Preparation for Dienst Installation
This is information of interest before you download Dienst, the foundation
for NCSTRL, - an
overview of Dienst, a list of necessary skills for installation,
and how to get software update information.
Overview of Dienst
What Dienst is
Dienst is a protocol
and server for providing distributed document
servers over the World Wide Web. Dienst
provides four digital library services:
repository services that store and deliver multi-format documents,
index services that index meta-information on documents and provide
search engines over these indexes, meta services, also called
contact services, which provide information for interoperability among servers,
and user interface services that
provide a human front-end to the three other services.
Multiple Dienst servers interoperate to provide a logically uniform
collection to the user, even though the physical collection is
distributed. Each individual Dienst server "knows" about other sites,
and visa-versa, by periodically polling a central meta-server site.
The Dienst system is the foundation for NCSTRL, the Networked
Computer Science Technical Report Library, but the protocol in no way depends
on or is specialized for this particular collection. Dienst can be used as
easily for a distributed library of reports about geologic phenomenon or
alternative health options.
Documents served by Dienst are each identified by a universally unique
document identifier, or
handle. This handle is partitioned into
a naming authority and string. Each document has, at a minimum,
bibliographic information stored in a tagged format. In addition, a
document may have several other representation formats (e.g.,
PostScript, HTML, TIFF, etc). The formats in which a document is
available are either stored in a organized directory sub-tree known as
the document database,
or on an anonymous FTP site.
How Dienst runs
This release of Dienst only runs on Unix machines. We have developed it
on a SPARCstation running SunOS 4.1.3x and tested in on a number of other
Unix systems; there is no
reason that it should not run on any Unix platform to
has been ported. This version of Dienst(4.x) is compatible with both
perl4 and perl5.
The Dienst system is implemented in two parts:
Your Web server (and the perl stub) should run on the same machine as
the standalone Dienst server. Running a Dienst system therefore involves
two processes, a WWW server, and the Dienst server.
- a small perl stub that a Web server communicates with through the Common Gateway Interface.
- a standalone server process, written in perl, that communicates
with the stub using socket I/O.
Skills you will need for the installation
To install the software, you will need
- some basic Unix skills, i.e., how to copy files, change file
permissions, edit a file;
- some basic network information about your system; and
- how to configure a Web server. (The Dienst server has been tested with two widely available Web servers,
NCSA httpd and
To add some of the optional features, or to create more customization, a
higher skill level is required.
- Some of the optional features use C code, so you will
need to know about the
make command to compile that code.
- Advanced customization options require a working knowledge of perl.
Overview of the Dienst system installation
This section describes the three pieces of the installation puzzle that
function together as Dienst.
A basic Dienst system has three logical parts: the World Wide Web (Web)
server, the Dienst server, and the document database.
Web Server <----------> Dienst Server <----------> Document Database
The document database
The document database
is a structured collection of documents
organized in a sub-tree on your file system.
The database is a prerequisite for running Dienst.
Every document in your document database is, at least, represented by
a bibliographic file (containing meta-information about the document).
The document database may also contain representations of the document
in multiple formats (e.g. PostScript, TIFF, GIF, etc.).
The Dienst server
A Dienst server is the standalone process that provides searching of and
access to your document database. It is also interoperates
with other Dienst servers to allow searching of and access to documents the
The Web server
The Dienst protocol, which provides communication with a Dienst server, is
encapsulated within HTTP, the World Wide Web
To run the Dienst server you should have a working Web server
and configure it to work with Dienst.
The Web server and Dienst communicate via
the Common Gateway Interface
(CGI). The Web server may also
provide other Web services. For example, you may already have a running Web
server at your site that you can use as a gateway to Dienst. Knowledge of
CGI is not a prerequisite for the
installation of the server, but may help in its administration.
As we continue to work on the Dienst software at Cornell, we
occasionally produce new software releases. These releases will
contain bug fixes, performance enhancements, or new functionality.
There are two ways that you can keep track of these software updates:
- When you register your server, you will be added to the
NCSTRL mailing list. New releases and other significant
announcements will be posted to this list.
- A release notes file contains information on latest releases. For more detailed information there is a directory of differences files. Each diff file is named
Up to the Install and Maintain Dienst Information
Any comments or questions?
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.