4.0622 Networks and Lists -- Expert Help Needed (1/66)

Elaine Brennan & Allen Renear (EDITORS@BROWNVM.BITNET)
Tue, 23 Oct 90 22:38:00 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 4, No. 0622. Tuesday, 23 Oct 1990.

Date: Tue, 23 Oct 90 22:33:51 EDT
From: Allen Renear <ALLEN@BROWNVM>
Subject: Networks and Discussion Groups -- Overviews Wanted

The network discussion group world is pretty confusing. One thing that
might help would be concise general descriptions of the three major
kinds of network discussion groups. This would at least give us a
common framework for our discussions of lists of interest. Another
useful item would a concise overview of academic networking in general
-- useful, and considerably more ambitious.

So: if you feel you have a confident understanding of some one of the
three principal kinds of network discussion lists would you consider
volunteering to prepare a general description? (I know there are some
real experts lurking out there in the readership.)

Nothing too extensive is necessary -- 100 lines would, I imagine, be
typical. And there is no need to duplicate effort needlessly: if you
are interested in preparing one of these descriptions let me know and I
will keep you informed of who else is preparing or is interested in
preparing the same description -- then you may all communicate among
yourselves and decide to collaborate, compete, withdraw, ignore, &c. ...
as you like. But in the established liberal tradition of Humanist we
will post all reports that we receive.

Each description of one of the varieties of network discussion groups
will probably cover the history of the service, how to get access to the
groups, how to get help or information files, and survey of the topics of
interest to Humanists, etc. You might wish to consult John Quarterman's
book (_The Matrix: Computer Networks and Conferencing Systems
Worldwide,_ Digital Press, 1989) to verify the details.)

Here are the four descriptions I think would be most useful,
Beginning with the three common categories of discussion groups.

1) Listserv lists
(And don't forget: Who is Eric Thomas? How do I get help files from
listserv servers? How do I find out what lists there are?)

2) Internet lists (other)
(What does that '-request' suffix mean? How do I get the famous Zeller
'List of Lists'? ... but my network doesn't support ftp -- what do I do

3) Usenet Newsgroups
(naming scheme ... number ... voting ... mailed digests ... feeds ...
... Stanford CS Dept v. Stanford University on rec.humor...)

4) An Overview of academic networks
Who would like to try, in 100 or so lines, to give us the big
picture on networks? I would expect such an overview would
a) cover terminology like Bitnet/EARN/Netnorth, JANET, Usenet...
b) compare services, protocols, and transmission speeds
c) discuss how services are funded
d) indicate likely directions for future developments -- both
technological and organizational
e) mention issues of particular interest to academics in
the humanities

Again, John Quarterman's book should be a useful resource.

...ok, 200 lines?

Of course similar descriptions and overviews have been done in various
magazines, journals, and newsletters, and (of course) lists. If you
know of one you think is particularly suitable and we can get an
electronic version and appropriate permissions I'll be glad to post that.

Thanks --Allen
(Elaine Brennan is currently in Oxford, safe in Humanist hands)