Automatic access to archives

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Jun 5, 1982, 12:13:27 AM6/5/82
FROM: G. G. Woodbury
Subject:Public archive access

There is a lot of information living out there in netland
that would be nice to have archived in a public (UNIX) access location
that could be gotten automatically.
I would like to propose a method for such access.

The basic method would be automatic answering of fixed-format messages
to a special mail recipient on specified machines.
For example:

To: npois!harpo!whoever!request
Subject: get archive
Request: item-id

This message for instance, would retrieve the item given by
item-id and return it to the originator. The subject field contents
is the specification of the action desired, in this example to get
an item from an archive.
The item-id field could specify the archive (if there is more
than one on a specific machine).
Any machine could set up an archive on any given topic and
then publish (via netnews - of course) the contents, or there could
be a <get toc> command available.
The syntax of the commands would be very simple, and rigidly
enforced. Any bad requests received could be bounced back with a
simple comment about syntax.

To extend to concept of automatic mail requesting, an opinion
polling recipient could be implemented with ease. That is if someone
can provide a nice set of routines that could read mail and handle request
Does anybody have such things already? Am I months behind? Am I
years ahead? Comments?
Gregory G. Woodbury
BTL PY 2K-332 x7287


Jun 7, 1982, 9:01:24 PM6/7/82
I like the idea a lot! I have often wished for a copy of a long dead news
item. Even better would be a service for searching the archives for all
items that reference a certain boolean combination of keywords, or even
more sophisticated. The service shouldn't be too expensive to run if
requests were batched together, so there only needed to be one pass over
the archives per day/week/month (depending on volume or requests).
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