PCP material on the Internet

Brian Gaines (gaines@cpsc.ucalgary.ca)
Sun, 17 Sep 1995 17:23:24 -0500

There have been a number of requests for information on how to put up
a WWW site, access WWW, and put up and access materials for FTP. This note
briefly addresses the main issues.

** Making Material Available to Others on the Internet through FTP **

The simplest procedure for making articles and software available is
to put them up for FTP. FTP is the unix file transfer protocol, and is
the most accessible way of transferring material across the Internet.
Many terminal emulator programs on personal computers support FTP.

Files up for FTP can also be accessed through World-Wide Web browsers.

Most organizations have an "anonymous FTP" facility. Your system manager
should be able to advise you how to put files up for others to access.

** Making Material Available to Others on the Internet through WWW **

WWW has the advantage that articles put up in HTML format can be read
on-line through WWW browsers such as Netscape. Many word processors now
off the capability to output HTML.

WWW servers offer the capability for any user with an account on a unix
system to make a directory available to others on the WWW. Usually this
directory has a special name such as "public_html" or "www". Again your
system manager should be able to advise you how to do this. Anyone with
an account on a unix system connected to the Internet should be able to
put up a WWW home page for their research very easily.

** Accessing WWW **

Accessing WWW needs a higher-quality connection than that necessary for
email. A 14,400 Kilobaud modem connected to your institutional computer
or computing service through a PPP or SLIP connection is the normal route.

The Netscape browser is free for educational use and oustandingly the
best WWW browser currently.

** Making Services Available on WWW **

Putting up programs to operate through WWW as we have done with WebGrid
requires a lot of programming effort. It will hopefully get easier as
time goes by. The next release of Netscape (rumored for Tuesday) should
support the language Java which allows programs to be sent safely
across the web, and this opens up many interesting possibilities.

Currently it is fairly easy to put up articles on the web, and fairly
difficult to put up services.

** Making What is Available Known to the Community at Large **

The PCP home page that Mildred and I have been maintaining has links
from many other psychology sites and is indexed by web indexing agents
such as Lycos. We will put links to other PCP home pages and FTP sites
into this page, and they will also get indexed.

However, few links have been sent yet, and up-to-date contents of
JCP have not been sent either (Bob please note!) -- so the info
is getting dated. This is the main problem with maintaining a presence
on the web -- it needs a flow of information. We pick up what we can
from this list and other sources, but are highly dependent on people
sending information. If you do have, or know of, PCP material on the
web or available for FTP then do let Mildred (mildred@cpsc.ucalgary.ca)
or me (gaines@cpsc.ucalgary.ca) know.

** Experience to date **

Mildred reported on the statistics of PCP site usage at Barcelona.
Tens of people come in every day from all over the world. WebGrid
now has many users from all over the world, most of whom do not seem
to be part of the PCP community on this list. The anonymity of WWW
means that we do not know who they are or what they are doing, but the
log of accesses shows many prolonged grid elicitation and analysis
sessions. We will be setting up a list server for Webgrid users
to facilitate mutual support, and to find out ourselves what is
going on.

A paper on WebGrid being used to support collaborative learning in
higher education is being presented at the Computer-Supported Collaborative
Learning conference in Bloomington next month -- available as:-


For those interested the CSCL home page is:-


The full conference proceedings in HTML are jsut being put up by the
organizers -- there are other constructivist papers.


Dr Brian R Gaines Knowledge Science Institute
University of Calgary
gaines@cpsc.ucalgary.ca Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2N 1N4
403-220-5901 Fax:403-284-4707 http://ksi.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/KSI