Treat your friends as you do your pictures, and place them in their best light. - Jennie Jerome Churchill

What you can become, you are already. - Friedrich Hebbel

(January 19, 1994)

From Russia and from America comes a new information service called "Friends and Partners" -- one of the first information systems jointly developed by citizens of these two nations.

It is hoped that it will contribute towards better understanding between our nations by providing instruction on our countries and cultures, by providing a common base of information about issues affecting relations between our countries, and by providing a common 'meeting place' where folks can find and communicate with each other.

If you wish to visit, the following uniform resource locator (URL) will allow you to connect to the World Wide Web server:

http://www.friends-partners.org/friends/home.html
At the moment, it is more a 'framework' of an information system -- more 'heart' than substance. The goal is to help others build upon the framework -- to create and link together information on our nation's histories; our art, music, literature, and religion; our educational and scientific resources; our geography and natural resources, our languages; and our opportunities for communicating, travelling, and working together. The 'end product' -- an evolving and continually changing information resource -- should be useful to many and will hopefully help bridge the gap of understanding that exists between our nations. It will hopefully also demonstrate the potential for good that exists with this wonderfully chaotic, global resource we call the Internet.

What are the potential uses? Scientists should be able to use the service to find information about funding opportunities and exchange programs, access various databases and library resources, and locate potential colleagues and co-workers. Teachers and educators at all levels should be able to find and contribute interesting and up-to-date material to assist in their instruction -- making their courses more 'alive' and more pertinent to real world issues. Folks in business should be able to learn about the economic environment and opportunities in both countries as well as the rules and laws pertaining to conducting business. Artists from all fields (and their patrons) should be able to learn about, meet and work with each other. And people from all walks of life should be able to learn more about these two nations -- so closed off from one another for so many years.

The primary motivation of this service is to help introduce new friendships and partnerships between our peoples. It hopes to build upon the excellent work already being accomplished by our governments and by the various groups, centers, and institutes who have been working for so many years towards this same goal of cooperation and friendship.

Perhaps the only difference from other efforts is the intention to use the World Wide Web on the Internet as the method of communicating information. The World Wide Web was chosen because of its ability to handle mixed media (text, graphics, audio, etc.), the excellent graphic and non-graphic browsers available for free on the Internet, and its ability to 'integrate' information from all of the best Internet-based tools and utilities -- Listservers, Gophers, WAIS indexes, FTP archives, etc.

If you do not have a WWW browser, you can use our 'friends' account. Telnet to solar.ncsa.uiuc.edu. At the login: prompt, enter friends and press return (make sure to enter friends in all lower case). This will place you in a non-graphic WWW browser called 'Lynx' (on-line help is available). (Note: you must be emulating a vt100 terminal to use this method of access.)

We will soon be providing a 'mirror' of this server in Pushchino, Russia (near Moscow) on the computer of co-developer Natasha Bulashova. This will be perhaps the first information system of its kind in Russia. One of the most exciting developments underway in Pushchino is the development of a 'virtual network' of biological sciences information. This is being designed to be a global information resource on biological sciences research and will be offered soon as a part of this overall service. Efforts will soon begin to establish both servers in Russian and English languages.

We have established an electronic mailing list (listserver) to help facilitate communication for this project. Please feel most free to join by sending a message to listproc@solar.ncsa.uiuc.edu with the following text:

SUBSCRIBE FRIENDS Your name
This is a moderated list with which one 'digest' of all postings will be sent to subscribers each day.

Please send us your comments, criticisms, suggestions (and offers of help! :-) ).

Natasha Bulashova
Pushchino, Moscow Region
Knoxville, Tennessee
Russia
natasha@april.friends-partners.ru
Greg Cole
Knoxville, Tennessee
USA
gcole@friends-partners.org

P.S. We hope to quickly broaden the scope of this server to incorporate information and communication with all of the newly independent states of the former Soviet Union. The information content of this server must reflect a much larger constituency than just our two nations and we should work towards that end. (but, of course, one step at a time . . . )


FIRST LISTSERV POSTING
(JAN 27 1994)

Greetings!

We are pleased to *finally* make this first posting to the new Friends and Partners listserver. We have been a bit overwhelmed by the volume of email since the announcement of the new information service last Wednesday. We want to thank each of you for your interest in this effort and, for those of you who have written, we want to thank you again for your kind and encouraging words.

It has been a busy week.

Over 14,000 accesses of the world wide web server, over 360 subscribers to this listserver, and more than 100 very generous expressions of help have made this a most rewarding (if sleepless!) week. Many have expressed their enthusiasm for this attempt to use the Internet as a means of encouraging friendships and new working partnerships between peoples in all of our countries -- and to bring together information about the excellent efforts of so many individuals and organizations who are working towards this same end.

While answering email has slowed our own development activity this week, it has been most exciting to witness the beginning of a truly international team of people willing to contribute to the development of this service.

In this first posting, we want to do three things: (1) list some statistics about the use of the World Wide Web server this week -- we think that many will find this of interest (but we quickly add that this will *not* be a regular feature of such postings!); (2) briefly introduce some new material on the WWW server; and (3) summarize some of the contacts, developments, and offers of assistance we have received during the past 6 days.

Natasha and I want to make so clear that our role in this effort is but to provide a 'home' for this information and to help facilitate work between people who wish to contribute. Whether this effort remains but a curiosity or evolves into a truly helpful service will depend completely upon the interest and efforts of others. We invite your comments, your suggestions, your criticisms, and, most of all, your offers of help!

For everyone's sake, we hope that our writings will make up only a small portion of the activity on this list. Please send your suggestions, hopes, fears, etc. to friends@solar.ncsa.uiuc.edu. We will 'digest' these postings and transmit the resulting file each evening.

Let the postings begin . . .

Server Statistics

We thought that many of you might find of interest these summary statistics of WWW access during Jan 19 - 25. The full file of statistics is available from the home page of the F&P WWW server.

Files Transmitted During Summary Period 14910
Bytes Transmitted During Summary Period 80870101
Average Files Transmitted Daily 2130
Average Bytes Transmitted Daily 11552872

Access by Client Domain
Domain Accesses Bytes % Files % Bytes
Australia 164 807955 1.10 1.00
Belgium 5 16759 0.03 0.02
Brazil 2 7379 0.01 0.01
Canada 291 1156306 1.95 1.43
Switzerland 135 583276 0.91 0.72
Czech Republic 6 21059 0.04 0.03
Germany 227 1109917 1.52 1.37
Denmark 25 177205 0.17 0.22
Spain 2 13569 0.01 0.02
Finland 116 497509 0.78 0.62
France 140 776481 0.94 0.96
Hong Kong 1 6909 0.01 0.01
Hungary 13 51245 0.09 0.06
Ireland 26 132145 0.17 0.16
Israel 5 35993 0.03 0.04
Iceland 10 22954 0.07 0.03
Italy 118 1772054 0.79 2.19
Japan 83 527362 0.56 0.65
Mexico 8 39473 0.05 0.05
Netherlands 236 1210018 1.58 1.50
Norway 96 514378 0.64 0.64
New Zealand 2 13569 0.01 0.02
Portugal 7 34771 0.05 0.04
Sweden 111 535553 0.74 0.66
Singapore 12 50209 0.08 0.06
Slovenia 6 28078 0.04 0.03
Soviet Union 136 672968 0.91 0.83
Taiwan 8 53177 0.05 0.07
Taiwan 8 53177 0.05 0.07
United Kingdom 354 1611336 2.37 1.99
United States 28 141235 0.17 1.99
US Commercial 1749 8059985 11.73 9.97
US Educational 7127 41853181 47.80 51.75 ****
US Government 932 5491369 6.25 6.79
US Military 118 516806 0.79 0.64
Network 153 712964 1.03 0.88
Non-Profit 233 1180740 1.56 1.46
Unresolved 2083 9664484 13.97 11.95
**** Over 2,000 of these accesses are from our own host machine -- reflecting
over 400 telnet sessions from all over the world for our special 'friends' account.

What's New

News Service. The excellent Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty daily postings are now being archived under the news section. Some additional items have been posted to the Moscow Summit archive.

Weather information for Moscow and St. Petersburg has been updated (this should soon be done automatically each day).

Server statistics (including access by country) are now included as an option from the home page.

Current exchange rates for the Russian currency have been updated (on the economics/business page).

Notice of the The Financial / Economic Network has been added to the economics page as well as a description of the The Russian Graduate School of International Business. We have also added a link to a gopher server in Vienna, Austria at the University of Economics and Business Administration.

A hook to the World Wide Web server about the East-West International Conference on Human-Computer Interaction has been added to the Funding Opportunities page. This server also contains hooks to several other interesting resources.

A new section under "Education" is being prepared on The Alliance of Universities for Democracy. This is a consortium of over 70 universities devoted to "Enhancing the role of higher education in promoting democratic institutions, economic development, and common moral and social values."

What's Coming (and recent developments) . .

We are very excited about the new relationship with Sergei Naumov from the University of North Carolina. Sergei has already developed collections of Russian artwork, poetry, news, etc. and is in process of developing a WWW server of such material. We are hoping to work together in several areas. We have placed a hook to Sergei's gopher material from the home page of the 'friends' server.

We welcome the efforts of "The Alliance of Universities for Democracy" -- more information will appear soon -- look on the Education page.

Under the music section, we have had two very generous offers for some digitized music: from the University of Oregon, we are hoping to receive some ulaw files by the Irkutsk Philharmonic Society. From San Francisco, we will soon be posting some music played at the International Accordion Festival in Vilnius this past year. These audio files should be available for your 'listening pleasure' in a few more days.

From site eskimo.com, we will soon provide a WWW version of their excellent GlasNews newsletter.

We have received several generous offers of software, fonts, etc. for helping with the display and printing of Cyrillic text. We are planning to establish an ftp archive of such on our system with a hypertext reference from the F&P server.

We have had several suggestions and offers of help for telecommunications and computing assistance from various companies and from the International Science Foundation.

We received an offer from a school principal in the northeastern U.S. to begin work on an information 'exchange' program with Russian schools.

We have had offers from Vienna, Austria and from Moscow for the establishment of 'mirror' servers to help speed access to the material from Russia and from Central and East European sites. Natasha is actively working to establish a mirror server in Pushchino.

Dirk van Gulik is working to establish for us an interactive 'talk-room' (fascinating project -- you will see!)

We have received several offers to assist with such efforts as typing, transcription, and translation.

We have received several offers to provide us with photographs and slides for publishing on the server. The server should have much additional 'graphic' material in about a week.

We received a very generous offer from the City University of New York for material describing all aspects of computer-aided language activities and natural language processing (e.g., machine translation, text data- bases, language instruction -- native and foreign -- text analysis, and the linguistic dimensions of electronic communication).

We have received several notes from people who have made very open-ended offers of help.

Several more suggestions and offers of assistance will be summarized and posted here in the next digest.

Finally, in answer to a question we have seen a few times, there is charge for access or use of this service (other than your own local computing / telecommunications fees (if any)).

Once again, we thank each of you for your interest and hope to hear from many as we begin our work together on this service. Please write with your comments, criticisms, and suggestions (and, of course, those offers of help).

Natasha Bulashova
Pushchino, Moscow Region
Knoxville, Tennessee
Russia
natasha@www.friends-partners.ru

Greg Cole, Associate Director
National Center for Supercomputing Applications
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
gcole@friends-partners.org


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Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole
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Updated: 2002-01-

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Please write to us with any comments, questions or suggestions -- Natasha Bulashova, Greg Cole