Geert Lovink (by way of Pit Schultz <>) on Mon, 22 Apr 96 12:24 MDT

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nettime: Introducing Association for Progressive Information

Subject: Introducing Association for Progressive Information (fwd)
From: Gert van Velzen <gert>
Message-Id: <>

Association for Progressive Information
Manifesto 951217

This is a proposal for the formation of the API. It's mission
will be to explore and to apply information technology in a
progressive perspective. 

The main item of research wil be to create memory banks which
will be accessible to progressive people and organizations.

Although we now have come a long way with computerized
communication, only now it becomes feasible to actually store all
the information that passes our systems daily, and to keep it
accessible for factual research. The reason is that prices of
storage media keep dropping. The latest development marked
by mass introduction of the 100MB floppy ('zip drive').

But although it is no longer expensive to build our archives, we
still need to cooperate in tuning our specialised databases in 
concert by access via the internet. And since the internet is an
international network, why limit it to the Netherlands. The
internat can glue all our databases together to be one huge
common memory.

The MIT foundation has developed a full-text database which will
be freely distributed among API members on the condition that some
of the sections of their database will be accessible to other
members or maybe even the entire internet (if your host can manage).
The special thing about the MIT software is that it works with
exact match of search words, which makes it useful to people who
know what they are looking for. The WAIS public domain text database
works with fuzzy logic and produces answers that one did not ask
for, which makes it unsuitable for application in news filters.
FTDB has a news filter included, which can both output to mail and
to newsgroups.

The FTDB package is under development. It can serve as a
retrieval medium to a common memory, but it is not very smart
yet. We hope the API members wil help define a useful medium.
For now it will be reasonably modest, light and fast.

You may notice the tangent in the name, with the Association for
Progressive Communication. We do not have links with this
hierarchical organization, but maybe that may change in the
future. We hope API will be a loose federation of different 
progressive groups throughout the world, who actually try to use
information technology without feeding Bill Gates from Microsoft
or AT&T or anything. While they BUY information, we know that
much of what we need, is in the public channels. It's just a
matter of finding it and also helping each other to find it.

Our first contribution is the NYTransfer/MIT meta database of
interesting internet resources. Have a look at:

We hope there will be a whole list of links there in future.

You may also use the software for closed sections, but when this
will deliver you financial benefit, we require you to support the
FTDB development financially.

So let us know what you think about it. Send your mail to:

Gert van Velzen

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