How can one use PhysDep? You can either SURF by 'mouse-and-klick' to the continent in mind and its countries and their physics institutions and then in their WWW-Server until you find the information you are looking for.
Or you can SEARCH by typing your query into the search field. This can be done either by simple search (just type in the words you are looking for, or specify your query by usage of Boolean operators (AND, OR).
The system returns a list of 'hits' onto your screen. Although the information for each hit may look to you 'ugly', it does give a link to a page on the server of a physics institute which seems to contain the words of your query. It also gives the link to the host of that page and some additional information to assist you in obtaining an answere of your query.
The depth of information reached by PhysDep differs at present in different countries and sites: Worldwide we scan just the home page and the linked pages (depth 1), in Europe we achieved depth 2, in Germany depth 3, and in some places (thanks to their active cooperation) full depth (27 Departments and Institutes in Germany, all in Ireland).
How to improve the visibility of your own Institution? By installing a local 'gatherer' (a HARVEST based local search engine which produces an index file to be exported automatically to the distributed network of PhysDep). The installation is simple and does not take much computing time or disk space. (A detailed help text for the operator is available).
The great advantage for the department or institution of installing a local gatherer is that the institution itself can decide which information on their local server should be accessed by external search engines (such as information on research fields, etc.) and which not (such as meeting dates). In addition, all information stored deeper inside (more clicks to reach from the homepage) will be uncovered and found.
In the unlikely event, your institution is missing from this services, there is an Upload Form to inform us about links to your homepage, your publication archive and to keep these links up to date.
PhysNet is a fully 'democratic service': No central database is kept. No central server is necessary. Instead any institution or nation or institute can set up a Harvest broker (a programme, answering queries), and let it be registered by the EPS services. These brokers then share the workload of answering queries from anywhere and have contact to all the local gatherers. This network of brokers and gatherers is thus less vulnerable (any broker can take over the load of any other broker).
The responsibility (quality check) and integrity of the material retrieved rests with the local Physics Institutions servers. Thus it is important that the list contains only Institutes registered by the societies.
We thus call for local institutions in physics to set up a gatherer and for national societies or regional institutions to set up a broker and thus share the workload.
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