Interpedia FAQ 15-MAR-94

Showing 1-1 of 1 messages
Interpedia FAQ 15-MAR-94 Alan M. Reynard 3/17/94 12:29 PM

March 15, 1994
This faq will be:

  sent to all new members of the list
  posted to the interpedia mailing list on or about the 15th of
  each month.
  posted to the newsgroup, comp.infosystems.interpedia on or about
  the 15th of each month.

  made available by anonymous ftp from:
       note: is sometimes quite busy during business hours.
             better results after 5pm EST.  (where most newsgroup faqs are archived)
     (currently being arranged; should be available soon)

  made available by gopher from:
     CIS Department, University of Alabama at Birmhingham
     The Gopher Bookmark is:
       Name=The Interpedia Project

  made available by www from:

  made available as part of the Interpedia
    (When the Interpedia gets underway)

This document is not explicitly copyrighted so share the information
freely, but please do not distribute modified version of the document.

On approx. Nov 17, 1993, Doug Wilson posted to the interpedia list
what he suggested could be a draft version of a faq.  His original
draft faq and his many suggestions have contributed greatly to
this document.

Please feel free to make suggestions about the current version.
We could use suggestions about additional topics that you think
ought to be covered.  Also, if you think of something that ought
to be added to a topic already in the faq please send me a note
about it.

As the moderator of the faq I will field suggestions, make
additions/corrections/modifications and post the faq.
Please send the a/c/m to me at:   (Alan M. Reynard)

   new ftp site (see above)
   The acronym SOAP is now mentioned (see Subject 4.2)
   Subject 1.3 Jared Rhine's www site added
   Subject 1.5 New subject, added in this version
   Subject 4.2 A third article added
   Subject 5.1 Project Xanadu added
   Subject 5.2 Answer changed considerably.

Section 1: General Interpedia Questions
        1.1 Who originated the idea of the Interpedia, where did the
            name come from, and what is a little of its history?
        1.2 What is the Interpedia?
        1.3 Where can I communicate with people working on the project
            and where can I get information about the Interpedia?
        1.4 Where can additional information be found about subjects
            that relate to the Interpedia?
        1.5 What is the Interpedia Coordinating Committee?
Section 2: Accessing the Interpedia
        2.1 How will people access the Interpedia?
        2.2 What are browsers?
        2.3 What is WWW?
        2.4 What gopher?
        2.5 What is WAIS?
        2.6 Why bother with new software?
        2.7 What is the current stat of development of
            Interpedia-specific software?
Section 3: Article submission and editing
        3.1 How can I submit an article to the Interpedia?
        3.2 In what form will articles be acceptable?
        3.3 Why bother with new text, why not just use existing
            material from various online sources?
        3.4 Who will pick the articles?
        3.5 What will be the process of editing articles and what will be
            the responsibilities of the editors?
        3.5.1 Who can be an editor on the Interpedia Project?
        3.5.2 What will their responsibilities be to the Project?
        3.5.3 How will editors communicate with one another?
        3.5.4 How often and how much will editors work on the Interpedia?
        3.5.5 Will all this work be voluntary?
        3.5.6 What if more than one editor works in the same area?
        3.5.7 What would an editor's work consist of?
        3.5.8 When can editors start work on the Interpedia?
Section 4: Classification, Seals (SOAP), Copyright, etc
        4.1 One of the principle topics is classification.  What is
            the current status of proposed classification schemes?
        4.2 What are Seals of Approval (SOAP)?
        4.3 What is a default, and why do we need defaults?
        4.4 What are the legal issues?
        4.5 How will people be protected from having to view unwanted
Section 5: Other projects, Volunteers, Glossary
        5.1 What other projects are there that parallel or complement
            the Interpedia Project?
        5.2 Who are the individuals who have volunteered to do
            specific tasks?
        5.3 What are some terms used in this project and their
            definitions (a glossary)?
Section 6: The EB11 Project
        6.1 Is there an EB11 mailing list?
        6.2 What is the history of the EB11 project?
        6.3 Why use the EB11?
        6.4  How can we get the EB11 on line and what format should
              be used?

Section 1: General Interpedia Questions

Subject: 1.1 Who originated the idea of the Interpedia, where did the
             name come from, and what is a little of its history?

According to Michael Hart the idea for a net encyclopedia has been around
nearly as long as the net, at least back to 1969-71.  This recent burst
of activity is the result of a post to several newsgroups by Rick Gates
with his idea to write a new encyclopedia, place it in the public-domain,
and make it available over the Internet.  Among the first responses to
Rick's message was one by Gord Nickerson who suggested that this
Internet Encyclopedia be fully hypertexted using a markup language such
as html, and one by Mike Salmon in which he made the provocative comment:

> I think it's a brilliant idea, the sort that ends up as *being* the net.

This comment was picked up on by Robert Neville, who proposed links to
ongoing discussions including newsgroups and Internet Relay Chat (IRC),
and in a joint post with Doug Wilson emphasized the importance of default
articles to make the encyclopedia useful as a quick reference.  The
question of how to pick default articles was hotly debated until Erik
Seielstad resolved the problem by suggesting the seal-of-approval

Perhaps the most important factors in making the Interpedia, as
R L Samuell called it, into an active project were the establishment of
the interpedia mailing list by Doug Luce, and the creation of a
gopher-accessible archive for this mailing list by R L Samuell. Gary
Kline suggested the use of an early encyclopaedia as a starting place
for the Interpedia and Robert Carter suggest the Encyclopaedia
Britannica, 11th edition.  Shortly thereafter the volume of mail forced
the mailing list to adopt the digest format, and Doug Luce provided
archives of the digest at  More recently, specialized
sublists for technical, editorial, and volunteer coordination have been
set up by Jeff Foust.
(Doug Wilson and Alan Reynard)

Subject: 1.2 What is the Interpedia?

Early in the discussion Doug Wilson wrote "So far, the Interpedia is an
idea.  There is a mailing list to discuss it, and lots has been written
about it, we don't have any articles or software to distribute yet.
The term Interpedia is ambiguous -- to some it means the text, to some
the software, and to others what we will have when we have both."

To add to these thoughts it can be said that the Interpedia will be a
reference source for people who have connectivity to the internet.  It
will encompass, at the least, articles submitted by individuals, and
articles gleaned from non-copyrighted material.  It will have mechanisms
for submission, browsing, and authentication of articles.  It is,
currently, a completely volunteer project with no source of funding
except for the contributions of the volunteers and their respective
institutions.  It also has no governing structure except for a group of
people who have volunteered to do specific tasks or who have made major
contributions to the discussion (see list, below).  Everyone is encouraged
to make a contribution, small or large.

The Interpedia is also envisioned to eventually be much more than a
simple reference source as current paper (or even CD-ROM) encyclopedias
are now.  Amongst other things, the browsers will be able to provide
support for graphics, motion video, and sound as well as plain text,
depending on the type of equipment available to the person who is
accessing the Interpedia.  At the very least, the text will be in
hypertext form so that the user will be able to navigate easily from one
document to another.  Navigation will also be available for other objects
such as graphics.

Subject: 1.3 Where can I communicate with people working on the project
             and where can I get information about the Interpedia?

The newsgroup, comp.infosystems.interpedia, was formed on February 10.

Subscribe to any one, any combination, or all of the mailing lists
that cover the Interpedia Project.  There are currently 5 lists.
They are as follows:

  1. The Main Interpedia List <>
       subscribe: send a msg to
          subject :  one word, "subscribe"  (don't include the quotes)
         msg body: anything or nothing - it is not used
       unsubscribe: send a msg to
         subject :  one word, "unsubscribe"  (don't include the quotes)
         msg body: anything or nothing - it is not used
       post messages: send msg to
         subject : it helps to have a subject
         msg body: your message
       The messages posted to the list will come to you in digest form.
       NOTE: to unsubscribe send msg to
             and *NOT* to
             Do not send messages to interpedia-request except to
             subscribe or unsubscribe.

  2. Topic Mailing Lists (at  

The mailing lists used for discussion of several sub-topics related
to the Interpedia have been recently improved for easier use.  We have
added features including:

        - automatic subscription/unsubscription
        - automatic archiving of messages
        - automatic setting of replies to the list

In addition, the EB11 mailing list has been moved to the same site as the
ip-* mailing lists.  The new address for the EB11 list is:

Here is a quick summary of the current lists:

        Discussion of editorial issues related to the Interpedia

        Discussion of technical issues related to the Interpedia

        Discussion of volunteer efforts for the Interpedia and discussion
        of planning efforts for the Interpedia

        Discussion of the use of the 11th edition of the Encyclopedia
        Britannica in the Interpedia.

To subscribe to the any of the lists, send a message to the appropriate
list-request address with the word


on the ``Subject:'' line.  

Similarly, to unsubscribe, change the subject to


and, again, this must be on the ``Subject:'' line for the mailing list
software to recognize it.

For example:

     to subscribe to the ip-edit mailing list, send mail to

                Subject:  subscribe

     to send messages to the ip-edit mailing list, send mail to

                Subject:  something to describe the message
                Msg body: your message            

  Archives of the digests are available by anonymous ftp from:<whatever>

  Note that some of the archives are in compressed format and appear
  as files with the extension .gz.  To decompress these files get
  get gzip.exe.  To do this find at and unzip it.
  At the dos prompt type 'gzip -h' for help.  The syntax for use is
  > gzip -d <filename.ext>  where the ext can be .g or .gz.

  Individual postings to the list including the early ones that don't
  appear in the digests are available by gopher from:
    CIS Department, University of Alabama at Birmingham.
    The Gopher Bookmark is:
      NAME = The Interpedia Project
      HOST =
      PORT = 70
      PATH = interped.70
      TYPE = 1
  The postings can also be viewed with a www browser:
    URL is gopher://

  Jared Rhine has established a www site.  An HTML version of this FAQ
  is being prepared, and will be available there, along with other
  materials related to the Interpedia.  You will need a www browser to
  access the site (see Subjects 2.2 and 2.3).

Subject: 1.4 Where can additional information be found about subjects
             that relate to the Interpedia?

There are several newsgroups that relate to the project in various
ways.  They are:


Those interested in the web (www, w3) should acquire a browser and
explore it.  Unfortunately, most of the documentation about the web
is on the web.  Catch-22.

Subject: 1.5 What is the Interpedia Coordinating Committee (ICC)?

The Interpedia Coordinating Committee is the group of people who will
steer the Interpedia project.  Membership in the ICC is open to anyone
who wants to make a significant contribution to the project.  The
definition of significant is left up to the individual.  The ICC
is currently designing a mission statement and a set of goals for
the project, and has agreed upon a procedure for voting.  At time
of writing there are 30 people on the ICC; Jeff Foust <>
is the Chairman.  The ICC uses the ip-vol list for its discussion.

Section 2: Accessing the Interpedia

Subject: 2.1 How will people access the Interpedia?

Because it has not been settled what form/format the Interpedia will
assume, there is no definitive information about this.  There is
discussion about accessing it in a variety of ways including ftp,
gopher, wais, and www.

There is also discussion of producing new, more advanced software that
will be directed to accessing the Interpedia, but will presumably be
useful in accessing other infosystems, as well.

The type of software currently available for accessing the various
internet infosystems is termed a browser (or client).  These are
explained elsewhere.  It should be emphasized that there is the
that browsers for the Interpedia will have capabilities that go
beyond current browsers.  However, to get a feel for what a browser
will do you can access one or more of the currently available browsers.

Subject: 2.2 What are browsers?

Software for the Interpedia will probably include what people call a
"browser".   The usual interfaces to the WWW and gopher are examples of
browsers.   Neither of these seem entirely appropriate for the
Interpedia, but that is still a matter of some dispute.   They may be
useful as prototypes.

In other terms, browsers are software that act as 'clients' and enable
you to interact with 'servers', where the servers are machines (hosts)
that hold the information.  For each client there has to be a matching
server (e.g., gopher clients access gopher servers).  This distinction
is now being blurred because some clients (e.g., www clients) can
access other servers (gopher and wais) in addition to accessing www

The Interpedia is not yet at a point where browsing is applicable.
However, if you want to try a browser, you can do it in two ways.
One is to log onto (telnet) to a host that runs a public-access
browser.  The other is to acquire a browser that you can use from your
local machine.  These are available for PCs, Macs, Amigas, NeXTs, etc.,
and can be acquired by FTP from a number of sites.  There are lists of
sites elsewhere in the FAQ.

Subject: 2.3 What is WWW and where can I get a client?

WWW FAQ available:

WWW (World Wide Web) consists of hypertext documents and the links
between the documents.  WWW documents can include images and sound.
There is a large number of these documents available and the number is
growing rapidly.  The documents are hosted on WWW servers and can be
accessed by using WWW browsers (clients).  The type of information you
can retrieve depends on the type of client you use.  If you have only a
line oriented client, you can retrieve only ascii text.  If you have a
more functional client you can get sound and graphics.

A list of WWW clients is available in the WWW FAQ (referenced above).

You can also find lists of clients (and servers) by accessing the
web.  Again, they are listed in the FAQ.  A few of these are:          login: none needed  login: www          login: www

Subject: 2.4 What is gopher and where can I get a client?

gopher FAQ available:

Gopher is software that acts as server and client.  The server holds
information, located by traversing a menu structure.  Often a menu
item is an internet address that points to another gopher server.

A client always logs onto a server and from there can move (burrow)
from server to server searching for information.  The person who sets
up the client specifies which gopher server the client logs onto to
start the session.

Gopher clients can retrieve documents by ftp as well as retrieving
them just for viewing.  Some clients can also do keyword searches.

You can acquire a gopher client or you can access gopher by logging
onto a host at many educational and government institutions.

Gopher clients (and servers) are available by ftp from there are subdirectories that
contain gopher clients for a number of operating systems.
Additional gopher clients can be obtained from various sites.  Many
of these are listed in the gopher FAQ.   You can find others by
posting messages to comp.infosystems.gopher.

Subject: 2.5 What is WAIS and where can I get a client?

WAIS FAQ available from:[F]_(w_a)

WAIS (Wide Area Information Servers) is a networked information
retrieval system.  Clients are able to retrieve documents using keywords.
The search returns a list of documents, ranked according to the
frequency of occurrence of the keyword(s) used in the search.
The client can retrieve text or multimedia documents stored on the

There is a list of WAIS clients in the comp.infosystems.wais FAQ.

You can access a WAIS client by telnetting to  There
is a menu that guides your logging on.

Subject: 2.6 Why bother with new software?

Software for the Interpedia will probably include what people call a
"browser".   The usual interfaces to the WWW and gopher are examples
of browsers.   Neither of these seem entirely appropriate for the
Interpedia, but that is still a matter of some dispute.   They may
be useful as prototypes.

The gopher system is widely available but is not sufficiently easy
to use to satisfy many people, and it does not support hypertext.
Perhaps gopher software could be improved, but it doesn't seem
appropriate yet.

The WWW has many advantages over earlier approaches (e.g. gopher),
but is not to everyone's liking.  Many people do not like navigating
around in hypertext, and insist that an encyclopedia must provide
keyword and/or alphabetical access.  Perhaps the WWW could be
improved to support the Interpedia project, but it doesn't seem
quite appropriate yet.  It might be a good starting point though.
(Doug Wilson)

Subject 2.7 What is the current state of development of
             Interpedia-specific software?

Doug Wilson <> writes:
I am working on prototype software for the Interpedia, and
plan a series of prototypes, beginning with one which will run only
on a single machine and access files local to that machine.
A preliminary set of design notes for that software was published
earlier on the mailing list, and can be obtained from me by e-mail.
Updates to requirements and design documentation will be released as
text files accessible with the first prototype, which will be used
to support its own development.   Coding is underway, and a simple
version should be released in early January, 1994.   Source code will
be included as files accessible by the prototype, and linked to their
corresponding items of documentation.


Jared Rhine <> writes:
I am working primarily in the area of creating HTTP gateways to the
Interpedia.  Please send comments to me at the above address.

There are many parts to this projects including:

   1. An indexing server which can return a list of documents based
      upon the results of various parameters submitted via an HTML
      Form, including keywords, title, etc.  The amount of
      information to be returned will also be selectable on this form.

      Support for seals-of-approvals is planned, but unimplemented as of

   2. An Interpedia gateway is being prototyped which will return the
      document requested, but with added markup to include information
      contained in the index regarding the document, such as author,
      related documents, relevance feedback forms, etc.

   3. In order to unify the namespace of the Interpedia, documents in
      the above index will be returned as URNs, which uniquely identify
      a document, but give no indication of where to locate the resource.
      Thus a URN->URL mapper is being prototyped which will allow
      documents returned from searches to be located as URLs, which may
      be accessed via any Web client.

In combination, these gateways will allow for full access to many of
the key features of the Interpedia.  An end-user will be able to
connect to a Web server and be presented with a welcome page for the
Interpedia.  A HTML Form can be submitted to begin a search.  The
parameters of this form will be fed into the indexing gateway which
will return a HTML document containing information about the documents
hit by the search, restricted to only those documents matching the
requested seal-of-approvals.  The amount of information returned for
each document will be selectable based on the parameters submitted in
the search form.  Additionally, further information about a specific
article will be available without retrieving the document in full by
selecting a separate link.  At this point, relevance feedback can be
added to the search, and the search resubmitted.

At some point in the future, the links to retrieve a document will
actually be links to the URN->URL mapper, but that will be one of the
last prototypes to be examined.  In the preliminary stages, the link
will be a selector string for the server which instructs it to return
the document.  The document will not be returned directly; instead, it
will be first marked up with relational operators so that the user can
perform those actions from within the document, including relevance
feedback.  Documents which include net-accessible authors (who give
their permission) will include links which will allow viewers to
submit comments to the author via a HTML Form.

The prototyping language will be Perl, linked as packages to the
Plexus HTTP server.  Access to the prototypes will be available via
the Web, although the experimental nature of these prototypes may
result in sporadic reliability.  Comments about the prototypes will
be able to be submitted via HTML forms.

Prototypes will likely be available in early January, although the
amount of functionality to be included by that point is as yet


Bob Socrates McWhirter <> writes:
I plan to develop machine-specific clients to access the information
in the Interpedia.  Initially, there will be a Mac client.

Once the powers that be decide how the info will be available over the
net (how to find it, which port, etc), I'll be working on two programs.

1) A client for the Mac running TCP/IP software with direct connection
to the net.  (Such as Umin's TurboGopher mac client).  This would
support the familiar look-and-feel of the Mac world.

2) A pseudo-client to run at the Unix prompt, which, when initiated
would activate an 'interpedia mode' in a special term program, which
would then
appear to operate as #1 above.  This would be a two-program package.
First, the Unix middle-man which would take the presumably
raw data from the interpedia, and feed it to the modem port, only
slightly altered.  The second would be a special Mac term-program
which would be a standard vt100 (or whatever) emulator until kicked
into interpedia mode (such as how auto-zmodem downloads get kicked
in).  Once in Interpedia-mode, it would translate the data from the
unix middle-man to provide the same mac look-and-feel as in #1 above.
 Basically, this allows a 'nice' interface for those macs without a
direct IP connection, SLIP, or PPP.  We are assuming that these users
will have a valid account on a Unix machine.


Greg McMullan <> writes:
My ideas for the software aren't particularly new or exciting,
especially since I haven't had the time to do much more than read up
on what I think I need to know and start roughing out some code.  I'm
mostly writing it up to make myself learn more about HTML and remember
my perl.  Yes, I'm using WWW software as my client - it's there and
works well, and I don't have to write it, so I get something useful
up and running faster.  If I run into something that I *can't* do in
HTML (I doubt it, but it's possible), I have the option of modifying
the client or writing my own, but I won't have to do that till I know
if my approach works well.

I'll probably implement something like the 3-column approach to sorting
keywords described earlier in the mailing list, once I'm sure that the
server that I'm writing works.


NOTE:  We think that there are several others working on software.
       Even if it is only in the design phase, please let us know about
       it.  It might save some duplication of effort.  Send responses
       to (Alan Reynard)

Section 3: Article submission and editing

Subject 3.1 How can I submit an article to the Interpedia?

There is an ftp site that is available, but details have not been
worked out.  Temporarily, questions about submissions should be sent
to Doug Wilson <>.

Subject 3.2 In what form will articles be acceptable?

The format(s) of Interpedia article has not yet been decided.  However,
it is probably safe to assume that one form will be plain ascii text.

Craig Richmond has made the suggestion (digest v1n20) that there be
multiple formats, each identified by a number as follows:

   0 : unformatted english 7 bit ascii text
   1 : formatted english 7 bit ascii text (setext)
   2 : formatted english 7 bit ascii text (RTF)
   3 : unformatted english unicode text
   4 : formatted english unicode text (who knows)
   5 : formatted text with basic hypertext links
   6 : formatted text with simple hypertext links
   7 : bells and whistles multimedia extensions and hypertext

One of the current hot items is HTML.  To see more about HTML point
your WWW browser to either:

Subject: 3.3 Why bother with new text, why not just use existing
             material from various online sources?

There is so much material available online that it may indeed
be theoretically possible to put together an encyclopedia from
what is already out there.  But finding and linking in enough
text would be such a formidable problem that it is probably
easier to arrange for new articles to be written.   Besides,
people WANT to write new articles!  Experts in a field are
rarely happy with any existing piece of text, and there will be
a few who would rather contribute new material than settle for
something out-of-date or inaccurate.   But, existing material
that people know about could be used as a starting point.
(Doug Wilson)

Subject: 3.4 Who will pick the articles?

All submitted articles could be made available, as long as some host
site somewhere is willing to make space for them.  There is no need
to accept or reject articles.  But there is a need to provide defaults
and seals-of-approval to guide readers and make quick reference to
authoritative articles possible.
(Doug Wilson)

Subject: 3.5 What will be the process of editing articles and what will
             be the responsibilities of the editors?

Robert Neville <> has volunteered to
coordinate the editorial efforts.  He has contributed all of
editorial section (subject 3.5.x) of this FAQ.

Subject: 3.5.1 Who can be an editor on the Interpedia Project?            

Anyone.  Just as articles and other data can be submitted by anyone in
Cyberspace, anyone can choose to act as an editor.  Of course, many
writers will choose to be their own Interpedia editor, if they feel
comfortable with that role.  

To be effective, editors will have to be thoroughly conversant with
the Interpedia, its nature and its requirements.  Writers who are
not will approach editors and ask for their assistance.

Subject: 3.5.2 What will their responsibilities be to the Project?

The responsibilities of editors will be to act in good faith in the
advancement of the Interpedia, to communicate regularly with other
editors and with techies as needed and, above all, to try to add the
highest quality material possible to the Interpedia.

Subject: 3.5.3 How will editors communicate with one another?

Editors will be expected to be members of a least one mailing list or
associated newsgroup and to communicate regularly about what projects
they are working on and what progress they are making.  At present the
appropriate list is as described elsewhere
in this FAQ.

We will certainly need the current proposed newsgroup to be divided,
probably as soon as it exists, into two, namely:

Further divisions will be necessary as things progress.  We will
doubtless have to arrange for moderators to make periodic reports
to the main newsgroups and lists, so that everyone can have a least
an overview of this huge endeavour.

Eventually, of course, newsgroups will themselves be part of the
Interpedia and the Interpedia project itself will be the first
beneficiary of improved information structures.

Subject: 3.5.4 How often and how much will editors work on the

As much or as little as they wish.  Some people may wish to join the
project solely to improve the Interpedia in an area of special interest
to them.  Others will want to be general editors, working in a wide
variety of areas, for a long time.

Subject: 3.5.5 Will all this work be voluntary?

At first, yes.  And for many it will always be so.  But it would seem
likely that individuals who choose to spend large amounts of
productive time on this project will eventually find themselves being
paid for it.  Many people now are paid for Internet work that was
volunteer not so long ago.

Subject: 3.5.6 What if more than one editor works in the same area?

No problem.  It is the very nature of the Interpedia to contain
competing resources.  If someone feels that the article on the recorder,
facilitated by me, is inadequate, they have many avenues.  They can
suggest changes to me or the author, they can produce their own, they
can solicit seals of disapproval, if they think that the article is
in some sense actually damaging.

Subject: 3.5.7 What would an editor's work consist of?

The process outlined above gives a good starting idea.  Editors will
either start with definite ideas on articles, or will use a To Do list,
as discussed earlier on this list, to find areas that need work.

What they may do will include:

       -in the early stages especially, promoting explaining the
        Interpedia to potential authors and approval grantors.  At
        first organizations, will have to be persuaded of the value
        of assigning members to the task of evaluating articles.
        But once the Interpedia is well established this will be unneeded.
       -searching through existing Internet resources for
        possible hotkey links to existing material (excellent
        work for Rick Gate's Internet Hunt aficionados!)

       -establishing and operating MUDs or other resources to
        complement existing resources

       -soliciting material to fill needs indicated in the To Do list
       -working on the To Do list itself, to identify needs

       -soliciting seals of approval to support articles

       -soliciting seals of disapproval for articles of low quality

       -helping writers present material in a format appropriate to
        the Interpedia
       -identify needs. for example, I might see a need for a
        simplified version of some article suitable for school
        children. I might approach the authors and request such
        a version and arrange for suitable seals of approval
       -etc. etc.  The reader is invited to add more ...

Subject: 3.5.8 When can editors start work on the Interpedia?

Now.  See elsewhere in this FAQ for information on the acceptable form
of articles and what to do with them.  Even though software is not
ready, it is important that we start to collect material as soon as

It is worth noting that nothing will encourage software people to work
more than a growing base of Interpedia material. Let's give them
something to chew on!

Section 4: Classification, Seals (SOAP), Copyright, etc

Subject: 4.1 One of the principle topics is classification.  What is the
             current status of proposed classification schemes?

Christopher Mullin has volunteered to coordinate the classification
efforts.  He writes:
The group I'm coordinating feels that the use of existing library
classification systems and subject heading lists will give better
access to articles than will the use of uncontrolled keywords.
Specifically, we expect to assign several Library of Congress Subject
Headings and several classification numbers (either Universal Decimal
Classification or Dewey Decimal Classification -- not sure yet) to
each article.

We will attempt to get copies of the chosen systems made available on
the internet, with the expectation that others will develop search
engines to make these systems accessible to Interpedia searchers.

Most of us have had some library cataloging experience, but welcome
help from anyone.  Contact me ( for further

Subject: 4.2 What are Seals of Approval (SOAP)?

The concept of a seal-of-approval (SOAP), introduced by Erik Seielstad,
is currently being actively discussed.  SOAPs have achieved some
prominence, and have subsequently been referred to in several newsgroups.  A new notion is that SOAPS could be
hierarchical, in that a SOAP could indicate approval or disapproval of
a group of other SOAPs.  Another is that a SOAP could point to two
types of articles, ones that agree with and ones that disagree with
the article to which the SOAP applies.  The subject of links is also
being discussed and is running a separate but parallel course.
A principle difficulty seems to be in deciding how to implement SOAPs.
Below, are three articles that describe SOAPS.

Doug Wilson <> wrote:
A seal-of-approval is data provided by a person or persons which
indicates that some article is good.  (Seals of disapproval have
also been proposed.)  Seals-of-approval will be used by people in
deciding what articles to read, but will also be used by the
Interpedia software to decide which articles to make most easily
available to people, according to their stated preferences.
If you set a user-parameter indicating you only want articles which
have the Jeff-Foust-Quality-Assurance-Board-Seal-Of-Approval,
then only those articles will be set up for convenient (default)
access -- although all other articles will still be accessible,
with a bit more effort.
(Doug Wilson)

Jeff Foust <> wrote:
Seals-of-approval have been suggested as a way to provide editorial
input on articles submitted to the Interpedia without subjecting all
Interpedia users to the editorial opinions of a few.  In short, any
user would be able to create a "seal" that could be affixed to
articles that the user found to be factually correct, well written, or
ideologically agreeable to him/her.  There would be no limit on the
number of seals that could exist.  There would likely be a directory
of seals kept, so that users could refer to the directory to determine
who the authors of a particular seal are and also obtain some basic
information on it (e.g., what classes of articles are typically given
this seal, what criteria the authors use to assign seals, etc.)
(Jeff Foust)

Jared Rhine wrote <> wrote:
The concept of SOAPs was invented to help solve the problem of balancing
editorial issues, academic freedom, and database viewpoints.  The
problem is, how can one construct the Interpedia in such a way that
anyone can contribute, and yet allow the user to retain a focused view
of the articles available?  If the Interpedia is to scale well as it
grows, it would (ironically) not be acceptable to have the number of
articles returned in response to a particular query to grow at the
same rate.
SOAPs are issued by any organization (or individual) that wishes to
produce one.  Any given document can (and will) have multiple SOAPs.
Each SOAP represents a rating of that particular document by a
particular organization.  In general, there would be a number of
institutions whose opinion you respect.  If that organization rated a
particular document highly, it is likely that you would consider it a
valuable document, too.  Articles containing a SOAP from those
organizations would be included in your view of the Interpedia.
Note that SOAPs can provide arbitrary slices of the dataspace...