ABSTRACTUser friendly navigation software (MOSAIC) for the Internet, the World Wide Web (WWW), recently became publically available. This software understands the standardized mark-up language for electronic online documents (HTML). This presents a unique opportunity for increasing SEP's visibility in the scientific community and will also give sponsors easy access to research results. We see it as a unique complement to our past electronic publishing efforts, which have been restricted to CDROM, and we hope that this makes it easier to disseminate our research results and views on electronic publishing.
SEP emphasized electronic publishing in the past few years with the introduction of sponsor reports, Ph.D. theses, and books on CDROM. While this medium is perfect for archival purposes and distribution of our complete working environment, it has not been a mass publication medium. This is simply because not everybody has easy access to CDROM drives. Recently this situation has improved, but it is still unlikely that a large audience such as the geophysical community can be reached with it. The advent of easy to use Internet navigation software and a standardized mark-up language for online documents has provided us with the tools needed to reach a much larger audience.
The Internet navigation software consists of two parts: a server and a client. The programs are available for a multitude of computers from PC and Mac to Unix workstations, and virtually everybody can use them. The mark-up language itself is machine independent. All a normal user usually needs is the client software, and he only needs access to the Internet if he wants to browse through a multitude of online information.
This online information has to be made available somehow, and that is the duty of the server software. If we want to present online information, we have to be running a server. That is what SEP has done and tested in the last few month. We have reached now the point where we would like to put it to a real test.
We hope that this WWW server helps to increase SEP's visibility in the geophysical community by putting interactive papers, theses and books online, and that it will also allow sponsors and other cooperating academic institutions to have access to our work and software.
Currently, HTML is not as well suited for publishing scientific documents with equations as TeX is. We have used a publically available tool called Latex2html and heavily adapted it to suit our needs. This script tries to convert Latex documents into HTML. Since HTML and TeX are quite dissimilar, a one to one conversion is not directly possible. Only the actual text and headings are converted directly; everything else, such as equations and figures, is included in small pieces as postscript. The look and feel of those newly created documents is quite different from what you might be used to on our CDROMs.
Moreover, the functionality is still quite restrictive in HTML; all you can do is view the document and display the figures and movies. You cannot rebuild the document or change parameters or rerun programs, as you are able to on our CDROM version. In the future, however, we hope that this can all be incorporated in one way or another into the online documents. The possibilities are there, yet unexplored.
CURRENT ONLINE INFORMATION
Currently, we have the following information available on our WWW server:
First of all, the program MOSAIC must be installed on your system (the Unix X Windows version is called: xmosaic). You can ftp the program from ftp.ncsa.uiuc.edu.
Accessing SEP's WWW server can be accomplished by typing
. You will then see an electronic document called the SEP home page. That home page links to several other electronic documents. Clicking on the highlighted text will retrieve and display that document.
We hope you enjoy this new possibility and find our WWW server a
useful and convenient addition.
Please let us know what you think about our setup and make suggestions
about how we can improve on it.