Re: time connection

peter Murray-rust (
Fri, 2 Feb 1996 11:21:23 +0000 (GMT)

On Fri, 2 Feb 1996 wrote:

> I would second Yvan's idea if it would not be too much effort, especially
> if all the links are to elsewhere in the same document as this would mean
> that you could use your web browser to open it on a local disk and free
> up the Net entirely. From my personal perspective, that would mean that I
> could also study them on my portable on the train and free up a computer in
> the lab.

I am very sympathetic to this idea but counsel that it is non-trivial.
We have been actively preparing a CDROM 'hyperbook' of the first course
and have to consider the following:

- different styles of authoring. Unless we know the authors
style it can be quite difficult to know 'where a hyperdocument ends'.
Sometimes authors use absolute URLs - this is a real problem where it
is'nt required.
- fuzzy boundaries. Pointers to (say) lists of staff, point to
departments which point to other parts of the institution, etc.
- material from outside BBK. What machine are Iddo's questions on?
this has problems of addressing and, more difficult, questions of
copyright. It's one things to POINT to someone's page, another to
download it. (We've had to be very careful about this in the course.)
Material from outside BBK has VERY fuzzy boundaries.
- dynamically updated resources. Some things (like e-mail lists)
are updated dynamically. We have to decide whether and when to take
'snapshots'. Does this matter - sometimes it does.
- 'secret' parts of the tree. (A lot of material has been
prepared - and is in place - but the links are not opened up yet. Doing
this automatically is a problem.

Last year we arranged with Alan Bleasby at Daresbury that DL would mirror
the course and Alan did a superb job. Essentially the *static* parts of
the tree were mirrored and I believe that this was updated weekly. It
requires some conscious human effort on a regular basis. The PPS 95
course was also mirrored at Genoa and Brookhaven.

I cannot speak formally for the course organisers but see no technical
reasons why additional mirrors cannot be set up - I am not clear how much
extra work this is. I think that the idea of downloading onto a personal
machine - though attractive - is something yet to be worked out and will
involve consideration of IPR.


Peter Murray-Rust, Glaxo Research & Dev. (; (BioMOO: PeterMR)
Birkbeck College,, CBMT/Daresbury,