[LINK] Maintaining the link list

Antony Barry tony at tony-barry.emu.id.au
Wed Jan 19 16:22:38 EST 2011


Linkers

In a month I'll be seventy and it is time to pass the maintenance of the list on to somebody who is younger and undoubtedly more vigorous. I thought my seventieth birthday would be a good time to do this.

Eric Wainwright and I agreed to set the list up after a meeting of an informal group run from the National Library which was (if I remember rightly) the Working Group on Linking Library Interconnections. It comprised people invited because they had an interest, or expertise in networking major libraries so it was biased towards systems librarians. It had been a group mainly interested in OSI but the internet was making waves and Peter Saalmans and Geoff Huston from AARNet were invited which I had strongly advocated.

Link was established as an alias on my unix workstation, link at wombat.enu.edu.au, on 22 November 1993 which makes it over 17 years old. I sent a message to check the addresses before going live -


> Date: Mon, 22 Nov 1993 16:13:04 +1000
> To: houghton at cleo.murdoch.edu.au, dabr at cleo.murdoch.edu.au,
>         uljtc at cc.newcastle.edu.au (Jim Cleary), ULTM at cc.newcastle.edu.au,
>         Linda Heron <L.Heron at ins.gu.edu.au>, LNEWTONSM at cc.curtin.edu.au,
>         tony at info.anu.edu.au, bmitches at library.mq.edu.au,
>         mclean at mars.wqcc.mq.oz.au,
>         stanton at portia.csu.murdoch.edu.au (De Stanton),
>         Peter.Saalmans at aarnet.edu.au, g.huston at aarnet.edu.au (Geoff Huston),
>         k.webb at abn.nla.gov.au, (Brian Denehy) bvd at sserve.cc.adfa.oz.au,
>         alex at library.ntu.edu.au, Rona.Wade@@023706667.fax.aarnet.edu.au,
>         Linda O'Brien <lso at libserver.canberra.edu.au>,
>         "Andrea Coutts-Stern" <andrea at extro.ucc.su.OZ.AU>,
>         MLN000001 at DCDAU7.das.net, geoffp at ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au,
>         MLN200010 at DCDAU7DAS.NET, Jinette_de_Gooijer.ISB at isbserver.isb.csiro.au,
>         atkinson at clep.murdoch.edu.au,
>         Chris=Cheah%cfp.%Ltce at smtp.gate.dote.gov.au, tomw at adfa.oz.au,
>         w.cathro at nla.gov.au, John.Cock at 062476773.fax.aarnet.edu.au,
>         mstaindl at kbs.citri.edu.au, jshipp at cc.uow.edu.au, s.oconnor at uts.edu.au,
>         J.Winship at info.curtin.edu.au, ulwcl at dewey.newcastle.edu.au,
>         denison at rmit.edu.au, ann at finance.ausgovfinance.telememo.au,
>         ewainwri at abn.nla.gov.au (Eric Wainwright)
> From: tony at info.anu.edu.au (Tony Barry)
> Subject: Test only please ignore.
> 
> Hi
> 
> Got you in didn't I! I'm testing the addresses I've just set up for Eric
> Wainwright after the Linking Libraries meeting before the Vala conference.
> 
> If you get this your address worked OK. If you didn't get it you need to
> send me the right address ;^)
> 
> Tony
> 
> ______________________________________________________________________
>     Tony Barry, Centre for Networked Access to Scholarly Information
>                                              | fone   +61 6 249 4632
>      Australian National University Library  | phax   +61 6 249 4063
>        Canberra  A.C.T. 0200, AUSTRALIA      | tony at info.anu.edu.au


Of the addresses on that list one, and possibly two others might still work and most of the rest belong to people who have moved on to greater things, retired or sadly in at least two cases died. At least two are still members of link.

The next day Eric sent the first message which unfortunately I seem not to have but thanks to the late Brian Dennehy I have a later message which reproduces it -

> From: Eric Wainwright <e.wainwright at nla.gov.au>
> Subject: National Networked Applications Strategy
> To: link at wombat.anu.edu.au
> Cc: tony at info.anu.edu.au
> Message-Id: <Pine.3.05a.9312071324.A21839-e100000 at email.nla.gov.au>
> Mime-Version: 1.0
> Content-Type: TEXT/PLAIN; charset=US-ASCII
> Content-Length: 11820
> 
> Humble apologies to those of you who were present at the meeting in
> Melbourne on 8 November (and all others interested) - I promised to send
> out a report.  Well, I did!  On 24 November, I sent all material below
> starting with the words 'Present in Melbourne were...' to a new list that
> Tony Barry and I have established on his machine - link at wombat.anu.edu.au
> which is designed to be a forum for Australian discussion on these topics.
> If you have got this message, it is via link - to subscribe if you are
> not already on the list send a request to link-request @wombat.anu.edu.au.
> 
> However, in the meantime things have moved on.  I gave a paper on
> 'Networked applications:  towards a coherent national strategy' in
> Melbourne last week, and was also part of a panel session with Brian
> Denehy (ADFA), Jo Marshall (Eliza Hall) and Tony Barry (ANU) on public
> access issues.  At Networkshop Roger Clarke (ANU) distributed an
> announcement that Tom Worthington (Dept. of Defence and Director of the
> Community Affairs Board of the ACS) about setting up an 'Asia/Pacific
> Network Community' mailing list and ftp archives.  It looks as though the
> 4 of us are thinking along very similar lines, so I have suggested to Tom
> we all meet as soon as Roger gets back from US in about a week, and try to
> resolve how many mailing lists and how to run.
> 
> In the meantime, you should be able to distribute responses/ideas on this
> group of topics via link.
> 
> Present in Melbourne were Peter Saalmans/Geoff Huston (AARNet), Brian
> Dennehy (CAUDIT), Linda O'Brien (U of Canberra), Linda Heron (Griffith
> U.), Tony Barry (ANU), Neil McLean (Macquarie U.), Geoff Payne (CAVAL),
> Eric Wainwright/Kerry Webb (NLA), Janette Wright/Howard Amos (SLNSW/
> ILANET), Lea Giles-Peters (CSIRO), Mike Staindl (AIIA/Ferntree), and
> probably 1-2 others late in the meeting or whom I forgot to record.  We
> only had 1.25 hours available, so didn't get too far.  Discussion ranged
> pretty widely, but there was general agreement that we needed better
> national mechanisms for dealing with the issues that I listed i.e.
> 
> 	- Public access to electronic information/community networking
> 	- Effective access to government information
> 	- Intellectual property issues
> 	- Australian network support services
> 	- Standards/protocols development and implementations in Australia
> 	- Achieving communications infrastructure which will meet education/
> 	  information needs
> 
> Some brief notes on the topics:
> 
> 1.	Public access to electronic information/community networking
> 	- At national level
> 		- Get selected journalists informed and fed with Internet
> 		  materials/stories
> 		- Demonstrate Internet facilities to politicians/senior
> 		  bureaucrats at all opportunities
> 		- Stress potential of extending open learning network
> 		- Get Federal Government's IESC interested in issues
> 		- Form network discussion group of interest players
> 
> 	- At local level
> 		- Demonstrate community networking facilities on Internet
> 		- Set up local networks (as per ACT, Newcastle)
> 
> 	- All levels
> 		- Feed appropriate O/S material eg CPSR to appropriate
> 		  bureaucrats
> 
> 2.	Access to government information
> 	- Both Federal and State levels.  Sell ideas of
> 		- Low marginal costs of distribution once it is set up for
> 		  network access
> 		- Efficiencies in government delivery of services
> 		- Greater potential efficiencies in rural areas/rural revival
> 		- Government information as paid for by taxpayers
> 		- Get on 'information kiosk' bandwagon
> 		  - AUSTOUCH (ACT), WA(?) etc.
> 		- Keep firing material from GILS in the US, Canadian
> 		  Information Network, etc. to all those in Federal/State
> 		  Governments who can do something.  No obvious focus at
> 		  Federal level at present, but IESC and AGPS probably most
> 		  likely
> 
> On both 1 and 2, two general actions are:
> 
> 		- Organise (who? NLA could, as Library of Congress did in US
> 		  this year, and NLC in Canada) a very high level of
> 		  conference of stakeholders
> 		- Form discussion group(s) on the net of people interest in
> 		  action at all levels
> 		- Try to get a very high level politician really interested
> 		  (Beazley? Crean? Dawkins?)
> 
> 3.	Intellectual Property issues
> 
> A difficult area as the interests of those in the chain may be in
> conflict.  Some of you will have seen the Federal Government announcement
> this month of review into the Copyright Act implying a major new approach,
> so the public educational interest positions may need to be developed
> fairly quickly.  This area has agreed to be a priority topic for the new
> National Scholarly Communications Forum set up on October 12 as an outcome
> of the April Scholarly Communications Conference in Canberra initial
> members are Academies, CAUDIT, CAUL, CASL, NLA, ABPA, AS Authors, CAL
> Ltd., but other oragnisations welcome, and a 'National Round Table is
> being organised by ASA/CAL/ABPA next year on behalf of whole Forum.  Wide
> discussion is important, but agreement may not be likely.  Recent AVCC
> report on Ownership of Intellectual Property in Universities is also
> relevant, and some lobbying needs to be done at AVCC level, and probably
> with Schools authorities.
> 
> 4.	Network Support Services
> 
> This is now on the way with AARNet Board decision to set up 'Working Party
> on AARNet Network Information Services' to involve AVCC, CAUDIT, CAUL,
> NLA, CSIRO-ISB.  (Details from p.saalmans at server.avcc.edu.au).  Key issues
> will be how to fund, how to make available as a national public service
> apart from of course agreement on what is really needed.  In the meantime
> voluntary efforts like Archie desperately need proper recognition.  Also:
> 
> 	- Proper Australian input into/expertise in IETF-IIIR, UNITE group
> 	- More effective redistribution of existing materials/knowledge
> 	  from NICs overseas
> 
> 5.	Standards/Protocols
> 
> Again, not easy.  There is such a wide range of IETF and OSI activity (see
> November issue of Australian communications).  Some improvement in
> information services area with the establishment of Standards Australia
> IT/19, and Tom Worthington's setting up of the Australian Open Systems
> Server (TAOSS) may provide a mechanism for greater action.  Internet and
> OSI worlds still don't talk to each other, certainly at Federal Government
> level.  Ideas:
> 
> 	- Get IESC interested in Internet as well as OSI
> 	- Have a seminar/conference bringing together standards/protocols
> 	  people from both Internet/OSI worlds to talk about overall
> 	  strategy and learn bigger picture
> 	- Get testbed implementations working with the aid of commercial
> 	  suppliers, so we can develop more local expertise
> 	- Get proper Australian input info/expertise in IETF
> 
> 6.	Communications Infrastructure
> 
> Underpins all the rest - how do we ensure communications investments
> provide for educational/community/government information interests?  These
> don't seem to be in the current debate.  DoTAC seems to be concentrated on
> pay TV and satellites, which is focus for the big guns - Telecom/Optus/
> Packer/Murdoch/Australis etc.  Public debate in the media (who have vested
> interests) somehow needs to be broadened.  Ideas:
> 
> 	- Involvement with Fibre Optic Expert Group activities
> 	- Input to Communications Futures study (Bureau of Transport and
> 	  Communication Economics)
> 	- Influence Open Learning Network agenda
> 	- Political/bureaucratic lobbying generally
> 	- Otherwise as per 1 and 2
> 
> What follows is a slightly revised version of what I sent out before the 8
> November meeting in Melbourne
> 
> NATIONAL STRATEGY ON NETWORKED LIBRARY-TYPE ALLOCATIONS
> 
> ASSUMPTION
> 
> We want:
> .	Universal access for all Australians
> .	Cost-effective and affordable services via libraries and other
> 	publicly-accessible intermediaries (including commercial services)
> .	Efficient use of communications investments, and of the bandwidths
> 	necessary to carry advanced applications e.g. images, motion pictures
> .	Appropriate protection of intellectual property
> .	Access to government electronic information
> 
> 1.	Can we agree on the major issues to be addressed:
> 
> MAJOR ISSUES
> 
> .	Achieving universal access
> .	Achieving effective access to government information
> .	Achieving change in copyright legislation/practices which will
> 	protect both copyright owners and public access for electronic
> 	information
> .	Achieving a communication infrastructure and interfaces which will
> 	meet library and educational needs
> .	The appropriate organisation of/support for networked applications
> 	support services
> .	Technology transfer/graining/information dissemination methods needed
> 
> 2.	Who are the major Australian stakeholders for these issues?
> 
> .	Universal access
> 	-	Academic community
> 	-	Other research community
> 	-	Information professionals - ACLIS, ALIA, ACS
> 	-	Professional societies
> 	-	Business
> 	-	Public
> 	-	Network access providers
> 		-	AARNet
> 		-	Community - APANA, ADEnet
> 		-	Commercial - Pegasus, connect.com, Compuserve
> 	-	Communication providers
> 		-	OATC/Optus
> 		-	Third party providers e.g. AAP, GEIS
> 	-	Federal Government
> 		-	Dept. of Communications
> 		-	DITARD
> 		-	DAAS
> 		-	DEET
> 		-	National Library
> 		-	CSIRO
> 	-	Service providers
> 		-	Ferntree
> 		-	Info-one
> 		-	Telecom (Discovery)
> 		-	Compuserve
> 		-	CSIRO
> 		-	NLA
> 	-	State Government
> 		-	State libraries
> 		-	TAFE networks
> 		-	Education departments/Schools Authorities
> 		-	State Government IT providers
> 	-	Open Learning organisations
> 		-	Open Learning Agency
> 		-	DEET Open Learning Network
> 		-	Open Learning Technology Corporation
> 		-	DECs
> 		-	PAGE (Professional and Graduate Education Consortium)
> 	-	Software Developers
> 		-	CSA
> 		-	CITRI
> 		-	TITAN
> 
> .	Access to Government information
> 
> 	-	Federal government
> 		-	General
> 		-	AGPS, ABS
> 		-	AUSLIG
> 		-	National Library, ANG, AWM, NSTC
> 		-	Australian Archives
> 		-	DPIE (Telecentres)
> 		-	Information Exchange Steering Committee
> 		-	Parliament (PISO)
> 
> 	-	State government
> 		-	General
> 		-	Government publishers/printers
> 		-	State Libraries
> 		-	State Archives
> 		-	State Government IT providers
> 
> .	Intellectual property
> 
> 	-	Authors
> 		-	Academics
> 		-	Australian Vice Chancellors' Committee
> 		-	Academic unions
> 		-	Universities
> 		-	Australian Society of Authors
> 		-	Fellowship of Australian Writers
> 
> 	-	Publishers
> 		-	Copyright Agency Ltd
> 		-	Australian Book Publishers Association
> 		-	Australian Copyright Council
> 		-	Federal/State government publishers
> 
> 	-	Libraries/Distributors
> 		-	ACLIS
> 		-	ALIA
> 		-	CASL
> 		-	CAUL
> 		-	Open Learning Agency/Open Learning Network
> 
> 	-	Consumers
> 		-	State Education Departments
> 		-	Schools Authorities
> 		-	AVCC
> 		-	Universities
> 		-	Public (?)
> 
> 	-	Legislators
> 		-	Attorney-General's Department
> 		-	State Justics departments
> 		-	Copyright Law Reform Committee
> 		-	Parliamentarians
> 		-	Ministers
> 
> .	Networked Resources
> 
> 	-	Individuals developing software
> 		-	Peter Deutsch, Tim Berners-Lee, Brewster Kahle, Steve
> 			Foster, Peter Scott, etc
> 		-	Companies developing software
> 		-	Bunyip, WAIS Inc. etc
> 		-	CITRI, CSA, TITAN etc
> 
> 	-	Australian network gurus
> 
> 	-	Organisations providing network support services
> 		-	AARNet, ANU, Uni of Newcastle, Uni of Melbourne,
> 			ILANET
> 		-	Overseas - InterNIC, CNIDR, NISS, RIPE-NCC
> 		-	National Library
> 		-	State Libraries
> 		-	CAUL, CAUDIT
> 
> 	-	Potential users
> 		-	Academic/research organisations
> 		-	Business organisations
> 		-	Government
> 		-	Public
> 
> .	Standards/Protocols
> 
> 	-	Standards Australia Committee IT/19 into ISO/IEC
> 	-	AARNet into IETF
> 	-	Information Exchange Steering Committee
> 	-	Australian members of overseas groups
> 		-	ISO, OSF, X/Open, ZIG
> 	-	GTTC
> 	-	Australian standards 'gurus'
> 	-	Australian EDI organisations
> 	-	The Australian Open Systems Server (TAOSS) - DoD
> 
> Ideas very welcome.  Feel free to redistribute.
> 
> 
> 
> 
> 
> Eric
> **********************************************
> 
> Eric Wainwright
> Deputy Director-General
> National Library of Australia
> Phone:	(06) 262 1377
> Fax:	(06) 273 1133
> e.wainwright at nla.gov.au
> 
> ***********************************************



In February 1994 link shifted to majordomo software running on my Centre for Networked Access to Scholarly Information address link at snazzy.anu.edu.au and shifted to mailman some years later when ANU changed software and link took on the current address.

I have never thought that I "owned" link or that in any way I should direct the membership or particular members of it even the most fractious. I tried to see myself as a servant of the list rather its owner (I had been a public servant for 15 years!). As a consequence I would let discussion range widely for a while rather than jumping in immediately with "off topic" messages. Similarly I didn't cut heated discussions off abruptly reasoning that I could inflame things more by so doing. I tried to curb them by polite off-list messages. And I NEVER blocked anybody. Whatever style my successor takes is up to them but for the last few years link has been almost genteel!

As for list maintenance I make visits to the mailman site a few times a week to check for items held for moderation. There might be one a month. About once a year a member of the list emails me with a problem and I check their mailman settings. Mostly the problem has been at their end. As for problems I can't resolve I contact ANU. As link was set up in an informal way I alway made support contacts with Shu Ung but have only had to do so once in the last few years. No doubt there is some formal support address that should be used these days. My ties to ANU weakened after I resigned in 1997 although I hung round for a few years as a Visiting Fellow.

Occasionally I have thought that link might be improved by various additions such as a wiki where your combined expertise could be concentrated but the old engineering adage constrained me: "if it ain't bust don't fix it". However the only thing worse that change is stasis. This would be a good to time consider how this very successful community could be enhanced especially as it may affect who you choose to maintain it.

I shall follow the discussion with interest.

Good luck

Tony

Phone: 02 6241 7659, Mobile: 04 3365 2400, Skype: antonybbarry
Email: tony at Tony-Barry.emu.id.au, antonybbarry at me.com, antonybbarry at gmail.com
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