minutes from the IETF INDEX BOF

I chaired a BOF at the Montreal IETF where I discussed the W3 workshop.  The
minutes follow.

Also, I got a good suggestion after the BOF from Paul Leach (Microsoft): to
keep the tagging people suggested at the workshop data-type independent
(i.e., so it works with more than just HTML), it would be a good idea to
work in the HTTP entity header space rather than in HTML META tags.  You can
still do the tagging in HTML for the (current) common case by using
HTTP-EQUIV tags, and that way other data types can also take advantage of
any tagging standards that get defined.
 - Mike

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>Date: Wed, 26 Jun 1996 08:43:06 -0700
>To: minutes@cnri.reston.va.us
>From: schwartz@home.net (Mike Schwartz)
>Subject: minutes from the IETF INDEX BOF
>Cc: Harald.T.Alvestrand@uninett.no,moore+iesg@cs.utk.edu
>Here are the minutes for the INDEX BOF.
> - Mike
>                      Minutes of the IETF INDEX BOF
>                            Held June 24, 1996
>             Chair: Michael Schwartz, @Home Network
>     Notes by Michael Schwartz (@Home Network) and Ryan Moats (InterNIC)
>This BOF reported on the outcomes of a Distributed Indexing/Searching
>Workshop sponsored by the World Wide Web Consortium, held May 28-29.  The
>workshop had participation from many representatives of the search
>technology, search service, information server, and online service
>communities.  It produced a set of recommendations about needed and
>practicable standards efforts, as well as several efforts to draft new
>standards or modify current standards.
>Schwartz discussed the workshop motivation and structure, a proposed
>distributed indexing framework that arose from the first day's discussions,
>and the recommendations of three breakout groups that divided up parts of
>this framework to describe areas where participants felt standards were
>The framework involved a protocol and toolkit for negotiating among
>domain-specific standards; means of identifying search engines, query
>languages, and ranking algorithms; domain-specific attribute sets and
>user friendly descriptions; collection descriptions and packaging; and
>consistency management and bulk transfer.
>The first breakout group's recommendations concerned query routing, and
>focused primarily on extensions to the Whois++ framework, as well as
>some suggestions about development, interoperation with search vendor
>products, and experimentation.  The second group's recommendations
>focused on a convention for embedding metadata in HTML without browser
>or robot changes.  The third group's recommendations focused on
>notification mechanisms for coordinating updates between information
>providers and indexers.  There were also two BOFs, one on tags to
>support robot-based data collection, and the second on providing a
>Z39.50 profile to support the Stanford Digital Library group's informal
>search & retrieval standards work.
>The full workshop report is available at
>After the report, Schwartz opened the floor for discussion about what
>liaisons might be appropriate with IETF Directory groups, or for any
>comments, questions, etc.  The discussion was brief:
>        1. There was a suggestion that people attend the FIND working
>           group meeting Wed afternoon session.
>        2. There was a suggestion that knowledge of IETF efforts be
>           brought to this work, but also that this work not be brought to
>           the IETF until concrete proposals are available.
>        3. There was a suggestion to consider using the IRTF as a body for
>           developing this work, and a comment that the IRTF intends to
>           take a more active role on providing a home for pre-standards
>           work.
>        4. There was a question about the extent to which multiple
>           character sets and languages was addressed at the workshop.
>           The response was that it did not come up much in the discussion
>           (although it was discussed in a few of the position papers).
>        5. There was a comment that content providers were not "at the
>           table", yet some of the requirements impact them.  Schwartz
>           suggested that there were so many content providers it might be
>           difficult to involve a truly representative set, but that
>           perhaps some could be involved, and furthermore that online
>           services and content hosting services could represent the
>           concerns of the content providers.
>        6. There was a question about whether there was any discussion of
>           other content types than HTML.  Schwartz noted that this was
>           also a concern of the workshop attendees from the Z39.50
>           community, but that the workshop focused mostly on simple
>           data types, specifically HTML.