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E. Ross eross at mrc-crc.ac.uk
Thu Jun 17 05:03:52 EST 1993

   MSDN Secretariat, 307 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0JX, UK  
              Tel. 44 223 276622  Fax 44 223 277605   
          Email: msdn at phx.cam.ac.uk or msdn at bdt.ftpt.br 


The Microbial Strain Data Network (MSDN) is an international non- 
profit making organization providing specialized information and 
communication services for life scientists.  The MSDN is run from 
a secretariat based in Cambridge, UK, with part-time support from 
the US, and overseen by an international Committee of Management. 
MSDN is especially concerned with the promotion and establishment 
of communication links worldwide in order to encourage scientific 
data exchange and cooperation. 
A unique package of specialized online databases and bulletin 
boards are distributed through the MSDN network covering 
microbiology, biotechnology, genetics and biodiversity 
information.   Diverse data sources include information on 
microbial isolates characterized in culture collections 
worldwide, bacteria and virus taxonomic information, 
bibliographic and legislative information, and others.  Databases 
describe hybridomas, cell lines, and molecular probes as well as 
microorganisms.  MSDN subscribers additionally have access to the 
databases distributed by IRRO (Information Resource on Release 
of Organisms into the Environment). 
Change in MSDN host computer 
As of May 1st 1993 MSDN moved its host computer from British  
Telecom to the Base de Dados Tropical (BDT) computer in Brazil.  
This is the first stage in the development of MSDN as a 
distributed system of regional nodes.   The move takes advantage 
of the latest networking technologies and provides a much 
improved service for MSDN subscribers.  MSDN is now an integral 
part of the Internet and is easier and cheaper to use than 
previously.  The change of host has resulted in several 
significant changes regards the online resources now available, 
and all directly benefit subscribers of the MSDN network.   
Change in access 
The host computer can be accessed in seconds from most regions 
in the world.  The MSDN network continues to be available through 
the public data networks (X.25, IPSS, GNS).  The new computer 
address (NUA) is 72411925019.  For subscribers in the US and 
Canada access is possible through Econet via SprintNet.  
A major development is that MSDN is now directly accesssible 
through the Internet (bdt.ftpt.br or  The 
Internet is a huge global network of computers originating from 
the academic and research communities, and now increasingly used 
by commercial organizations.  Universities and other academic 
establishments are likely to have an Internet connection giving 
the benefit of free telecommunication links to MSDN. 
For those currently without access to the Internet, and who are 
interested in this access path, there are a number of third party 
Internet service providers who enable commercial users to use the 
Internet.  Examples include Delphi (US), Demon (UK), and EUnet 
(several European countries).  The MSDN secretariat staff will 
be happy to provide further details and advise on access. 
Access to Internet resources 
An incredible variety of Internet hosted genetic, cell biology, 
ecology and other scientific resources provide a valuable 
complement to the MSDN databases.  These include molecular 
sequence databanks, cell line and molecular probe databases, 
specialist scientific news and discussion groups (eg. on 
biological species conservation and diversity), natural products 
database, and many more.  
Improvements in searching databases 
Most MSDN distributed databases now use a common search software, 
INFO, developed by BDT.  This is a simple to use yet powerful 
text retrieval system.  A series of menus allows browsing through 
the databases and bulletin boards.  If preferred a particular 
database can be selected directly. 
A new feature is the facility to carry out cross-file searches.  
If unsure of the best database to use, a search can be made of 
all database indexes.  The number of records satisfying the 
search is listed for each database enabling the most appropriate 
database(s) to be selected.   
A directory of MSDN subscribers is searchable online.  On 
registration, subscribers are assigned an MSDN id and password.  
For those on the Internet, electronic mail sent to MSDN mailboxes 
is forwarded to their Internet address.  For those not on the 
Internet the MSDN id can be quoted as an Internet mailbox addres 
allowing easy email exchange between Internet and non-Internet 
Other MSDN services  
Customized searches can be made on a one-off or regular basis.  
Similarly, training and consultancy in microbial information 
management and retrieval can be provided to individuals or groups. 

Registering with MSDN 
For details of MSDN registration and fee contact either: 
 MSDN Secretariat, 307 Huntingdon Road, Cambridge CB3 0JX, UK  
 Tel. 44 223 276622  Fax 44 223 277605   
 Email: msdn at phx.cam.ac.uk or msdn at bdt.ftpt.br 
 Bioinformatics Department, ATCC, 12301 Parklawn Drive, Rockville 
 MD 20852, USA 
 Tel. 1 301 231 5585  Fax 1 301 770 1541 
 Email: lynn at atcc.nih.gov 

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