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VAX Notes and e-journals Marcia Tuttle 10 Jan 1992 00:52 UTC

Date:         Thu, 9 Jan 1992 16:52:00 EST
From:         Bill Drew -- Serials Librarian <DREWWE@SNYMORVA>
Subject:      VAX Notes and e-journals
Wilfred Drew (call me "BILL")
Serials/Reference/Computers Librarian
SUNY College of Agriculture & Technology
P.O. Box 902,  Morrisville, NY 13408-0902
Bitnet: drewwe@snymorva  SUNYNET(DECnet): smorva::drewwe
Voice:   315-684-6055       Fax:  315-684-6115
"On a clear disk you can seek forever."  from PKware BBS.

I received over seventeen replies to my query about VAX Notes
as a way to post e-journals.  Many were very positive and a
couple very negative about using VAX Notes.  I have decided to
go ahead with the project with an initial listing of 14 titles.

These will include:

EJournal, The Public-Access Computer Systems News,
The Public_Access Computer Systems Review, Postmodern Culture,
ALCTS Network News, Current Cites, EFFector Online, MEDnews,
Newsletter on Serials Pricing Issues, News of the Earth,
SCUP Bitnet News, Titnotes, ACQNET, and Desktop Publishing Digest.

The conference will be initially available only to faculty.  THIS IS A PILOT PR

I have included several of the more useful and unique replies below:

We post electronic journals to VAX Notes with a public domain program
called BBOARD. It runs well as a hook into Jnet, the BITnet mailer
program.  I would be interested in hearing about what solution(s) you find
and how extensive your "holdings" on Notes are.

Ann Dixon                                 ||
Assistant Director, Academic Computing    || Internet:
Guild Hall                                || BITnet:   ann@brynmawr
Bryn Mawr College                         || Bell of PA: (215) 526-5001
Bryn Mawr, PA 19010                       ||
  We use VAX Notes as a conferencing/bulletin board system.  We are in
the intermediate stages of evaluating it.  It is definitely better than
e-mail for sharing and discussing information with a particular sub-group
since only one copy of the message is stored.  This is really what it was
designed to handle.  It is not a good information retrieval system unless
your really exploit the keyword features.  We've posted some INTERNET
documents to it which consist of several thousand lines; again once inside
the particular document its not much more useful than any electronic text
display system.  Users must also enroll in a particular sub-category of
NOTES to use it.  NOTES, like other e-mail systems, uses the concept of
seen/unseen or read/unread topics, which may not apply to e-journals.
I'd be interested in other responses to your query.

    Elliott Haugen,   Computing and Information Systems
    Saint Louis University
I looked at VAXNOTES about a year ago as a conferencing medium, and found
it extraordinarily difficult to use for the novice user.  The version
that we had required all kinds of knowledge about the operating system,
which was just too much to mess with.  Unless you have an easy to use
new version, I'd strongly suggest using straight e-mail, which all but
the most recalcitrant user can handle.
  Gretchen Whitney, U Arizona Grad Lib School
We currently use VAX notes for the e-journal POST MODERN
CULTURE. One issue of this takes up about 1400 blocks.
We plan to put up two more in the new year. The journals
have been chosen by our Science and Arts reference staff.
I'll be happy to supply any other information on request.

Dennis Nicholson
Strathclyde University Library

DO IT!!  I use VAXNotes for several different things.  I put the HOTT listing
there as well as some of the PACS-L journals.  They are available, then,
campus-wide to anyone.

I wasn't sure if it was used much until recently.  I created new opening
screens for our catalog, and inadvertently left off access to NOTES.  Boy did I
hear about it from all over campus!

We use Notes internally in the library for reporting sick and vacation absences
each day.  The front office posts the reported absences each day around 8:30.
Sure beats trying to find someone who is out! These conferences are created in
an area on the disk drives which are accessible by library staff.  In other
words, they are not moved to the system disks.

We also used Notes when working on a reference weeding policy.  Trying to get
all of us together at once for several meetings was difficult. We posted the
draft proposal and each member of the committee responded.  A new draft was
created, and we again responded.  I think we only had 1 "face-to-face" meeting.

Hope this helps.

Jeannie Dixon
Automation Librarian
University of Texas-Pan American

I would encourage your use of VAX notes.  I use it here for the following:

ALCTS Network News (ALA's Assoc. for Library Collections and Technical
Services); Current Cites published by the library at UC-Berkeley (dist. by PACS
   L); HOTT, excerpts and
abstracts of articles about Information technology.; PACS News

I know they get read by staff campus-wide (students also).  They are available
as a menu item from our online catalog.  When I re-designed the front-end
screens of our catalog, I accidently left off access to VAX Notes.  Boy did I
get irate mail!!!

Let me know if you want/need further information

Jeannie Dixon
Automation Librarian
Univ of Texas-Pan American
bitnet: jd5553@panam

We use Notes on our Vax/VMS to make available e_journals, for now
almost a year. The experiences until now have been very good. It
has clear advantages over simple e_mail, because it saves disk
space (only once on the machine), search facilities in Notes are
far from perfect, but can be used. Printing or extracting is very

The most popular thing on our Notes are e_journal called MEDNEWS.
We are putting them regularly, with the permission of the editor
D. Doddel. As more and more teaching staff, doctors and students,
use our computer there are more and more popular. User asked us
to make some indexes, as part of the MEDNEWS, so we did. Using
DECnet, MEDNEWS became available also for all networkers in
Slovenia, and in spite of war, even for networkers from other
republics of ex-Yugoslavia.

Of course NOTES are used also for other things, especially in
these hard times, for political debates, but that, I guess,  was
not your question.

I hope you can use our positive experience in NOTES. and looking forward
to see the summary of the answers

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   !   Central Medical Library                                      !
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Sorry about not responding to this inquiry sooner (seems to have been posted
around Dec. 20th-) - and the message had been forwarded so many times I'm
not sure who was asking! however:
 To the reader out there wanting to load e-journals to his Vax NOTES
conferencing system - yes! do it! it's easy, and Notes might have been
tailor made for such a use.  We are doing it here at Rochester Inst. of
Technology, under the following system:
-we have one conference called Library_Journals.
-each e-journal appears as a topic
-each issue of each e-journal appears as a reply to that topic
-it's a read-only conference.
  We started with just one (Postmodern Culture), chosen for its generality.
We're about to add 2 more, Med News (something popular, and that changes
often) and Ejournal.  So it's a small operation, but building.
  Please feel free to contact Jonathan Millis, JJMWML@RITVAX.BITNET, for
more technical details, or myself for any further details.
Thanks and hope this reaches the right person...

-Suzanne Bell
 ssbwml@ritvax.bitnet, or,