2.8.3 User Services (uswg)

NOTE: This charter is a snapshot of the 41st IETF Meeting in Los Angeles, California. It may now be out-of-date. Last Modified: 22-Jan-98


Joyce K. Reynolds <jkrey@isi.edu>

User Services Area Director(s):

Joyce K. Reynolds <jkrey@isi.edu>

User Services Area Advisor:

Joyce K. Reynolds <jkrey@isi.edu>

Mailing Lists:

General Discussion:uswg@isi.edu
To Subscribe: uswg-request@isi.edu
Archive: ftp://ftp.near.net/mail-archives/us-wg*

Description of Working Group:

The User Services Working Group of the IETF provides a regular forum for people interested in all levels of user services to identify and initiate projects designed to improve the quality of information available to users of the Internet. Actual projects themselves are handled by separate groups, usually through IETF working groups, or through liaisons with international organizations such as TERENA's (Trans-European Research and Education Network Association) Information Services and User Support.

(1) Meet on a regular basis to consider projects designed to improve services to users. In general, projects should:

- Clearly address user assistance needs;

- Produce an end-result (e.g., a document, a program plan, etc.);

- Have a reasonably clear approach to achieving the end-result (with an estimated time for completion); and

- Not duplicate existing or previous efforts.

(2) Create working groups or other focus groups to carry out projects deemed worthy of pursuing.

(3) Provide a forum in which user services providers can discuss and identify common concerns.

This is an active, on-going working group in the USV area of the IETF. It is the spawning ground for establishing other working groups in this area.

No Goals and Milestones
No Current Internet-Drafts
Request For Comments:







F.Y.I. on F.Y.I.: Introduction to the F.Y.I. notes



Answers to Commonly asked ``Experienced Internet User'' Questions



FYI on ``What is the Internet?''



FYI on Questions and Answer Answers to Commonly asked ``New Internet User'' Questions

Current Meeting Report

Minutes of the User Services (uswg) Working Group

USV Area Director Transition

Joyce K. Reynolds and April Marine ran the USWG session together at this IETF. This meeting was Joyce's last as USV area director, as she is stepping down. The newly appointed area director is April. Both stated that there is a need for the User Services Area to look into where it wants to go for the next two years, and what to wind down or what new items to develop. USWG is the place to suggest new and future projects. A new web page for the USV area is now available at: http://nic.nasa.gov/usv/index.html (which is linked from the www.ietf.org site). The USWG email list will continue to be maintained at ISI. To subscribe: uswg-request@isi.edu.

USV Area Working Group Status

During the last IETF in Washington D.C., there was a suggestion by the Nomcom to close down the USV area because of a perceived recent inactivity compared to other IETF areas. Joyce and April reported that there had been discussions with Fred Baker (IETF chair), Mike St. Johns ('98 Nomcom Chair) and others in the User Services Area Council (USAC) about the future of the USV area in IETF. The decision had been taken to *not* close USV because members of USAC felt that it was very important to maintain a user perspective within the IETF. Joyce and April mentioned that the User Services Area over time has initiated important IETF developments in the past, and this should continue to occur in the future.

A discussion began on how the USV area could reposition to be more effective. Two ideas were to focus less on developing static documentation and more on living documents on the web. The second ideas was to focus on training materials.

Martyne Hallgren suggested that the future presence of user services also needs to focus on security, multimedia communication, and the next generation Internet. There is a knowledge gap that needs to be filled with regards to these topics. The USV area should keep its liaison role within the IETF and with outside entities. George Munroe stated that it is important to especially focus and liase with the Applications area.

Other ideas were to provide pointers and recommendations on third party documentation and books, acting as a clearing house for quality user information, put more energy and effort in providing materials for developing countries, and to be more proactive in working closely with other IETF areas, particularly with regards to follow-ups on protocol development.


George Munroe presented an update of TERENA (Trans European Research and Education Network Association) activities. The TERENA Amsterdam meeting was the first time the Working Groups met on their own. In the past, TERENA met in conjunction with JENCs (Joint European Networking Conferences). The meetings preceded the RIPE meeting. All working groups and task forces held sessions. The Spamming BOF was heavily attended and successful. A follow-up discussion list has was set up (to join send 'subscribe anti-spam' to majordomo@ripe.net), and a proposal for a European initiative on spamming is being prepared for the June RIPE meeting.

Minutes of meetings are available from corresponding working group and task force web pages at: http://www.terena.nl/working-groups/ and http://www.terena.nl/task-forces/

George reported on the current projects, which include: Internet Guide to Network Resource Tools (GNRT) publication and update, user support toolkit evaluation, three caching proposals (network monitoring, cache routing, and complete server application on disc), distributed web indexing, multilingual email client evaluation, video conferencing tools on CD, and video and audio streaming. Further information can be found at: http://www.terena.nl/projects/approved/.

George then reported on TERENA's ISUS (Information Services and User Support) working group activities. Their endeavors currently include "Tooldoc" (tools documentation), "ETINU" (effective online support), and "CHIC" (distributed indexing) task forces, each with a corresponding project. There is also a new proposal for a clearing house for internet projects (CHIP). Further information can be found
at: http://www.terena.nl/working-groups/wg-isus/hypermail/1998-03/0003.html.

The TERENA Networking Conference will be held on 5-8 October 1998, in Dresden, Germany. Deadline for paper submission has passed, but USWG folks may be interested in attending this conference. Details can be obtained from: http://www.terena.nl/conf/tnc98/.


Christine Cahoon reported on the progress of the ETINU (Environment To Inspire Network Users) project, funded by TERENA, and a joint project of TERENA ISUS and the IETF USWG. The vision and goal is to propose a "framework" for an online support system.

Updates on ETINU activities since the Washington D.C. IETF included the addition of three new volunteers to the evaluation panel. They are non-English speaking folks from Sweden, Croatia, and the Netherlands.

ETINU extended its survey deadline for more participation. The online questionnaire closed at the end of February with 335 "good" replies. Christine provided a synopsis of the results and a list desirable features of an online support system which had been reported in the survey. A summary of the survey results is available at: http://www.terena.nl/task-forces/tf-etinu/survey/q.html

She described the components of an online support system which have been proposed:

· submission of queries
· recording of queries and responses
· progressing queries
· frequently asked questions generator
· indexing scheme
· activity monitoring
· linking to other resources
· auxiliary support software

A fuller description is available in the list archives:

Christine closed her report on providing ETINU's recommendations, objectives, and work schedule for the next three months. These include: completing the full survey report, match existing software to proposed system components, and prepare final recommendations report.

Internet Scout Project News/Updates

Amy Tracy Wells provided USWGers with a report on the Internet Scout Project. This project has been in existence since 1994. The site: http://scout.cs.wisc.edu will get you to everything you would like to know about this endeavor.

The subject specific services (Science & Engineering, Social Science, Business & Economics) have proved to be very successful. With the Signpost service, a distributed database of quality resources is being built using LDAP3 (Lightweight Directory Access Protocol). Only sources selected and catalogued by the Scout team are included. Amy coordinates this project, while Chris Lukas works on the research end of the project.

InterNIC Directory Services News/Updates

Joe Aiuto reported that the funding for InterNIC's directory services at http://ds.internic.net/ ceased on 1 April 1998. He stated that announcements had been sent to a number of email lists, but that all USV folks should help ensure that links to the site were removed. A web page with pointers to alternative or relocated sources would be maintained at the site until September 30. Any site is welcome to act as host to any of the data services previously available from the site. Queries should be sent directly to Joe at aiuto@attmail.com.

USWG Projects

April reported that there was a Webpriv BOF at the Washington IETF last December during which several important issues were discussed, but without clear consensus from the BOF participants on what should be done. She has now taken these into the USV area and will summarize the main points to the USWG email list and the new Webpriv email list.

It is felt that following the closing of the HTTP Working Group in the Applications (APPs) area, there are still some outstanding loose ends regarding privacy concerns, which could be addressed by documentation prepared in the USV area to give clear recommendations. If there is sufficient feedback to warrant a new working group, then a charter will be prepared. If not, April may take into consideration working on this documentation as a project within USWG. The new webpriv list is: web-priv@nasa.gov. To subscribe, send a message to: web-priv-request@nasa.gov, containing 'subscribe'.

The update to the long standing FYI 4 (For Your Information RFC) was mentioned briefly. Those doing most of the work (Jodi Ito and Sepi Boroumand) were unable to attend this IETF. April expressed her support to resolve what is still required to update and finalize this document as soon as possible.


None Received

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