A directory of NSE users should be provided with an adequate search interface and with the capability for a user to join, change his/her entry, and delete his/her entry. For security and scalability reasons, this directory might best be maintained in a distributed fashion, using for example the Whois++ protocol. Each site could maintain its own Whois++ server, and a server-to-server protocol could be used to propogate local records to a few large directories maintained by major repository sites such as Netlib. These top-level directories could be deployed on a geographical basis. A user with some idea of where an individual is located could then perform a less expensive search than querying the entire distributed database. There would still be the problem, however, of locating appropriate search servers if the user's query were based on other criteria, such as subject area or research interests.
The NSE may also want to consider participating in an existing research database such as the BEST North America Database, accessible at http://best.gdb.org/best.html. BEST North America collaborates with over 125 major research universities and other R& organization in the United States and Canada. Its purpose is to provide a comprehensive directory of faculty researchers and scientists, and to connect academic and corporate researchers via the Internet and other electronic platforms. Services provided to participating institutions include technical editing and database management of raw data supplied by the institution, tools for electronic gathering of researcher profile data, and access to an institution's records as a separate database.