The 4th International Network Conference (INC 2004)

Internet Research

ISSN: 1066-2243

Article publication date: 1 December 2004


Furnell, S. (2004), "The 4th International Network Conference (INC 2004)", Internet Research, Vol. 14 No. 5.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

The 4th International Network Conference (INC 2004)

The papers in this issue of Internet Research are based on a selection of submissions from INC 2004, the 4th International Network Conference, which was held in Plymouth, UK, from 6-9 July 2004. INC events have been running since 1998, and provide a forum for sharing the latest research in computer networks and related technologies. As regular readers of Internet Research may recall, papers from previous events have provided the basis for previous themed issues of the journal.

In common with previous events, INC 2004 drew a truly international audience, with authors from 24 countries. These included a diverse mixture of academic and industrial participants, ensuring that a number of different perspectives were represented in both the presentations and the subsequent discussions.

The main themes addressed by the 2004 conference were Web Technologies and Applications, Network Technologies, Security and Privacy, Mobility, and Applications and Impacts. The full conference proceedings include a total of 70 papers, with coverage ranging from discussion of applications and services, down to details of specific underlying technologies[1]. The papers selected for this issue have been chosen to be representative of the broad range of topics covered by the conference, whilst at the same time addressing areas of relevance to the journal readership.

To begin the discussion, Antonopoulos and Salter focus on the grid and other distributed computing environments, proposing a new model for resource discovery. Their paper, which was the recipient of the INC 2004 Best Paper Prize (sponsored by Emerald and Internet Research), presents an outline of the proposed approach, and presents a comparative evaluation against existing alternatives. The grid-related discussion is maintained by Angelis et al., who consider the environment from the perspective of its security requirements. Specific attention is given to access control issues, with the authors proposing core mechanisms to address authentication and authorization issues in the grid context.

The security theme is continued by Valli, who considers the problem that can be posed by legitimate users who have not had sufficient control placed over their activities. An investigation conducted within three Western Australian organisations revealed a high incidence of the available technology being misused for non-business purposes, and of end-users employing covert techniques to hide their actions. Such findings demonstrate the need to devote more attention towards combating the insider threat, and a relevant contribution is therefore provided by Venter et al., who propose a means of safeguarding private information against end-user misuse, using a development of intrusion detection system (IDS) technologies. Their discussion introduces the issues of privacy and privacy-enhancing technologies, before considering the opportunity for applying IDS approaches and proposing the framework for a privacy IDS.

Moving on from the security issues, the remaining papers consider other challenges within distributed network environments. Joshi et al. examine the domain of Web services, which are regarded as a key technology for distributed software development and business integration. However, several barriers may impede adoption, and their study measures practitioner attitudes in order to reveal the nature of the challenges to be overcome. Insights into the adoption of Web-related standards is also one of the themes to emerge from the work of Evans and Walker, who present a novel Web crawling approach in the guise of a computer game, with the Web’s link structure being used to influence the game play. The authors examine the results obtained from a sample of Web pages collected by this crawling process, and discuss the extent to which different Web technologies are represented within them.

The distribution of such a vast range of content across the Web is obviously a great advantage, but a key issue for many end-users will be to gain access to the material that is of interest to them. To this end, Schilke et al. introduce readers to the concept of multi-dimensional-personalisation, and suggest how recommendations of online content, as well as offline events, can be offered to the user, based on their known interests and current geographic location. The article considers the potential impact of the approach for the delivery of future mobile services.

The papers in this issue have been updated from the versions in the conference proceedings, giving the authors the opportunity to provide greater detail, as well as to reflect any feedback received during the conference, and any further developments in their research since the submission of the original paper.

Following the success of the 2004 conference, the next INC event has been scheduled for July 2005. However, in a departure from the previous events, INC 2005 will be held on the Greek island of Samos. Readers interested in attending, or submitting a paper, are asked to look at for further details.

Full copies of the conference proceedings can be obtained from the Network Research Group at the University of Plymouth, UK (


Thanks are due to Dr Paul Dowland, Jayne Garcia, Denise Horne, and the various members of the Network Research Group without whose support and involvement the conference would not have taken place. Additionally, the guest editor is very pleased to acknowledge the support of the various conference co-sponsors: the British Computer Society, the Institution of Electrical Engineers, Orange, Symantec, and, of course, Emerald (the publishers of Internet Research). Acknowledgements are also due to the numerous members of the International Programme Committee who assisted with the original review process. Finally, particular thanks must be given to David Schwartz, editor of Internet Research and a valued member of the INC programme committee, for his continued support of the conference and for again offering the opportunity for us to compile this special issue.

Steven FurnellNetwork Research Group, School of Computing, Communications and Electronics, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK.