ENSTINET: THE EGYPTIAN NATIONAL STI NETWORK ________________________________________________________________________ ________________________________________________________________________

Hi GNET members,

The following article describes the Egyptian National STI Network (ENSTINET). I hope that it gives a brief idea of what we do as Infromation and networking provider in Egypt. For any more inquiries please contact me.

Maged Boulos Systems Engineer Egyptian National STI Network Maged Boulos


ENSTINET ( Egyptian National STI NETwork) was founded in early 1980's by the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology ( ASRT ) to service the scientific and technical community in Egypt. Georgia Institute of Technology was the designer and implementer of the network which was fonded mainly by the Cairo Mission of the American Agency for International Developement. The goals set from the start where the following :

- To raise the public awareness of Egyptian potential users towards the importance of scientific and technological information and to develop the users' capabilities to ultimately utilize information in solving problems.

- To develop national databases that cover Egyptian literature in science and technology and to update it continuously and regularly.

- To provide effective means of enabling the users to easily identify information sources in Egypt and abroad through information services provided by the Network such as searching national and international databases and document delivery service by means of computers, communications and laser technology.

- To provide means of communications for user's through computers by allowing user to log unto the network and benefit from the computer services provided such as email, electronic bulletin boards, online training courses and information services through searching of databases ( locally developed or on laser technology ). Users can also request a remote database search by filling an electronic request form.

- To provide system to system communications for UNIX based systems. (ENSTINET is the only public UNIX based network in Egypt) and is open for connection with any organization.

- Marketing of information services.

- Manpower development (training) in the field of information and informatics.

- To coordinate with other local, regional, and international information agencies and programs.


After the foundation of ENSTINET, computers were installed in the network by the start of 1985. The selected equipement were AT&T 3B systems running UNIX SYSTEM V. And from that date till present, UNIX is the standard adopted by ENSTINET and it's nodes. Newer nodes use different equipment mainly from NCR and HP. PC's are used as for internal work and for CD-ROM applications.

ENSTINET is in the process of replacing the AT&T systems with an up to date machine. The technical specs of the new system have been set and a request for proposal is about to be issued. Besides the replacement plan, two new systems running SCO UNIX have been installed. An Ethernet will be joining all ENSTINET new systems incorporating the PC's running the CD-ROM applications. The Ethernet will carry TCP/IP on top of it (Phase one of the installation now complete).


ENSTINET consists of 11 Sectoral nodes located in Cairo servicing 7 major sectors of the scientific and technical community and 6 regional nodes outside Cairo located all over the country. The network is designed to form a star with an organizing body called the Focal Point (FP) which manages the network.

Administration of the network is decentralized. Each node is a self maintained unit with its own staff, management and computer. Coordination between different nodes is carried through the focal point which sets the policies, standards and regulations for the whole network. The Focal Point is reponsible for creating new nodes from scratch by conducting the feasabilty study, selecting the equipment, supervising the installation of equipment and performing any necessary task till the node is fully functional.

The number of nodes for major community sectors

1- Social sector 1 node 2- Reconstruction sector 1 node 3- Agricultural sector 1 node 4- Medical sector 3 nodes 5- Industerial sector 1 node 6- Energy sector 2 nodes 7- Science and Technology 2 nodes

Regional nodes :

1- Alexanderia University 2- Assiut University 3- Suez Canal University 4- Mansoura University 5- Tanta University 6- Zagazig University

Communications between the nodes is performed using dialup lines or through the Egyptian public X.25 data network ( EGYPTNET ) currently using uucp. When the installation of the Ethernet is complete, TCP/IP will be supported as well. International communications are performed using an international dialup line using Telebit technology or through X.25 network through the Focal Point.

ENSTINET is connected to the UUCP network through EUnet which forwards all email messages and provides the link between ENSTINET and the outside world.

ENSTINET is in the process of connecting to EUN ( Egyptian Universities Network ) through a leased line. The proposed connection will provide ENSTINET with access to INTERNET when EUN becomes an operational Internet gateway.

ENSTINET has been choosen to host the national node for RINAF (Regional Infromation Network for AFrica) which is an information network intended to link some of the african states. This networking initiative is sponsored by UNESCO/IIP


1 - Database Development:

Bibliographic and nonbibliographic databases are built by ENSTINET or its nodes. Examples of these databases are:

- Egyptian Bibliographic Database in Arabic Language - Egyptian Bibliographic Database in English Language - Union List of Foriegn Periodicals - Who's Who in Science and Technology - Directory of Egyptian Institutions - Directory of Egyptian periodicals - Information on Research in Progress (Ongoing Research Projects) - Directory of Egyptian Scientific Associations - Directory of Egyptian Databases ( Database of Databases )

Databases in the Agriculture Sector :

- Directory of the current agricultural projects - Directory of the agricultural institutions

Database in the Industrial Sector

- Database of Small-Scale Industries (SSI)

Databases in the Science and Technology Sector

- Directory of Basic Science Research - Directory of Drug Research - Directory of Sinai Peninsula Research - Directory of Belharsia Research

Databases located in the Focal Point are available for remote access, while other databases from the nodes are available through requests directed to the Focal Point which forwards these requests to the nodes.

2- Online Database Searching

ENSTINET information users can entertain any of the following services:

- Retrospective Database Search This service enables the user to identify all that has been published on a certain topic.

- Selective Dissemination of Information (SDI): This service allows the user to be periodically aware with the most recently documented scientific periodicals, technical reports, patents.. etc. ( monthly updated ).

- French Databases ENSTINET has access to French Database for French speaking users through MINITEL videotex using EGYPTNET.

3- Referral Services

This service guides ENSTINET users to information sources relevant to their field and available in other information facilities in Egypt using ENSTINET computerized on-line system.

4- Document Delivery Services

This service aims at assisting the user to obtain copies of documents from local sources using ENSTINET computerized Union List of Foreign Periodicals. In case a document is not locally available, a copy is requested from outside sources through different channels.

5- Publishing Services


This is a quarterly Newsletter that includes the most recent news in the field of information and information technology, in addition to ENSTINET news.

Egyptian Scientific and Technical Abstracts (ESTA):

Through the Egyptian Bibliographic Databases stored in ENSTINET computers, an abstracting journal in different branches of science and technology is produced twice a year.

Union List

Downloaded from the Union List database stored in the Focal point computer, a directory of the holdings of periodicals in 130 library scattered throughout Egypt is published.

6- Remote Users Systems

The service allows any user who owns any computer, terminal, modem and telephone line to access ENSTINET services through a menu driven system. This service is open to everybody and just requires a registeration procedure. ENSTINET currently supports about 150 people through this service and the numbers are rising as the awareness of people towards networking increases. ENSTINET is the only network in Egypt which is not restricted to a certain community of users, The services provided through the Remote Users Systems are the following :

- Electronic Mail (E-Mail):

Email inside Egypt is free of charge and a minimal cost covering the communications fees is charged for international Email.

- Electronic Bulletin Board (EBB):

This is a method of announcing news, events and activities related to organizations concerned with information. These announcements include conferences, seminars, training programs and selection of published articles relevant to ENSTINET users.

- Database Searching

Local databases are available online for ENSTINET users who can perform the database search themselves while an electronic search request form is filled by the user for international database searching. Users are forbidden from performing interantional database searching themselves due to the high cost incured in communications.

- Self Paced Training

Through the remote user system, user can have a computerized training course in different fields. This enables him or her to be trained at his/her own pace and discretion.

- CD-ROM database searching

ENSTINET is the first in Egypt to allow it's users to access databases stored on CD-ROM disks.

The Remote User Systems are currently being revised in order to add new features for ENSTINET subscribers.

ENSTINET is not restricted to remote terminal logging but also provides system to system communications for organizations, companies and universities having UNIX systems and which to be connected to other systems in Egypt or outside of Egypt and thus ENSTINET can act as a UNIX backbone in Egypt.

7- Technical consultation :

ENSTINET provides technical consultations in the fields of database development, developing information centers, & preparing feasibility studies, computer selection & acquisition, and other aspects of information and informatics.

8- Training :

ENSTINET plans, organizes and conducts the following training activities for individuals and organizations. ENSTINET organizes training courses in its class-rooms and computer labs. The training is augmented by audio visual aids and other necessary equipments.

- Fundamentals of Unix Operating System - Unix System Administration - SHELL Command Language for programmers - C Language for programmers - BRS Search Administration - Online BRS Search - CDS/ISIS - Computer Networks - Basic Online Database Search & Document Delivery - Advanced Online Database Search - Medline on CD-ROM - Documentation and Database Development - Information Marketing - Management of Information Centers - National Information Policy

Besides, specialized training courses tailored according to organization's needs can be conducted.


- U.S. Agency for International Development (US-AID)

through the Science and Technology Cooperation Project of the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology.

- L'Institutute National d'Information Scientific et Technique (INIST)

- The British Council

- The International Development Research Center (IDRC) Canada.

ENSTINET is the Focal Point for the Following Regional and International Organizations:

- Intergovernmental Informatics Program (IIP/UNESCO)

- Programme General D'Information (PGI/UNESCO)

- International Serials Data System (ISDS)

- National Library of Medicine - (NLM/USA)

- Agricultural Information System/Food & Agriculture Organization (AGRIS/FAO)

- Current Agricultural Research Information System (CARIS/FAO)

- Center for Environmental Health Activities / World Health Organization's Regional Office for the Eastern Mediteranean (CEHANET/WHO)

- Pan African Documentation and Information System (PADIS/ECA)

- Arab Scientific and Technical Information Network/Intergovernmental Informatics Programme (ASTINET/IIP)


The Focal Point is located in Cairo in the Academy of Scientific Research and Technology where 30 professional work along with 5 support staff. ENSTINET occupies the 12 floor of the Academy in the center of Cairo. The responsible people are:

Mr. Ahmad A. Bassit , Director ENSTINET ( ab@estinet.uucp ) Eng. Sief Rashed , Deputy Director ( sr@estinet.uucp ) Mrs. Jihan Nour , Computer Dept. Manager ( jhn@estinet.uucp ) Mrs. Nadia El-Shishiny , Services Dept. Manager ( ns@estinet.uucp ) Mrs. Ola Wagieh , Training and Marketing Manager ( ow@estinet.uucp ) Ms. Magda Kamal , Database Dept. Coordinator ( mk@estinet.uucp )

Technical Suppot Staff:

Eng. Maha Nabarawy ( maha@estinet.uucp ) Eng. Maged Boulos ( mb@estinet.uucp ) Eng. Khaled Samy ( kh@estinet.uucp )


Egyptian National STI Network Academy of Scientific Research and Technology 101 Kasr El-Aini St, 12 floor Cairo, Egypt. 11516


Egyptian National STI Network P.O. Box 1522 Attaba Cairo, Egypt. 11511

Tel : + (202) 355-7253 + (202) 356-4421 Fax : + (202) 354-7807

Editor: Ali B. Ali-Dinar
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