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Re: Mirroring of the journals site

> This is, should we continue to
> mirror the journals services (i.e. journals.iucr.org)

  So I wonder how many people have managed to discover that
journalsonline is in fact being mirrored at all. I must admit that I was
made aware of this fact on reading your e-mail of this morning.
Certainly now I look, I see that I could have been using
www.ch.iucr.org/iucr-top/journalsonline/.... but in fact never made any
use of it. 

  All of the journal alerts that Chester issues and which are copied
into Whats New of Crystallography Online use complete URLs in the style
http://journals.iucr.org/... which means, of course, that the
information is serviced by the main server in London. Likewise any
hyperlinks to online journal articles anywhere within Crystallography
Online have been installed as http://journals.iucr.org/.... and never as

> or should
> we serve journals only from our main server in London. 
  Based on the above, but without being able to prove it, I'm guessing
that 97% of accesses to journals material is done through
journals.iucr.org  and not through www.ZZ.iucr.org .

> (1) We have been asked to consider the issue of advertising 
> in our online journals by the Promotions Committee.

  All I read in newspapers, weeklys, and see with the collapse of ISPs
around here is that nobody is making enough money from internet
advertising to cover their costs.

> They have 
> asked that if an advertiser pays for an advert on a 
> particular page of Crystallography Journals Online that the
> advert always appears (whether the page is mirrored or not).

  When will they realize that is not what they want? Why should the
journals continue to carry an advertisement for equipment that is no
longer manufactured or commercialized? Will the firm agree to pay for
the maintenance of the ad?

> We think that we can only do this in a reliable way if the pages
> are not mirrored, as some mirror sites cannot take advertising.

  It seems to me that the day when mirror sites were a sensible thing to
set up is over. I've gradually got rid of the information that was being
mirrored on the Geneva server as the connectivity to the home site
became satisfactory. Example: I mirrored Petricek's JANA server because
the connection to Prague was worse than terrible in 199X. Now the
connection  is as good as to unige there is no need for the bother of
maintaining the mirror. 

> (2) We need to provide libraries with usage statistics for
> the journals service. We cannot do this fully (including
> Contents pages, journal home pages etc.) if these pages are
> mirrored.

 I think these statistics are stupid but agree that you have to obtain
them and provide them to libraries because the libraries think they need
them. In truth, they have no idea what to do with them.

> (3) We are concerned that out of date journals pages may 
> persist on mirror servers (this is largely a Chester problem). 
> This can probably also be tackled best by not mirroring.

  I do not agree that it is a Chester problem but do agree that without
the mirrors the problem goes away. I receive complaints about out of
date versions of Crystallography in Europe/Crystallography World
Wide/Crystallography Online from time to time. One surfs a bit and finds
the unofficial mirror or an out of date copy on an official mirror. One
writes to the webmaster asking him to remove the stuff. Invariably
nothing happens and there is precious little one can do to have the
information removed.

> (4) Conversely, we are concerned about the quality of service.
  I understand your concern.

> We beleive that this should be OK from the London server,
> but would need to keep our ears open for complaints.

  If in practice one finds that journalsonline can be run satisfactorily
without mirrors, it seems to me that one should seriously consider
running the whole of crystallographyonline without mirrors.

Best wishes,
Howard Flack        http://www.unige.ch/crystal/ahdf/Howard.Flack.html
Laboratoire de Cristallographie               Phone: 41 (22) 702 62 49
24 quai Ernest-Ansermet             mailto:Howard.Flack@cryst.unige.ch
CH-1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland                   Fax: 41 (22) 702 61 08

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