IP, DNS and the Connection of the BioCASe provider to networks

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Franck's picture
Joined: 2011-04-01
IP, DNS and the Connection of the BioCASe provider to networks

Once an user has configured a dataset with the BioCASe provider, he receives whats called an “access point”. This access point is an URL idenfiying both the server containing the provider software, and the name of the resource. There is one different access point for each different collection registered in the provider. This URL is the gateway to the collection and must be communicated to portals and networks interfacing your data together with those of the other providers in a common search interface (like GBIF).

The access point can be accessed by clicking on the link containing the dataset name from the first page of BioCASe. In the example below the access point is: http://gbif.africamuseum.be/biocase_rmca/dsa_info.cgi?dsa=demo_openup


The BioCase page providing the Access point to a dataset

(URL to be communicated to the network where data are provided)

This access point is supposed to be permanent (or ‘as much permanent as possible’). For this reason we suggest that users of the BioCASE provider willing to contribute their data to a federated network have at least an Internet domain name and a static IP at their disposal, and use the domain rather than the IP (that may change more often in time) in the access point URL.

Please remember that 2 services are intervening when resolving the URL of a BioCASe access point (like for most of the websites):

-a:The DNS of your institute that must first resolve the domain of the provider. This is the left part of the URL before the fist ‘/’. (http://gbif.africamuseum.be)

            -b: The HTTP server configured inside of this server, that resolves the remaining part of the URL (./biocase_rmca/dsa_info.cgi?dsa=demo_openup ). This server will be most likely Apache (an open source HTTP server for webpages (http://httpd.apache.org/). The HTTP server redirects the right part of the URL to the appropriate website making available within one domain.

The BioCase provider contains an installation script that also helps to configure the Apache HTTP server in an appropriate way. This script is called ‘setup.py’ and must be run in DOS console (Microsoft system) or shell in Linux-based systems. But the DNS needs to be configured before in an appropriate way (normally this is the case if the server you use already provides webpages to the public).

Remark: it is possible to link several domains to a single IP address. That situation requires that the system administrator pays a special attention to the good synchronization between the DNS and the Apache HTTP server, and ensures that the domain names used in the configuration of both services match together.