NODIS Retires! An End of an Era

Volume 11, Number 4, December 1995
By Nathan James

After nine years of service, NSSDC's On-Line Data and Information Service (NODIS) will be phasing out. Since its inception in October 1986, NODIS has earned its reputation as a simple, efficient, and user-friendly gateway to NSSDC's suite of information systems and services. Prior to the NODIS era NSSDC relied heavily on telephones and the postal service for the dissemination of NASA information and the servicing of data requests. These services, central to the mission of NSSDC, would often take days to weeks to complete. NODIS played an instrumental role in the revolutionizing of information dissemination and request coordination at NSSDC. Through NODIS, NSSDC patrons all over the world could access on-line NASA data within minutes and could make electronic requests for off-line data.

While most information and data systems then required a user account, password, and user training for general use, NODIS has led the way with its open-access architecture that allows free open-account, no-password access to its services. NODIS was selected as a winner of the 1992 Federal Leadership Award, co-sponsored by the Federal Open Systems Conference Board and the Federal Computer Week newspaper.

During its first year of service, NODIS (then known as the NSSDC Account) averaged about 50 users per month. Its services included access to the Space Physics Analysis Network (SPAN) services menu, the Central On-Line Data Directory (CODD, predecessor to the NASA Master Directory [NMD]), the OMNI data set (solar wind field and plasma data) menu, and a few more (seven in all). Since that time NODIS's suite of services has grown to 18 and has enjoyed an average of 2,500 monthly users in 1994. Its most popular services are the NMD, the Astronomical Data Center (ADC), the Planetary Science service, and the NSSDC CD-ROM Catalog.

Effective about January 1, 1996, NSSDC will replace its current NODIS interface with a transitional, limited-functionality NODIS interface providing LYNX-based access to NSSDC's WWW Home Page from which many other NSSDC data and services are also available. The LYNX software will be running on an NSSDC computer. In addition, this transitional interface will provide on-going access to a few traditional NODIS services not yet WWW-accessible or whose WWW versions are significantly different.

Access to this transitional NODIS interface will be the same as for the out-going NODIS (TELNET NSSDCA.GSFC.NASA.GOV; USERNAME=NODIS; no password prompt). The transitional NODIS interface itself will likely be removed in a few months.

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Author:Miranda Beall
Curators: Erin Gardner and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 21 Nov 1996 [EDG]