ECTOC: Welcome and General Information

Rzepa, Henry (
Sun, 11 Jun 1995 11:04:08 +0000

Welcome to the ECTOC e-mail discussion forum, which is
open from June 12 to June 23. Everyone is welcome to
send messages relating to the conference!

The conference has three main themes; keybote papers,
synthetic communications, and "physical, mechanistic and
biological" subjects, and the papers are numbered
sequentially over the entire collection.

Some instant detail:

1. You will need a World-Wide Web browser to read the papers
and posters. Netscape 1.1N is recommended, but Mosaic, WinWeb,
MacWeb can also be used. The European site is on the
following World Wide Web location:
[if you are using Netscape, you can get away with
typing ].
In the next day or so, the North American mirror
will go up. It will be on

We apologise in advance for the "slow" response
everyone is bound to experience at some times.
Remember, you can improve matters slightly be turning
off the automatic in-lining of images. In Netscape, you
can expand such images one at a time as and when needed.
Also, set you local "cache" so that once you have succeeded
in acquiring a paper, subsequent reads will come from your
local disk rather than the network.

2. Send comments to the forum by posting to
Remember to include the paper number in the subject
header. Whatever you do, don't forget to include
a reasonably descriptive self-contained subject!
If you are replying to an earlier posting, do NOT
change the subject. This is because we have a program
called Hypermail which organises "discussion threads"
according to subject. If you want your reply associated
with the earlier posting, don't change the subject header!
Please also remember that your e-mail comments
will be included on the CD-ROM proceedings of the
conference, although this should not deter you
from the relatively informal nature we expect for this forum.
Have a look at the ECCC forum if you are unsure
of what style to adopt;
We expect that the ECTOC forum will be used to discuss chemistry,
but comments on the organisation and effectiveness of the
conference itself are also welcome.

Remember, you can also contact the authors directly if you
want to have a "private" conversation. All papers have a key
contact in the list of authors, and everyone who has joined the
discussion forum has their e-mail address listed in the registration

If you have colleagues who want to post to the list,
they will need to register first by sending a message to with the 1-line message
subscribe ectoc
If you decide that ECTOC is not for you, you can stop
the incoming messages by sending;
unsubscribe ectoc
Use the same e-mail account as the one you registered with!

3. Please do not feel you need to read EVERY comment
sent. It can be stressful if you think you must read
all 10 or whatever messages that might come in every day.
Remember, if you do delete a message unread, you can
always catch up on it by browsing through the following
This archive is fully indexed, and you can search
through it by keyword.

4. ECTOC introduces some "new technologies" to help
organic chemistry specifically. Quite a number of papers
have hyperlinks to pdb files of molecular coordinates.
To view these molecules, you will need to a) add a
new so called MIME type to Netscape in the helpers
configuration: chemical/x-pdb
and b) acquire the RasMol program. Details of how to do
this are available on the conference pages. Similarly, two
papers have "tgf" active reaction schemes. To view these, you will
need ISIS/Draw, together with the MIME type
We welcome comments on whether such "living" content is
helpful in the context of ECTOC.

You can also add your own pdb or other type of file to a
conference hyperglossary. This is one of two mechanisms we have
introduced for submitting a structure diagram during e-mail
discussions. For example, a typical scenario would be that
you want to introduce a new molecule into the e-mail discussions.
You might say draw it in your favourite structure drawing
program and save it as say an MDL molfile, PDB coordinates,
SHELX file etc. You will next need to get this file
onto your computer clipboard. Do this by opening the
file with any editor or word processor, selecting it and copying.
Alternativly, some structure drawing programs directly support
the copying of a SMILES string to the clipboard (e.g. ChemDraw)
Go to,
answer the questions asked, and in the correct location, paste
in the molecular coordinates or the SMILES string. This is experimental
technology so may not be 100% reliable!

The other mechanism is to "include" a message attachment to
your e-mail. To do this successfully, you will need to make your
mail program "chemical MIME" compliant. If you are a Macintosh
Eudora user, there is a little "plug-in" available from which after
extraction using Stuffit Expander, you should drop
into the e-mail folder you are using. Make sure the pdb file or
molfile has the filename suffix .pdb or .mol and attach
it to your message. Similarly, anyone using Eudora to read the
incoming mail will find the attacement has been converted to
a RasMol or ISIS/Draw file, and can be click-opened immediately.
We have also ensured that in the
archive, a hyperlink to the file will be active, although this may
take up to two hours after the posting to activate.
It is possible to do this with other e-mail programs such as
PC Eudora, Pine, etc, but these are less easy to get to work
(that's a euphemism for we could not get them to work
reliably for both outgoing and incoming mail)

Yes, I know the above might sound somewhat intimidating! Do let
us know how we can improve this for future conferences!

5. Another innovation is an on-line mechanism for
depositing x-ray coordinates, prepared especially for ECTOC by
the Cambridge crystallographic database centre;
Those authors who have x-ray data they wish to deposit in
this manner should get a conference code from myself first.
Go on, give it a try!

6. C&E News have indicated that wish to run a main article
on "second generation" electronic conferences, with ECTOC
the lead feature. If anyone has any choice "quotes" they
might wish to pass on to James Krieger, do send them to me.

7. You may notice the conference photograph, a montage of
various snapshots we have been sent;
If you want to join it, do send your own in GIF or JPEG form, to (or just a plain old photograph
which we can scan here, but we only have a grayscale
scanner at our disposal)

8. Finally, as implied above, a CD-ROM will go into production
after the conference. Details to authors will be posted later.
We expect to make "free reprints" availale to authors of papers
and posters. Anyone else wishing to acquire a copy will be able
to purchase, at a price yet to be finalised but expected to be
less than $100.

Thanks for wading through a very long message, and I hope
you all enjoy and benefit from the next two weeks of
discussion. Also, I do hope that many of you will be able to
meet in person in the future, perhaps even as a result of
contacts established at this forum. One thing we cannot
provide here is the bar! And on this theme, I will be at
the next ACS national meeting in August, so perhaps I
can meet some of you there for this missing component.

Best wishes,

Henry Rzepa. Department of Chemistry, Imperial College.

ECTOC-1. Conference home page: using
Netscape, Mosaic, etc.
E-mail discussions:
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