User Support and Information Services in Europe

                        A Status Report
      RARE Information Services and User Support Working Group

                (formerly RARE WG3 USIS Subgroup)

 Jill Foster (Editor)
 University of Newcastle, UK

 Florian Schnabel                     Jean-Marc Verbergt
 ACONET, Austria                      BNAN, Belgium   

 Flemming Topsoe                      Petri Ojala       
 University of Copenhagen             FUNET, Finland 
 DKnet, Denmark

 Dominique Dumas                      Gerti Foest  
 EARN-France                          DFN, Germany 

 Yannis Corovesis                     Geza Turchanyi      
 ARIADNE, Greece                      HUNGARNET, Hungary  

 Marius Olafsson                      Peter Flynn     
 ISnet, Iceland                       HEANET, Ireland 

 Giovanni Turso                       Antoine Barthel     
 GARR, Italy                          RESTENA, Luxembourg 

 Maria Heijne                         Erik Huizer (RTC)        
 SURFnet, The Netherlands             SURFnet, The Netherlands 

 Geir Pederson                        Fernando Pinto  
 UNINETT, Norway                      RCCN, Portugal  

 Borut Lavrenic                       Celestino Tomas 
 ARNES, Slovenia                      RedIRIS, Spain  

 Anders Gillner                       Thomas Lenggenhager
 SUNET, Sweden                        SWITCH, Switzerland

 Esra Delen                           Shirley Wood
 TUVAKA, Turkey                       JANET, UK

 Tim Berners-Lee                      Nadine Grange  
 CERN                                 EARN           

 2nd Edition, October 1992
 Copyright RARE 1992
 All rights reserved
 Parts of this report may be freely copied as long as the source is
 RARE Technical Reports are published by the
 RARE Secretariat,
 Singel 466-468
 This is the first RARE Technical Report (RTR).  The publication of
 RARE Technical Reports is intended to enhance the visibility of work
 done in the RARE community.  RTRs will provide a channel for peer
 review and approval by presenting the results of RARE's Working Groups
 and Task Forces to a wider audience.  RARE intends to publish a
 selected number of RTR's each year.
 Information on how to obtain RTRs and on the process for submitting
 RTRs can be obtained by sending electronic mail to:
 E-mail address RFC822:  rtr-info@rare.nl
 E-mail address X.400:   C=NL; ADMD=400net; PRMD=surf; O=rare; S=rtr-info;
 RARE has a Technical Committee which supervises the execution of
 technical activities by Working Groups and Task Forces.  The
 production of an RTR may be requested or solicited by the RARE
 Technical Committee, but in general any material of interest to a wide
 audience might be considered suitable for inclusion in an RTR.  The
 RTC acts as editorial committee: it will either review submitted
 documents itself or may appoint a small group of expert reviewers to
 do the review on its behalf.
 RARE (Reseaux Associes pour la Recherche Europeenne) is the
 Association of European Networking Organizations and their users.
 RARE's aim is to overcome national boundaries in research networking
 by creating a standardized computer communications infrastructure for
 the European research community.  At this point in time RARE has 41
 members, most of which are national networking organizations providing
 networking services to their national research and education

 The former RARE Working Group 3 (Subgroup USIS) wishes to thank all
 bodies that provided both direct and indirect financial support to
 enable the group to meet and work together.  In particular we would
 like to thank the CEC and the COSINE countries who gave substantial
 support to RARE during the COSINE Programme.
 The advent of computer networks has allowed researchers to find,
 exchange and share information with colleagues all over Europe and the
 rest of the world.  These networks can revolutionise the way in which
 individual researchers work and provide for collaboration of
 geographically dispersed groups.  There is a veritable gold mine of
 information available - but who can you turn to for help and guidance
 through the apparent jungle of networks?  This report aims to provide
 some initial guidance and some answers to the questions:
 "Who should I ask?"
 "Where can I find the "signposts" to this information?"
 The information you will find in this document ranges from details on
 the availability of a helpdesk to a description of the various
 information services available on the network.

 RARE WG3 USIS (User Support and Information Services Subgroup) was a
 group of representatives from most of the European networks in the
 RARE Association.  Each of these networking organizations in turn
 provides, to a varying degree, user support and information services
 for its own users - its customers.  The USIS group has met every three
 to four months over the past few years to discuss all aspects of user
 support and, in particular, the need for a European Information
 Service and support for European special subject groups.  Two projects
 in this area have been funded under the COSINE programme (Cooperation
 for Open Systems Interconnection Networking in Europe):
 CONCISE - the (pilot) European Information Service
 (COSINE Sub Project P2.2)
 Pilot Activities to Support International User Groups
 (COSINE Sub Project P3)
 Each country has in turn invested (or plans to invest) effort into
 both areas on a national level.  RARE WG3 USIS has provided a
 successful forum for sharing ideas between the national network
 representatives, which has resulted in some healthy competition in
 providing a good level of support to network users via:
     - on-line information services
     - newsletters
     - training sessions and workshops
     - support for national special subject groups.

 In May 1992, RARE Working Group 3 USIS Subgroup became the RARE
 Information Services and User Support Working Group.  The ISUS WG is
 to play a major part in the restructured RARE technical programme.
 As networked services and user support initiatives are continually
 being improved, added to and updated, this report shows a "snapshot"
 of these activities at the time of writing.  The intention is to
 produce a printed update of this report annually.  The electronic
 version will be updated at least twice a year.  (See the section on
 "On-line version" for details on how to retrieve the electronic
 Not all associated countries and networks are mentioned in this status
 report.  Representatives from those countries and networks not
 mentioned are welcome to submit the relevant information for inclusion
 in the next report.  See the section on "Updating Information".
 In the current document you will find information on the following
 networks:  [The information will be found under the separate menu 
 entries for National (and regional) networks and European/Institution
 networks ]

 National networks:
           Austria         ACONET 
           Beligum         BNAN  
           Denmark         DKnet   
           Finland         FUNET   
           France          EARN-France
           Germany         DFN   
           Greece          ARIADNE
           Hungary         HUNGARNET
           Iceland         ISnet
           Ireland         HEANET 
           Italy           GARR
           Luxembourg      RESTENA
           The Netherlands SURFnet
           Norway          UNINETT
           Portugal        RCCN
           Slovenia        ARNES
           Spain           RedIRIS
           Sweden          SUNET
           Switzerland     SWITCH
           Turkey          TUVAKA
           United Kingdom  JANET

 Regional networks:
           NORDUnet        The Nordic Countries

 European networks/institutes:
           CERN            Europe
           EARN            Europe
           EUnet           Europe
           Mailbase        UK
 RARE ISUS WG collected information on networks, user support and
 information servers using two templates:
    - the status template, included in Appendix A;
    - the extended template, included in Appendix B.
 The information contained in this RARE Technical Report was gathered
 over "the network" from the representatives of the contributing
 networks, who completed the status template.  (See next section)
 Electronic versions of this document and related documents are
 available from various sources:
 - Mailbase (E-mail, ftp and interactive access) see Appendix C.
         - this status report
         - the empty status template
         - other RARE WG3 USIS reports and RARE ISUS WG reports.
 - SWITCHinfo server (FTP and E-mail) see Appendix D.
         - detailed description of various services (extended templates)
         - the empty extended template.
 - CONCISE server (E-mail, FTAM and interactive access) see Appendix E.
         - this status report
         - detailed description of various services.
 - RARE Document Server (FTP)
         - this status report 
         - other RARE ISUS WG reports.
 When this activity was initiated the CONCISE European Information
 Service was still at the planning stage.  Since it became operational,
 the templates and other information were made available centrally on
 Updates on, and additions to, the information contained in this report
 are welcomed by the authors.  Send updates using the status template
 from the mailbase server (See Appendix C) to:
 Jill Foster
 E-mail address RFC822
 E-mail address X.400
 C=gb; ADMD= ; PRMD=uk.ac; O=newcastle; S=Foster; G=Jill;
 More extensive information would also be appreciated.  Please retrieve
 the extended template from the SWITCHinfo server (See Appendix D).
 Since at this stage, the future funding of CONCISE beyond the end of
 the COSINE programme is unsure, please send the completed template to:

 Thomas Lenggenhager, SWITCH
 E-mail address RFC822
 E-mail address X.400
 C=CH; ADMD=arCom; PRMD=SWITCH; O=SWITCH; S=Lenggenhager;

 E-mail address RFC822
 E-mail address RFC822
 The members of ISUS WG can be reached by E-mail through the list
 E-Mail Address RFC822
 E-Mail address X.400
 C=nl; ADMD=400net; PRMD=surf; O=rare; S=wg-isus;
 For further information on the ISUS group contact Jill Foster:
 Postal address
 Computing Service
 The University
 Newcastle upon Tyne
 NE1 7RU
 Telephone number        +44 91 222 8250
 Fax number              +44 91 222 8232
 E-mail address RFC8222
 E-mail address X.400
 C=gb; ADMD= ; PRMD=uk.ac; O=newcastle; S=Foster; G=Jill;
 For further information on RARE contact:
 RARE Secretariat
 Singel 466-468
 Telephone number        +31 20 639 1131
 Fax number              +31 20 639 3289
 E-mail address RFC8222
 E-mail address X.400
 C=nl; ADMD=400net; PRMD=surf; O=rare; S=raresec;

# 31.10.93 Malcolm Hamilton