres) and improving the service they provide.  April was unable to
 attend, so the group did not meet in Danvers.  It is planned to have
 one more meeting to complete work in progress at the next IETF.

       Current draft:

            mailing list: 
            to join, mail to:

 Uniform Resource Identifier WG:

 Chair: Larry Masinter (Xerox)

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

         U = Uniform
         R = Resource
         { N,L,C, .... } = { Name, Locator, Characteristic, ... }

 This WG started with a series of presentations.

 URA: (Yes a new one!) Leslie Daigle from BUNYIP talked about their
 work on "Uniform Resource Agents" and the URA architecture.  This
 included the notion of a UR Agency which would manage URAs and queries
 about URAs, requests to invoke URAs, the communication of the results
 etc.  URAs are objects and might identify thematically related

 See for more details.

 Next the URN "Fest" was introduced.  There are several different
 schemes for implementing URNs.

 Ron Daniel and Paul Hoffman have a draft document, which is based on
 Mitra's general syntax proposal.

 Michael Shapiro (NCSA) had a proposal based on a path scheme.

 Bill Arms had a scheme based on the use of a "handle" (based on some
 of their work on a global digital library).

 Keith Moore talked about his LIFN scheme.  (Location Independent File

 Mitra talked about the general syntax scheme (the original scheme
 developed by Mitra, Chris Weider and Michael Mealling following the
 IAB Information Infrastructure retreat in October 94).  Michael has a
 URN testbed set up at Georgia Tech.

 There were many questions on technical issues and other non-technical
 issues (such as "Who will pay for the global name resolver?") and a
 great deal of discussion.

 It was decided that there would be a URN "bake-off" at the
 next-but-one IETF.  Those with ideas should develop working code - and
 then they would be tested out using clients modified to understand
 each scheme.

 This WG had two sessions scheduled, with the URN discussion continuing
 on into the second session.  John Kunze then presented the Z39.50 URL
 draft and the changes made to it; Roy Fielding presented his "relative
 URL" draft; and Michael Mealling presented the URC drafts.

 Note that Michael Mealling has a useful collection of pointers to
 related work at:

      Mailing list:
      To join, mail to:
         Directory:          /pub/uri

 Site Security Handbook

 Chair: Barbara Fraser - CERT

 This group is producing a new document for system and network
 administrators.  They have a draft outline.  It will include sections

 Site Security Policy
 Security Procedures:
           terminal rooms
 Incident Handling

 Quality WG:

 Chair: Mitra

  To join, mail to:

  the  text

  subscribe quality <full name>

 This group met briefly to decide to close down.  No-one was willing or
 had time to work in this area, although it was felt to be an important
 area.  It was noted that this WG might well be spun back up again if
 there were people prepared to contribute to the effort.  This work is
 required, and it is expected that various information providers will
 start to work in this area.  Once there is a nucleus of work in
 progress, a working group might have more chance of success, as it
 would be building on existing work rather than trying to initiate new
 work itself.

 Integration of Internet Information Resources Working Group (IIIR):

 Chair: Chris Weider - BUNYIP

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

 This group met to discuss whether or not to close down.  This time the
 decision was yes, it should close.

 Before it closed...

 Stu Weibel (OCLC) reported on the Dublin (Ohio) "Metadata workshop".
 This consisted of 50 invited participants who met to discuss resource
 discovery problems and in particular the need for metadata.

 Chris Weider (chair of IIIR) has been elected with Erik Huizer
 (formerly Applications Area Director on the IESG) to the IAB (Internet
 Architecture/Activities Board).

 The IIIR list will be kept active.

         Mailing list: 
         To join, mail to:

 Internet Schools Networking

 Chair: Jennifer Sellars - NASA
         Jodi Ito - Uni. Hawaii

 This group is designing a template for a description of school
 projects.  The idea is that these will be put in an on-line directory
 which can be searched.

 RFC 1578/FYI22 needs updating to include a section on WWW etc.
 Pointers to exciting projects to use as examples are needed.

         Mailing list: 
         To join, mail to:


 Chair: Dan Connolly - W3C

 There were two sessions for the HTML WG.  Dan Connolly of the newly
 formed WorldWide Web Consortium (W3C) chaired the sessions.  The first
 session concentrated on html version 2.  Dave Raggett (HP, on
 secondment to W3C) presented the HTML 3.0 draft document.

 Features in html 3.0 include file upload, support for scripting (such
 as safe tcl, java), tables, maths, etc.

 Interesting was the attendance of members of the traditional mark up
 communities (for example those involved in marking up tables using the
 SGML CALS model for tables, those involved in "mathematical"
 publishing etc.).  They had very useful input, and it was good to see
 them taking the IETF and the Web seriously.  NCSA, Netscape and EIT
 were also represented.

 Mailing list:   
     to join, mail to:
  the text: subscribe html-wg <your first name> <your last name>

 Network Training Materials:

 Chair: Jill Foster - University of Newcastle

 Mark Prior (The Univ.  Adelaide) is the co-chair of this Working
 Group.  He was unable to attend this IETF.

 The following section is based on notes taken by Jodi Ito.

 The key items to be discussed were the catalogue of network training
 materials, review of available training materials, and using the
 network to deliver training.

 Discussion of the catalogue included review of the IAFA fields:
 addition of new fields, changing the names of existing fields, and
 categorization standards for various fields like country and

 The group agreed on the addition of the following fields: audience,
 audience-level and [template] handle.  Discussion regarding the
 "categories" field resulted in the division of training materials into
 2 high-level categories: Documentation and Training Materials.  The
 "Documentation" level was further subdivided into 3 areas: User
 Guides, Resource Guides, and Trainer/Instructor Guides.  The "Training
 Materials" level was subdivided into: Presentation Materials
 (including speaker notes), Workshop exercises (including lab
 configuration information and the actual workshop exercises), and
 Self-paced Materials.

 The entries in the catalogue needs to be reviewed for quality and
 currency.  Several people volunteered to review "chunks" of the
 catalogue.  Summaries will be sent to the list.  The group did note
 that many templates were not completely filled out and pointed out the
 need for an automated template verification process - upon submission,
 the template would be scanned automatically to ensure that key fields
 are completed.

 The Catalogue of Training Materials is available via the Web from
 the Univ. of Adelaide:

 The last item on the agenda was general discussion on using the
 network to deliver training.  Several people mentioned using the Web
 to deliver training (which illustrated the need to to have "states"
 incorporated into the http protocol).  Additionally, Jill is working
 on having PowerPoint registered as a MIME content type.  Jill also
 mentioned that Joyce has been working on getting a time slot
 allocated on the MBONE to experiment with broadcasting training
 over the MBONE.

 Mailing list:   
     to join, mail to:
  the text: join network-training-tf <your full name>

 Note this is a *working* list. Minutes etc are sent to the us-wg and
 wg-isus mailing lists.

 Concluding remarks

 A good IETF on balance.  The next IETF is scheduled for July 17-21
 1995 in Stockholm, Sweden.  This will only be the second time it has
 been held outside of North America.

 Finally, a reminder that these notes are my view of the IETF and that
 I have had less time than usual to "polish" them.  They may not be an
 accurate view, and certainly do not cover the wide range of topics
 discussed at the workshop, nor even all the sessions I attended.  This
 IETF was just before I was away on holiday - hence the delay.
 Hopefully the information is not too out of date and it has given you
 enough of a flavour of the meeting.  If you are interested in
 subsequent developments or in more details on the above, please join
 the relevant mailing lists and look at their message archives.

 Jill Foster         (