Department of Energy, 
               Office of Scientific and Technical Information
                      Electronic Exchange News-Notes
Table of Contents

Electronic Exchange



The initiative to develop standards for the electronic exchange of Scientific and Technical Information was promulgated within the Department of Energy in August 1991 by the Office of Information Resources Management (IRM) Policy, Plans, and Oversight, AD-24, when they announced an initiative to develop standards for the electronic exchange of Scientific and Technical Information within the Department. At that time the Department adopted as the DOE standard the ISO-8879, Standard Generalized Markup Language, as defined in the Federal Information Processing Standards (FIPS) Publication 152. The Office Of Scientific and Technical Information, which coordinates Scientific and Technical Information management within the Department, was given responsibility to manage the transition.

In February 1993 the Electronic Exchange of Scientific and Technical Information (STI): Strategic Plan was issued, accompanied by a memorandum from Gerald F. Chappell, Director of IRM. The goal identified by the Strategic Plan is to make electronic exchange of full-text Department of Energy Scientific and Technical Information the norm by the year 2000. Copies of the Electronic Exchange of Scientific and Technical Information (STI): Strategic Plan may be obtained by contacting Bob Donohue at phone number (615) 457-1066 or at E-mail address

The Department of Energy and Commerce, Energy, National Library of Medicine, National Aeronautic and Space Administration and Defense Information (CENDI) sites are collecting information, developing plans and prototypes, testing, evaluating and implementing Standard Generalized Language Markup systems.

Standard Generalized Markup Language Technical Working Group


The Standard Generalized Markup Language Technical Working Group (STWG) rose out of the perceived need to have a vehicle for sharing, educating and guiding the Electronic Exchange initiative within the Department. As a corollary, CENDI participants were invited to participate because in the long view, the ability to exchange information with other government agencies, efficiently, is a desirable and necessary capability.

The interest in this effort is repeatedly shown through the broad representation of the Department of Energy and CENDI organizations at the STWG meetings. Organizations represented are:

SGML Technical Working Group



The first meeting of the STWG was held 4-6 May 1993 at the Department of Energy, Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI), Oak Ridge, Tennessee. The meeting was facilitated by the Director of Scientific and Technical Information Services, Janice Blanton. At that time, a number of specific objectives were identified for the Working Group to accomplish:

The second meeting of the STWG was held 17-19 August 1993 in Augusta, Georgia, hosted by the Department of Energy, Savannah River Site. The specific meeting objectives of this meeting were to:

While an initial version of the Data Dictionary has been established and Working Group committees continue to coordinate and communicate, a number of activities remain high on the priority list.

Immediate goals for Fiscal Year 94' are to 1) produce a set of Operating Guidelines; 2) continue a series of Pilot projects including Starter-Kits; 3) facilitate committee work and communication.

The Working Group will continue to meet periodically throughout the year.

Standard Generalized Markup Language Committee Highlights


Encoding Committee

The Encoding Committee, headed by Terry Girill, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, published a draft of their "SGML Meets the Reports Received List: Analysis of a Sample Electronic- Exchange Project". This sample project is an excellent initiation for SGML novices to show how all the basic elements of SGML tie together when applied to a realistic publishing scenario. This document will be made available on the SGML Technical Working Group's Usenet Newsgroup (See note below) which may be accessible by any STWG member. Cindy Crego, Argonne National Laboratory, and her subcommittee have been developing a first rate 3000-line first-search bibliography which will be shared at a later date. Karen Barry, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, has completed a 5-page draft for the Reports Received List using the Text Encoding Initiative Style and which Rita Hohenbrink, Office of Scientific and Technical Information, is refining.

Hardware/Software Committee

The Hardware/Software Committee, headed by Bob Donohue, is in the process of evaluating SGML compliant software for the Working Group. Currently, this committee is actively evaluating Electronic Books Technology's Dynatext, SoftQuad's Author/Editor and a variety of parsers including SGMLS and Exoterica's OmniMark. The results of these and other evaluations will be shared with the Working Group. Additionally, these evaluations will be put into SGML format and distributed electronically.

Business Committee

The Business Committee is currently working on and will distribute a 1.0 version of the Operating Guidelines. We are finding that the tasks inherent in this group's business maybe the most difficult of any of the committees; there are many questions with broad impacts across the DOE community that must be considered and decided upon.

UseNet NewsGroup Status


The STWG UseNet NewsGroup, after a great deal of tinkering and Vulcan mind-melding, is pronounced alive and well by the backroom technoids at OSTI (we could hear the screams "it's live!, it's alive" throughout the building). We have already distributed a lot of clients to access the NewsGroup - both MAC and DOS based, so please give it a try. For those waiting for VMS and UNIX versions, please be patient. If you require additional copies of the client or require more information to access the NewsGroup, please call or send me an E-Mail.

The STWG UseNet NewsGroup is a means to read, post and comment on the Working Group's activities. There are a number of items posted there already, ranging from SGML tips to the results of our latest software evaluation. All you need to access it is a QVTNET and TCP/IP client.

EE News



With our busy schedules, particularly this time of year, I thought it would be useful to have an informal way of communicating events and activities that are occurring among the committees in the Working Group as well as a means of sharing other items that may be of interest within the DOE community and CENDI. The intent here, is to allow anyone interested in the promotion of Electronic Exchange an opportunity to share information relevant to the Electronic Exchange initiative - or it may be irrelevant - I'll let you decide. If you have an item of interest, be it a technical bit of information, for example a new way to encode tables, or news of your new promotion - we would like to hear about it. As this is the prototypical version of News-Notes 1.0 , please let me know of any suggestions you may have regarding the literary qualities, or lack of, and specific content you may feel is needed. I will accept any media for inclusion, to include E-Mail, letter, telephone or FAX. My telephone number is (615) 241-3849; E-mail: Donohuer@A1.OSTI.GOV; FAX: (615) 576-2865.

Heard on the Network


How many Microsoft programmers does it take to change a lightbulb? None. They declared darkness a standard.