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Re: Mirror sites for IUCr W3 services

  • To: Multiple recipients of list <epc-l@iucr.org>
  • Subject: Re: Mirror sites for IUCr W3 services
  • From: Brian McMahon <bm@iucr.org>
  • Date: Wed, 28 Jan 1998 15:37:57 GMT
> I would appreciate your comments on the question to whom we should offer
> the possibility of being source sites within the IUCr W3 services with
> the consequent advantages of being mirrored.
> (A) The IUCr Glasgow General Assembly and Congress is now being
> mirrored.

Certainly. My philosophy is that the Congress materials be offered both as a
convenience at or near the time of a Congress, and as an archival repository
of abstracts and reports (and optionally social and cultural mementoes)
after the meeting, when the host site may wish to delete their
Congress-related materials.
> (B) What about the regional associates and their main conferences?

Yes, in principle. Currently the ACA has a full server, with many
interesting pages. The ECA and AsCA do not (so far as I have been able to
ascertain). An offer to ECA and AsCA to mirror their home pages may
encourage them to construct some home pages.
> (C) What about national crystallographic associations?

Agnostic. One advantage of widespread mirroring of national sites would be
the facility to compare different national services. It is possible that
this would encourage wider use of central information facilities, rather
than having every national association duplicate the same sort of meetings
calendar or index of useful sites that every other organisation might have.
On the other hand, national associations might well wish to maintain their
services as demonstrably autonomous organisations. We should not convey the
impression of wishing to overwhelm everyone else's efforts.

Note that the ACA is effectively both a national and a regional
> (D) Who are the other possible contenders who are not already taken care
> of? Should conferences and workshops organized by IUCr Commissions be
> included for example?

I have made informal arrangements with CIF working groups (mmCIF, imgCIF)
and CIF software developers; some groups or individuals are very
enthusiastic about the prospect of being mirrored, others indifferent or
wary. I would incline to make it clear that we are willing to provide a
mirroring service, but not to push it unduly, and see who wants to avail
themselves of the facility. There are often many factors to consider; it
would be useful in some ways to have structural databases represented, for
example, but they are in practice commercial companies or government-funded
agencies with their own different views of how they should operate. Some
already have extensive mirrors of their own; some place heavy operational
requirements on their mirror sites.

So perhaps we should make offers to (A) and (B); sound out informally the
views of some representatives of (C); and leave (D) for now to the winds
of chance. 


PS An afterthought: the Commission for Powder Diffraction Quantitative Phase
Analysis project is mirrored (as an offshoot of the CPD page). Other
Commissions have analogous projects (e.g. the Commission on Charge, Spin and
Momentum Densities) that might benefit from mirroring. Perhaps this
suggestion could be made in another circular to Commission Webmasters?

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