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The NASA Technical Report Server (NTRS) is now available to the public, at NTRS can search reports of the Ames Numerical Aerodynamic Simulation Division (NAS), Dryden Flight Research Center, Institute for Computer Applications in Science and Engineering (ICASE), Langley Research Center, RECON database, Selected Current Aerospace Notices (SCAN), and Goddard's STELAR project. [Michael L. Nelson (, sci.aeronautics, 6/6/94. Anandeep Pannu.]

The INSIDE SECRETS investigative newsletter is now available from Ask Michael E. Enlow ( about his 40MB of related files, or browse them via FTP to [ALTLEARN, 6/11/94. net-hap.]

UWisconsin-Madison is offering journalists direct access to its 915 faculty experts. Access the WiscINFO gopher (Directories/ Faculty/ Experts List 1994). Jane Fisher (, 608/262-3571. [Kurt Foss (, CARR-L, 6/13/94.]

Profnet has apparently opened its service to the general public. It was organized by Dan Forbush to put reporters in touch with public-information officers at over 600 universities worldwide. The PIOs forward queries to appropriate faculty experts. (Didn't I see this algorithm in a CACM article about Connection Machines?) Profnet now handles 14-20 queries per day, on subjects as esoteric as what to feed pet crickets. To find an expert, write to, (516) 632-6313, (800) PROFNET. [Jonathan Rabinvitz, NYT. SJM, 6/12/94, p. 1E.]

Another service, from the Scientists' Institute for Public Information (NY City), uses a database of 30,000 experts. NSF program directors can be helpful, or you can ask officers of professional associations. Four phone calls at most should get you in touch with an expert on any subject -- and most are delighted to find a use for their knowledge. Usenet/Bitnet /Internet lists also work, but may take several days. Don't forget conference proceedings, journals, and society newsletters, especially the advisory boards, editors, and chairmen. Bibliographies are also good, but you may have to ask around or check directories to find a professor's address -- and it's not easy to know which author to seek. Reference librarians can often help with addresses, and may be able to answer your technical questions directly. Professional information brokers can do the same, and can probably save you money over doing your own searches on commercial bibliographic and reference databases. [KIL, 6/15/94.] (Reference books, journals, and databases are typically "dead knowledge"; Profnet and the librarians are "living knowledge.")

You can try the Glimpse information retrieval engine on Alf-Christian Achilles's 240,000 bibTeX CS citations. Link to and try the AI area (or neural networks, databases, etc.). For further information, read [Udi Manber (, info.theorynt, 6/5/94.]