3.00 FYI France: Enewsletter and archive

by Jack Kessler, kessler@well.sf.ca.us

Sep 15, 1993 issue. This file presents an archive copy of the issue of the FYI France ejournal, ISSN 1071-5916, which was distributed via email on September 15, 1993. This particular issue originally was distributed in two parts, as indicated below.
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From: Jack Kessler 
Subject: Network Ideas from Europe -- the European Community (pt.1/3) (15 Sep 9



September 15, 1993


	FYI France: Network Ideas from Europe -- the European Community
	(pt.1/3)

edited by:	Jack Kessler
		kessler@well.sf.ca.us


The following piece is written by Alan Reekie of the EC. It describes
some interesting online European information resources. It also
volunteers some good advice for those seeking to develop networked
information, in regions less politically and economically united than
the US of A.

Jack Kessler

kessler@well.sf.ca.us

***

	Network Ideas from Europe -- the European Community

by Alan F. Reekie

(The following personal account by A.F. Reekie does not necessarily
represent the official position of the EC Institutions)

Introduction

Since what is now know as the European Community (EC) was created some
forty years ago, it has grown in several stages from six to the present
12 member-States: Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Italy,
Ireland, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain and the United
Kingdom. Despite the 'growing pains' that have occurred recently in the
context of the ratification of the Treaty on European Union (commonly
known as the Maastricht Treaty), several other European countries have
already applied to join the Community, and others may be expected to do
so before long. The main EC Institutions are the European Parliament,
the Council of Ministers, the European Court of Justice and last but
not least - the European Commission which provides the day-to-day
administration of the Community, including the drafting of the texts
(Directives) that, after revision by the Parliament and approval by the
Council, become the legislation needed to implement the aims of the
Treaties.

Within this Community of some 350 million people using nine official
languages, rapid, reliable and inexpensive communications are necessary
for industry, commerce, social life and administration. In particular,
the development of an open and integrated information market within the
EC and the availability throughout it of up-to-date information on the
activities of the Community Institutions are essential preconditions
for the achievement of the general objective of the European Treaties:
an ever-closer union of the European peoples.  Indeed, the importance
of convenient real-time access to the official texts issued by the
Community Institutions, in all languages and with the correct character
sets, has been reinforced by the recent ruling of the European Court of
Justice making it clear that they prevail in the event of discrepancies
between thesetexts and the versions of them incorporated into the
member States' statutes.

EC Policy

Since the formation of the EC, the demand for such access to up-to-date
information of all kinds has grown exponentially within it, not only
within the individual member-States, but also between each of them and
the others.  And one of the many tasks entrusted to the European
Commission has therefore been the drafting of a telecommunications
policy intended to stimulate the provision and growth of the
corresponding infrastructure and operational facilities, in such a way
as to benefit equipment manufacturers, network operators and
end-users.  As expressed in the Green Paper, this policy is based on
the establishment of open and nondiscriminatory technical and
operational standards applicable throughout the EC, as an essential
requirement for fair competition in the provision of telecommunications
equipment and services.

This policy has been implemented by means of a series of Directives,
which both define the general principles and specify the constraints
that apply in practical cases.  So far as the technical standards are
concerned, the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI)
has been established as a forum for the production of the documentation
necessary to ensure that satisfactory performance, including full
interoperability of equipment from different sources where required,
can be guaranteed. However, it is important to appreciate that this
policy is much more easily applied to new systems than to existing
ones, which generally represent large investments in services, skills
and equipment that cannot be written off overnight.

Although the fundamental principles of telecommunications are the same
everywhere, and international standardisation bodies such as the CCITT
and CEN / CENELEC have been active for more than a century, mandatory
standards in Europe have long been set independently by national
administrations.  In many cases in the past, one effect of these
standards was, whether by accident or by design, to ensure that most
equipment was bought from local manufacturers. And because
international traffic was relatively unimportant, and relatively
insensitive to tariffs, it was not considered a major disadvantage if
incompatibilities occur at frontiers, or with imported equipment.
Indeed, calls across the EC's internal borders currently represent only
some 5% of the total telephone revenue. These incompatibilities still
include the physical design of connectors, and the virtual
impossibility of accessing "premium" or "free" telephone information
services from abroad, including certain key "on- line" services such as
the electronic telephone directory. Even today, technical
incompatibilities are one of the many marketing tools being used by
competing service-providers to "lock-in" existing customers and to
segment their potential markets.

Role of the European Commission

As well as being responsible for drafting the EC Telecommunications
Policy, including the legal texts needed to implement it, the European
Commission also plays an important role in eliminating the technical
and administrative barriers to intra-Community telecommunications.  In
particular, it quickly realised that the administration of the
Community's Scientific and Technical Research and Development
Programmes required convenient, rapid and economical telecommunications
facilities.  As no suitable facilities were already readily available,
one of the research projects was given the task of creating them, in
collaboration with the national network operators.  Ultimately, this
project grew into a commercial venture, known as "Eurokom".

This pioneering work drew attention to the numerous difficulties
experienced by users and service-providers because of the differences
in national regulations and practices, not just in the technical field,
like coding tables, character-sets and display standards, but also
administrative aspects such as tariff structures and legal issues like
copyright protection, security and the attribution of responsibility.
Although at least temporary solutions have been found in most cases, it
was evident that a more comprehensive harmonisation would be
beneficial, and this work is currently in progress.

Like many other aspects of the Commission's activities, the solution of
these problems and the development of its own on-line services has
raised fundamental issues on which it is very difficult to achieve a
consensus.  According to the Treaties, free and fair competition among
a wide range of potential suppliers throughout the Community is the
preferred means for promoting industrial prosperity, closer European
integration and the satisfaction of users' requirements.  But whereas
diversity is inherently desirable in independent consumable goods like
detergents and cheeses (so long as public health and environmental
protection requirements are satisfied), this is seldom the case with
integrated telecommunications systems, where diversity is too often
synonymous with incompatibility and wasteful redundancy.  On the other
hand, the economies of scale that are characteristic of
telecommunications facilitate concentration and the domination of
markets through proprietary technology. Furthermore, as well as the
purely commercial service-providers aiming only to maximise return on
investment, there are many whose main aims are educational or
informational or cultural, and who regard the financial aspects of the
operation as only a necessary means to achieve those aims.

Within the Commission, Directorate-General XIII (Information
Technologies and Industries, and Telecommunications) is not only trying
to strike the optimum balance among these conflicting requirements, but
also particularly active in stimulating interest in on-line information
services. It is very conscious of the need for the Commission to set a
good example in this context, not least because this is the best way of
identifying the practical problems and requirements of users.  The
first such services were for the benefit of its own staff and
participants in EC-funded R&D programmes, but more recently they have
become available to potential users throughout the EC and outside it.
A significant part of this work has involved coordination among the
various Directorates-General (DG) in the organisation and procedures
for accessing these on-line services, which have in most cases grown
out of data-bases originally set up for internal use.

(Next: Down to Earth -- European network facilities, and the European
Community's initiatives in, among other things, multilingual access.)

end part 1 / 3 

***

	FYI France: Network Ideas from Europe -- the European Community
	(pt.2/3)

Alan Reekie of the EC is discussing European Community networked
information resources. In Part 1, he outlined EC information policy,
and the role of the European Commission in it, giving some good advice
to those seeking to develop networked information in regions less
politically and economically united than the USA. Here he gets "down to
earth", giving specifics on getting access to European network
facilities, and mentioning the European Community's initiatives in,
among other things, multilingual access.

Jack Kessler

kessler@well.sf.ca.us

_________________________


	Network Ideas from Europe -- the European Community (pt.2/3)

by Alan F. Reekie

(The following personal account by A.F. Reekie does not necessarily
represent the official position of the EC Institutions)

Network Facilities

Before describing the various on-line databases that the Community
maintains for the benefit of external users, it is necessary to outline
the telecommunication facilities that can be used for accessing them.
They consist of the public switched telephone network (PSTN), the
public videotex networks, the packet switched data networks and the
Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN). Access through the
"Internet" network has just been introduced on an experimental basis
using the RIPE gateway in Amsterdam.  Apart from the PSTN, which can be
accessed through public "pay phones", access to each network is in
principle restricted to subscribers who already have a contract with
the operator involving substantial periodic payments, which virtually
excludes occasional anonymous use - thus differing significantly from
access to printed publications.

The PSTN network is probably the most widely-available
telecommunications network; as well as offering direct access
facilities it usually provides the user's local link with the other
networks mentioned below.  In all cases, a modem complying with the
appropriate CCITT Recommendations and a personal computer running a
terminal emulation program must be used, unless a dedicated terminal is
available. Speeds of up to 1200 or 2400 bits/s (V.22bis) are generally
supported. The tariff for direct PSTN data connections is the same as
for ordinary telephone conversations.

The direct dialling facility is intended for those users who do not
have the facility  of  a  PSDN  system,  and for test purposes. There
is only one direct access point per speed (300 bits/sec and 1200
bits/s).

For direct dial access set your system to the following :

		SPEED     : 300 or 1200 bits/s
		DUPLEX    : Half
		PARITY    : Even
		DATA BITS : 7
		STOP BITS : 1
		(total of 8 bits/character transmitted)

Dial the code for Luxembourg (+352) followed by 436428 (for 300 bits/s)
or 420347 (for 1200 bits/s).

As soon as your modem connects with the host press your ENTER key; you
should now  be connected to ECHO and the following message should be
displayed on your screen :

		% THIS IS ECHO : PLEASE ENTER YOUR CODE
		%/

Then type your password issued by ECHO; unregistered users should enter
the public password  "ECHO", which allows access to a limited selection
of free databases. After a brief "stop-press" message drawing attention
to the latest changes, you will be presented with a menu prompting you
to begin your search.

Public Videotex networks are in operation in most EC memberStates, but
have had relatively little impact so far except in France, where the
"Minitel" terminal (initially supplied free on request to all telephone
subscribers) has become part of everyday life for a significant part of
the population, partly because the charge for use there at each tariff
level depends simply on the duration of the connection.  Elsewhere, the
classic problem of the lack of services being both the cause of and due
to the lack of users (who must pay for their terminal equipment),
complicated tariffs and the coexistence of several incompatible
standards has severely handicapped them. The standard bit-rate of
1200/75 bit/s (V.23) is gradually being supplemented by higher speeds,
which should help to make them more attractive.

ECHO can currently be accessed via national videotex networks in
Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany and Luxembourg.  The log-on procedure
is generally similar to that described above for the PSTN (completely
so when a bistandard Minitel in 80-column mode is connected to 3621)
except that  when a terminal responding to videotex control codes is
being used, it should end by your entering the following command at the
ECHO prompt:

DEF MODE=VTX

Packet-switched data networks complying with CCITT Rec. X.25 are
available throughout the EC; they are generally marketed under names
like "Transpac" (France Telecom), "IPSS" (British Telecom) and
"DATEX-P" (Deutche Bundespost).  The current tariffs make them the most
economic solution for heavy users of data services, particularly at
relatively high speeds.

I'M-Guide and the other ECHO databases are accessible online via ECHO's
X.25 NUA (0)270448112 (7-bit coding) or on (0)207449384 (8-bit coding
with accented characters etc. according to ISO 8859-1); choose main
menu option 2 for IMGUIDE.

Contact: ECHO Help Desk PO Box 2373, L-1034 Luxembourg Tel: +352 3498
1200, Fax: +352 3498 1234

Although ISDN facilities are now becoming available more widely, they
are still relatively unfamiliar. Because the situation is still liable
to frequent changes, details of services and tariffs should be obtained
from the local network operator.

The experimental access for INTERNET users is currently available
through:  TELNET echo.lu . An electronic mailbox service for questions
/ answers on ECHO is available through Eurokom. Eurokom users need only
look for:  echomail , whereas Internet users must use the address:
echo.mail@eurokom.ie.

European Community Initiatives

The IMPACT Programme

The "IMPACT" Programme, which began in 1989 and was extended in 1991 to
run until 1995, aims at developing the market for information services
in Europe, and at improving the competitiveness of European business by
promoting the use of advanced information services.  It is intended to
compensate for the disparities between the situations in the different
regions of the Community by giving particular attention to the needs of
small and medium-sized enterprises in the less favoured regions, and
providing practical solutions to the problems they experience in the
roles of both user and service-provider. IMPACT has the following four
main action lines:

- improving the understanding of the market, notably by collecting
information on the existing services and by identifying opportunities
for additions and improvements to them;

- overcoming legal and administrative barriers, especially by helping
to create the necessary regulatory framework in the fields of
intellectual property, data privacy, source authentication and
record-keeping;

- increasing user-friendliness and improving information literacy, by
means of the promotion of open technical and operational standards, by
organising training and by the publication of documentation such as
directories in both printed and on-line forms;

- supporting strategic information initiatives, by stimulating the
improvement of European-wide access to information from the industry or
supplier side, particularly through collaboration between
service-providers in different member-States.

Under the Impact programme, a call for proposals was launched in June
1992, with a view to stimulating the creation of shared-cost projects
to produce interactive multimedia information services aimed at a wide
consumer and professional market focused on four themes: European art,
general knowledge of Europe, human health issues and aids for
maintenance of technical equipment.  A panel of external evaluators has
selected some 50 out of the total of 317 proposals that were received,
and contract negotiations started in the autumn of 1992.

It is envisaged that the definition phases for all finally selected
projects will start on 1 January and finish on 30 June 1993.  After the
evaluation of the results of the definition phase, a 1-year
implementation phase is envisaged.  Cost-shared financing of the
implementation phase is foreseen up to a maximum of ECU 250,000 per
project.

Contact: IMPACT Central Office, tel: +352-3498.1222 or +3524301.32847

Linguistic aspects

Although they are not, of course, specific to on-line information
systems, the problems associated with the fact that numerous different
languages used within the EC are also being addressed in this context.
The main constraint has long been the multiplicity of incompatible
systems for extending the ASCII character coding table, because
agreement on how to transmit correctly-spelt text is, of course, an
essential precondition for successful on-line computer- aided
translation. Most of ECHO's databases do not yet support accented
characters, but a start has been made in solving this problem by the
adoption of the ISO 8859-1 8bit coding table.  The work on
computer-aided translation, which began with the Systran Project in
1976, has since been expanded in the Eurotra and LRE programmes.
Despite the considerable progress that has already been made, the
Commission is currently engaged in reviewing its strategy and it is
possible that a new approach will be adopted in due course.

_________________________


Next, and last but not least: The Libraries Programme, and some very
interesting and useful, free, online European databases.

end part 2 / 3 

***

	FYI France: Network Ideas from Europe -- the European Community
	(pt.3/3)

Alan Reekie of the EC has been discussing European Community networked
information resources. In Part 1, he outlined EC information policy,
and the role of the European Commission in it, giving some good advice
to those seeking to develop networked information in regions less
politically and economically united than the USA. In Part 2, he got
"down to earth", giving specifics on getting access to European network
facilities, and mentioning the European Community's initiatives in,
among other things, multilingual access.  Here, in the final Part 3, he
presents the EC's Libraries Programme, and some very interesting and
useful, free, online European databases.


Jack Kessler

kessler@well.sf.ca.us

_________________________


	Network Ideas from Europe -- the European Community (pt.3/3)

by Alan F. Reekie

(The following personal account by A.F. Reekie does not necessarily
represent the official position of the EC Institutions)

The Libraries programme

Because public libraries perform such an important role as
intermediaries in the access to information, an EC programme intended
to ensure that they are active participants in the development of
electronic information systems was set up in 1992.

The evaluation of proposals under the first call in the libraries
programme was completed in the spring of 1992, with 14 proposals
retained with a favourable opinion. These involve 67 participants in 10
Member States from all library sectors, but predominantly academic
libraries, from library networking organizations, and from a range of
private sector companies.  The proposals retained cover all four action
lines, though the coverage of the 19 suggested themes is uneven.
Although only a limited number of proposals address core areas, the
scope and variety of those retained provide a broad base for project
experience and learning in the EC library community.

The proposals incorporate technical developments in the field of
optical character recognition applied to catalogue data and of
system-aided, intelligent formatting of the records.  A major boost to
the international interconnection of library systems and services is
provided through proposals to develop test-beds of electronic document
delivery between different networks using OSI standards, to develop and
test the ordering and acquisition of implementation of the Search and
Retrieve protocol, a library oriented ISO/OSI standard.  Some projects
cover the extension of library services to include access to and
delivery of materials held in image banks, including both art and
photographic materials as well as more traditional text-based materials
held in image form.  All involve the transfer of technologies to the
applications, tools and standards. The results take the form either of
test-beds for services or of prototype workstations.  Other prototyping
projects will look at tools for disadvantaged users (the blind) or for
more specialist materials (audio, music scores)

Contact: Ariane Iljon DGXIII/-E-3 Tel: +352-4301.32923

ECHO Data-bases

As well as the databases intended mainly for participants in Community
Research and Development programmes, which are grouped together under
the name CORDIS, DG XIII provides the following public databases on the
"European Commission Host Organisation" (ECHO) computers in Luxembourg.
A userfriendly menu-based retrieval system is offered by default, but
searchers can alternatively use the "common command language" (CCL) if
they prefer.

I'M-GUIDE (Information Market Guide):

Continuously updated with information collected by partners throughout
Europe, I'M-Guide currently contains data on more than 5000 products
including more than 2400 online databases and about 2000 CD-ROMs and
CD-I products.  It lists more than 2200 companies participating in the
information market and almost 100 information brokers. It also includes
data concerning east Europe and some of the EFTA countries.  The
database represents a valuable source of information with which to
monitor the developments of the European information market.  It
contains not only the full coordinates related to a specific product or
service, enabling the user to make contact with the appropriate source,
but also abstracts describing the content of databases, CD- ROMs etc.
Plans are under way to distribute the printed version of the I'M- Guide
throughout Member States via the Impact programme's National Awareness
Partners (NAPs) network.

TED (Tenders Electronic Daily)

TED is the on-line version of the Supplement S to the Official Journal
of the European Communities, and contains invitations to tender for
public contracts in the EC memberStates and many other countries.  The
texts are accessible as soon as the printed version of the Official
Journal is published, so that subscribers to TED can obtain details of
potential customers for their goods and services much faster than from
the printed edition.  Furthermore, electronic transmission enables
users to select only the texts they consider to be of interest,
according to pre-defined criteria including their choice(s) among all
nine EC languages. The charge for access to TED is 48 ECU per hour.

EURISTOTE (European Theses and Studies)

This database contains abstracts of and references to over 10000 theses
and studies on various aspect of EC policy, eg competition law,
external relations and the European Institutions. It also lists
information on over 5000 professors and university researchers who are
concerned with the construction of Europe, subdivided according to
criteria such as university, discipline and specialist interest.

EURODICAUTOM (Automatic multilingual dictionary)

This is an on-line terminology databank containing mainly scientific
and technical terms, contextual phrases and abbreviations in all of the
official EC languages. It currently contains some 550 thousand terms
and phrases, and 150 thousand abbreviations, and is updated monthly by
the Commission's translation service. Users can specify the source and
target languages independently as required.

JUSLETTER (Newsletter on EC legal developments)

Every week, Jusletter records and summarises the initiatives and
decisions taken by the Community Institutions, with particular emphasis
on legislation and rulings concerning citizens' rights. It is intended
to provide lawyers with practical information on the progress achieved
in establishing the legal framework for European integration. The
database contains the texts of this newsletter in electronic form,
thereby enabling users to identify and down- load the sections of
interest as required.


EUROBASES Data-bases

Electronic publishing is already an important function of the EC
Publications Office in Luxembourg, and it seems likely that this will
become an increasingly important responsibility in future. The
Publications Office ("EUR-OP") currently provides various multilingual
on-line services under the general title "EUROBASES".  Access with
7-bit coding (no accented characters, VT100 emulation) is available
through X.25 NUA (0)2704429200 to the CELEX / SCAD / SESAME databases
and through X.25 NUA (0)270429121 to ECLAS / Eurocron / Info '92; the
CELEX and Info '92 databases are also available in 8-bit coding
(accented characters etc. according to ISO 8859/1, VT100, VT200 and
VT220 emulation), through X.25 NUAs (0)270429257 and (0)270429211
respectively. The  main features of these databases are as follows:

INFO-92 - a database recording progress in implementing the completion
of the EC's internal market, during the approach to 31st December 1992,
including details of the incorporation of Community Directives into the
national legislation of the member-States.  It provides a running
commentary on Commission proposals as they advance through the
legislaive process, and is updated at frequent intervals (several times
per day if necessary).

CELEX - the database containing EC law in its entirety, including
legislation, preparatory documents, Court of Justice case-law and
Parliamentary Questions, as published in the Official Journal parts C
and L, in all the official languages except Spanish and Portuguese. All
documents have an analytical section to facilitate identification and
cross-referencing. It had 130000 entries in August 1990 and is growing
at the rate of some 5000 entries per year.

ECLAS - the on-line catalogue of the works and documents stored in the
EC Central Library, including monographs, community publications,
inter- govermental publications and specialist periodicals, collected
since 1978.

EUROCRON - key statistical information in English, French and German on
the social and economic situation in the EC member-States.  It is
subdivided into Eurostatistics, containing the main economic and social
indicators needed to analyse short-term trends in the EC, the USA and
Japan; Regiostat, containing a harmonised section of regional
statistics, designed to provide a basic macroeconomic analysis at
regional level, and Farmstat, consisting of a summary of the main
results of the 1987 survey of the agricultural holdings in the EC.

RAPID - a daily, highly topical information service with a selection of
press releases and background information notes within two hours of the
routine midday Press briefings in Brussels.

SCAD - the Community System for Accessing Documentation, a
bibliographic database containing abstracts in English and French (and
the original language of non-official texts) of the Community
instruments and the related preparatory documents, official
publications and the most important articles in periodicals on
political and economic topics having a Community dimension.

SESAME - this documentary database contains descriptions in English of
research and development projects in the fields of energy, raw
materials, environment, biotechnology, radiation protection, industrial
technology and health, undertaken with Community funding since 1975.

ABEL - a fully automatic document delivery service which enables
subscribers to choose pages from the Official Journals stored in
EUR-OP's archives  and receive them automatically by fax;

For details of these EUR-OP services, please contact Mr. J. Mortier,
EUR-OP, Mer 165, 2 rue Mercier, L-2985 Luxembourg (fax: +352-488573),
or the EUROBASES helpdesk: phone: +32.2-295.0001;  fax:
+32.2-296.0624

Because of the continual growth and development of on-line information
and documentation services, the foregoing description is inevitably
incomplete and liable to become out-of-date rapidly.  Additional ECHO
databases already envisaged are of UNESCO's UNESBIB, DARE and INDEX
TRANSLATIONUM, and the telecommunications standards published by ETSI.
Potential users should not hesitate to enquire, eg by contacting one of
the helpdesks, what possibilities (and documentation) are currently
available.

***

ISSN: 1071 - 5916

end of part 3 / 3 

XXX


FYI France (sm)(tm) e - newsletter        ISSN 1071 - 5916

      *
      |           FYI France (sm)(tm) is a monthly electronic newsletter,
      |           published since 1992 as a small - scale, personal,
      |           experiment, in the creation of large - scale
      |           "information overload", by Jack Kessler. Any material
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  ---------       address and, b) it isn't going to make them money: if
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        Copyright 1992- by Jack Kessler, all rights reserved.    

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Last update: January 12, 1997.