EDI and the Internet

Lysbeth Bainbridge, EDI Coordinator (bainbridgel%aacrao.decnet.cern.ch@NCHEMAIL.nche.edu)
Wed, 15 Dec 1993 09:33:17 -0800


For Immediate Release December 4, 1993

A Call to Action: Internet and Electronic Data Interchange

"Come on in, the water's fine!" invited the speaker at a recent workshop,
summoning all those interested in helping to develop a standardized way
to use the Internet for electronic data interchange (EDI). Internet
standards development requires collaboration and grass-roots partici-
pation. The education community is now providing opportunities for open
discussion on EDI and the Internet. The result will likely have signifi-
cant consequences for current and future users of the Internet.

Over the past ten years, business and government have depended
increasingly on EDI as a fast, economical, and dependable way to conduct
business transactions. Computer-to-computer communication is replacing
such paper forms as purchase orders, court conviction records, and
mortgage credit reports. Commercial value-added networks (VANs) have
been the traditional carriers of EDI messages. Now the education
community is pioneering efforts to take advantage of widespread Internet
availability to reap the benefits of EDI while addressing issues of
authentication, access control, data integrity, and confidentiality.

The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers
(AACRAO) sponsored a mid-October Vancouver workshop attended by some 250
users of EDI formats for student records. Two speakers on Internet
issues were invited to share their expertise. Kelly McDonald is a member
of the Westnet Steering Committee, and David Crocker is a member and area
director of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Both experts are
enthusiastic about the possibility of using Internet for EDI.

Crocker put forward an initial proposal for using EDI over the Internet.
He outlined the steps needed to finalize such a standard. Key to this
process is putting together a work group that has the passion, skill, and
time to pursue the topic. The remaining components are:

-- establishing a listserv for discussion of this topic
-- drafting a proposal for comment
-- inviting open discussion on the proposal
-- revising the proposal according to the discussion
-- submitting the proposal to the IETF for approval

AACRAO's SPEEDE/ExPRESS Project, the driving force behind the workshop
and this development effort, has issued a call to action directed at
potential users of this standard. Brigham Young University hosts the
listserv established for this topic. To subscribe send an e-mail message
to: LISTSERV@BYU.EDU. The text of the message should only contain the

sub ietf-edi <your-name>

Messages may be sent to IETF-EDI@BYU.EDU

For information contact: Lysbeth Bainbridge, AACRAO EDI Coordinator,