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Re: Searchable Crypto Paper Archive?

On Sep 6,  9:36, Timothy C. May sent the following to the NSA's mail
> Subject: Re: Searchable Crypto Paper Archive?

Thanks for the reply.  I think there are a few misconceptions, though.
  I've responded in place to some of your comments...

|| It's an idea with some attraction. But some issues need discussing.
|| an analytical sort of person, prone to looking for flaws in ideas, I'll
|| mention a few:
|| 1. First and foremost, _copyright_ issues. Most articles are copyrighted
|| (automatically, by Berne Convention) and the permission of the authors
|| be obtained. Authors may also collect royalties, or the conferences may,
|| unlimited electronic distribution is a potential problem.
|| NASA can publish its reports (and those of other government agencies)
|| electronically because it has the copyrights, or the copyrights are free
|| and clear. Try putting someone's article on the Net without their
|| permission and look out.
|| Indeed, there are a couple of the most important papers on the soda
|| site, some of them scanned-in and OCRed by "The Information Liberation
|| Front." There are so few that the authors likely don't even know they
|| there, or care. But try to put lots of copyrighted material on a site
|| get ready for actions. Remember, most nations are party to the Berne
|| Convention(s).

Hmmm... I guess I didn't specifically mention this point since it seemed
obvious to me, though I probably should have:  Papers should come from the
authors or the organization which holds the copyright.  I wouldn't be in
favor of accepting 3rd party submissions, for both copyright and
authenticty/integrity issues.

|| 2. Many of the papers have complex typography, lots of equations and
|| diagrams. These reproduce poorly on most screens, and really need a new
|| level of display presentation. (Yes, I know about Adobe Acrobat, which I
|| have. Ditto for FrameMaker, and a few other such systems. But not many
|| others have them.)
|| I happen to know the ILF member who posted the Chaum "Dining
|| Cryptographers" paper, anonymously, and know that he picked that paper
|| because of its importance to his interests and because it was pure text,
|| with no equations and no diagrams. This made it a natural for scanning.

The model we've used so far is that the format of the papers is independant
of the bibliographic information which we index.  For example, the NASA
system I mentioned has papers in both HTML and Postscript formats.  The
abstracts (which are what's indexed) simply contain URLs, and don't really
care what the document types are.

In my experience, most of the target audience for technical papers has
access to a postscript previewer (for online viewing) and/or a postscript
printer, so postscript tends to be the format of choice.  Still, it can be
anything; text, PDF, scanned in TIFF files all have worked for us in the

|| 3. In the crypto domain, the papers are much more conveniently
|| into a handful of conference proceedings, nearly all published by
|| Springer-Verlag. (Those great silvery-grey paperbacks.)
|| This point about Springer-Verlag relates to Item #1 above. Namely, that
|| copyright holders (Springer-Verlag, through publishing arrangements with
|| the conferences) will not take kindly to folks making the papers
|| electronically.
|| This point, about the limited number of main crypto volumes, also
|| another point: many of these papers refer to other papers in the same
|| volume or set of volumes (e.g., papers in the "Crypto '93 Proceedings"
|| refer to papers in that volume or earlier volumes). This makes it *even
|| more advantageous* for a serious researcher to buy the complete set of
|| volumes.

Now that's a pretty good point.  Wonder if we could convince them to make
their papers available electronically? 8-)

But ignoring them, there still seem to be a fair amount of cryptography
papers published as technical reports by individual authors or
organizations.  These would be what I'd like to see in CTRS.

|| 4. Authentication issues. Electronic versions of articles will need to
|| signed, to prevent unauthorized modifications. The infrastructure for
|| is beginning to build, but is clearly not available to many.
|| I am confident that someday most journals will be published
|| Many people think this likely, whether in 5 years or 15 years. Just too
|| many advantages.

Another good point, but I think this could easily be marked down as an
issue to be worked on after the basic functionality is available.  I'd hate
to see this as a reason for not doing something.

|| However--and this is my point--before that happens a huge amount of
|| negotiation about author's rights to reproduction, about verification of
|| copies, about royalty payments for copies, etc., has to happen. And, the
|| display software/hardware is not quite there yet....too many people
|| be unable to see the equations and diagrams on the screen. In 5 years,
|| of a problem.
|| Many authors make their papers available by anonymous ftp, or via the
|| I think this is the way to do it: let those who feel their papers need
|| electronic dissemination do so. The author makes the choice.

This is exactly the target audience I'm looking for.  When an author wants
to put a paper up on his FTP or WWW site, I hope they'll also send me the
indexing information so that when people want to find it, they can use
CTRS. I'm not interested in actually storing a copy of the report, although
I'm willing to do so if they cannot make it available any other way.

|| In summary, this project is probably premature (technologically), has
|| numerous copyright issues to be resolved, and is probably less needed in
|| the crypto community than in some other areas.
|| (Granted, we are not following those other areas, necessarily. But that
|| other domains have not yet gone fully electronic is indicative that
|| see some of these same problems, and are likely to address them before
|| math/crypto community does.)

I have to disagree strongly about the technologically premature part, since
I have had a lot of experience to the contrary during my involvment with
several major technical report systems.  I'm afraid I also have to disagree
with you about the need for this service.  Having attempted to find some of
the reports which I've heard are available on the Net, I'd have to say it's
not a task I'd set an Internet novice too, or one I'd give to someone on a
deadline.  I think a good bibliographic database like I propose in CTRS
would be a definite help.  And at the very very very least, it probably
won't hurt. 8-)

|| Sorry to dissect this proposal so thoroughly, but it's one of the things
I do.

S'ok with me.  It's not like I'm dead set on doing this or anything.  It's
just an observation, and an offer of service if anyone thinks it'd be

Oh, BTW, another thing I probably should mention that seems obvious to me:
 I'm offering to do this for free.  That is, the database would be a public
service, with no charge to list papers, add another database to the
searching list or to query/retrieve abstracts.

David J. Bianco			| Web Wonders, Online Oddities, Cool Stuff
iTribe, Inc.			|
Suite 1700, World Trade Center	| email: <[email protected]>
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