Alerting services (Was: Re: Forms support in clients)

Jim Davis (
Thu, 29 Sep 1994 00:55:34 +0100

On Wed, 28 Sep 1994, Jon P. Knight ( wrote:
> On Wed, 28 Sep 1994, Karl Auerbach wrote:
> > ...I'd like to be able for my viewer to put a
> > "watcher" into a server. Some mechanism, not yet existing, would have
> > to be invented to let the watcher tell my viewer that something new
> > and interesting (as defined by my script) is out there.
> ...I've already done a simple version of this ... Basically there
> was a form that the user could fill in with keywords and his email
> address. These were the salted away in a file. When a new issue
> of the journal was processed to put it online, a script was run
> over the email address/keyword file and each line was used to
> search the new issue of the journal for keyword matches. If there
> were any matches the document titles and URLs were extracted and
> emailed to the user. I called it the alerting service.

Such services are also called Selective Dissemination of Information
(SDI) services. Stanford runs a nice one called SIFT at

>From the home page:

Welcome to the Stanford Information Filtering Tool (SIFT) home
page. SIFT is a system for performing wide-area information
dissemination. Using SIFT, we are running two dissemination
services, one that delivers USENET News (Netnews) articles, and the
other Computer Science Technical Reports.