Bunyip Internet Directory Project

Alan Emtage (bajan@bunyip.com)
Thu, 28 Oct 1993 10:59:36 -0400

[This message is being posted to several mailing lists. My apologies for
the duplication]

Over the next several months we at Bunyip Information Systems (creators
of the archie directory system), will be running a pilot project to
assess the viability of collecting additional data cataloging information
directly from the Internet. Ultimately, this information will be made
available to the Internet community via the distribution mechanisms now
in place for the familiar archie anonymous FTP database.

One of the biggest problems currently facing the use of the wealth of
information now available on the Internet is locating the files,
documents or services that you are looking for. While archie goes some
way to addressing this problem, "cataloging" information such as contact
information, abstracts, descriptions, keywords and access policies for
the files and services are simply not available through simple filename
searches. The problem of trying to keep this cataloging information up to
date manually in such a dynamic environment is well illustrated by the
current archie Software Description Database (or "whatis" database as it
is more commonly known).

We are asking you, the anonymous FTP archive site administrators and
operators of Internet services to cooperate with us by preparing your
information for automated gathering and serving. In doing so, we believe
you will be supporting a data distribution model that is well suited to
the Internet. Control over your content will remain with you, and the
automatic preparation of additional information services will be made
possible. The data served to the community will be updated when you
change your own files.

You need not tell us that you have these files or inform us when they
have changed: if you have asked for your anonymous FTP archive to be part
of the archie service in the past, this information will be automatically
retrieved from your archive.

Our project will use an extended version of the archie system to collect
data "templates" on anonymous FTP archives. These templates will be
automatically retrieved, collated and indexed into a form easily
searchable by users on the network. Over the period of the pilot a number
of search and retrieval techniques will be assessed to determine their

The hope is that the general user will be able to query this database and
obtain descriptive information about freely available or Public Domain
documents, images, sounds and services on the network...worldwide. In
addition to the descriptions, the templates point the user to the source
of the original data or service which may then be accessed.

By filling out and making these templates available for retrieval, you
can advertise the files and services available from your department or
institution. The templates can be used to describe


The archive can offer an overall description of each the various
Internet services offered by your organization's systems, along
with corresponding contact information.

This description would then indicate whether the the parent
organization offers such services as:

o on-line library catalogues

o Interactive online information services such as WAIS, gopher,
Prospero, World Wide Web or archie

o specialized information servers such as those providing
weather, geographic information, newswire feeds etc.

o Other information services


By putting non-sensitive personal contact information into the
templates we hope to provide the start of the first truly global
White Pages service: the ability to locate people anywhere on the

Documents, Datasets, Mailing List Archives, USETNET Archives,
Software Packages, Images and other Objects

You might wish to make available a brief description of available
software, documents, images, sounds, video, datasets, USENET
archives and mailing list information through the anonymous FTP

A typical "services" template might look like this (no offense to the
Census Bureau intended :-)

Template-Type: SERVICES
Name: Census Bureau information server
Host-Name: census.ispy.gov
Host-Port: 1234
Protocol: telnet
Admin-Name: Jay Bond
Admin-Postal: PO Box. 42, A Street Washington DC, USA 20001
Admin-Work-Phone: +1-202-222-3333
Admin-Work-Fax: +1 202 444 5555
Admin-Email: jb007@census.ispy.gov
Description: This server provides information from the
latest USA Census Bureau statistics (1990)
Type "help" for more information.
Authentication: Once connected type your email address at
the "login:" prompt. No password is
Registration: No formal registration is required
Charging-Policy: There is no charge for the use of this service
Access-Times: 9:00 EST / 17:00 EST
Access-Policy: This service may not be used by sites in
the Republic of the VTTS
Keywords: census, population, 1990, statistics
Last-Modified-Name: Miss Moneypenny
Last-Modified-Email: m.moneypenny@census.ispy.gov
Last-Modified-Date: Wed, 1 Jan 1970 12:00:00 GMT

Note that the machine on which the actual service or documents reside
need not be the same as that of the anonymous FTP archive: you may place
these templates on any anonymous FTP archive. The template contains the
date on where to locate the information itself.

The templates to be used will be those constructed by the Internet
Anonymous FTP Archives working group of the Internet Engineering Task
Force. These documents describing the templates are available as Internet
Drafts from the standard network repositories.

They are also available from archive.cc.mcgill.ca in the pub/Network/iafa
directory. The two files are




the templates themselves are generally extensible and you may add fields
if you do not think that the ones provided suit your particular needs.

Please do not be put off by the size of the documents: the first contains
several examples explaining and illustrating how they are filled out; the
second provides empty templates for you to use. Also, do not feel that
you are obliged to complete one of every template or even every field in
each template. We ask only that you document current practice at your
site as completely as possible.

If you have any questions about this project or suggestions about the
templates, we would be happy to answer them. Please send mail to


Please feel free to redistribute this message to groups you think


------------------------------------------------------------------------------ Alan Emtage, "The Left in Canada is more gauche Bunyip Information Systems, than sinister" Montreal, CANADA -The Economist

bajan@bunyip.com Voice: +1 (514) 875-8611 Fax: +1 (514) 875-8134