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The SIGCAT Foundation The Special Interest Group on CD-ROM Application and Technology

Mr. Duane Marquis

SIGCAT, Annapolis, USA

The Special Interest Group on CD-ROM Applications & Technology (SIGCAT) is a user group devoted to the investigation of CD-ROM technology and its myriad applications, and provides a forum for the exchange of ideas, information, and experiences about CD-ROM. Founded at the U.S. Geological Survey in 1986, SIGCAT is now the world's largest user group on CD-ROM technology, with over 7,000 members around the world.


SIGCAT holds bimonthly meetings where presentations are made on CD-ROM projects, with an emphasis on those applications developed by and for the Federal Government. The SIGCAT meetings also serve as a forum for discussing the latest technological develops from the CD-ROM industry. An annual conference has been held for the past three years where speakers and exhibitors from all over the country convene for four days for the purposes of sharing information and experiences on the applications and technology of CD- ROM.

Membership & Publications

Membership in SIGCAT is free and open to the general public. A bimonthly professional journal called the DISCourse ($40/yr. subscription) documents the meetings and reports on new CD-ROM developments in both the public and private sectors. The content of the DISCourse is intended to provide subscribers who cannot attend meetings with updates on all aspects of CD-ROM and conveying the experiences of those both in and out of Government who are actually using the technology.

Another publication of SIGCAT is the Bimonthly Listing of Events and Resources or the BLER. This publication is mailed free to all SIGCAT members and is intended to keep the worldwide membership informed on upcoming events, educational seminars, as well as new industry resources.

FGIPC Affiliation

In 1991, SIGCAT was voted in as an official member council in the Federal of Government Information Processing Councils (FGIPC). Created in 1979 in response to a White House Memorandum, FGIPC is the largest intergovernmental organization representing Information Resource Management (IRM) professionals and provides leadership and support to SIGCAT and 24 other regional councils.

SIGCAT is now a non-profit foundation. As a foundation, SIGCAT will be able to continue its educational activities on a broader scale. Its executive committee is composed of Federal employees throughout a variety of agencies, all of whom have an intense interest in CD-ROM and share a common vision of the use of this technology as a key component in the Government's evolving information infrastructure.

Education Courses

The Fundamentals of Producing a CD-ROM

This is a hands-on seminar that describes the steps involved in creating a CD-ROM. The student will learn why CD-ROM is such a reliable and powerful publishing and archiving medium. The class will be presented with behind the scenes issues such as the ISO 9660 standard and its impact on CD-ROM design. The pros and cons of software retrieval engines will be presented for both textual and fielded data. Throughout the class, students will execute the procedures involved in creating a CD-ROM, and on the last day will leave the class with their own newly recorded CD-ROM.

CD-Recordables Workshop

This introductory workshop will provide detailed information on the authoring, premastering, and mastering of CD Recordable discs. The student will learn how CD-R can have a major impact on information distribution and data archival activities. This workshop includes hands-on experience with authoring packages and discusses compatibility issues between CD Recordable media and the various recorders on the market.

What, Why, and How of Multimedia CD-ROM

This introductory workshop is designed to help non-technical professionals and executives understand the power and potential of CD-ROM multimedia technology. The student will be guided through the maze of multimedia discs and hypermedia tools, and will learn how multimedia can be powerfully applied in business, educational, and other settings. This workshop covers the pros and cons of different platforms such as CD Assist, CD-I, DVI, CD-ROM/XA, CDTV, and MPC, the authoring tools available for each platform, and the process involved in sending data to mastering and replication facilities. The standards for both multimedia PC's and MacIntosh's will be discussed. Participants will have the opportunity for hands on experience with a variety of multimedia products.

Digital Video Workshop Capture and Compression

This two-day intermediate-level workshop is especially designed to meet the needs of training managers, CBT, and interactive video authors, multimedia designers, and programmers. The student will learn how to capture and compress images for maximum playback quality, how and where to use "codesc" like Indeo and Cinepak, and when to consider hardware playback alternatives like MPEG or DVI. This workshop also covers which equipment to buy to accomplish these varied tasks. After this course, the participant will know how to produce high quality digital video effectively and efficiently.

CD-ROM Standards


SIGCAT has sponsored the development of set of guidelines for standardizing the terminology used by the myriad search and retrieval software products in the marketplace. Known as the CD-ROM Consistent Interface Committee (or CD-CINC) Guidelines, this report describes the basic functions essential to the ease-of-use of most CD-ROMs regardless of the interface and identifies general guidelines for installing and exiting CD- ROM applications. The report has been approved as a New Work Item by the National Information Standards Organization (NISO) at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

SIGCLASS Specification for Encrypted CD-ROM

SIGCAT, through its SIGCLASS Working Group, has sponsored the development of a draft specification for encrypted CD-ROM. The purpose of this specification is to define file system extensions that will support an automated process which identifies an encrypted ISO 9660 CD-ROM and its associated cryptography. The goal is to support the application of cryptography for classified, unclassified but sensitive, commercial, and exportable CD- ROM media within an ISO 9660 conformant disc. This specification applies to all CD- ROMs that have been fully encrypted under a single cryptographic key and CD-ROMs that have individually encrypted files and/or partitions using separate keys. This specification does not identify a specific encryption algorithm or its implementation.

SIGCAT CD-ROM Compendium

In an effort to track the ever-increasing number of CD-ROM discs that contain Government data, SIGCAT established the SIGCAT CD-ROM Compendium. Originally compiled by the U.S.Geological Survey (USGS) Library, the SIGCAT Compendium is now maintained at the Government Printing Office (GPO) and is available in printed form from the GPO Superintendent of Documents. The current version of the Compendium identifies approximately 350 different CD-ROM products that are primarily based on Government data.

Copies of the SIGCAT CD-ROM Compendium cost $11.00 and can be obtained by calling (202) 783-3238 and asking for stock number 021-000-00158-9. The Compendium is also available in electronic form on the FEDWORLD BBS (703) 321-8020 or on CD-ROM (contact SIGCAT offices at (703) 435-5200).

Working Groups

SIGCAT also serves as an umbrella organization for a variety of specially-focused working groups which address such issues as CD-ROM in libraries, CD-ROM in education, CD-ROM in classified environments, as well as CD-ROM for the disabled. These working groups also provide expertise in technical areas such as search and retrieval software, CD- ROM standards, CD-ROM premastering, CD-ROM networking, and CD-ROM media longevity.

Additional information about SIGCAT's Working Groups and points of contacts is as follows:

  • SIGSOFT Special Interest Group on Software
  • Co-Chair: George Knapp U.S. Geological Survey (703) 648-6823

    Co-Chair: Bill Reilly Government Printing Office (202) 512-1369

    Co-Chair: Tom Tiedeman QuickSource, Inc. (301) 650-8865

    SIGSOFT constantly evaluates new search software that is applicable to CD-ROM applications. A matrix of software products and their various functional characteristics has been created and is available to SIGCAT members.

  • SIGLIT Special Interest Group on Library Information Technology
  • Co-Chair: Felice Sacks Environmental Protection Agency (202) 663-6763

    Co-Chair: Denise Davis University of Maryland (301) 405-9072

    One of the most promising application areas for CD-ROM is the library and information science environment. SIGLIT is very active in this arena and holds its own meetings in addition to the scheduled SIGCAT meetings.

  • SIGACE Special Interest Group for the Application of CD-ROM in Education
  • Co-Chair: Sheldon Fisher U.S. Department of Education (202) 219-1699

    Co-Chair: Bill Johnson Joint Education Initiative (301) 405-2324

    SIGACE examines, reviews, and demonstrates CD-ROM titles appropriate for use in training and education.

  • SIGSTAND Special Interest Group on Standards
  • Co-Chair: Mike Rubinfeld National Inst. of Standards & Technology (301) 975- 3064

    Co-Chair: Judi Moline National Inst. of Standards & Technology (301) 975-3351

    SIGSTAND tracks CD-ROM related standards activities and provides SIGCAT members with updates as well as in-depth information on developments in the CD-ROM standards arena.

  • CDOWG CD-ROM Data Origination Working Group
  • Co-Chair: Maureen Prettyman National Institutes of Health (301) 496-1936

    Co-Chair: Fancie Mendelsohn International Data Corporation (703) 876-5047

    CDOWG is a network for the people familiar with the use of in-house CD-ROM production workstations. CDOWG encourages sharing solutions, techniques, and tips that are vital to the efficient operation of these systems.

  • SIGCLASS Special Interest Group on Classified & Sensitive Applications
  • Co-Chair: Duane Marquis Department of Commerce (202) 482-3055

    Co-Chair: Tom Burkhardt Central Intelligence Agency (703) 482-7827

    This working group serves as a focal point for agencies and organizations involved with the publication and distribution of classified and sensitive information on CD-ROM.

  • SIGGIS Special Interest Group on GIS
  • Co-Chair: Dan Costanzo Army Topographic Engineering Center (703) 355-2825

    Co-Chair: Eric Nothman World Bank (202) 473-2593

    SIGGIS explores the combination of CD-ROM and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technologies and serves as a focal point for information and applications.

  • SIGTEAL Special Interest Group To Expedite the Accommodation Law
  • Co-Chair: Robert Jaquiss Tektronix Corporation (503) 627-4444

    Co-Chair: Tom Dennison Dennison & Associates, Inc. (703) 379-2842

    Co-Chair: Susan Brummel General Services Administration (202) 501-4906

    As a network for industry, Government, and disability groups, SIGTEAL fosters an exchange of information on issues that will enhance the use of CD-ROM technology by the visually impaired, the deaf, and other physically disabled persons.

  • SIGSGML Special Interest Group on SGML
  • Co-Chair: John Oster Oster Associates, Inc. (410) 838-1908

    Co-Chair: Walter Klaus Defense Mapping Agency (301) 227-2470

    SIGSGML focuses on the use of the Standard Generalized Mark-up Language (SGML ISO 8879) to structure databases for optical delivery.

  • SIGRIM Special Interest Group on the Reliability & Integrity of Media
  • Co-Chair: Ron Kushnier Naval Air Warfare Center (215) 672-3200

    Co-Chair: Fernando Podio

    National Inst. of Standards & Technology (301) 975-2947

    Co-Chair: Al Betts National Technical Information Service (703) 487-4672

    CD-RIM is investigating the establishment of an independent government testing facility for CD-ROM, and is concerned with developing standardized procedures for evaluating the longevity of CD-ROM.

  • SIGCOMP Special Interest Group on Compression
  • Co-Chair: Nick Beser Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab (301) 953-5000 x4476

    Co-Chair: Clark Cramer U.S. Geological Survey (703) 648-5465

    SIGCOMP focuses on the technologies of data compression, particularly as applied to CD-ROM.

  • SIGNET Special Interest Group on Networking
  • Co-Chair: Howard McQueen CD Consultants (410) 243-2755

    Co-Chair: Julie George U.S. Geological Survey (703) 648-5381

    SIGNET features activities relating to networking techniques and strategies for CD- ROM.

  • SIGDRIVE Special Interest Group on CD-ROM Drives
  • Co-Chair: Ken Rogers Department of Commerce (202) 482-0434

    Co-Chair: Jeff Alderson Patent & Trademark Office (703) 308-0603

    SIGDRIVE provides a focal point for information about the latest CD-ROM drives available from the industry.

  • SIGPODS Special Interest Group on Portable Optical Disc Systems
  • Co-Chair: Joan McKean Department of Commerce (301) 713-1170

    Co-Chair: Roger Hutchison CD-ROM, Inc. (303) 526-7600

    SIGPODS is focused on the emerging technologies that combine portable computers (laptops, notebooks, hand held, etc.) with CD-ROM capability.

  • SIGMULTEC Special Interest Group on Multimedia Technology
  • Co-Chair: Gabe Ofiesh Institute for Technological Solutions (703) 243-4271

    Co-Chair: Bob Ainsley Defense Systems Management College (703) 805-2867

    SIGMULTEC investigates the emerging hardware and software technologies associated with multimedia CD-ROM discs.

  • SIGCID Special Interest Group on CD-ROM & International Development
  • Co-Chair: Wendy White National Research Council (202) 334-2639

    Co-Chair: Jim Bascom The Brooke Foundation (202) 393-4421

    SIGCID investigates and facilitates CD-ROM applications that can promote international development.

  • SIGDOD Special Interest Group for Department of Defense
  • Co-Chair: Bonnie Sargent Fuentz Systems Concepts (301) 763-3586

    Co-Chair: Lexine Langley Department of the Navy (804) 445-9190

    Co-Chair: Jim Barnette Defense Information Systems Agency (703) 487-3557

    SIGDOD is focused on the needs and issues pertaining to developing CD-ROM applications in the defense environment.

The SIGCAT Bulletin Board Conference

The U.S. Geological Survey maintains an electronic bulletin board with a conference dedicated to CD-ROM. This BBS can be accessed by calling (703) 648-4168. The CD- ROM conference has an associated file area where programs and notices (including previous SIGCAT meeting recaps) are maintained.

SIGCAT Information Lines: (703) 648-4452 or (703) 435-5200

The first phone number provides an update on the upcoming SIGCAT events. The second number is a direct line to SIGCAT headquarters in Reston, Virginia. You can use either number to register (at no cost) as a new SIGCAT member. Alternatively, you may write to:

  • P.O. Box 3706
  • Reston, Virginia 22090

Copyright © 1995-97 . .