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Procedures for Electronic Dissemination of Documents

19 October 1994

United Nations

Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development

Information Support Unit

Procedures for electronic dissemination of documents

Table of contents


Objectives underlying the compilation and dissemination of Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development-related documents in electronic format

Responsibility for electronic dissemination of documents

Collecting electronic copies of documents

UN Optical Disk System

Processing Documents downloaded from the Optical Disk System or obtained from the Word Processing Units

Posting electronic copies of documents on-line

Diskette-based dissemination of documents

Virus Protection

Annex I: Request for Documents to be placed on the Optical Disk System

Annex II: Request for Documents from a Word Processing Unit

Annex III: Request for Documents on Disk from Government or UN Agency

Annex IV: WordPerfect Macros in DPCSD.WPK Keyboard Layout

Annex V: Documentation for CNV.EXE Conversion Utility

Annex VI: Guidelines on Electronic Dissemination of Information (Draft)

19 October 1994

United Nations

Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development

Information Support Unit

Procedures for electronic dissemination of documents


This paper presents procedures in use by the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development (DPCSD) for dissemination of parliamentary documentation of the major bodies within DPCSD. DPCSD actively supports the electronic dissemination of documents. This paper covers procedures for compilation of documents on diskette and for electronic dissemination to the UNDP Internet Gopher and to other electronic networks.

Developmental Status

In reviewing these procedures, it must be kept in mind that the gophers for the Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development are still in a developmental phase, as are the procedures, and the nature of Internet connectivity and of the specific interface to the United Nations Development Programme system available to the Information Support Unit is likely to evolve. Furthermore, although this document outlines the procedures that have been used on a regular basis in the development of the gopher to date, and in the preparation of documents for the gopher, there is an ongoing need for flexibility in the application of these procedures, and for the development and use of improvisational procedures to address specific situations that may arise. Thus these procedures need to be considered as a framework to be used by, or under the supervision of, someone who has substantial experience with the nature and structure of gophers, with WordPerfect 5.1 -- especially in the creation and use of macros -- with a broad range of MS-DOS file management tools and procedures, and who has a general understanding of and familiarity with the UNIX operating system.

Objectives underlying the compilation and dissemination of Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development-related documents in electronic format

The objectives include:

Widespread, timely and cost-effective availability

The exploitation of cost-effective procedures can make documents available in a timely fashion to a much wider constituency than presently has access to them, including the rapidly growing body of people and organizations that have access to the Internet and to other electronic communications systems. Thus a single, brief response to a query received by electronic mail can provide directions that make available the full set of archives of bodies serviced by DPCSD that are on the gopher, without any further effort or expense on the part of DPCSD.

Responding to the demand for information in electronic format

There is a growing demand by agencies, organizations and individuals for documents in electronic format, which can be met through DPCSD's active support for electronic dissemination of documents. Among those involved in proceedings of the CSD the Social Summit process and the Fourth World Conference of Women, the non-governmental organization community has taken the lead to date in utilization of electronic communications technology. However, UN agencies and governments are increasingly recognizing the value of the tools.

Accessibility to powerful searching tools

Documents are being made available in a format that makes the information within the documents more readily and thoroughly accessible by those who are actively involved with the relevant proceedings -- through simple document searching tools that are available in word processing programs, through allowing the documents to be stored in full text searchable databases, or accessible through "navigational tools", e.g. the MS-DOS based Lotus Magellan software or on-line tools such as the World Wide Web or Mosaic.

Support for effective treatment of interrelated issues

The acknowledgement that so many environment and development issues are interrelated was a central theme throughout the UNCED proceedings; it is also made explicit by the "Policy Coordination" element of DPCSD's name. The compilation, organization and dissemination of parliamentary information in electronic format -- on disk as well as on electronic networks -- supports a multi-disciplinary approach to policy formulation and makes the information accessible significantly beyond conventional boundaries of organizations and disciplines.

Ease of storage and transport

The highly compact format in which information in electronic format can be stored makes it feasible to support the maintenance and transport of extensive electronic libraries on a much more cost-effective basis than maintaining the equivalent amount of information in printed form.

Encouragement of capacity-building in information and communication technology

By making documents available electronically, DPCSD is providing an incentive to agencies, governments and non-governmental organizations to make use of the technology.

Responsibility for electronic dissemination of documents

The Information Support Unit of DPCSD is responsible for coordination of the electronic dissemination of documents of the bodies serviced by DPCSD. This responsibility includes the development of procedures and guidelines for gopher organization, the initial implementation of electronic dissemination of documents, and the provision of technical and administrative support to the bodies served by DPCSD for the electronic dissemination of documents. The procedures set out below are based on experience gained during the design and development of expanded gophers for the CSD and the Social Summit in the summer of 1994.

Relationship to UN guidelines for electronic dissemination of information

The scope and treatment of materials posted on the CSD and Social Summit gophers conforms with the Draft Guidelines on Electronic Dissemination of Information currently under consideration by the Technological Innovations Board Working Group. The draft guidelines are included in Annex VI of this document.

Responsibility of Conferences, Committees and Commissions served by DPCSD

The Secretariats of the Conferences, Committees and Commissions served by DPCSD are responsible the selection and prioritization of the materials to be posted on their respective gophers and to be disseminated to other electronic networks. As the procedures become standardized, the Secretariats of the respective areas in DPCSD will be responsible for disseminating documents directly, with the technical and administrative support of the Information Support Unit.

Collecting electronic copies of documents

The process of collecting documents in electronic format involves obtaining them from one of several different sources -- including:

    the UN Optical Disk System,


    relevant sources in the DPCSD Secretariat and in the Department of Public Information

    the UN Word Processing Units,

    external sources, including governments intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organization,

    electronic conferences of the Association for Progressive Communications networks and TogetherNet, and

    having documents scanned and converted into electronic documents using optical character recognition software.

UN Optical Disk System

In principle, all official UN documents are placed on the UN Optical Disk System within twenty-four hours of being available in printed form. This means that the Optical Disk System can serve as the primary source for electronic copies of official UN documents.

Exceptions to availability of documents on the Optical Disk System

There are some exceptions to the rule that all official documents are available on the Optical Disk System. In general, draft decision documents (L documents) and Conference Room Papers (CRP documents) are not available, nor are "offset" documents (documents such as reports from agencies or governments that are introduced by a cover note, or a "Note from the Secretary-General"). In addition, some official documents do not make their way onto the Optical Disk System.

Location of Optical Disk System Workstation

A workstation equipped with the software and necessary connectivity for the Optical Disk System is available in the DPCSD Electronic Data Centre, Room DC2-1329; call 212 963-3352.

Preparing computer for the Optical Disk System

Because of computer memory limitations and the requirements for access to the Optical Disk System, a separate set of configuration files (AUTOEXEC.BAT and CONFIG.SYS) is required for using the Optical Disk System. If the computer is running, it is necessary to exit from Windows, or from other programs that may be running, to the C:\> prompt, and type ODS <Enter>. This will load the configuration files that are needed, and will give a message "Please reboot". At this point, press <Ctrl-Alt-Delete> (hold all three keys down at the same time) to restart the computer with the configuration to access the Optical Disk System.

Select the Optical Disk System Icon

The computer will then load Windows; select the item with a UN Logo and marked "ODS" -- it will be at the left of the program group "Information Support Unit" -- and double-click on the icon. If you get a message "Invalid drive or path" this generally means that the correct computer configuration has not been selected; in this case go back to "Preparing Computer for the Optical Disk System" above.

Login name and password

A dialogue box will appear with space for "Login name" and "Password". Both the login name and the password are "undpcsd1" -- both name and password must be typed in lower case. If you are successful, this will bring you to a mostly blank screen with "Database Retrieve Options" on a menu line at the top. If you receive a message "Network connection refused" this means that the Optical Disk System is not accessible, and generally that the system is down -- the Optical Disk System is routinely shut down from 1 pm to 2 or 2:30 pm for backing up documents.

Choosing document selection criteria

Normally you will select a document on the basis of its document symbol. Either with the mouse, or by typing <Alt-R>, choose "Retrieve", and then choose "by DocSymbol ..." from the sub-menu. This will open a Dialogue Box in which you should type either the full document symbol, or the initial part of the document symbol, e.g. "E/CN.17/1994" for 1994 CSD documents. Then either click on "Search" or press <Enter>. This will bring up a list of documents that match the selection criterion.

Selecting a specific document

Select a document by clicking on it, if necessary using the "Scroll Bar". The selected document will be highlighted. At the bottom of the box with the list of documents selected, there will be an indication as to what languages the document is available in -- in both text and image form. Generally, if the Optical Disk System shows that a document is available in both text and image form, this means that there is a text version of the cover note, and that the image file is of the "offset" document. Note that only documents in text form can be downloaded.

Selecting language of document

Normally, the default for the language is set as English. If any other language version is needed, click on the corresponding letter. Chinese language versions of text files can not be downloaded; in general, all other language versions are maintained in WordPerfect 5.1 format.

Viewing document

If it necessary to view the document, for example to verify that it is the document that is needed, click on "View".

Downloading documents

Click on "Download" or type <Alt-W> to obtain a disk copy of the document. You will then be shown a dialogue box in which you can modify the drive and directory where the downloaded files will be stored. If necessary, modify the target drive and directory. Then click on "Download". The document will be stored in a file with a file name corresponding to the document job number -- generally something like "9413975e" where the letter indicates the language.

Printing documents

If necessary, a document can be printed directly from the Optical Disk System, however in most cases it is faster to download the document and print it using WordPerfect.

Locating missing documents

If a document can not be found on the Optical Disk System, the first step is to check that you have the correct document symbol. Secondly, check the options setting, see below, to verify that the selection criteria have been set for UNDOCS. If the document has only just been released, i.e. within the last 48 hours, try again in a day or so. If the document is still not available, use the request form -- in Annex I -- to request that the document be placed on the Optical Disk System; alternatively, make a request to the Word Processing Units for a disk copy of the document, using the form contained in Annex II.

Checking "Options" settings

If there are no documents that match your selection, e.g. for 1994 CSD documents, it is possible that the "Options" settings have been modified. To check this, select "Options" from the main menu, and make sure that "UNDOCS" has been selected as the "Default Area" under the Database section of the dialogue box.

Request form

Complete the "Electronic Document Request Form", see Annex I, filling in the full document symbol, and indicating which language version of the document you need.

Processing Documents downloaded from the Optical Disk System or obtained from the Word Processing Units

Several processing steps are needed to prepare the files that have been downloaded from the Optical Disk System or obtained from the Word Processing Units -- both to put the files in a form where they can be stored in appropriate form on the hard disk and to convert the files into a form that can be used on the gopher.

Renaming files

When the files have been downloaded they should be renamed so that it is relatively easy to identify the document each file contains. If a group of files have been downloaded, the simplest way of renaming the files is through the use of Norton Commander, using the following steps. In Norton Commander, select the C:\ODS subdirectory (the default directory to which files are downloaded), or the directory where the files have been downloaded if different from C:\ODS. Using "<F9> m", have the files be displayed in Date/time order. Change the other panel under Norton Commander to "Quick View" by using "<Tab> <F9> v". Then use <F6> to rename the files. By using the Quick View option, you can easily see what document is contained in each file; displaying the documents in Date/time order means that files remain in the same sequence when the name is changed, and thus one can proceed in an orderly manner through all the documents that have been downloaded.

Guidelines for naming documents

In renaming the files, a consistent naming scheme should be used for each set of documents and the naming scheme should be chosen so as to maintain the logical sequence of the documents and to identify the language of the document. Since most United Nations document symbols have more than the eight characters permitted in a DOS file name (and more than eleven if the DOS file extension is included), it is generally not possible to have the file name fully reflect the document symbol. A satisfactory result can be achieved, however, by dropping some of the initial characters in the document symbol, e.g. "E/CN.17/19" for the Commission on Sustainable Development, or "A/CONF.166/" for the World Summit for Social Development and then moving the files to an appropriately named subdirectory. A file naming system needs to take into account the expected number and categories of documents in a series, including the likelihood of "Add" and "Rev" documents. Thus among 1993 documents from the Commission on Sustainable Development E/CN.17/1993/3/Add.2 has been named "93--3A2.EN", E/CN.17/1993/14 has been named "93-14.EN", and E/CN.17/1993/L.2/Rev.1 has been named "93-L-2R1.EN" Note that since most document series include more than ten documents, a leading "-" is necessary in front of single digit numbers to preserve the correct sequence; otherwise you create a sequence such as 1, 10, 11 ... 19, 2, 20, etc. rather than 1, 2, 3, etc.

Format changes in preparation for uploading to gopher

Documents to be posted to the Internet gopher need to be in ASCII Text format and should conform to certain formatting criteria in order to appear in a readily usable format on the gopher. Principal considerations concern: the line length - there should be less than 80 characters on a line; the elimination of non-standard characters - the acceptable characters are the set of ASCII characters 32 to 126 plus <Enter> (or carriage return) and <Tab>; and generally the avoidance of unnecessary blank spaces. Since the default left and right margins for UN documents is .9" and the default font is 12 characters per inch, there can be as many as 83 characters on a line if the text is formatted with full justification. In addition, in order to reduce the size of the WordPerfect documents that are maintained on disk, the UN logo should be removed.

DPCSD Keyboard Layout

Many of the modifications to the initial WordPerfect documents can be achieved through standard sets of keystrokes; for many of these situations, WordPerfect macros have been developed. These macros are maintained in the Keyboard Layout DPCSD.WPK, which can be found on the computer connected to the ODS. If the DPCSD Keyboard Layout has been selected, a listing of the macros can be seen by typing <Ctrl-M>. If nothing happens when you try to execute the macros, press "<Shift-F1> K" and select DPCSD from the list of available Keyboard Layouts. A listing of the macros included in the DPCSD.WPK Keyboard layout is shown in Annex IV.

Additional Macros
From time to time, you are likely to encounter documents with characteristics that call for repetitive series of keystrokes to be executed to convert it into standard format. In such situations, it can save considerable amount of time to create a macro to execute the needed series of keystrokes. For help in creating and editing WordPerfect macros, use the <F3> in WordPerfect for help, or consult the WordPerfect manual.

United Nations Acknowledgement Header

A header should be added at the beginning of the document indicating that the document has been made available in electronic format by the United Nations. Use <Ctrl-[> to retrieve the header and place it at the beginning of the document.


The standard font for United Nations documents is 10 point Courier (12 characters per inch). Occasionally, a proportional space font -- typically Times New Roman or CG Times -- is used, and this almost always causes problems with having more than 79 characters per line, and should be changed. In general, it is preferable to set the font to 12 point Courier, and to remove any other font settings in the documents, using the Search and Replace command <Alt-F2>.


If a font size of 12 point Courier (10 characters per inch) is used, it presents no problem to maintain the .9" left and right margins. However, if for other formatting considerations, e.g. Tables, it is necessary to use a 10 point Courier font, then the left and right margins should be set to 1" to avoid having more than 79 characters per line.


In most documents the initial left and right margin settings and the initial font are inserted by the use of an "Open Style" that sets a range of initial formatting codes. In some documents, this Open Style is inserted at various places in the document -- this often appears to indicate that different people have typed different sections of the document. If there is an Open Style after the beginning of the document, this can result in problems with excessive line length in the document. Occasionally, an Open Style is used to change page orientation from Portrait to Landscape; when this occurs it is generally accompanied by a Table -- see below for treatment of Tables. Open Styles can be found by using "<F2> <Alt-F8> 3", and then removed.


When WordPerfect documents are saved in ASCII Text format, sections of the document that are indented (with <F4>) produce a column of blank spaces on the left side of the document. These columns of blank spaces make it more difficult to optimize the format of documents when they are downloaded; in addition, they increase the size of the documents. In general, indented sections should be modified by changing all <Indent> codes to <Tab> using the Search and Replace command <Alt-F2>; however, in a few situations, mostly where text has an appearance of being in columns, conversion of <Indent> codes to <Tab> adversely affects the readability of the affected sections of the document.

Quasi Indent Format
In some documents -- principally from the Spanish language word processing unit where it appears to be used as a standard procedure for headings or subheadings within documents -- an appearance of an indented format is created by use of the "Center" code combined with blank spaces at both the beginning and ends of lines. When the margins and/or fonts are changed to limit the number of characters per line, this formatting style results in a somewhat messy appearance; this appearance can be aggravated when accented characters are converted -- see below for treatment of accented characters. Correction of this problem entails removing extra blanks and Center codes. As of yet no single macro has been developed to correct this problem; the <Ctrl-U> macro in the DPCSD Keyboard Layout is helpful for removing extra blank spaces.

Tab settings

When either the left and right margins are changed to 1" or the base font is changed to 12 point Courier, 10 characters per inch, this can mean that some or all of the document information at the top right of the first page is displaced to the next line. This can be corrected by changing the Tab setting. To simplify this process, the last step in the <Alt-F> macro searches for the first Tab setting in the document. Note that occasionally, instead of Tabs, blank spaces are inserted to set the position of the document information; when this occurs, it is necessary to remove some blanks spaces form the beginning of the appropriate lines.

Elimination of "New Page" codes

Not infrequently, documents have "Hard New Page" codes (shown as [HPg] in WordPerfect Reveal Codes), either extraneously placed in the text, or to separate sections and Annexes. The appearance of the documents on the gopher is improved by removing the Hard New Page codes.

Removal of UN Logo

The UN logo that is included as a graphic image in the documents on the Optical Disk System significantly increases the size of the documents. The WordPerfect macro <Alt-F> in the DPCSD Keyboard Layout removes the graphic image as well as some other unnecessary formatting codes. The savings in disk space can be substantial: the file for a one page document from the Optical Disk System will typically be approximately 75,000 bytes; after the logo and other extraneous codes have been removed, it will be approximately 3,000 bytes.

Treatment of special features

There are a number of additional special features that can occur in documents. While the following is not an exhaustive list, it covers about 99% of the occurrence of special problem features that you are likely to encounter.

Accented characters

The basic 7-bit ASCII character set does not include accented characters -- ASCII does, after all, stand for the American Standard Character Information Interchange -- and most computer-based communication is based on the 7-bit character set. This creates problems in the electronic dissemination of accented characters, and as of yet no widely accepted standard has evolved for the treatment of accented characters within the 7-bit character set.

Alternative available treatments
Five principal alternatives are used for treating accented characters on the Internet: simple removal of the accents; two alternative schemes for conversion of accents into equivalent strings of 7-bit characters; the use of special control codes in documents that can, with appropriate software and file transfer procedures, preserve the appearance of accents on-screen and in downloaded documents; and the use of binary files.

Relative merits and demerits of alternative treatment of accents
The option of dropping the accents entirely is unsatisfactory as there are a significant number of words that have different meaning depending on how the vowels are accented. One of the conversion schemes -- informally known as IBASCII based on a combination of I-BASE, the organization in which it was developed, and ASCII -- places a character after the vowel to indicate the accents -- thus "e acute" is represented as "e'", "e circumflex" as "e^", "o umlaut" as "o"" -- and is relatively easy to read on screen, but suffers from not permitting unique translation back into accented characters. The second conversion scheme maintains uniqueness by enclosing the character and accents in triangular brackets, placing the accents before the character -- thus "e acute" is represented as <'e>, "e circumflex" as <^e>, and "o umlaut" as <"o> -- however is much less easy to read on the screen or when printed as is, particularly in French, which tends to use accents more frequently than does Spanish. The option of using special control codes is relatively difficult to implement and unsatisfactory for those who do not have the requisite hardware and software; likewise, the use of binary files poses problems for less sophisticated users, and depending on the software and the nature of one's connection to the Internet, may require one of several varieties of decoding software.

Recommended treatment of accented characters
Although none of the procedures for converting accented characters is ideal, IBASCII is recommended as the standard procedure until a more satisfactory solution is developed. In addition to the advantage of being easier to read on screen and when printed in an unconverted format, there is a simple conversion program for it that is available in the public domain that can be made available on the gopher.

Converting accented characters
To convert a file with accented characters into its IBASCII equivalent, use the <Ctrl-K> macro to convert accented capital letters that do not have an equivalent in the standard eight bit ASCII character set, then save the document as a DOS Text (ASCII) file from WordPerfect, using <Alt-A>. Then go to a DOS prompt -- either directly or using Norton Commander -- in the sub-directory where the ASCII file is stored, and type: cnv < [file-in] > [file-out] <enter> where [file-in] is the name of the file to be converted and [file-out] is the name you want for the output in IBASCII format. Additional description of the CNV program can be found in Annex V.

Other non-standard characters

From time to time, a document will contain other non-standard characters, for example ASCII character 167 -- often shown as <166> , or <167> , <174> , <175> , or <248> , or some characters for bullets, variations on quotation marks and the typographical characters "em-dash" and "en-dash" (both of which can easily be confused with a hyphen). While the occasional appearance of one or more of these characters would not in and of itself pose that much of a problem, if a document with just one non-standard character is uploaded via any other procedure than an ASCII upload, the entire document is automatically encoded by the "uuencode" program and becomes meaningless to anyone who is not aware of uuencoding and who does not have the uuencode software. While the uuencode software is available at many anonymous ftp sites, many users are not familiar with how to use ftp; in addition, there are a few variations of uuencode software which are not all mutually compatible.

Converting non-standard characters
If you notice that a document is using non-standard characters, for example using quotation marks and apostrophes that look like on screen, you can use the <Ctrl-D> macro that will convert them to normal quotation marks and apostrophes. As an additional safeguard, you can use the CNV.EXE program, for which the default translation table has been set up to convert non-standard characters to "~~".

Footnotes and Endnotes

Any text that is in a footnote or an endnote will not be included when you save an ASCII Text version of the document. To include the text of footnotes or endnotes, use the macros <Ctrl-Y> or <Ctrl-Z> respectively to save the text of footnotes or endnotes to Document 2; be sure that Document 2 is empty before initiating either of these macros.


When a WordPerfect document that includes a Table is saved in ASCII Text format, a Hard New Page code is inserted after each cell of the Table, making it very hard to recreate the appearance of the Table. In general it is possible to adapt the contents of the Table so that the information in it is presented meaningfully, however this requires several steps that are not amenable to treatment by a single macro. The essence of the operation is the deletion of the <Table Definition> code, a step that inserts a <Tab> between adjacent cells. However, this requires several preparatory steps. While the following steps describe the basic procedure, additional improvisational steps are often necessary to complete the process. Note that the Spanish Word Processing Unit at the UN uses Tables much more frequently than do the other language units, often using them for Tables of Contents and for agendas for meetings.

Setting the Table Options

First go to the Table you want to convert, either by scrolling through the document, or by searching for a Table Definition, using "<F2> <Alt-F7> T D <Esc>". Then type "<Alt-F7> O P F" (for Options, Position, Full) followed by <F7> to exit the Table definition mode. This allows the Table to make full use of the width of the page.

Copying the Table

Until one is quite experienced in converting Tables, it is advisable to make a copy of the Table before taking any further steps.

Defining Tab settings
With the cursor immediately above the Table, go into "Tab Set" mode, using "<Shift-F8> L T". Delete all Tab settings by typing <Ctrl-End>. Using the cursor keys move until you are just above the first column division, and press <Tab> and continue this until you have created a Tab set corresponding to each column of the Table.

Removal of Alignment and Tab Codes Within Tables
Remove any formatting codes such as Center, Tab, Flush Right from the cells of the Table; if any of these codes are left in, the appearance of the Table will be significantly distorted.

Wrap around text within table cells
If text within any of the cells wraps around to a second or subsequent line, replace the "Soft Return" with a "Hard Return" or <Enter>.

Delete Table Definition Code
Go into "Reveal Codes" modes, using <Alt-F3>, and move the cursor to the very beginning of the Table, so that in the "Reveal Codes" section of the screen the [Tbl Def: ...] code is highlighted. Delete the [Tbl Def] code using the <Delete> key.

Clean Up
It will then generally be necessary to perform several clean up, or fine tuning steps, to complete the conversion of the Table into a conventional text format so that the final appearance conveys the information and relationships that were evident in the initial Table. There are no hard and fast rules for these steps; substantial familiarity with WordPerfect features is invaluable for this phase.

Text boxes

On occasion, text is enclosed in a "Text Box" or "User Box". In order for the text in the box to be included in the ASCII Text version of the document, it is necessary to edit the Box, using "<Alt-F9> B E" or "<Alt-F9> U E" -- depending whether the text is contained in a Text Box or a User Box. Then type "E" to edit the contents of the box. Then block and copy the contents of the box, exit from the box, delete the box, and copy the text into the body of the document.


It is not possible to convert graphic images used in Figure boxes into ASCII Text format, and it is generally not practical to convert graphs or charts. If it essential that a Figure be disseminated, it should be saved as a separate file, and made available as a Binary file on the gopher. Normally it should suffice to delete the Figure and to add a note, in [brackets] stating that Figure Number n could not be converted into ASCII Text format.

Obtaining Documents from the UNDP Gopher

A number of documents are posted by the UN Department of Public Information onto the Internet gopher managed by the UN Development Programme. In some cases, symbol documents that are not available on the Optical Disk System can be found on the gopher; this is not infrequently the case with some significant L documents. Documents that are found on the gopher can be incorporated through the use of the link features in the gopher. However, frequently documents on the gopher are not posted in a very satisfactory format, so that it is often advisable to download a document from the gopher, reformat it using the same type of procedures as are used to convert documents retrieved from the Optical Disk System, and then post it to the appropriate gopher.

Obtaining Documents From Other Sources

While the Optical Disk System and the gopher are the principal sources of documents on disk, it will frequently be necessary to obtain documents from other sources, including the following:

Conference and Commission Secretariats

Another important source of documents in electronic form for dissemination to the gopher and to other electronic conferences are the respective secretariats of the Commission on Sustainable Development and the Social Summit. Pending the establishment of systematic procedures to ensure that documents from other areas of DPCSD are sent to the Information Support Unit on disk, it is necessary for the person responsible for managing the gopher to be alert to documents that are being released in printed form and to follow up with the appropriate secretariat to obtain the document on disk. The same general procedures are needed to convert the disk-based documents into consistent ASCII format as are required to convert documents retrieved from the Optical Disk System. Normally, Secretariat documents are produced under WordPerfect 5.1; when a document is in another format, you will either need to use a conversion program (see below) or will need access to the specialized software which was used to create the document. For example, with issues of the CSD Update which are produced using the Microsoft Publisher program, you will need to have a copy of Microsoft Publisher, and then to use the "Save As" command to save the text in WordPerfect format.

Word Processing Units

While in principle all official document are placed on the Optical Disk System, in practice this does not always happen, especially with CRP and L documents. If it has been necessary to obtain documents directly from the from one or more of the Word Processing Units -- see "Locating Missing Documents" above on procedures for this, the document files received from the Word Processing Units need to be processed in the same way as those from the Optical Disk System (see above).

Printed Documents

Pending the establishment of procedures by which Conference and Commission secretariats routinely obtain disk copies of all documents submitted to them by UN Agencies, governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations, there are still many documents that can only be obtained in printed form. In order to convert the printed documents into electronic form, the documents need to be scanned, and then converted into text using optical character recognition software. Scanning may be done in-house or by a service bureau. When the scanning is done by a service bureau, the bureaus should be requested to provide the electronic versions of the documents in WordPerfect 5.1 format, in order to simplify the task of any additional processing of the documents that is required.

Scanned documents

Scanned versions of documents will need to be processed according to the same guidelines used for documents from the Optical Disk System. From time to time it will make sense to create macros where a repetitive sequence of commands or characters is needed to reformat the document.


In addition to checking and cleaning up the format of scanned documents, it is also advisable to do a spell check, using <Ctrl-F2> as this can pick up errors in the scanning process. If the scanned documents are in French or Spanish, be sure to change the language code at the beginning of the document, by using "<Shift-F8> O L" and then typing "ES" for Spanish or "FR" for French.

Reports and statements from governments, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations

Documents maintained on the Optical Disk System are limited to official UN documents, and while image files are sometimes available for "offset" documents, for example reports by UN agencies, these reports are normally not available on the Optical Disk System in a text format. The managers of the Optical Disk System will be exploring the practicality of converting the image files into text format. Frequently it is possible to obtain disk versions of statements prepared and submitted by non-governmental organizations; the ability to do so is greatly enhanced by personal contacts. Government delegations and UN Agencies or Intergovernmental Organizations should be requested -- using the form in Annex III -- to make documents available on diskette.

Conversion to WordPerfect 5.1 files

Sometimes when diskettes are obtained from governments, intergovernmental organizations or non-governmental organizations, the documents are not in WordPerfect format.

Conversion from other MS-DOS or Windows word processing programs
The ConvertPerfect program produced by the WordPerfect corporation can convert documents from most types of word processing programs into WordPerfect format. If you do not have a current version of ConvertPerfect, you may from time to time encounter files that it is not able to convert, e.g from the most recent versions of Word for Windows; in some cases these documents can be converted using the "Conversions Plus" program that translates Macintosh files.

Conversion from Macintosh word processing programs
Normally, it is not possible to read a Macintosh diskette from an MS-DOS computer, however, there are a few programs available that allow a high density Macintosh disk to be read from an MS-DOS computer. The most useful of these programs in "Conversions Plus", made by DataViz, as it is able to convert from most Macintosh word processing format into WordPerfect 5.1 (as well as into other MS-DOS formats).

Documents obtained from electronic networks

From time to time, documents pertaining to the bodies served by DPCSD can be found in electronic format on one or more electronic networks, in particular the Association for Progressive Communications networks and TogetherNet. By monitoring the appropriate conferences on these networks, it is possible to download such documents.

Association for Progressive Communications networks

For the Commission on Sustainable Development and the Social Summit, the principal conferences are <un.csd.general> and <un.csd.docs>; for the Social Summit, the principal conferences are <un.socsummit> and <un.socdev.docs>. In addition, it is advisable also to monitor the <unic.news> and <un.dpi> conferences, which contain an extensive collection of UN information. Note: pending the Information Support Unit obtaining an account on EcoNet, the U.S. node of the Association for Progressive Communications networks, access to EcoNet has been obtained through the personal account of the gopher development consultant. When documents are downloaded from the Association for Progressive Communications networks, the documents should be checked for format, and if necessary, processed for consistency of format, using the same guidelines and procedures as are described above.


The TogetherNet network maintains electronic conferences for the CSD and the Social Summit, and should also be monitored for documents to be included on the gopher. Any documents downloaded from TogetherNet need to be checked for format, and if necessary processed for consistency of format, according to the guidelines and procedures described above. Note that normally documents downloaded from TogetherNet will normally be in Macintosh text format; "Conversions Plus" -- or a functionally equivalent program -- is then necessary to convert it into WordPerfect format.

Posting electronic copies of documents on-line

While the primary location to which documents are to be disseminated electronically is the UNDP gopher, documents should also be disseminated to the Association for Progressive Communications networks and to TogetherNet, and to other networks that request them, to the extent that this does not strain available resources and subject to appropriate agreements -- that may include information exchange procedures with non-profit networks and compensation from commercial networks.

"Posting documents to the gopher

There are several ways of posting documents to the CSD and Social Summit gophers. The simplest of these requires that a prearranged script be set up with the UNDP Information Managers that provides an electronic mail address to which documents are mailed. When the script and e-mail addresses are available, posting a document to the gopher is very similar to sending any e-mail message. There is a slight difference in that the e-mail account from which documents are posted to the gopher is on the primary UNDP computer -- technically the e-mail address is dpcsd@nywork1.undp.org -- and some electronic mail features are that are available on the more commonly used UNDP system -- "nywork2.undp.org" -- are not available on "nywork1". Thus, there is a need for a two step process; first to upload the document and give it a file name, then to retrieve the file into an e-mail message and send it to the appropriate address. When a message is sent to the gopher via an e-mail address, copies can simultaneously be sent to other networks, e.g. APC and TogetherNet.

Preferred methods for posting to the gopher

While the use of e-mail to post documents to the gopher is the simplest method, it suffers from a significant disadvantage in that it results in file names for the documents on the gopher that are based solely on the date and time the document was posted; this makes editing the gopher menus substantially more cumbersome, and it also results in non user-friendly file names when documents are downloaded from the gopher. Preferable methods for posting a document to the gopher require more extensive knowledge of file management and editing under the UNIX operating system, and are dealt with under the heading "Managing / organizing the gopher". Because of the disadvantages of the e-mail method of posting to the gopher, that method should only be used when resources or time constraints do not permit the direct methods of gopher management.

E-mail addresses for the gopher

The following e-mail addresses, with a corresponding script prepared by UNDP, are available for posting documents to the gopher. If it becomes necessary to have additional e-mail addresses for posting documents to the gopher, contact Malcolm Chapman, 906-6585, or by e-mail at malcolm@undp.org

E-Mail Address  Gopher location

w-off@undp.org WSSD PrepCom 2, Official documents w-una@undp.org WSSD PrepCom 2, UN Agencies & Intergovernmental Organizations w-gov@undp.org WSSD PrepCom 2, Government Documents w-ngo@undp.org WSSD PrepCom 2, Non-governmental Organization Documents

There are currently not any e-mail addresses for directly posting documents to the CSD gopher.

Selection of Protocol for uploading documents

When uploading a document, a choice is given between ASCII and Kermit. Kermit should be selected, as it has a built-in procedure for verifying that all the information being sent has been received. The ASCII upload procedure does not include this safeguard, and when using ASCII upload to the UNDP system, it is not unusual for characters -- sometimes significant strings of characters -- to be lost. However, there is a quirk in the Kermit upload which not infrequently results in the message "Nak received" being displayed during an upload. The uploading halts, and it is necessary to cancel the upload; normally, once a "Nak received" message has been encountered, it will be encountered again at that same point in the file if the upload is attempted again. However, although one is only given two choices for upload protocol, it is possible to type "x" (for Xmodem), although the Xmodem file transfer to "nywork1.undp.org" is substantially slower than the Kermit transfer. Normally, the communication software is set with Kermit as the default protocol for uploading and downloading documents; if it is necessary to use Xmodem, that option must be selected when preparing to upload a document.

Association for Progressive Communications networks

DPCSD-related conferences

The following are the principal electronic conferences on the Association for Progressive Communications networks -- and their corresponding e-mail addresses -- to which documents from DPCSD may need to be posted.

  Conference      Subject                   E-mail address

  un.csd.docs     CSD Official Documents    un.csd.docs@conf.igc.org
  un.csd.general  CSD General Information   un.csd.general@conf.igc.org
  un.socdev.docs  WSSD Official Documents   un.socdev.docs@conf.igc.org
  un.socsummit    WSSD General Information  un.socsummit@conf.igc.org
  env.islands     SIDS General              env.islands@conf.igc.org
  inc.desert      INC Desertification       inc.desert@conf.igc.org
  icpd.general    ICPD General              icpd.general@conf.igc.org
  un.reform  UN Reform, incl NGO Review     un.reform@conf.igc.org


On the TogetherNet conference, to which documents are also currently posted, there is not any pre-set e-mail address for each conference, as normally documents are uploaded directly from within TogetherNet. It is necessary to make arrangements with the TogetherNet staff -- either via e-mail to eric_overgaard@together.org or to adam_rogers@together.org or by phone at 212 628-1939 -- for an e-mail address to use to post to conferences. Alternatively, documents can be sent directly to the e-mail addresses above. On TogetherNet, there is much greater use of sub-conferences, and frequently it will be necessary to recommend to TogetherNet that a new sub-conference be set up -- e.g. for the 1994-95 CSD Intersessional process, or for the October 1994 Intersessional meetings of the Social Summit.

DPCSD-related conferences

The following are the e-mail addresses of DPCSD-related conferences on TogetherNet.

Conference E-mail address

  CSD 1994-95 Intersessional             csd95@together.org
  WSSD Official Documents (PrepCom 2)    wssdpc2.undocs@together.org
  WSSD NGO Statements (PrepCom 2)        wssdpc2.ngos@together.org
  WSSD Agency Statements (PrepCom 2)     wssdpc2.agency@together.org
  WSSD Government Statements (PrepCom 2) wssdpc2.gov@together.org

Posting to APC and TogetherNet

If documents are sent to the gopher via e-mail, copies can be simultaneously mailed to APC and TogetherNet by adding the appropriate e-mail addresses. If the documents have been placed directly on the gopher using the preferred method for gopher management, the documents are sent to APC and TogetherNet by accessing the relevant documents on the gopher, and typing "m" -- for "mail to" -- followed by the appropriate e-mail addresses.

Managing / organizing the gopher

The e-mail account "dpcsd@undp.org" has been established by the Information Manager of the UNDP gopher for use by the Information Support Unit of DPCSD to manage and organize gophers for DPCSD. Use of the dpcsd@undp.org account for the gopher is only authorized for a staff member or other designated representative of DPCSD approved by the Chief of the Information Support Unit and by the Information Manager of the UNDP gopher (Malcolm Chapman). Note also: since the "dpcsd@undp.org" account has "write privileges" on the UNDP gopher and as write privileges also entail the ability to delete files and directories from the gopher, only authorized personnel should use that account to access the gopher; for example, using "d" instead of "D" when intending to download a document from the gopher would result in deleting it instead. A separate account, "isudpcsd@undp.org" account should be used for demonstrating the gopher or for downloading documents from it.

Requirements for managing the gopher

The overall management and organization of the gopher requires some familiarity with basic UNIX file management and editing commands, In addition, when it is necessary to upload multiple files, a familiarity with DOS and UNIX file compression programs is invaluable. Note: procedures that involve file management and editing directly on the UNDP should only be undertaken by someone with substantial experience in file management along with sound understanding of the principles of the organization of subdirectories as they relate to gophers.

Structure of gophers -- general

Menus and subdirectories

The basis structure of a gopher is of a hierarchy of subdirectories. Each sub-directory corresponds to a menu, and the files in each subdirectory correspond to documents. In addition, there are three special types of files, each of which is described in more detail below: those in ".cap" subdirectories, ".cache" and ".cache+" files, and the ".Link" files.

Files in ".cap" subdirectories

In general, for each menu item or document on the gopher, there needs to be a file with the same name in a ".cap" subdirectory of the directory where the menu subdirectory or the document file is stored. The files in the ".cap" subdirectory maintain information on the title that will appear on the gopher, recorded as "Name=..."; information as to whether the item is a menu/directory of a document, recorded as "Type=1" or "Type=0" respectively; and optional information on the position of the item on the menu, recorded as "Numb=..." Each element of the file in the ".cap" directory must be on a separate line. If the "Numb=..." item is omitted, the items will be sorted in alphabetical order based on the Title. If the corresponding file in the ".cap" directory is missing or defective, the default title with be the subdirectory or file name of the item.

".cache" files

When a menu of a gopher is read or accessed for the first time, the information on the titles in the menu is recorded in two files, named ".cache" and ".cache+" When the menu is subsequently read or accessed, the information from the ".cache" files is used. If files in the ".cap" subdirectory are edited, or if additional documents are placed in the subdirectory, the ".cache" files must be deleted for the updated information to be accessible; to delete the ".cache" files, change to the appropriate subdirectory, and type "rm .cac* <Enter>". You will then be asked to confirm the deletion of each of the ".cache" files.

".Link" files

In some gopher subdirectories, you have, or need to have, a file with the name of ".Link". The ".Link" file allows you to have information that is stored in another gopher appear on the gopher menu. A single ".Link" file can be used to incorporate a number of menu items; the menu items included in the ".Link" file can be any type of gopher item, whether menu, document or the other types of permissible gopher types; each item is separated by a line with just the "#" character. The general format of an item in a ".Link" file is as follows:


Name= is followed by the title to appear on the gopher

Type=0 for a document, and Type=1 for a menu

Numb= (optional) defines the sequence in the menu where you want the item to appear. If you do not include the line beginning with "Numb=" the menu items will be listed in alphabetical order by the title

Host= defines the computer where the original item is stored. If the item is elsewhere on the UNDP gopher, then Host=gopher.undp.org

Port= defines the port on the host through which the gopher is accessible; normally this will be 70

Path= defines the path from the root gopher directory where the item is stored.

You can determine the Host, Port and Path of an item by typing "=" when your cursor is pointing to that item.

Structure of DPCSD Gopher

The structure of the Commission on Sustainable Development and Social Summit gophers are shown in Annex II and III of the User Manual for the gopher. The normal structure on the gopher includes a separate item on the main menu for the Conference or Commission for each Preparatory Committee session of a Conference, or of a Conference session, as follows:

  1. Official Documents/
  2. Background Documents/
  3. Statements - Bureau & Secretariat/
  4. Statements - Governments/
  5. Statements - UN Agencies & Intergovernmental Organizations/
  6. Statements - Non-Governmental Organizations/
  7. Dept. of Public Information Press Releases/
  8. NGO Bulletins & Newsletters/
The structure will need to be modified from time to time where considerations of logic and ease of use of the gopher indicate that restructuring would improve the usefulness of the gopher.

Uploading documents

Preparing multiple files for uploading

When a significant number of documents need to be uploaded at one time it is often simpler, and significantly quicker, to prepare a set of the files, including the title files, under MS-DOS, convert them into a single file using a compression program, and then "unzip" them once they have been uploaded.

Preparing files for ".cap" subdirectory </a>

When preparing multiple files for uploading, it can save time and effort to prepare the title files (stored in the ".cap" directories) using the file management and editing tools and macros available under MS-DOS that tend to be much more flexible and powerful than those available under the UNIX operating system.

File compression under DOS using PKZIP

Use the file compression program PKZIP, Version 1.1, to compress the files -- the unzip program currently on the UNDP computer is not able to handle files compressed with later versions of PKZIP. If you are compressing files in more than one subdirectory, e.g. if you are also compressing the ".cap" files, be sure to use the "-r" and "-d" options when running PKZIP 1.1. Note: the copy of PKZIP version 1.1 has been renamed ZIP.EXE on the computer connected to the Optical Disk System; so that the current version of PKZIP (version 2.04) can also be used.

Using "uudecode" to regenerate ZIP file

When compressed files -- or other binary files -- are uploaded to the UNDP system, they are automatically encoded into a 7-bit ASCII file, using the program "uuencode". Before uncompressing the files, it is necessary to run "uudecode". First create a new, temporary subdirectory, and move the file you have just uploaded into that subdirectory. Then type "uudecode [filename] <Enter>" where [filename] is the name of the uploaded file. The decoded file will have a name with a date and time code, e.g. 940919180537.txt Rename (move) that file to have a name such as docs.zip

Decompression of files under UNIX using unzip

To uncompress the files, type "unzip -d docs <enter>" and the documents will be uncompressed, and placed into appropriate subdirectories if they had been in subdirectories before.

Moving files to gopher subdirectory

Using the "mv" command, move the files and or subdirectories to the appropriate place on the gopher. If there are other files in the directory to which you have moved the file, be sure to remove the corresponding ".cache" files.

Editing and deleting gopher entries

From time to time it becomes necessary to edit the entries on the gopher -- either to modify the title as needed, or to correct errors that have been detected. Use the "pico" editor to edit the files, and the appropriate UNIX commands to remove (delete) files that need to be removed.

Creating new menus and sub-menus on the gopher

Use the "mkdir" command to create new subdirectories as needed, to create corresponding new menu levels. Be sure to create a ".cap" subdirectory for each new subdirectory you create, and to include a title file in the appropriate ".cap" subdirectory so that the correct title of the menu is displayed. If you neglect to create the corresponding file in the ".cap" subdirectory, the name of the subdirectory or the file name of the document will be displayed on the menu, below all the items for which there is a file in the ".cap" subdirectory.

Maintenance of disk copies of gopher documents

For several reasons, including preparation for the availability of documents via DPCSD's Local Area Network and for dissemination via diskette of documents that are on the gopher, it is important to maintain a parallel set of documents on a hard disk at the Electronic Data Centre. In general, the documents maintained on the hard disk should be kept within a parallel directory structure to the structure of the gopher.

Format for disk-based documents

Documents that are maintained on disk, whether for internal use within the DPCSD Secretariat or for distribution to those who request the documents on diskette -- should be maintained in WordPerfect 5.1 format. WordPerfect 5.1 is the standard word processing language used by the United Nations; it is very widely used elsewhere and can be read or converted by almost all widely available word processing programs. For ease of use and consistency, the following standards are recommended for the documents maintained in WordPerfect format.


The standard font used should be Courier 12 pt (10 cpi) or Courier 10 pt (12 cpi).


Left and right margins of 1" should be maintained.

Paper size

The 8.5" x 11" standard should be used as the standard paper size for documents maintained on disk, as this is the standard paper size used at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, and in view of the importance of consistency.

Diskette-based dissemination of documents

Using the set of documents that are maintained on the hard disk, the documents can be disseminated on disk where requested. In addition, this set of documents will also be ready to be made available on the Local Area Network.

Organization and maintenance of subdirectories

In general, the subdirectories on the hard disk should correspond to the menu levels, or subdirectories, on the gopher. File names for documents should be chosen to help make the contents of the files as self-evident as practical.

Generating ZIP file

Both in terms of the amount of space needed to store files copied onto a diskette, and also to save time in copying to a diskette, you should create a compressed file with the documents using the PKZIP program. If the resulting zipped file is too large to fit on a single diskette, then you will need to separate the files into separate sets of subdirectories, and create two or more zipped files.

Use of "-r" and "-p" options with PKZIP

When compressing files that span several subdirectories, be sure to use the "-r" and "-p" subdirectories that respectively include for compression all the files in subdirectories and store the appropriate path names. If you are not familiar with how to use PKZIP, just type "PKZIP <enter>" at the C: prompt, and a series of help screens will be displayed.

Installation and READ.ME files

To assist those who are unfamiliar with the PKUNZIP program needed to uncompress the file, you should create an "INSTALL.BAT" file, that will be of this general form:

MD \CSD-94
CD \CSD-94

The above example assumes that the zipped file is named "CSD-94.ZIP"; it would store the uncompressed files in a newly-created subdirectory: C:\CSD-94. The use of the "-d" option with PKUNZIP restores the files to their subdirectories.

It is also advisable to create a corresponding file "INSTALLB.BAT" for installation from a computer whose 3.5" diskette is on the B: drive, that is the same as the "INSTALL.BAT" file, except that "A:" is replaced by "B:"

MD \CSD-94
CD \CSD-94

Finally create a "READ.ME" file that gives directions for using the installation files, describes in general terms what is on the diskette, and includes the address, phone number and e-mail address of the Information Support Unit

Generating List of Files/Documents

When a document set is complete, and/or when it is expected that there will be considerable need or demand for the diskettes or if the diskettes are to be distributed to Missions, non-governmental organizations, etc., it is advisable to create a document list, to be included on the diskette, that gives a more substantial title for the document than can be included in an eight character file name with a three character extension.

Virus Protection

The prevalence of computer viruses makes it essential that any computer that is used either to receive files from diskette or to disseminate them on diskette has an up-to-date anti-virus program installed in its CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT files -- it serves little purpose to simply have the anti-virus software available on the hard disk or on a menu. The presence of an anti-virus program has detected viruses on diskettes received from official sources that one would expect to be virus-free as well as from diskettes in more general circulation; in the absence of the anti-virus protection, not only would the DPCSD computer become contaminated, but would pass on the virus to diskettes on to which files have been copied.

Public Access Environment

The need for anti-virus software is absolutely essential when computers are used in a public access setting such as was set up during the 2nd Preparatory Committee for the Social Summit. A conference environment such as that is a prime risk site for virus contamination, and several viruses were detected and removed during the two week period -- including a very dangerous virus, known as Michelangelo, that had been present on one of the computers that had been provided by ESD for use during the Preparatory Committee.

Selection of anti-virus software

Since new viruses continue to be developed all the time, it is important to use anti-virus software for which regular updates are readily accessible. Note that the anti-virus software that is provided with MS-DOS 6.x has failed to detect some viruses that have been detected by other anti-virus software; as a result, its use is not recommended. There are some definite advantages from using an anti-virus program that is in the public domain as this means a copy of the software can be given to anyone whose diskette is found to have had a virus. The F-PROT software has proved to be a very satisfactory program, is available at a number of anonymous ftp sites -- including oak.oakland.edu where it can be found in the /pub/msdos/virus subdirectory -- is updated every month or two, and is recommended for use.