2.8.3 User Services (uswg)

NOTE: This charter is a snapshot of the 43rd IETF Meeting in Orlando, Florida. It may now be out-of-date. Last Modified: 25-Nov-98


April Marine <amarine@globe.arc.nasa.gov>

User Services Area Director(s):

April Marine <amarine@globe.arc.nasa.gov>

User Services Area Advisor:

April Marine <amarine@globe.arc.nasa.gov>

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

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 Working Group (USWG)
IETF - Orlando, FL - December 1998

Recorded by April Marine.

USWG met in 3 sessions in Orlando. Each session had its own scope. These minutes cover all three sessions.

Session 1: Monday, December 7, 1998

This session had the most varied agenda.

- USV Area Report

It started with an overview of the Area and progress since the last meeting. Two groups Responsible Use of the Network (RUN) and Site Security Handbook (SSH) have advanced drafts for IESG consideration and did not meet in Orlando as most of their actions are done. USWG has two drafts that were discussed in Orlando.

- TERENA Update

Yuri Demchenko of TERENA gave an update of recent activites of this sister organization. In particular, he highlighted the recently published reports of the ETINU Task Force, recent developments of Web caching, and the CHIC distributed web indexing pilot project. He also pointed out an effort regarding testing multilingual email clients. He had a few samples of the reports in hardcopy and information was provided regarding where to find them online. Check out http://www.terena.nl/libr/.

- FYIs to "Historic"

The bulk of the time was spent in details related to the document <draft-ietf-uswg-historic-00.txt> which is a first cut at defining which old FYI documents are obsolete. Each of the FYIs was discussed briefly and the group decided whether to classify it as OK-as-is, Obsolete (will not be updated), Need-to-update, or Evolve-to-new-format. The draft will be revised to reflect this discussion.

The suggestion was also made and accepted not to issue a new FYI with this information, but to update FYI1, thus following the pattern of STD1 always giving the status of the STDs series. Then readers will always know to get FYI1 for the latest information on the FYI series.

Also, the status of some FYI documents was not necessarily black and white. Therefore, if necessary, some descriptive information about the status of an FYI can be entered in the updated document. An example of this would be to point to the online version of the TERENA Guide to Network Resource Tools.

- Future of the Net

An added order of business was a discussion of the suggestion sent to the list that USWG develop a new FYI that clues people in to how current work on various technologies will affect future network services. Some discussion took place about how to narrow the scope of this document. Should it stem from current WG efforts or from Area Reports? Some folks thought that the document idea was totally out of scope for the group because it constituted advertising the IETF and that should be ISOC's job. However, if the work was given the slant of educating users regarding unfamiliar standardization efforts about which they were curious, that was acceptable. It was unclear if the audience were general net users or IETF newbie's. Also unclear was whether it would be one document or more, and whether it would be hardcopy, online or both.

Volunteers for "future" project: Chris Burke, Yuri Demchenko, April Marine, Ed Krol (will put input together)

Session 2. Tuesday, December 8, 1999

The topic of this session was discussion of the revision of FYI 4. Ray Plzak had put together input into a draft, which was the starting point for the group. The draft was <draft-ietf-uswg-fyi4-00.txt>.

Ray led the meeting. He stepped through feedback he had already received, looking for consensus and input. He also discussed a few meta-issues, such as whether the draft should have a glossary, what references should be included, and which voice (2nd or 3rd) the document should use.

Feedback was provided to Ray, as co-author/editor. He will revise the draft once more and ask again for comments from the working group. Good progress has been made on this doc, so it may be at or near RFC by the next meeting. Further volunteers were added: Chris Burke agreed to help with the glossary and April will add something for the security considerations section. That input should be to Ray by the end of January; next draft will be mid-February and comments at the end of Feb.

Session 3. Wednesday, December 9, 1998

The topic of this session was evolving our publishing from concentrating only on FYI RFC documents, to expanding to online or other formatted documents. We approached it from three points of view: content, format, and process. It was a brainstorming session as this is a new idea, but the basic idea of the three points of view follows.

"Content" refers to what we write about. What information will be included?

"Format" refers to how we will publish it. Many in the group had very good ideas about format and exciting suggestions. Some of them, however, were voted to an amorphous "phase 2" after we'd had more experience in scoping out the problem.

"Process" refers to the challenge of tying output from a WG to something other than an RFC. This would be new for the IETF.

Longer notes with many of the ideas brought up in the group were posted to the mailing list. Conclusions, however, included:

- start with simple online documents in html, linked from the USV web page.

- later, the format can be revisited to try to both standardize it and make any other modifications that resulted from the initial learning process.

- this work ties in quite a bit with "future of the net" discussion in the first session of the WG.

- some overlap of audience between the traditional net newbie and an IETF newbie, so some confusion of scope there

- if we want to address "hot topics" a good place to start would be the BOFs and their agendas

- we can take a yearly (or other periodic) "snapshot" of the online information and publish it as an FYI. This would also serve as an archive and versioning mechanism.

- use the format that is appropriate for the content, which is determined by deciding who the audience is and what format is appropriate for them. In other words, we can use pictures now.

Content suggestions:

- add the illustrations/diagrams someone suggested for FYI 4.
- describe the groups that workwith the IETF and their relationships
- describe the IETF Areas and what they do
- new FYI 4 content
- explanation of RFCs and their subseries
- trends/futures of IETF/Internet work, understanding that the sum of the parts of the IETF does not equal the whole.
- more meta-level info that would fall between the WG minutes and Area reports. Try to get the ADs to capture and pass along more "hall conversation" info. Get an AD's update of trends, overlaps, shared concerns re work, etc.
- even info relevant only to the next IETF mtg would be useful. especially useful would be a synthesis/overview of the area and its progress.
- need interpretation of info as well as a report of what happened. Why is that progress important? Why should I as a user care? What are the broad goals of today's work?
- be careful to distinguish "marketing" from "explaining" or "providing info" re IETF activities.
- write mission statement for IETF
- when putting info online, make it accessible to people with disabilities

Volunteers from meeting: Chris Burke, Ted Wolf, Marc Blanchet, Graham Travers, Ed Krol, April Marine, maybe Ray when he finishes FYI 4. (If I missed putting your name on the volunteer list and you volunteered, don't think you are off the hook! :-)


None received.