Network Working Group
Request for Comments: 543
NIC: 17777
D. Meyer
31 July 1973

Network Journal Submission and Delivery

Augmentation Research Center

Stanford Research Center

Menlo Park, California 94025

The on-line documentation will be maintained as (userguides. journal-netsub,). Hard copies are available from Marcia Keeney.

The first implementation of a Network Journal Submission and Delivery system is now experimentally up. This system allows use of the NIC's NLS Journal System without entering NLS. Network users may submit text files written on their host systems using their mail subsystems (e.g. SNDMSG, FTP, TELNET). The mail will then be converted at SRI- ARC into NLS files, journalized, and sent to the specified recipients according to their preset Journal delivery options. A newly added option permits the user to receive automatic Journal delivery (of citations to journalized documents) at his host via the Network mail protocol.


Network mail sent to SRI-ARC (NIC) will be entered into the NIC Journal system if a slash appears in the user-name. To get the mail to the NIC, you may use either the FTP, TELNET, or mail subsystem provided by your local system.

The author's NIC Ident(s) are assumed to appear before the slash; the recipients' NIC Ident(s) after it. Idents should be separated by spaces. (See scenarios in branch 3)
(e.g. jew / mdk dhc)

When this format is detected by the NIC, the Network Journal system will be invoked. At SRI-ARC the mail will be transformed into an NLS file, assigned a unique catalog number, stored permanently under that number, and a notice of it will be sent to all the listed recipients. If the slash is not found, the mail will be handled in the normal way.

Delivery of Journal citations may now be obtained via the Network (as well as to an NLS file at SRI-ARC and in hard copy). If you wish to receive your Journal mail at you host computer, contact the NIC (see RFC510 -- 16400,).

A more detailed description follows.


The remote user prepares the text of his Journal article in his host using whatever tools he has available to him. He may wish to prepare long articles beforehand using his text editor (e.g. TECO if he's a TENEX user). For short messages, he may be content with the basic editing features (such as backspace character and line delete) provided by his submission subsystem.

Connecting to the NIC

To get the mail to the SRI-ARC FTP server, you must either:

  1. via FTP and TELNET mail subsystems, connect to SRI-ARC's FTP server process, then issue the FTP mail command, or
  1. use the mail subsystem provided by your local system.

For TENEX SNDMSG mail: put "@nic" at the end of the "User:" field.

            (e.g. jew / mdk dhc@nic)

If you wish to send the mail as a SNDMSG message to some people as well as submit it to the Journal, you may treat the Journal form as one name, follow it with a comma, and then list other names of which SNDMSG is aware, separated by commas.

            (e.g. jew/mdk dhc@nic, meyer, white)

Specifying Authors and Recipients

The user invokes Network Journal submission via his mail subsystem. Network Journal Submission is invoked by a user-name field of the following format:

      author $(SP author) [SP] / [SP] recipient $ (SP recipient) [SP]
      [ ; conversion algorithm]
         "$(..)" means "any number of occurrences, possibly
                 zero, of what's inside the parentheses"
         "SP" means "space"
         "[..]" mean "the contents of the brackets are optional"
   i.e., author(s), slash, recipient(s), optional semicolon and
      e.g., jew/mdk rww   cr    dcs rww jcn / sri-arc ;h

'Author' is the NIC Ident of (one of) the user(s) submitting the article, and 'recipient' the Ident of (one of) its intended recipient(s). An Ident, as usual, may designate either a "group" or an "individual". SRI-ARC will verify the idents. If it finds them correct, it will accept the mail. An invalid Ident will cause the mail to be rejected; the user will get an error message and have to start over. The first author Ident will be taken to be the clerk.

If the SRI-ARC mail subsystem finds the slash in the user-name field, the Network Journal Submission system will be invoked; otherwise, the mail will be treated as normal Network mail (delivered to the directory specified by the user-name).

Specifying an NLS Conversion Algorithm

Optionally, the sender may specify the algorithm by which his sequential message file is to be converted to NLS format. This choice is made by inserting:

      ; conversion algorithm

anywhere in the 'user-name' field (e.g. jew/mdk rww;s). (This should be before the "@nic" for SNDMSG.) Legal values for conversion- algorithm are:

      s -- Insert Sequential, each line an NLS statement (default

a -- Insert Assembler with structure

m -- Insert Assembler without structure

h -- Heuristic Insert Sequential, double <CR>s indicating end of statements, assuming no right justification in the source file.

j -- Heuristic Insert Sequential, double <CR>s indicating end of statements, assuming right justification in the source file (for those who put multiple spaces between words to line up the right margin, multiple spaces will be removed)

By "Heuristic Insert Sequential", we mean that the Insert Sequential algorithm attempts to be smarter about handling statements and levels. Statements are delimited by two successive carriage returns. Statement level will be determined by the amount the statement is indented. If it is indented more than the previous statement, it will be taken to be a substatement and put down a level; if it is the same as the previous statement, it will be on the same level. If the statement is indented less than the previous statement, the program will look for a past statement with the same indentation and put it at that level, The indentation of a statement is taken to be that of either the first or second line of the statement, whichever is less (to ignore paragraph indentation, for example). This is good from 1 to 12 levels. Carriage returns at the end of full (within 10 characters of the right margin, i.e. 62nd column) lines are replaced by spaces.

This algorithm is an attempt to answer a very difficult need. It won't always do just the right thing, but it should often provide the intended result. The user is encouraged to experiment with it; suggestions will be welcomed.

Titling the Message

      Once the conversion has been performed, an optional title,
      signaled by the label 're:'. 'title:', or 'subject:' is searched
      for in the first statement of the message text.  (The label may
      either be all upper or all lower case, or the first character
      upper and the rest lower case.)  If a label is found anywhere in
      the statement, the line of that statement beginning with the first
      non-blank character following the label and going up to the first
      carriage return (and line feed) or else to the end of the
      statement is taken as the Journal title, and the statement
      containing the title is deleted from the file,  Any substructure
      will be moved up a level.

The submission is equivalent to the NLS 'Submit Message' command if th NLS file (after the title statement (if any) has been deleted) has only one statement in it besides the origin statement; in such a case, the message in its entirety will be delivered as part of the Journal citation. Otherwise the Network submission is equivalent to 'Submit File'; only a reference to the Journal document will be delivered to each of the recipients.


If you're a TENEX user, you can do Network Journal Submission with any of the following subsystems (system responses are in square brackets):

      (1)   SNDMSG  (The header and trailer supplied by SNDMSG aren't
                     stripped off, and one can only title the document
                     by using the h or j conversion algorithms and
                     beginning the message with a carriage return (and
                     line feed).)
            [@] SNDMSG <CR>
            [Type ? for help]
            [Users:] JEW/DHC@NIC <CR>
            [Subject:] Title of message <CR>
            [Message: (? for help):] Text of message ... <^Z>
              (Note: ^B allows the insertion of a sequential
              file at any point in the text of the message.)
            [jew/dhc at NIC -- ok]
      (2) FTP

For short messages:

            [@] FTP <CR>
            [HOST FTP User process x.xx.x]
            [*] CONN <SP> NIC <CR>
            [   Connection opened]
            [   Assuming 36-bit connections.]
            [*< SRI-ARC FTP Server x.xx.x - at DAY DATE TIME]
            [*] QUO <ALT> MAIL JEW/MDK RWW <CR>
            [*< Type mail, ended by a line with only a "."]
            [*] QUO <ALT> Re: Title of Message <CR>
            [*] QUO <ALT> line one of the message <CR>
            [*] QUO <ALT> line two of the message <CR>
            [*] ...etc...
            [*] QUO <ALT>.<CR>
            [*< Mail completed successfully]
            [*] DISC <CR>
            [*] QUIT <CR>

For longer ones:

            [@] FTP <CR>
            [HOST FTP User process x.xx.x]
            [*] CONN <SP> NIC <CR>
            [   Connection opened]
            [   Assuming 36-bit connections.]
            [*< SRI-ARC FTP Server x.xx.x - at DAY DATE TIME]
            [*] MAIL <ALT> sequentialfilename <CR> [Confirm] <CR>
            [   to remote-user] JEW/MDK RWW <CR>
            [<Begin mail file transfer.]
            [   xx. bytes transfered, run time = xxx. MS,]
            [   Elapsed time = xxxxx. MS, Rate = xxxx Baud]
            [*< Mail completed successfully]
            [*] DISC <CR>
            [*] QUIT <CR>

TELNET (for short messages only)

            [@] TELNET <CR>
            [User Telnet x.x DATE Type HELP<cr> for help.]
            [*] NIC <SP> FTP Server [is complete.#]
            [300 SRI-ARC FTP Server x.xx.x.x - at DAY DATE TIME]
            MAIL JEW/MDK RWW <CR>
            [350 Type mail, ended by a line with only a "."]
            re: Title of Message
            line one of message <CR>
            line two of message <CR>
            [256 Mail completed successfully]
            [*] DISC <CR>
            [*] QUIT <CR>


Three modes of Journal delivery are currently available to NLS users; each user can select any one or a combination of ways of receiving journal mail:

      (1)   ONLINE -- an entry containing the text of the mail or, for
            longer items, a citation to it, made in the user's initial
            file, which resides in his directory at SRI-ARC.
      (2)   HARDCOPY -- the text of the mail is sent to the user (i.e.,
            to an address of his choosing) via the U.S. Postal Service.
      (3)   NETWORK -- Journal mail will be delivered to a user via the
            Net, to a host and mailbox of his choosing.  If you wish
            this option, let the NIC know and give them the name of your
            host and mailbox.

Short messages ('Submit Message') will be delivered in their entirety to the remote user, preceded by the usual sort of header giving author, date and time, citation number, and title:

                  JEW 4-APR-73 11:21  15490
                  SMFS Runs on TENEX 1.31 at the NIC
                  Message: Dave-- The NIC came up on TENEX 1.31 on

A citation to larger Journal articles ('Submit File') will sent:

                  JEW 4-APR-73 17:51  15491
                  Farming Batch Work out to UCSB -- A Scenario
                  Location: SRI-ARC <MJOURNAL> 15491.NLSXNLS

In place of the usual link (which appears in ONLINE delivery) is a host name (SRI-ARC) and a pathname to the file at the host. Using it, the remote user or a process running on his behalf can fetch a copy of the file from SRI-ARC FTP. The parameter ';XNLS' signals SRI-ARC's FTP server process to convert the NLS file to sequential form (using a default conversion algorithm) before transmission to the user through the Net.

By Network Journal delivery, mail will be delivered via FTP mail command to a host (i.e., to it's FTP server process) and mailbox address of the user's choosing.

These two parameters will be maintained in the NIC Ident file for each user who selects NETWORK delivery, and can, like his delivery mode, be viewed or changed from the Ident System in NLS. Initial values for host and mailbox address have been solicited from the Network community (see RFC 510 -- 16400,).

The implementation of Network Journal submission and delivery described here is a first-cut. A more flexible and slightly cleaner user interface will be fashioned when the File Transfer Protocol (FTP), upon which both implementations will rely, is revised to deal more comprehensibly with the issue of mail delivery, forwarding, and recording (see RFC 524 -- 15146,1).

[This RFC was put into machine readable form for entry]

[into the online RFC archives by Via Genie 12/99]