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Due to the multidisciplinary nature of the cytometric field it is increasingly difficult for scientists to overlook the individually relevant progress due to cytometric contributions in many different journals and meetings.
At this point, the Internet is attractive for several reasons. A major interest concerns the potential for fast international information exchange e.g. by bulletin boards (3.1) of scientific societies and user groups for the announcement of meeting, workshop and courses ( 3.1.1), by displaying extracts of the scientific literature (abstracts, table of contents of journals (3.1.2) or by providing collections of laboratory procedures ( 3.1.4).
Another even more important aspect concerns the interactive potential of the Internet for the conceptual development ( 3.2) of science e.g. by the installation of concept fora ( 3.2.1) by the preparation of consensus processes ( 3.2.2), by participating in the discussion of E-mail groups (e.g. Purdue E-mail box) ( 3.2.3), by advancing scientific software development ( 3.2.7) for the standardized establishment of individual patient disease diagnosis and especially disease prognosis from multiparameter cytometric and other data and by promoting international quality assurance ( 3.2.2) programs and educational offers (STEP program, telelearning ( 3.2.6) in this area.
The Internet provides a significant lead time for the early recognition of new interest areas in this fast expanding multidisciplinary research field especially when compared to the traditional time lapse between scientific concept, experimental phase and result publication.
Due to the rapidly increasing importance of the Internet for the cytometric field during the last year, it is the goal of the Rimini 1996 tutorial to provide the essential basic information on Internet access, operation, diagnostics and performance enhancement for the interested scientist.
The network is mostly accessed from PC, MacIntosh or Unix computers via fast ethernet lines (250Kbytes/sec), by digital ISDN telephone lines (8 or 24Kbytes/sec) or by modem connections via slower analogue telephone lines (3.6Kbyte/sec = 28800baud) using the SLIP or PPP data exchange protocol.
The hardware connection between computer and network is established by computer bus access via a plug-in network card, via external interfaces attached to the parallel printer port or via telephone modem attached to a serial (RS232) port of the computer.
Appropriate driver software establishes the data communication between computer and network. Telephone modem access to the Internet is assured by access provider companies. Such companies operate gateway computers to the Internet. Universities or other larger organisation uses typically the faster ethernet access to the network.
Each network computer is identified and accessed by its unique URL (Universal Relocater) address consisting of a mnemonic name e.g. pcv4.biochem.mpg.de which is transformed into a unique computer address number e.g. 220.127.116.11 by a name server computer of the network. Network computers are set up either as clients or as server computers. Most computers are client computers. Client computers can demand, display and download information from server computers and send messages to server and client computers.
Name server computers contain address lists and access information comparable to e.g. telephone books. This information is required to identify and access each computer in the network.
Gateway computers provide network access from multiclient and server environments of large institutions like universities, hospitals, administrations, access providers or companies.
Routing computers distribute the network traffic within the network in an optimized way.
Network analysis programs permit the analysis of network performance to the individual user.
A variety of commercial or other intranets are installed in the Internet like the Compuserve, America On-Line, Europe On-Line, T-OnLine etc. The registerd user has access from any of these nets to the general Internet. Intranets are not accessible, however, to the general public.
The World Wide Web Consortium, a vendor neutral industry consortium develops and promotes new hardware and software standards for the Internet.
Lycos search for: Mosaic Download Site using the: Match All Words option to find software download sites or by the direct download of Netscape, Mosaic or Microsoft Explorer browser software. It is advisable to download Netscape Gold versions because the most essential plug-in drivers for multimedia applications (18.104.22.168) are enclosed in the download.
A comparatively cheap possibility for the installation of personalized www-pages outside public institutions is provided on the www-server computers of access providers or in commercial nets like Compuserve, America On-line etc. The installation of www-servers on PCs accessible by telephone modem is also possible but the data link is slow and the telephone costs are high for continuous server operation. Access is faster by ISDN telephone lines (64Kbit/sec i.e. 8 Kbyte/sec) but telephone costs are still significant i.e. the operation of www-servers outside public institutioons is mostly restricted to commercial access providers.
NCSA, WWW-Consortium). The textual, graphic, video and audio information of HTML files is displayed by network browser programs like Netscape of Mosaic. The files are editable by normal editors and contain ASCII text intermixed with display and link commands to outside computers, contained within: < > brackets. Examples of cytometric web pages are provided in fig.1-3
Graphics may consist of two types: in-line graphics (fig.4) and full-sized graphics (fig.5) In-line graphics are small to large images that are embedded in the web page. Small scale images (so-called thumbnail images) may be used to show the user a sample a larger scale image that is typically accessed by clicking on the thumbnail. Virtually all browsers will display the image directly, although some image types require a plug-in.
Image maps (fig.6) are graphics that contain embedded reference points that can be selected with the mouse. Such reference points contain hypertext links to other files or images. This is useful for organizing menus or for the examination of features of complex images.
For the Web, all images are displayed as bitmapped images. This means, the image is made up as a mosaic of PIcture ELementS (pixels) on the computer monitor. Several familiar formats include TIFF (tagged interchange file format), GIF (graphical interchange format), JPEG (joint photographic experts group). All three formats use file size compression. This is important because it reduces transfer time via the Internet. (As an example, an image file that contains large numbers of the same pixel (areas of black or white) can save information about the numbers and location of the same pixel and reduce the size of the file substantially; a ten-fold reduction in size is not unusual.)
Animation, on the other hand, can work with few images, but can give the illusion of speed. There are several instance in cytometry where animation can provide more information. Displays of kinetics data are obvious, but complex multi-parameter data sets that require multiple views may be more understandable if time is used as a feature.
Most video/animation cannot be viewed directly in a browser, but must be viewed with another helper application or plug-in. Depending on the file source, you will need the appropriate viewer. There are several file formats in use. MPEG (motion pictures joint experts group) is one standard that is widely implemented.
QuickTime is to store, edit and play synchronized graphics, sound, video, text and music. QuickTime is available for both Macintosh and PCs. A good source for viewers is: Lentz or: Quicktime or at Apple.
Typical video/audio formats for PCs are the .AVI or .WAV format. Practical applications in cytometry concern the visualization of intracellular processes or the display and commenting of critical steps in cell preparation or staining procedures as well as the demonstration of instrument setup features like laser focusing or particular flow conditions in cytometric analysis or sorting chambers as well as in microscopic imaging.
Streaming video is available from VDO
QuickTimeVR provides interactive objects for manipulations in space. Another standard, VRML (the virtual reality modeling language), provides for a variety of ways to use graphical display and interaction in time. 3D animation is of interest for the intuitive display of multidimensional measurements in flow and image cytometry.
Plug-ins are designed to work within the net browser. These are mostly proprietary formats and there is no standard at this time. Some are quite useful. An overview and various plug-ins can be obtained at Netscape
Look-up programs search either the mnemonic name or the numeric computer addresses. Ping programs send a sequence of byte packages to a distant network computer. The round trip time until the return of the echo of the Ping byte sequence and the number of lost data packages are provided by these programs. Trace programs provide the exact routing of calls to distant computers by displaying the numeric and mnemonic addresses of server, gateway and routing computers (fig.9). Watch programs permit fast checks of entire sets of www-server, gateway and routing computers e.g. for the availability of intra- and extramural (fig.10 right and left)
Systematic network analysis shows that large distance traffic e.g. over the atlantic is organized "freeway" like i.e. it mostly proceeds via the same sequence of commercial network stations in e.g. the t3answer.net, mci.net, dante.net, dfn.net etc. Final access e.g. within universities or larger cities, in contrast, may be by "country road" traffic via variable roads.
"Hotspots" occur presently in some network areas like e.g. San Francisco but also in certain parts of Europe where network calls may circle in waiting loops a substantial number of times (e.g. 5-10 times) between the same routing stations. The call reaches finally either the wanted station or is terminated by a time out mechanism e.g. of the network browser.
CD-ROMs eliminates network waiting time. The information on the CD remains fully accessible with current network browsers. The off-line available information is read from the CD while on-line calls are serviced on-line as long as the computer is actively connected to the network. In case no network access is given the off-line files are correctly displayed while on-line calls cause a bypassable error message.
automatically if cytometric www-page providers store their pages in compressed form on FTP-server computers from where they can be collected by suitable programs (e.g. all Martinsried www-pages) daily, weekly or monthly according to the interest of the individual user. Following decompression, the received files can be inspected with the network browser off-line from harddisk in the same way as CD-ROM files.
Due to the fast development of the cytometric field and the high activities on the Purdue E-mail box, searches have usually to be narrowed down e.g. cytometry AND calcium AND intracellular like in Alta Vista Advanced Query searches.
robot programs for various purposes are available. Besides identified robot program, the network is also searched by an unknown number of unidentified robot programs. The routine access of web pages by known robot programs can be blocked by inclusion of an appropriate ASCII-text file at the beginning of the first directory branch of a web site.
documention on the appearence of new viruses.
Websites may entertain an E-mail forum to ask questions or exchange comments with colleagues, and to view or discuss results. The future will see the formation of "electronic" meetings or workshops taking place.ISAC, Martinsried, Purdue University [Purdue CD-ROM], and at the Wiley Website
Access to several websites has been made more rapid by regional mirror sites. Such mirrors duplicate the contents of other websites on remote web sites. Examples include mirrors for the ISAC WWW site in Germany, Spain and the UK. For Europe the Cytorelay Node at the Max Plank Institute, Martinsried web site has mirrors of ISAC, Purdue University, Scripps Research Institute, and JCSMR in Australia. For North America, the ISAC Web site will soon have a mirror for the Sociedad Iberica de Citometria (Iberian Society for Cytometry) in Oviedo.
ISAC, Deutsche Gesellschaft für Zytometrie (DGZ), Europ.Soc.Anal.Cell.Pathology (ESACP), Abstract Text 1995, workshops, and courses are available at regional web sites (ISAC, Purdue and Martinsried).
Wiley Cytometry Website . It is expected that tables of contents for Clinical Communications in Cytometry will follow. Tables of contents for Analytical Cellular Pathology (ACP) are available at Martinsried, and recent volumes at the publisher, Elsevier Scientific. In addition, tables of contents for other journals are available at the Elsevier Science Tables of Contents service.
Functional Cell Biochemistry by Flow Cytometry.
Concepts in Clinical Cytometry at Martinsried has the goal to advance the scientific discussion on the clinical use of cytometry. This should favor consensus processes and standardized data classification on an international and interdisciplinary scale.
The ISAC Web Site is planning an on-line forum on cytometric assays of apoptosis.
The format of these platforms will be to present one or two page communications on current issues. They will be grouped by themes. The communications can be backed up by links in greater depth. E-mail discussion remarks are welcome and will be appended to the communications.
working groups and proposals for consensus protocols in cytometry. The inclusion of graphics makes these on-line discussion fora valuable sources of current thinking and practice in cytometry as well as proposals for new methodologies. Consensus documents that contain information on several protocols are available at Martinsried [ Purdue CD-ROM]. These include immunephenotyping in leukemia as well as DNA flow cytometry and DNA morphometry (fig.12).
Ring trial results on standards and quality control are useful references and several are on-line at the Martinsried site. They include: leukocyte and thrombocyte immunophenotyping or DNA flow cytometry. [ Purdue CD-ROM].
Internet since early 1995 has greatly enhanced the popularity of this mailbox (fig.11).
Purdue CD-ROM project is to periodically compile the Internet information in cytometry. This facilitates the access to larger documents like E- mail archives, video, image and audio sequences, software, data file repositories which is for their size are slow to transport through the network. CD sequences will be of interest to easily visualize the scientific progress in this research area. Journal of Image Guided Surgery and the Global Emergency Medicine Archives.
STEP and TATIANA Programs are examples for learning and telelearning programs in cytometry.
Amherst [Purdue CD-ROM].
A popular download site is at Scripps
The image analysis program for the Macintosh, NIH Image, is available by FTP along with a number of image files and associated programs.
Furthermore databases and cytometric list mode data can be on-line classified (fig.13) and practical application of the Standardized Multiparameter Data Classification (SMDC) in research and medicine are shown.
repositories provide histogram or list mode files from various cytometers. In the future they may additionally provide entire data sets e.g. on typical measurement, evaluation and classification schemes in clinical cytometry.