perm filename NS.ME[S,DOC] blob sn#720088
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COMMENT ⊗ VALID 00035 PAGES
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C00006 00002 STANFORD ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LABORATORY 7 Mar 1975
C00009 00003 Contents Page 0
C00012 00004 News Service Page 1
C00016 00005 The Hot Line Program--HOT Page 2
C00020 00006 Command lines Page 3
C00024 00007 Keyword Expressions Page 4
C00029 00008 Keyword Expressions Page 5
C00033 00009 Keyword Expressions Page 6
C00037 00010 Dates Page 7
C00041 00011 Dates Page 8
C00045 00012 The Time Range Page 9
C00049 00013 Switches Page 10
C00054 00014 Switches Page 11
C00059 00015 Presentation of the News Page 12
C00064 00016 Presentation of the News Page 13
C00068 00017 Presentation of the News Page 14
C00072 00018 Searching the News: Pointing Out Keyword Occurrences Page 15
C00076 00019 Mnemonic Commands Page 16
C00081 00020 Mnemonic Commands Page 17
C00085 00021 Not Again! Page 18
C00090 00022 Temporary Command Text Storage Page 19
C00095 00023 Command File Input Page 20
C00100 00024 Command File Input Page 21
C00104 00025 Output Files Page 22
C00108 00026 <ESCAPE>I Manual Interruptions Page 23
C00112 00027 Automatic Notification Page 24
C00116 00028 Automatic Notification Page 25
C00121 00029 Automatic Notification Page 26
C00125 00030 Retrieving from INDEXed User Files Page 27
C00129 00031 Command Summary Page 28
C00134 00032 Command Summary Page 29
C00137 00033 Command Summary Page 30
C00141 00034 Command Summary Page 31
C00145 00035 Comments on the Format of News Service Stories Page 32
STANFORD ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LABORATORY 7 Mar 1975
OPERATING NOTE 72.2
THE NEWS SERVICE SYSTEM
By Martin Frost
Stories from two news wires (the Associated Press and the New York
Times News Service) are collected and stored on disk as they come in
and can be read selectively through the use of the News Service
program NS. To read the news using this program, the user types
keyword expressions to specify the stories of interest and gives
display commands to have particular stories presented. The News
Service system features the following: treatment of all but the most
common words as keywords; retention of the news for a number of days
limited only by disk space available (the user can specify which
days' news he wants to examine); choice of reading either or both of
the news wires; automatic notification of the user on arrival of
selected stories; and display news presentation for users of Stanford
Another program, HOT, is used to type out the news from either wire
as it is coming in.
The Associated Press news report is made available in these programs
for demonstration and research purposes only and caution must be
exercised to insure that the news is not published or broadcast or
publicly displayed or used for any commercial purpose.
Contents Page 0
C O N T E N T S
The News Service System . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
The Hot Line Program--HOT . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1
The News Service Program--NS . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
Command lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Keyword Expressions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3
Dates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6
The Time Range . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Switches . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9
Presentation of the News . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Searching the News: Pointing Out Keyword Occurrences . . . . 14
Mnemonic Commands . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
Not Again! . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17
Temporary Command Text Storage . . . . . . . . . . . 18
Headline Stories . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Command File Input . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Output Files . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 21
<ESCAPE>I Manual Interruptions . . . . . . . . . . . 22
Automatic Notification . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 23
Retrieving from INDEXed User Files . . . . . . . . . . 26
Command Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27
Using NS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Comments on the Format of News Service Stories . . . . . . 31
News Service Page 1
The News Service System
We have two news wires (the Associated Press and the New York Times
News Service) over which we get national and international news (no
local news). The lines are read by a program that takes incoming
news stories and files them away on the disk. As each story is
filed, it is categorized by the words occurring in it. To retrieve
selected stories the user types to the NS program (described below) a
keyword expression indicating what words or combinations of words the
stories of interest should (or should not) contain.
Individuals can access the news through two programs, NS and HOT.
This document describes the use of these programs for reading the
The Hot Line Program--HOT
The program HOT provides the user a hot line to the news. When
running from a Stanford display, HOT splits the screen, using one
half for each of the two news wires. On other terminals HOT types
out the news from one of the wires--the user can select the wire to
be typed out and can in fact switch between the wires.
To start up HOT, type the monitor command: HOT. While HOT is
running, the following commands are meaningful:
HOT COMMAND EFFECT
<cr> Change the news wire being typed out.
NYT<cr> Type out NYT (New York Times) news only.
AP<cr> Type out AP (Associated Press) news only.
<ESC>I Redraw news text and titles on displays only.
DISPLAY<cr> Display both NYT and AP news on displays only.
?<cr> Present this list of commands and meanings.
Each command may be abbreviated to one character. On displays, that
one character may be typed with [CONTROL] and/or [META] instead of
followed by <cr>. For instance, [CONTROL]E will exit.
Any of the commands above may be given in the monitor command line by
typing "HOT;" followed by the command desired. For example,
The Hot Line Program--HOT Page 2
"HOT;NYT" will start up HOT in non-display mode typing out only the
If the hot line is down (for instance for testing of the news
system), then HOT will tell you so and then stop. There are times
when no news is coming in; at such times, HOT will of course type out
The News Service Program--NS
The program NS allows quick access to stored news from any given
period of time. This program is started by typing the monitor
command: NS. The user can then select stories from the news by
typing in keyword expressions that indicate which words or
combinations of words a story must contain to be of interest. The
program will respond by telling the user how many stories match the
given expression, and the first part of the first such story (if
there are any) will be presented to him.
As each story comes in over one of the wires, it is categorized by
all the words occurring in it except for a small class of very common
words (such as "the", "a", "and", etc.). Before a word is used to
categorize or retrieve stories, if any one of the suffixes -S, -ES,
-ING, -ED and -LY is present, that suffix is removed so that
retrieval will not depend on the user's typing the exact form of the
word (singular or plural noun or verb; present or past tense or
participle of a verb) that occurs in the story. Suffixes formed when
a final -Y is changed to -I before adding -ES or -ED are removed
When a keyword expression is entered by the user, it is compared
against the categorization lists to find all the stories that fit the
expression. The keywords used in an expression can be any words
(consisting of letters only) except the few common words specifically
excluded from categorizations. If a common word is used in an
expression by mistake, the program will give a warning to that
effect. The suffix removal procedure that is applied to words in the
news stories is also applied to keywords the user enters.
Presentation of news to users on Stanford displays is done by
displaying a screenful of text at a time. News is presented on other
terminals by typing out a portion of a story at a time.
(In all expressions and commands typed to NS, no distinction is made
between upper-case letters and lower-case letters.)
Command lines Page 3
Command lines to NS consist of a command character possibly followed
by a text argument. Some commands allow a numerical argument (in
decimal) to PRECEDE the command character. Any ALPHABETIC command
character that takes a following text argument MUST be separated from
its text argument by a space. For example, LNEWS<cr> is illegal; use
L NEWS<cr> instead. Leading spaces are also allowed (and are
ignored) for all other text arguments.
On displays, command characters can be typed with [CONTROL] and/or
[META] instead of being followed by a carriage return. Any text
arguments, however, must be followed by carriage return.
Keyword expressions are entered as text arguments of the command
character space. The command character colon (:) takes as its text
argument a mnemonic command name. Keyword expressions, mnemonic
commands and the other command characters will be explained later.
When a command character which requires a text argument is typed
without it, an informative prompt will be made by NS to explain what
the argument should be and NS will then await typing of the argument.
Help can be obtained from NS by typing the command character question
mark (?) followed by the name of a switch, mnemonic command, or help
topic. Typing a question mark followed simply by a carriage return
will cause NS to briefly explain the main command characters and how
to get more detailed help.
Type altmode to abort a partially-typed command.
To retrieve stories using NS, type the command character space
followed by a KEYWORD EXPRESSION, which may be either a single
keyword or an expression containing keywords and the operators +, -,
and *. Each keyword represents the set of all the stories it occurs
in. The operators represent the set operations UNION (+),
INTERSECTION (*), and SET DIFFERENCE (-), which are performed on the
sets of stories which the keywords represent. Thus, if you want all
stories that mention both President and Congress, you should use the
keyword expression "PRESIDENT * CONGRESS"; the expression
Keyword Expressions Page 4
"PRESIDENT + CONGRESS" represents all stories that mention either
President or Congress; and "PRESIDENT - CONGRESS" represents all
stories that mention President but not Congress. The precedence of
operators is the normal one: * takes precedence over + and -, which
have equal precedence. Operators with equal precedence are evaluated
from left to right. Parentheses may be used freely in keyword
To clarify all this a little, here are a few examples:
Keyword Expression Meaning
(PRESIDENT-CONGRESS+WAR)*IMPEACH All stories that mention both
IMPEACH and either (1) PRESIDENT
and not CONGRESS or (2) WAR (and
CONGRESS-PRESIDENT-WAR-IMPEACH All stories that mention
CONGRESS but that mention none
of PRESIDENT, WAR and IMPEACH.
CHICAGO*PLANE + DETROIT*CAR - WAR All stories that mention either
both CHICAGO and PLANE but not
WAR, or both DETROIT and CAR but
To facilitate finding specific stories, a couple of special forms are
permitted to be used as keywords in keyword expressions. The first
of these is used to represent all those stories that have certain
news service sequence numbers. (For an explanation of sequence
numbers, see the section entitled "Comments on the Format of News
Service Stories" on page 31.) To represent all stories with sequence
numbers from N to M, use the form "#N:M". This form may occur
anywhere a keyword may occur in an expression. The form "#N:N"
represents all stories with sequence number N and may be abbreviated
"#N". Furthermore, the form "#0:99999" represents all stories and
may be abbreviated just "#". In the form "#N:M", if N>M then this
form represents all stories with sequence numbers greater than or
equal to N or less than or equal to M.
The second special form consists merely of a decimal number appearing
in place of a keyword. If a number K appears as the FIRST argument
of an operation, or as the only term in a keyword expression, then
that number represents the most recent K stories in the news. For
example, "9 * PRESIDENT" represents, of the latest 9 stories, any
Keyword Expressions Page 5
that mention President; and "5" represents the latest 5 news stories
(from each wire, or 10 stories altogether if both wires are
selected). If a number K appears as the SECOND argument of any
operation, then that number represents the K most recent stories of
the other (first) argument of the operation. For example,
"PRESIDENT * 10" represents the 10 most recent stories that mention
Below are some examples of these special forms in use.
#2 + #202 All stories with either of these
sequence numbers. (These are the
usual sequence numbers of the
AP news digests.)
#325:23 All stories with sequence number
greater than or equal to 325 or
less than or equal to 23.
# All stories. Useful if you want
to peruse through the news.
#321*BULLETIN Stories with sequence number 321
that contain the word BULLETIN.
5 - PRESIDENT Of the latest 5 stories, all
that do not mention PRESIDENT.
AP*NEWS*DIGEST*1 The latest AP news digest.
When you enter a keyword expression (which must follow the command
character space), the program makes up a list of all the stories that
fit the expression. This list is called your CURRENT STORY LIST.
When you type the next keyword expression, a new current story list
is generated (unless no stories fit your new expression) and your
former current story list is saved as your PREVIOUS STORY LIST. If
you want to get back the previous story list, use the :EXCHANGE
mnemonic command (see the section "Mnemonic Commands" on page 15)
which exchanges your current and previous story lists. This feature
is especially useful if you are examining news from several days: For
each wire being used, the program must read in one large file for
each day's news under consideration every time you enter a new
keyword expression. Retrieving your previous story list is thus much
faster than reconstructing it through a keyword expression,
especially when news from several days is being considered.
Your current story list can be modified without typing again the
Keyword Expressions Page 6
keywords you used to get it. If a keyword expression starts with +,
-, or *, the missing (first) operand is taken to be the last keyword
expression you typed. For example, if your last expression was
"PRESIDENT", you can use the expression "*VIETNAM" to get stories
that mention both PRESIDENT and VIETNAM.
Furthermore, to add stories from another keyword expression to your
current story list, you can use the command character plus-sign (+)
instead of the space character. The story list resulting from a
keyword expression following the COMMAND CHARACTER "+" will be
combined with your current story list. Note the difference between
this feature and that described in the preceding paragraph.
A keyword expression can be preceded and/or followed by switches,
which affect the evaluation of the expression. There are date, time,
and mode switches, all of which are explained in the section
"Switches" on page 9.
If you want to use exactly the same expression you last used, the
command character tab can be used optionally followed by any date,
time, or temporary mode switches. Also, on displays [META]<cr> will
reload your line editor with the last command line containing a
NS keeps track of the stories you have seen. When a new keyword
expression is evaluated, any stories found that you have already
looked at are removed from the new current story list. The number of
stories so removed is reported along with the number of other stories
found. To inhibit this removal of stories already seen, change from
the initial /-AGAIN mode to /AGAIN mode. See the section entitled
"Not Again!" on page 17.
When started up, NS expects to reference only the news that has come
in today. However, by using the date switches you can select what
range of dates is to be considered in constructing a story list from
a keyword expression. Evaluating an expression for a range of
several days takes longer than evaluating one for just today because
a separate data file must be read in by the program for each wire for
each day in the range.
The date range can be set with the date switches. The /FROM switch
sets the beginning date of this range, the /TO switch sets the ending
Dates Page 7
date of the range, and the /ON and /DURING switches set both the
beginning and ending dates. Each of these switches requires a date
to be typed after the switch name. This date can be in almost any
format; here are some example forms:
MEANING AS MEANING AS
DATE BEGINNING DATE ENDING DATE
TODAY today today
YESTERDAY yesterday same
SUNDAY last Sunday before today same
MONDAY last Monday before today same
... ... ...
SATURDAY last Saturday before today same
24-MAY-74 24 May 1974 same
74-MAY-24 24 May 1974 same
MAY-24-1974 24 May 1974 same
5/24/74 24 May 1974 same
5-24-74 24 May 1974 same
5 24 74 24 May 1974 same
May 24, 1974 24 May 1974 same
MAY 24, 74 24 May 1974 same
24 MAY 24 May of current year same
MAY 24 24 May of current year same
MAY-24 24 May of current year same
24-MAY 24 May of current year same
5/24 24 May of current year same
MAY-74 1 May 1974 31 May 1974
MAY 1 May of current year 31 May of current year
24 24th day of current month same
74 1 January 1974 31 December 1974
1974 1 January 1974 31 December 1974
Spaces, dashes, slashes and commas can be used in any combination to
connect parts of a date (month, day and year), which can be in any
order (except when month and day are both given as numbers, in which
case the month must come before the day). Names of months and days
of the week and the words "TODAY" and "YESTERDAY" may be abbreviated
to three letters (or less if unambiguous).
Dates Page 8
Here are some date switches with dates and their effect on the date
/ON TODAY Date range becomes today only.
/DURING MAY Date range runs from 1 May to 31 May of current
/DURING 74 Date range runs from 1 Jan 1974 to 31 Dec 1974.
/FROM TUES/TO TOD (This is two switches in same command.) Date
range is from last Tuesday (a week ago if today
is a Tuesday) to today.
/ON WED Date range is last Wednesday only.
/ON 24 MAY Date range is 24 May of current year.
/ON YESTERDAY Date range is yesterday only.
The Time Range
In addition to being able to specify the range of dates from which
news is to be retrieved, the user can choose to consider only news
that has come in after a given time and/or before another given time.
The combined time/date range extends from a specifiable time on the
beginning date to another specifiable time on the ending date. In
evaluating keyword expressions, only stories that have come in during
the time period given will be allowed to match the expression.
The beginning time on the beginning date is set with the /AFTER
switch; the ending time on the ending date is set with the /BEFORE
switch; both are set with the /AT switch. The beginning time is
cleared whenever a beginning date is given using a date switch; the
ending time is similarly cleared whenever an ending date is given.
(The times are cleared even if the new dates specified are the same
as the old ones.)
The time range feature is especially useful if you read the news more
than once on a given day and do not want to see the same stories
twice. For instance, if you read the news in the afternoon and have
run NS at, say, 11am, then typing "/AFTER 11" will prevent the
program from retrieving stories that you have already read (except
when new parts have come in and have been attached to earlier
The Time Range Page 9
The /AFTER, /BEFORE and /AT switches must be followed by a time
(Pacific Time) in one of the following example formats:
TIME MEANING TIME MEANING
0000 midnight 2400 midnight (day later)
0500 5:00am 8:34a 8:34am
0612 6:12am 9:45 9:45am
11 11:00am 1056AM 10:56am
12 noon 12:21 12:21pm
13 1:00pm 2:22p 2:22pm
1311 1:11pm 3:23pm 3:23pm
The times 12am and 12pm, being somewhat ambiguous, are illegal: use 0
or 24 for midnight and 12 for noon. Note that the times 0000 on
Wednesday and 2400 on Tuesday are the same, but 0 and 24 Wednesday
are a day apart.
After 9pm Pacific Time new stories are filed under the following
day's date. Thus if you have no time limits and your date range is
/FROM MONDAY/TO TUESDAY, then you may get stories with times anywhere
from 9pm SUNDAY to 9pm TUESDAY.
The :DATES mnemonic command will type out your current time/date
range. Also, if you change the time/date range or if a keyword
expression is about to be evaluated for more than a two day range,
the time/date range will be typed out.
A keyword expression (command character space) can be preceded and/or
followed by switches. A switch is a slash (/) followed by the name
of the switch, possibly followed by an argument for the switch.
Switches are used for setting the times and dates for which stories
are to be retrieved and for setting the modes in which stories will
Switches that set modes of presentation can be set temporarily or
permanently. Any mode switches that FOLLOW a keyword expression on a
command line are interpreted as TEMPORARY and are in effect only
during evaluation of the current keyword expression--after that the
permanent switch values take effect again. Any mode switches that
Switches Page 10
PRECEDE a keyword expression or that occur alone without any keyword
expression are made PERMANENT. To enable a mode, type a slash (/)
followed by the name of the switch, e.g., "/CHRONO". To disable a
mode, type a slash (/) followed by a minus sign (-) and the name of
the switch, e.g., "/-CHRONO".
The currently available switches are listed and explained below.
Switch names can be abbreviated to any extent that leaves them
TYPE SWITCH MEANING
Date Switches Each of these switches must be followed by a date
argument. The argument format is explained above
in the section "Dates" on page 6. The effect of a
DATE switch is PERMANENT until changed by another
/FROM The argument following this switch specifies the
beginning date in the range of dates for which
stories are to be retrieved. This switch clears
any beginning time given in a previous command
/TO The argument following this switch specifies the
ending date in the range of dates for which stories
are to be retrieved. This switch clears any ending
time given in a previous command line.
/ON The argument following this switch specifies the
entire date range. This switch clears any
beginning and ending times given in previous
/DURING This switch is identical to the /ON switch.
Time Switches Each of these switches must be followed by a time
argument. The argument format is explained above
in the section "The Time Range" on page 8. The
effect of a TIME switch is PERMANENT until changed
by another time switch or cleared by a date switch.
/AFTER The argument following this switch specifies the
beginning time on the beginning date.
/BEFORE The argument following this switch specifies the
ending time on the ending date.
/AT The argument following this switch specifies both
the beginning time on the beginning date and the
ending time on the ending date.
Switches Page 11
Mode Switches Each of these can occur either in a positive sense
(without a minus sign) or in a negative sense (with
a minus sign). A mode switch is TEMPORARY in
effect only when occurring after a keyword
expression; other occurrences are PERMANENT. The
initial modes in effect when NS starts up are:
/AP /NYT /-AGAIN /CHRONO /DPY /-HEADLI
/AP Use the Associated Press news when evaluating a
keyword expression. In /-AP mode, no AP stories
will be checked against expressions. This switch
and the /NYT switch below are independent.
Together they determine what combination of news
wires is used as the source of stories.
/NYT Use the New York Times News Service stories when
evaluating a keyword expression. In /-NYT mode, no
NY Times stories will be checked against
expressions. See also the /AP switch above.
/AGAIN Do not remove from new story lists the stories that
have already been presented (in part or in whole)
to the user. In /-AGAIN mode (the default), all
stories you have actually seen are removed from
each new current story list generated; this
prevents stories that you have already read from
being retrieved again by new keyword expressions.
See the section "Not Again!" on page 17.
/CHRONO Construct story lists with the stories in
chronological order (oldest first). /-CHRONO
causes story lists to be constructed in reverse
/DPY This switch is meaningful only when the program is
running on a Stanford display. Such a display in
/-DPY mode will be treated like a non-display.
/HEADLI For each story list constructed with two or more
stories, a headline story is added at the beginning
of the list. This headline story will contain the
first few lines of each story in the list. The
positive sense of this switch takes an optional
argument consisting of an equals sign (=) followed
by a number specifying the requested number of
headline-story lines devoted to each real story
(e.g., "/HEADLI=5"). This number should be between
1 and 8 inclusive. If the argument is omitted, the
default number of lines per story will be used;
this default is currently 3. See the section
"Headline Stories" on page 19.
Presentation of the News Page 12
Presentation of the News
Stories are presented to the user in an amount called a frame.
If you are running NS from a Stanford display, each frame is
a screenful of text (about 30 lines) and a single story can
be made up of from one to several frames, only one of which
can be displayed at a time. Consecutive frames of a story
overlap by half a screenful plus two lines. When you advance
(or backup) one or two frames, a right arrow (→) is displayed
in the left margin opposite the last (or earliest when
backing up) line that was previously displayed. If you move
by more than two frames (more than one whole screenful), the
arrow is drawn on the line closest to the previous text.
When the first frame of a new story is displayed, the arrow
will point to the first line of that story.
If you are running NS from some other kind of terminal, the
first frame contains enough of the first few lines of the
story to give you a reasonable preview of the story. (This
lets you see what the story is about before the rest of it is
typed out.) The remainder of the story makes up the second
frame unless you have used the :FRAME mnemonic command to
indicate the number of lines you want the second and
subsequent frames to contain. For instance, if you have said
"9:FRAME" then each frame after the first one will have 9
lines, until either the end of the story is reached or about
20 frames have been used. In the latter case, the rest of
the story will all be included in the last frame, which thus
may be longer than the frame size you have indicated; this
will not happen unless you have chosen a very small frame
size (like 4 or 5). The purpose of having a settable frame
size is to allow users of display terminals (at Stanford or
elsewhere) to have the typeout stop before unread parts have
gone off screen.
After NS has presented a frame of a story, it will await another
command. There are several frame changing command characters used to
move around in your current story list.
Each story in the current story list is actually made up of one or
more news service stories which have been linked together by the NS
system. Each one of the news service stories is called one PART of
the STORY from your story list. The frame changing commands are
oriented towards displaying either another FRAME of the same part,
Presentation of the News Page 13
another PART of the same story or another STORY in the main list.
Furthermore, for each command that moves you forward a frame, part or
story, there is a command that moves you backward a frame, part or
story. Thus there are the following six basic frame changing
commands, each of which can be preceded with a numerical argument.
These six commands appear on the keyboard in two adjacent columns of
three characters each. On Stanford displays, these command
characters activate immediately without any control bits or carriage
CHAR EFFECT ON POSITION IN STORY LIST
U Advance to the next story in the main story list. If this
command has a numerical argument, advance that many stories
in the main list.
I Same as U but backup in main story list instead of advancing.
- - -
J Advance to the next part of the current story. If current
part is the last one, advance to first part of next story.
If this command has a numerical argument, advance that many
parts in the current story, but not beyond the last part of
K Same as J but backup one or more parts instead of advancing.
If current part is the first one, backup to the last part of
the previous story. With an argument, do not backup past
first part of current story.
- - -
M Advance to the next frame of the current part. If current
frame is last one, advance to first frame of next part (or
next story if no more parts). With an argument, advance that
many frames in current part without going beyond the last
frame of this part.
, (comma) Same as M but backup one or more frames instead of
advancing. If current frame is first one of this part,
backup to the last frame of the previous part (or last frame
of last part of previous story if current part is first part
of story). With an argument, do not backup beyond the first
frame of the current part.
On non-displays, typing just a carriage return as a command advances
Presentation of the News Page 14
to the next frame exactly like the M command above. On displays, no
carriage return is used with frame-changing commands.
On displays, typing one of the above six command characters with the
[TOP] key held down is the same as typing that command with an
argument of 99999. This will advance (or backup) to the last (first)
frame, part or story depending on the command.
Also on displays, the command characters FORMFEED (FORM) and VERTICAL
TAB (VT) are just like M and , (comma) respectively except that they
advance or backup by TWO FRAMES instead of one. Thus FORM advances
by one screenful (two frames) and VT backs up by one screenful, each
with two lines of overlap. If there is only one frame between your
original position and the end of the current part when you give one
of these commands, the command will only advance or backup for that
Searching the News: Pointing Out Keyword Occurrences
To find the actual occurrence(s) of a keyword in a story, there is a
search facility which can be especially useful when a story has
matched an expression and the reason for the match is not obvious to
the reader. A quick search by NS will point out the keyword.
There are two groups of three command characters each for searching
your current story list for a keyword or other character string. One
group is for reading the string to be searched for and then searching
for it; the other group is for searching for a previously specified
string. Within each group, there is one command for searching the
whole story list, one for searching the current story (including all
of its parts), and one for searching just the current part. These
six commands appear on the keyboard in two adjacent columns of three
characters each, as shown below.
CHAR MEANING AS COMMAND CHARACTER
T Read search string and search for it in current story list.
G Read search string and search in current story (all parts).
B Read search string and search only the the current part.
Y Search current story list for previous search string.
H Search current story (all parts) for previous search string.
N Search current part for previous search string.
Any of the six command characters above may be preceded by a decimal
Searching the News: Pointing Out Keyword Occurrences Page 15
argument which specifies how many occurrences of the string to search
for; the last occurrence will be displayed if enough are found. Each
of the first three command characters above (T,G,B) takes a search
string, which must be separated from the command character by a
space. For example, T GOOD<cr> will search your story list for GOOD.
For all six search commands, if there is no search string, the first
keyword in your last expression will be used as the search string.
Only occurrences of the search string preceded by a non-letter will
be found. In search strings, a space will match any number of
consecutive characters all among: space, comma, period, carriage
return, linefeed; the character down-arrow (↓) will match only
carriage return followed by linefeed. Searching starts from the
current part or from the last place in that part the same string was
On displays, a search string found will be emphasized wherever it
occurs in the story. On non-displays, the text found will be typed
out followed by about two lines of the text following it in the
There are several special commands which use the command character
colon (:) followed by a command name. These are the mnemonic
commands and they are described separately below. Some take an
optional numeric argument, which should precede the colon (e.g.,
"15:FRAME"). The command names can be abbreviated provided they
:UNSEEN Pretend that no stories have been presented to the
user. This resets the list of stories already seen to
null so that no stories will be removed from your next
current story list for already having been seen.
Stories seen after use of this mnemonic command will
nevertheless be added to the (newly cleared) list of
stories seen, and the state of the /AGAIN mode switch
is unaffected by this switch. See the section "Not
Again!" on page 17.
:FRAME Set the frame size for teletype-mode news presentation
to the number of lines indicated by the numerical
Mnemonic Commands Page 16
argument. For example, "15:FRAME" will cause the
second and subsequent frames of each story typed out to
contain 15 lines (until the end of the story). This
command without an argument (":FRAME") resets the frame
size to the default of infinity. See the explanation
of frame size at the beginning of the section
"Presentation of the News" on page 12.
:HELP Present some helpful information on the use of NS and
tell how to get more help.
:SWITCHES Type out the names of all the switches.
:MODES Type out the current mode switch settings.
:DATES Type out the current time/date range and the oldest
date for which news is available. See the section
"Dates" on page 6.
:REVERSE Reverse the order of the current story list (changing
the order of only that list from chronological to
reverse chronological or vice versa).
:COUNT Type out the number of stories in the current story
:EXCHANGE Exchange your CURRENT STORY LIST with your PREVIOUS
STORY LIST. Each time a new keyword expression results
in a new current story list, the old current story list
becomes the new previous story list. The old previous
story list is discarded at that time. This command
allows you to get back the previous list without
generating it again from a keyword expression. On
displays, this command puts you back to the frame
(within the old story list) that was last displayed.
On non-displays, this command leaves you at the
beginning of the list. In both cases, the number of
stories in the new current story list is typed out.
:HEADLINES Present the headline story for the current story list,
generating that headline story if necessary. This
command takes an optional numeric argument that
specifies the number of lines of headline story to be
devoted to each real story, e.g., "5:HEADLINES". See
the section "Headline Stories" on page 19.
:DSTORY Delete the current story from your current story list.
Mnemonic Commands Page 17
This is mainly useful if you want to output your
current story list to a file or a printer and there are
a few stories you do not want to output. You can
delete those stories with this and/or the next mnemonic
:DPART Delete the current part from your current story list.
This is similar to :DSTORY but only deletes one part of
the current story instead of all of its parts.
:NOTICE Present the NS notice of the day, which is used to
inform users of new and changed features of NS. The
notice of the day is automatically presented when NS
starts up unless you type an NS command in the monitor
command line that starts up NS.
:COMMANDS Type out the names of all of these mnemonic commands.
Type ?COMMANDS to get a brief explanation of each of
To avoid getting the same story from two or more different keyword
expressions, NS keeps a list of stories that have already been seen.
The current setting of the /AGAIN mode switch determines whether
stories already seen will be included in the story list being created
in the evaluation of a new keyword expression. /AGAIN mode will
allow such stories to be included. The default mode /-AGAIN will
exclude such stories from a new story list.
If you want to see the stories that have been removed from a new
story list for already having been read, type the command "+<cr>".
This will replace in your current story list those excluded stories
just as if you had been in /AGAIN mode when the story list was
The mnemonic command :UNSEEN will mark all stories already seen as
never having been seen as of the time this command is given.
When you exit, NS writes a TMPCOR file containing the list of stories
you have already seen. If you start NS up again later (without
logging out), NS will read that list back in and thus remember which
stories you have already seen. (Since TMPCOR space is limited for
each job, at most 64 entries from the list of stories already seen
are written into the TMPCOR file.)
Not Again! Page 18
Stories which have a new part added to them after you see them will
be marked as not having been seen. Therefore, if you get back a
story which you have already read, it is probable that a new part has
been added to that story.
Temporary Command Text Storage
Sometimes one may want to remember a reference in a story to some
particular news item that is of interest but which it would be
inconvenient to go look at immediately. NS will do the remembering
for you by allowing you to store an arbitrary text string, to add
text to the end of the string, and to recall the string for execution
as an NS command later. This is accomplished with the following two
command characters which manipulate your temporary stored text string.
CHAR MEANING AS COMMAND CHARACTER
< This types out the currently-stored temporary string, if any,
and then appends to that stored string a space and the text
following the "<". Typing "<" without any following text
will just cause the currently-stored string to be typed out.
The maximum allowed length of the temporary string is about
140 characters (limited by the size of the display line
> This command loads your terminal's input buffer (line editor
if you are on a display) with a Space followed by the stored
temporary string and then clears the string to null. The
next < command you give after > will find no string, but if
you use > again before using < then the same string wil be
loaded into your input buffer again. Note that since the >
command puts a Space in front of your temporary string when
loading your input buffer, the resultant command will be
interpreted as a keyword expression unless you change (with
the line editor) the command character Space.
For instance, if you are reading the AP news digest and see a
reference to a story you want to read later, you can type "<"
followed by the keyword expression you would use to get the story;
then you can go back to reading the digest. If the digest mentions
another story of interest, type "<" followed by the appropriate text
to be appended to the previous expression (i.e., the second time you
should probably say "<+..."). When you have finished reading the
Temporary Command Text Storage Page 19
digest, type ">" and carriage return; then edit, if necesary, the
resulting text in your line editor (if on a display), and finally
type carriage return to activate the retrieved keyword expression.
Through use of either the /HEADLI mode switch or the :HEADLINES
mnemonic command, a special headline story can be generated which
will include the first few lines of each story in your main story
list. Such a headline story can allow you to choose which stories
you want to read in more detail.
The headline story is created in core by reading in the first few
lines of each main story and combining this text into the headline
story. The headline story is not actually created until you ask to
see it. To create this story requires NS to do about 5 disk
operations (as counted in the wholine) per main story in the list.
Thus if there are several hundred stories, it will take NS several
seconds to create this story. However, once the story is created, it
is kept in core until you change story lists. The headline story is
inserted at the front of the story list and is referred to as story 0
in the list.
Text is packed into the headline story as tightly as possible with
carriage returns, linefeeds, and redundant spaces omitted. The first
line of each entry in the headline story begins with the number of
the particular story within your main story list. This is followed
by the story's sequence number and the day of the month the story is
from. Subsequent lines for the same story's entry are indented. The
number of lines of headline story devoted to each story in the list
is always between 1 and 8 and is determined either by the user in an
argument to the /HEADLI switch or to the :HEADLINES mnemonic command
or by the program if such an argument is not given or is
unreasonable. The default number of lines of headline story
allocated to each story is currently 3. If there are more stories
than can be included in the headline story, the headline story is
made up of stories from the front of the story list until space runs
out, at which point "..." is placed at the end of the headline story
to indicate that it is incomplete.
If you type <ESC>I (on a Stanford display) while a headline story is
being made, the headline story will be left incomplete (and marked so
with "...") and then presented to you.
Command File Input Page 20
Command File Input
NS can be made to read keyword expressions automatically from a disk
file, pausing to let the reader examine each story list before the
next expression is read. To use this method of input, the reader
should set up a command file containing a line which begins "NS:".
The keyword expressions should follow the "NS:" with different
expressions separated by commas (,) and the last expression followed
by a semicolon (;). Carriage returns, linefeeds, formfeeds (page
marks), tabs and nulls are all discarded when appearing in an
expression read from a command file. Probably the most convenient
file to use for this purpose is the file OPTION.TXT, which can also
be used by other programs for other special options. The following
commands invoke reading from a command file.
CHARS MEANING AS NS COMMAND
@ Open the command file whose name follows. Then read and
evaluate keyword expressions from the file until some stories
are found. If no filename is given, the file
<programmer-name>.NAP[2,2] (your notification file--see the
section entitled "Automatic Notification" on page 23) is
used; if that file is not found, then your OPTION.TXT file is
used. If a filename is given with no extension, the default
extension .TXT is used.
@+ Same as "@" but read in all expressions from the command file
and combine all of the resulting story lists into one list.
Q Read another keyword expression from the open command file,
For example, @INP<cr> will open the file INP.TXT, look for a line
beginning "NS:" and then read the keyword expression following. The
command @INP.<cr> will open and read from the file INP. Just @<cr>
will open and read from OPTION.TXT (unless you have some News Service
Notifications awaiting you). The command @+INP<cr> will read and
evaluate all the expressions from INP.TXT, combining all the
resultant stories into one big list.
Every keyword expression read from a command file will be typed out
preceded by an at-sign (@) to indicate that it came from the file.
If you hit the end of the current story list with any of the U, J, M
and Formfeed command characters, another expression will
automatically be read from your open command file, if any.
Here is a sample command file (OPTION.TXT):
Command File Input Page 21
This file contains three keyword expressions. The first one
("AP*NEWS*DIGEST/-CHRONO/-NY/AP") will present the latest AP News
Digest. The second expression is "BULLETIN+URGENT" and the last one
Three command characters are available for outputting stories to a
disk file or to one of the printers. Each of these characters takes
a following text argument which specifies the output device and
CHAR MEANING AS COMMAND CHARACTER
O Output the entire current story list.
L Output the current story (with all of its parts).
. (Period) Output just the current part.
Follow any of the above command characters with a space and either
LPT: (for spooling on the line printer)
XGP: (for spooling on the XGP)
OR a disk filename (for output to a file). The device names can be
abbreviated but the colon (:) must be present. The default output
file extension .NS is used if no extension is given. To exemplify
this, L FILEX<cr> will output your current story (with all of its
parts) to the disk file FILEX.NS on your current disk area (alias);
and O LPT:<cr> will spool the entire current story list on the line
printer. When just spooling is done, the stories are written in a
file on your real (logged-in) disk area with a name like $NEWS0.NS,
which will be spooled and deleted.
If a specified disk output file already exists, it will be extended
by appending the selected stories to the end of the file. E files
may be extended this way without invalidating the directory. (Note:
Only the record pointer on the directory page is updated so the E
will accept the directory. The text of the first line of a
previously empty page is not added to the directory when text is
output to that page.) You can override this default (of extending
Output Files Page 22
the file) by following the filename with either of the following
switches to specify what action is to be taken if the file already
/REPLACE (Replace existing file with new file.)
/ABORT (Abort the output if file already exists.)
Also, to spool an output file which you want to keep, follow the
filename with either
/SPOOL (for spooling on the LPT)
or /XSPOOL (for spooling on the XGP).
If you type <ESC>I (on a Stanford display) while NS is outputting
stories to a file (whether or not for spooling), the output will be
discarded and any spooling suppressed.
Each story output to a file (whether for spooling or not) will be
followed in the file by a row of stars (*'s). Individual parts of
the same story will be separated by rows of dashes (-'s). To let you
know how far the output has gotten, when the first (or only) part of
a story is output, a dollar sign ($) will be typed on your terminal
and as each subsequent part of the same story is output, a dash (-)
will be typed out.
<ESCAPE>I Manual Interruptions
Certain operations done by NS may occasionally take long to complete.
The user (of a Stanford display) can interrupt certain such
operations by typing <ESC>I. This will cause NS to stop what it is
doing at the next reasonable point and return control to the user.
(Although this type of interruption is not currently available on
non-displays, it may soon be implemented for such terminals through a
The following operations can be interrupted:
Making headline stories. If you interrupt NS while it is
doing this, the headline story will be left incomplete
(marked so by "..." at the end) but will be presented to you
as though it had been finished.
Outputting stories to a file. If you interrupt NS while it
is doing this, the output will be discarded. If the output
file was to have been spooled, it will not be.
<ESCAPE>I Manual Interruptions Page 23
Evaluating a keyword expression. NS will finish using the
day's data that is in core when you interrupt and then return
as if the evaluation of the expression had been completed for
all days in the date range and for all wires selected.
Automatic reading of an input command file. This will be
disabled by any use of <ESC>I.
Sometimes you may want to find out about a particular story
immediately upon arrival of the story. The NS Automatic Notification
facility is provided for this purpose. Each user can enter any
number of Automatic Notification requests, each of which will consist
of a keyword expression and optional switches. Whenever a story comes
in that matches a request, the requestor is notified by a message
placed in his notification file, which is a message file with
extension .NAP and residing on disk area [2,2]. If the user is
logged in when one of his requests matches a story, the notification
message will also be typed out on his console. Notification is on
the basis of your logged in programmer name, not your alias.
The main uses for Automatic Notification are:
1) You are expecting an urgent story to come in at any
moment, and you want to be notified as soon as it comes in
(assuming you are logged in). Automatic Notification
saves you the trouble of running NS every half hour to
find out if your story has come in.
2) You are expecting a story to come in within a couple of
months, but you don't know exactly when. Automatic
Notification saves you the effort of running NS every day,
if you wouldn't otherwise do so, or at least saves you the
trouble of entering the same expression every day.
3) You want to collect stories about some subject. The
stories may come in at the rate of one a day or one a
month. Automatic Notification can save the stories for
you in a file so that you will not miss any even if you
are gone for a while.
If you find you are being notified about the same kind of story
several times a day, and if the stories are not particularly urgent,
Automatic Notification Page 24
then you will probably find that the normal use of NS, possibly using
a command file (see the section "Command File Input" on page 20),
will be more convenient.
Every notification request has associated with it an expiration date.
The default expiration date for new requests is three months from the
request date. However, you can explicitly set the expiration date
for a request by using the /TO switch followed by the date you want
the request to expire. You can also set the effective beginning date
for a request by using the /FROM switch followed by a date, or you
can set both by using the /ON or /DURING switches.
You will be MAILed an expiration notice for each request that
expires. For requests of more than one week's duration, the NS
system will MAIL you a warning message about a week before the
The following commands are available for making Automatic
Notification requests, for deleting, modifying and renewing such
requests, and for reading the stories found by such requests.
COMMAND MEANING FOR AUTOMATIC NOTIFICATION
$<expr><switches> Enter an Automatic Notification request with the
keyword expression <expr> and optional
$ Display the user's current notifications and
$- Allow the user to delete any of his
notifications and/or requests.
$-<expr> Allow the user to delete any of his requests
that contain the keyword expression <expr>.
$*<switches> Allow the user to modify any of his requests.
The optional <switches> override previous switch
settings in any requests modified. Unless an
expiration date is given using the /TO switch,
any modified requests will be renewed to expire
no soon than three months from day of renewal.
$*<expr><switches> Allow the user to modify any of his requests
that contain the keyword expression <expr>. The
<switches> are optional as above.
Automatic Notification Page 25
@ Open the user's notification file, if it exists,
as an input command file. If there are no
notifications, this opens the command file
OPTION.TXT. This command will evaluate the
first expression in the command file. When the
end of your notification file is reached, you
will be asked if you want to delete all your
notifications, which you will have just seen.
@∂<prg> Open the notification file of user <prg> as an
input command file. Notifications read this way
will affect your date/time range.
Q Read the next expression from currently open
command file. This will retrieve the next
notification story if your notification file is
@+ Same as @ but read all expressions from command
file opened and combine resulting stories into
one big story list.
The optional <switches> above may include: the /TO, /FROM, /DURING,
and /ON switches (for setting beginning and/or expiration dates of
requests); the /NYT and /AP switches (with or without minus signs
(-'s) to select the news wires to be used with a request); and the
special switches explained below.
SWITCH MEANING IN AUTOMATIC NOTIFICATION REQUEST
/OUTPUT This switch must be followed by the name of a file in
which you wish to save the text of stories matching
this request. If neither of the following two switches
also appears in the request, any existing file of the
same name will be overwritten when a story matches the
request. (That is, /REPLACE is the default.)
/REPLACE This switch, which applies only if an output file is
specified, will cause the output file to be overwritten
with a new file each time a story matches the request.
This permits you to keep only the latest story matching
the request in the output file.
/EXTEND This switch, which also applies only if an output file
is specified, will cause the output file to be extended
with each new story matching the request. If the
output file has a valid E directory page, then the
directory will be updated each time the file is
extended. Note: Only the record pointer on the
directory page is updated so that E will accept the
directory. The text of the first line of a previously
empty page is not added to the directory when text is
output to that page.
Automatic Notification Page 26
Further note: If you have an automatic notification
output file open at the time the News Service tries to
extend that file, you will have about 30 seconds to
close the file to let the News Service access it. You
will know that the News Service wants to access the
file because you will receive a story notification on
your terminal, at which time you should close the file
and wait about a minute before trying to look at it
/QUIET This switch inhibits placing of notifications for this
request in your notification file (<prg>.NAP[2,2]).
When a story matches a request that contains this
switch, you will still be notified by a message typed
on your console (if you are logged in) and if the
request specifies an output file then the story will be
Your notification file can be most easily manipulated with the NS
commands above, but it can also be handled with some monitor
commands. Say "TYPE \NAP<cr>" to have it typed out,
"DELETE \NAP<cr>" to delete it, and "RCV \<cr>" to be able to delete
notifications selectively using RCV.
Retrieving from INDEXed User Files
The NS system can be used to retrieve "articles" from a user's text
file by keywords. The system program INDEX is used to index the
original text file or later to index new entries to be added to the
text. INDEX takes as input a text file (E directory page allowed,
but not SOS format) with the extension .TFL; each "article" in the
.TFL file must be on a separate page. Output from INDEX consists of
two files, both with the same primary name as the input file but with
extensions .TXT and .DAT. The .TXT file contains the text of the
"articles" and the .DAT file contains the indexing information
including keyword lists for retrieval. NEITHER THE .TXT FILE NOR THE
.DAT FILE SHOULD EVER BE EDITTED OR OTHERWISE ALTERED BY THE USER
EXCEPT WITH THE PROGRAM 'INDEX'. Below are the NS commands that can
be used to select a user file for text retrieval.
Retrieving from INDEXed User Files Page 27
NS COMMAND MEANING
=<filename> Use the specified file as the source of text
"articles" when evaluating subsequent keyword
expressions. The file specified must have been
indexed with the system program INDEX. This command
puts you into /AGAIN mode though you can then change
to /-AGAIN mode if you so desire.
=? Type out the name of the user file currently selected
as the text source.
= Deselect the currently selected user text file. This
reselects the news as the text source.
The time/date range has no effect while a user file is selected. For
more details on the use of INDEX, see the file INDEX.ME[UP,DOC].
Here is a complete list of the NS command characters. The first two
in this list have not been mentioned elsewhere. Following the
command character list are lists of the switches, mnemonic commands
and help topics.
CHARS MEANINGS AS COMMAND CHARACTERS
E Exit to the monitor. Use this command when you are finished
reading the news. If you decide after exiting that you were
not finished, type the monitor command CONTINUE and you will
be back to the exact place where you were before you exited.
V On displays, redraw the current story frame on the screen.
On non-displays, type out the current frame again.
; (Semicolon) Mail the command line of text to [NS,ME] as a
comment or suggestion about NS. Please feel free to
complain about anything pertaining to NS.
? (Question mark) Present some helpful information about the
various commands. If the question mark is followed by the
name of a switch, mnemonic command or help topic, then
information on that subject will be given. See the lists of
those topics below.
<space> Evaluate the keyword expression and/or switches that follow.
<tab> Evaluate last expression with following (optional) switches.
+ If + is followed by a keyword expression (and optional
switches), evaluate that expression and combine the
Command Summary Page 28
resulting story list with the current story list. If + is
not followed by anything, then add back into the current
story list those stories that were removed from it because
they had already been seen by the user.
/ Evaluate the switch(es) and optional expression that follow.
: Execute the following mnemonic command. See list below.
@ Open command file and read its first expression.
@+ Open command file and read and evaluate all expressions in
it, combining all resulting story lists into one new current
Q Read another expression from currently open command file.
$ If $ is followed by a keyword expression, enter an automatic
notification request for that expression (with any optional
switches). If $ is not followed by anything, simply display
the user's current Notifications and Requests. See the
section "Automatic Notification" on page 23.
$- Allow deletion of automatic notification requests. If $- is
followed by a keyword expression, only allow deletion of
requests matching that expression.
$* Allow renewal and/or modification of automatic notification
requests. If $* is followed by a keyword expression, only
allow renewal/modification of requests matching that
expression. Any switches appearing with this command will
override the switch settings of any requests modified. This
command cannot be used to modify the keyword expression of a
request. To do that you must delete the old request and put
in a new one.
=<file> Use the specified file as the source of text "articles" when
evaluating subsequent keyword expressions. The file
specified must have been indexed with the system program
INDEX. This command puts you into /AGAIN mode though you
can then change to /-AGAIN mode if you so desire.
=? Type out the name of the user file currently selected as the
= Deselect the currently selected user text file. This
reselects the news as the text source.
T-G-B Search for the following string. See the section "Searching
the News: Pointing Out Keyword Occurrences" on page 14.
Y-H-N Search for previous string or first keyword of expression.
U-J-M Move forward in story list by one story, part or frame.
I-K-, Move backward in the story list by one story, part or frame.
O-L-. Output current story list, current story or current part.
Any alphabetic command character that takes a following text argument
(currently the Search commands T,G,B and the Output commands O,L)
must be separated from its text argument by a space. The
frame-changing commands IK,UJM and digits which are part of a numeric
Command Summary Page 29
argument all activate immediately on displays without any control
bits or carriage return being typed.
Type <altmode> to abort a partially-typed command.
Type <ESC>I to interrupt a long process already started.
Type [META]<cr> to reload your line editor with the last command line
containing a keyword expression.
Here is a list of the command characters organized approximately as
they appear on the keyboard. The type of text argument, if any,
which follows each command character, is indicated.
- - - -
$<keyword expression> =<INDEXed file> +<keyword expression>
<tab><temporary switches> @<input filename> ;<comment on NS>
Q E T<search string> Y U I O<output filename or device>
G<search string> H J K L<output filename or device>
V B<search string> N M , .<output filename or device>
<space><keyword expression> :<mnemonic command> ?<help subject>
- - - -
Below are the mode switches available, with brief explanations. For
help on any of these, type the switch with a question mark (?)
instead of a slash (/).
SWITCH MEANING OF POSITIVE SETTING
/AGAIN Do not remove stories already seen from new story lists.
/HEADLI Generate a headline story for each new story list.
/DPY Treat the terminal as a display (only if it really is one).
/CHRONO Construct new story lists in chronological order.
/AP Use the AP news as a source when evaluating an expression.
/NYT Use the NYT news as a source when evaluating an expression.
Command Summary Page 30
Below are the date/time switches available, with brief explanations.
For help on any of these, type the switch with a question mark (?)
instead of a slash (/).
SWITCH EFFECT ON DATE/TIME RANGE
/FROM Set beginning date in range to date following.
/TO Set ending date in range to date following.
/ON Set beginning and ending dates in range to date following.
/DURING Same as /ON.
/AFTER Set beginning time on beginning date to time following.
/BEFORE Set ending time on ending date to time following.
/AT Set beginning time on beginning date and ending time on
ending date to time following.
Next is a list of the mnemonic commands with brief descriptions. For
help on any of these, type the command with a question mark (?) in
place of the colon (:).
:HEADLINES Creates a headline story for your current story list.
:DSTORY Deletes current story (all parts) from your current list.
:DPART Deletes current part from your current story list.
:HELP Explains the main command characters.
:NOTICE Displays the current NS "notice of the day," if any.
:SWITCHES Lists the available switches.
:MODES Lists your current mode switch settings.
:EXCHANGE Exchanges your current and previous story lists.
:REVERSE Reversus the order of your current story list.
:COUNT Tells how many stories in your current story list.
:FRAME Sets frame size for non-displays (precede with size).
:DATES Types out current time/date range.
:UNSEEN Clears the list of stories already seen.
:COMMANDS Lists the names of these mnemonic commands.
Finally, here is the list of help topics. Type any of these to get
help on that subject.
HELP TOPIC DESCRIPTION
?OUTPUT How to output stories to a file or a printer.
?SPOOL Same as ?OUTPUT.
?CMDFILE How to use an input command file.
?KEYWORDS What constitutes a keyword or special form.
Command Summary Page 31
?EXPRESSIONS Construction of keyword expressions.
?MOVE Frame moving command characters.
?SEARCH Searching for a word in your current story list.
?NOTIFY How to use automatic notification.
?TMPSTORE How to temporarily store a command text string.
?INDEX How to use NS to read INDEXed user files.
?CHARACTERS Keyboard chart briefly explaining command characters.
?TOPICS Lists of switches, mnemonic commands and help topics.
?EXAMPLES Some example NS command lines.
To start NS, type the monitor command: "NS". Any characters that
follow the NS in the monitor command will be taken as the first
command line to NS.
The NS monitor command starts the program with some temporary
privileges that are needed by the program. Any subsequent monitor
command that attempts to change your core image or disk ALIAS will
disable these privileges and prevent NS from working.
When started up, NS will tell you for how far back in time news is
available. Whenever awaiting a command, NS will type out a space and
a dot (" .") to prompt the user.
Comments on the Format of News Service Stories
Each story received over one of the news wires has a sequence number
which comes at the beginning of the story and a date and/or time that
come at the end. After the sequence number, we insert the date and
time (Pacific Time) we received the story. The sequence numbers
start over every day, with the first story that comes after about
midnight Eastern Time getting number 001. The sequence number
appearing at the beginning of a story will have a one letter prefix
that identifies the originating news wire: "a" for Associated Press
and "N" for New York Times.
Certain special stories are given sequence numbers out of the normal
order; these stories have numbers greater than 400 for the AP or
greater than 100 for the New York Times. The time at the end of each
story is put in by the wire service and is generally the local time
when the story was sent over the wire.
Comments on the Format of News Service Stories Page 32
Every twelve hours (at about noon and midnight Eastern Time) there is
an AP news digest that summarizes the AP stories that are known to be
coming in over the next twelve hours. The digest at midnight is
usually story number a002 and is called the PMs digest; the one at
noon is usually number a202 and is called the AMs digest. No PMs
digest is sent for Sunday. AP stories that have been mentioned in
the latest digest bear the heading word "BJT" (pronounced "budget").
There are many stories every day that are corrections or additions to
previous stories. We try to link up each such follow-up with the
original and treat the resultant combination as one story. We call
each of the separately numbered news service stories a PART of the
total story. Long stories are usually broken up into smaller stories
by the wire services; the partial stories are called TAKES and each
gets its own sequence number. We sometimes link together several
takes just like additions and corrections. (There is currently no
attempt to link up related NY Times stories. Only AP stories are so