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          NETWORKS AND COMMUNITY : January 3, 1994
 
Networks and Community is devoted to encouraging
LOCAL resource creation & GLOBAL resource sharing.
 
compiler  : Sam Sternberg   [log in to unmask]
 
This first report of 1994 is the 6th weekly survey.
 
Coverage includes:
     LEGISLATION   DISCUSSIONS     NEW SERVICES
     FUNDING   RECENT REPORTS    &     TRENDS
 
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     LEGISLATION
 
An excellent summary of pending legislation effecting communets
is available in the latest issue of the American Library Assoc.
e-newsletter - ala-won. To subscribe send mail to :
[log in to unmask]   -> subscribe ala-wo [your name here]
 
Along with your subscription acknowledgement will come info on
using the archives to retrieve items like the current issue.
 
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     DISCUSSIONS
 
The NPTN list was very busy this week. The prime focus was on
delaying the restructuring conference till summer and using the
remaining time to develop issues on single topic listservs.
 
Norman Kurland posted a draft funding document that generated
interest. He proposed a support approach involving a mix of free
and paid services. [log in to unmask]
 
Fee-nets were temporarily granted permission to charge for
services but warned that doing so was dangerous for several
reasons - including the possibility of losing charitable status.
 
The Office of Technology Assessment hired NPTN to conduct a
multisite discussion on using electronic technology for
delivering Social Security services. This distributed research
project is a first of its kind. It is to be completed by the end
of January. The result will be worked into a report from OTA.
 
The Cypherwonks list has essentially died at the hand of one of
its founders and his numerous detractors. Several prior
participants are trying to find a moderated forum on which to
continue the very fruitful discussion which took place during the
early days of the list's operation.
 
COMMUNET developed an active discussion on the potential role of
Cable systems in delivering community network services.
The ignorance of Local governments - responsible for regulating
the cable providers - was decried. Some members are actively
trying to educate their municipalities and get them to reguire
community access to the internet as a licensing feature.
 
Additional comments on the danger to the "character" of the
Internet from commercialization were made. This included several
impassioned pleas for activism on the part of the readers.
 
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     FUNDING
 
A fee based - online - fundraising workshop is being offered. I
would love to see a similar workshop offered for free; but this
price is in line with fees for conventional workshops on funding.
 
It begins Feb. 1, 1994. The workshop fee is $100.00 per
participant.  Post-workshop personalized consultations (by e-mail
or other means) are available at $100 per hour.
 
Registration:
 
To register, send a check for $100      "per participant ***"
payable to Internet Works, Inc. to:
 
Internet Works, Inc.
Proposal Planning & Writing Workshop
9988 Whitewater Drive
Burke, VA 22015
 
[ *** on the Internet no one knows your a participant - pricing
information and services is a problem on the net - so the honour
system prevails - sam ]
 
Include the usual information needed for them to know how to e-
mail the lessons to you and mail you other pertinent info.
 
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     RECENT REPORTS
 
A very important proposal for improving the flow of e-mail on the
Internet has been posted to the gopher at :
cyfer.esusda.gov -> American Communicating Electronicly ACE
    --> M.U.S.E. Report
 
 
The report is very verbose but its worth reading. It argues that
the U.S. federal government must develop uniform e-mail standards
and its goes to great lengths to explain the economic and other
benefits of doing so. Its most exciting feature is a detailed
discussion of the types of "address books" that should be
provided.
 
"One might think of the M.U.S.E. as an electronic cloud
into which anyone outside the Federal Government could
send a piece of e-mail, and have it delivered to any
Federal Government addressee regardless where that
addressee might be located.  Unlike the USPS which is a
single mail cloud for everyone in the Nation, the M.U.S.E.
would be a single cloud for the whole Federal Government
only.  Everyone outside the Federal Government must fend
for themselves as best they can.  That's where all those
private sector, state and local mail systems get their
chance for a piece of the action.  When it comes to mail
between their customers and Federal Government parties,
those other systems just dump it into the cloud and
collect it from the cloud".
 
The proposal is based on 5 principles.
 
1.      A single functional agency interface (for enveloping,
transport and directory services) to everyone outside
the agency.
 
2.      No multi-agency, multi-interface burden on the
        private sector or on state and local governments.
 
3.      A standard interface and discipline for
interoperation with any non-Federal network, such
that all private sector, state and local networks can
provide an accommodation for their respective users
or customers.
If there were a national e-mail system, Federal Government
parties could be expected to accommodate to it rather than
vice versa.  However, the reality is that there are
potentially hundreds of unique e-mail systems outside the
government which will want to offer government
interoperation to their customers and users.
 
4.      A directory arrangement that will support use by
everyone outside the Federal Government, to support
their dealings with the whole government;
specifically, to find services, to find information,
and to conduct business, regardless of which agency
may be involved.
 
5.      A solid foundation to support the regulatory needs of
agencies and the needs and tests of the Federal
Courts, for the conduct of Federal Government
business and delivery of Federal Government services.
Once again using the postal system as analogy, there must
be the equivalent of the postmark to determine, legally,
when something was mailed; of the return receipt to
establish legally that something was delivered and when it
was delivered; of the dependability of transport; of the
preservation of item integrity; and of the address to
which something required can be sent easily by all
respondents regardless where the respondents may be
located."
 
The report clearly points out the economic advantages of
substituting electrons for paper. It is on this point that
community network advocates should support the proposal and point
out the important role communets can play in making the savings
real.
 
" The paperwork required under law has two results.  First,
benefits and services cannot ordinarily be delivered until
the paperwork has been completed.  Second, the processing
of the paperwork creates a cost that is borne by the
taxpayers.  A certain percentage of the total cost of
every government program is the collection and processing
of necessary information.  While this percentage is
usually low (less than five percent), if it were to
ggregated across the entire Federal Government, it would
robably total in the hundreds of millions of dollars
every year.
 
To be sure, program administration involves more than just
handling forms, reports, notices, and payments.  Clerks
and benefits specialists in Federal agency offices across
the country explain programs and benefits, answer unusual
questions, and assist citizens, organizations, and local
governments in their interactions with the Federal
Government.  While this will always be needed, a portion
can be shifted to electronics, as the use of sophisticated
computer-based voice response systems, together with "800"
number calling have demonstrated."
 
The section dealing with "address location"  proposes the
following types of information sources.
 
The M.U.S.E.'s White Pages design is for the benefit of
citizen and organization communication with elected and
appointed officials, and the facilitation of e-mail across
agency lines within the government.
 
The Blue Pages design is for the removal of barriers to Federal
Government services; to make the government less confusing and
impenetrable to the Nation, and to speed the delivery of
services by shortening the time to connect a citizen to an
appropriate servicer.
 
The Yellow Pages design is the mother lode in the gold
mine, not only for individual agencies and individual non-
Federal parties, but for the Nation as a whole.  More hard
dollar benefits may be associated with the Yellow Pages
than with any other single feature of the M.U.S.E.  While
the Yellow Pages may be the most cost-beneficial part of
the directory, its sophistication makes it the hardest to
appreciate.
 
In a nutshell, what the Yellow Pages do is facilitate not
only the Federal Government's business with parties
outside the government, but also those parties' business
oportunities with the Federal Government.  "Business" in
this context is not just procurement, but any mission or
program activity.
Yellow Pages: Non-Procurement
E-mail includes the concept of what is called
"distribution list" addressing.  A distribution list is a
list of addressees which has a separate name for the
entire list, taken as a whole.  Someone who wishes to send
the same message to everyone in the list need enter the
message only once, addressed to the name of the list.  The
e-mail environment automatically sends the message to
everyone in the list.
The M.U.S.E. Yellow Pages let the Federal Government reap
the full benefits of distribution list addressing by
marrying it with the information-finding capabilities of
the telephone Yellow Pages.
 
"Green Pages" This name was coined to identify a functionality so
closely related to the Blue Pages that it might almost be
wedded to that part of the directory.  Just as the Blue
Pages help people find sources of Federal assistance, the
Green Pages help people find sources of Federal
information publications and holdings.
 
[ this post is on an U.S. agricultural extension service gopher.
This service has been particularly good about promoting lower
cost and more effective government thru electronic means. - Rural
communets should be working with their local extension offices
and land grant colleges.]
 
          -------------------------------------------
 
Another interesting report is the VALA conference report from
Australia. The report is international in scope and the article
quality is high. While it was aimed primarily at libraries; it
includes several items about public information providers like
communets. The conference took place 2 months ago.
 
gopher    -> gopher.latrobe.edu.au -> VALA
 
It is encouraging to see conference reports available
electronicly within weeks of an event. Prior to the Internet this
"document" would have been available to very few non austrailians
and then not for at least a year or two.
---------------------------------------------------------
     NEW SERVICES
 
2 interesting new gopher based services have appeared.
 
The University of Missouri provides what it calls "enhanced
subject areas". It is making use of its status as a federal
depository library to provide the internet with many important
government documents not previously available in electronic
format.  These include:
Army area handbooks - this is an extraordinarily good series of
books about foreign countries. Japan is the first
available.
State Department Background Notes
Foriegn Trade Practices reports - which provide excellent
information about doing business with specific         countries.
Occupational Outlook Annual Report - with details about types of
          work and future prospects for each type.
There are several other new docs as well.
 
[ I hope that Federal Depository libraries will get together and
divide up the task of placing valuable older materials on line.
They could also be lobbying for more material to be available in
electronic format as well ].
 
The most interesting section for communets that want to provide
improved international business information to their community
is:
 
gopher ->   umslvma.umsl.edu. -->subject area ---> business
                    ----> international marketing
 
This site has gone from 420 logins in Jan 93 to 17,000 last Oct.
 
          --------------------------------------
 
Also of interest is the unique approaches to information location
and to subject area resources taken by the the University of
Southern California. This gopher allows full text search of all
data from its top level menu [ and there is a lot of data on this
gopher ]. Just visit the Indexes topic.
 
It also treats subject information uniquely by offering a List of
Subjects which contain the subject related material from many
seperate gophers' subject areas. Do have a look at both features.
 
gopher   ->  cwis.usc.edu  -->  other gophers
               --->  gopher jewels
 
 
                           --> indexes
               ---> search title
               ---> search full text
 
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     TRENDS
 
 
The importance of Distance Education to the information
superhighway is becoming clearer.  More than 40 conferences on
Education Technology are already announced for 1994. All of them
will include discussions of Distance Ed. It looks like schools
and libraries may end up vying for the LIFE LONG LEARNING role
that distance ed is beginning to fill.
 
Still funding is a problem. The U.K.'s open university has
openned its database of distance education materials to the
public for free. This formerly fee based service was not making
ends meet or meeting its intended service goals so it hopes
enough folks will sign up for the free service to allow it to
find sponsorship.
 
telnet  -->  acsvax.open.ac.uk
 
answer the first three prompts with
1 - icdl
2 - {the name of your country of origin in capitals}
3 - ARA
 
          ---------------------------------------------
 
The list of distance ed resources is Compiled by J. H. Ellsworth
<[log in to unmask]>. It was last updated: 21-October-1993
 
This guide is available via FTP at host: una.hh.lib.umich.edu,
path: /inetdirs, file: disted.ellsworth
 
Among its most worthwhile listed resources is
 
EDNET
Education Net :     [log in to unmask]
EDNET is for those interested in exploring the educational
potential of the Internet.  Discussions range from K-12 through
postsecondary education. A very active list.
Send the usual message to the listserv.
 
Also useful is the semiannual publication The Online Chronicle of
Distance Education and Communication
 
To subscribe to The Online Chronicle of Distance Education and
Communication, send the following command to listserv@uwavm or
to [log in to unmask]
    SUB DISTED your_full_name
 
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This newsletter is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN and may be used as you
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contact Sam Sternberg   [log in to unmask]