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With the proliferation of computing and networking in the eighties, fast and targeted dissemination of information became fairly commonplace. Motivated by that, a list server program (written by our late colleague, Dr. Lajos Pócs) named INFOSERV was set up in Budapest on a VAX machine in 1992. Its two different subsystems were operating in English: Mössbauer Information eXchange, MIX, and Ion Beam Information System, IBIS.
Services were operated by sending e-mails of appropriate format to the list server program.
Browsing through the back issues of the discussion jurnal, the majority of articles submitted were related to conferences, but various other issues of public and personal interest were also dealt with (scientific discussions, job announcements, description of new computer programs, and many others).
The ASCII Document Archive covers conference documents (mainly circulars), computer program documentation and back issues of ION.
The Personal Data Directory contains postal and e-mail addresses, telephone/fax numbers, etc.
With concepts and implementations such as gopher, FTP, and especially WWW and HTML publishing, the off-line ASCII IBIS became somewhat old-fashioned, especially for our young colleagues. Therefore we decided that these new and fascinating tools should be used for further promoting our mission. On the other hand, some of our colleagues do not (yet) have full access to the Internet, therefore the e-mail-operated services (i.e. the List) will also be maintained.
In March 1997 IBIS moved to this new site to a UNIX (Solaris 2.5) system in KFKI Computer Network Centre, Budapest, Hungary, which offers the standard list server, anonymous ftp and WWW server services.
IBIS on the Web is not solely a List any more. The range of services includes:
1. The List, to distribute ION, now running under the Mailman List Server,
2. An archive of documents, programs and other files is included and
3. these WWW pages interactively integrating the various services.
We did our best to maintain all services offered by the old system, but in some cases this was not possible. One of these cases is that the upgraded Personal Data Directory is only available to on-line visitors of these IBIS WEB pages and not to the e-mail only users. Should you have no access to Web browsers and would like to modify your data in the IBIS Personal Data Directory, please contact the Webmaster.
The second difference is that - solely for technical reasons - the List is closed, i.e. contributions and queries are processed only if they are mailed from a subscribed mail address. (Subscription is not in any way restricted and it is free of charge.) Since all functions of the List are now publicly and interactively available on the Web, in our view the closed list considerably reduces the chance of distributing junk accidentally taken as contribution to the journal by the list-server program. We would like to know your opinion if this concept is acceptable.
The third difference is that now ION is "unmoderated", i.e. contributions are distributed completely automatically once a day when at least one contribution is submitted. This condition increases the responsibility of the authors who, like before, bear full responsibility for their contributions.
IBIS is open and everyone willing to contribute with advice or work for the Community is welcome to join us at any time. Certainly, due to the diversity of our field and in view of the dynamically developing and expanding field of our common interests, some parts of our service will always be „under construction".
As the Web has become a true "representation" of society, we believe that IBIS may also become a representation of our Community.
WWW technology is here to make IBIS a framework of distributed services.The information is not to be disseminated any more, it is there on the Web. If not, it will be there very soon. We just have to make our colleagues know where, by establishing links to those sites. The rest depends on us, the Community.