Data Management

Network News Fall 1989, Vol. 6 No. 1

By Rudolf Nottrott, Network Data Manager

Since joining the LTER staff in mid-April, Rudolf has been busy expanding the Network Office’s computer services to enhance the “connectivity” of the Network.

The data management function of the Network Office is developing rapidly. A VAX- station 2000 was acquired in April arid, by May, was connected to the national Internet via NorthWestNet, a regional network funded by NSF and connected to the NSFnet high-speed Internet backbone. (The VAX’s Internet domain name is “”). A modem connection was also set up to enable useis to connect, to the LTERNET VAX over a telephone via the number (206)543-2115.

During the recent wide-area networking (WAN) workshop in Champaign-Urbana, IL (see page 10), it was suggested that a mail forwarding system be established for the LTER Network. A system has since been set up on the Network Office VAX and was tested networkwide in August during preparations for the Toronto data managers meeting (see page 10), when it was used to send electronic mail to the groups and individuals taking part. All names and electronic mail addresses from the LTER Personnel Directory have been transferred to the mail forwarding database, and a complete text ifie is now available on-line.

This forwarding system greatly simplifies the sending of electronic mail messages by creating a uniform address for everyone in the Network. The address format is “”; the ‘username ‘—which can also be a group name—is formed according to a simple rule (described below). Mail addressed to a group name will be forwarded to all individuals on the group list. Additional individuals or groups can be added to the directory at any time.

To form the username for an individual, concatenate the first letter of his or her first name with the last name. For example, James (Tom) Callahan’s forwarding address is “” (‘tcallahan’ will also work). The idea behind the scheme is that as long as you know someone’s name and the domain name you can create his or her forwarding address.

The Network Office also has a Bitnet system address. Bitnet mail sent to the forwarding system has the format “username@ltemet”. Unfortunately, Bitnet limits usemames to eight characters. To form a valid usemame for a Bitnet address, follow the Internet rule above and simply truncate the result. Tom Callahan’s Bitnet address, for example, would be “jcallaha@lternet” or “tcallaha@lternet”. °

‘White Pages’

In addition to the on-line mail forwarding directory available through the Network Office, an interactive on-line directory, providing LTER Network members’ names, addresses, phone numbers and research areas (now only in printed form) will be implemented by the end of the year. This capability, sometimes referred to as “white pages,” is part of the EXPRES System developed with NSF funding at Carnegie Mellon and Michigan State universities with the aim of improving the generation and communication of multi-media documents among different computing environments.

Bulletin Board

With the implementation of the EXPRES System at the Network Office, a multi-media bulletin board will be available, capable of receiving and posting messages, including graphic images. Since EXPRFS was developed for use in an environment characterized by hardware from a variety of vendors (including workstations and PCs), the bulletin board can accomodate a heterogeneous computing environment. Users on systems without graphic capabilities will still be able to read the sections containing text only.