5740-XR1 IBM Storage and Information Retrieval System/Virtual Storage (STAIRS/VS OS/VS and PC)

Table of Contents

5740-XR1 IBM Storage and Information Retrieval System/Virtual Storage (STAIRS/VS OS/VS and PC)
IBM U.S. Product Life Cycle Dates
Product Positioning
Technical Description
  • Operating Environment
  • Hardware Requirements
  • Software Requirements
  • Planning Information
    Security, Auditability, and Control

    5740-XR1 IBM Storage and Information Retrieval System/Virtual Storage (STAIRS/VS OS/VS and PC)

    IBM U.S. Product Life Cycle Dates

    Program                                  Marketing   Service      Replaced
    Number   VRM     Announced   Available   Withdrawn   Discontinued    By

    5740-XR1 1.00.0 1973/08/10 1974/04/15 1992/03/31 1994/10/21 5695-070


    (For IBM US, No Longer Available as of March 31, 1992)

    (For IBM US, Program Services Discontinued as of October 21, 1994)

    The conventional method for indexing documents in a specialized information system or a library has been fatiguing and cumbersome work for specialists. Today, documents, articles from periodical magazines, patent texts, and their abstracts, can be converted into machine-readable form for entry into a computer system. Once entered, the material can be used during subsequent searches, using the language of the technical area involved, to retrieve the desired documents. The full texts, or their associated bibliographic identifiers (such as title, author, publisher, and source), make up a dynamically growing file of data which can be searched by specialists in law, engineering, medicine, sales, marketing, management, and other fields, to retrieve material of interest pertaining to their own spheres.

    Product Positioning

    The most important application areas for this Program Product will be in the local and federal government field, in research and development departments of industry and public institutions, libraries and documentation centers concerned with law, science, patents, contracts, projects, and letters.


    Documents can be searched and retrieved with a highly flexible form of dialog in which previous queries can be extended or referred to. Query formulation varies from everyday language to mathematical formulation in terms of:

    • Boolean and context logic for the document text and/or

    • Comparison operators for the contents of formatted fields.

    Query formulations can be saved for current or later use, a feature which serves as a 'current awareness profile' capability. There are two modes of saving queries: Either in a reserved area accessible only to the user who had saved the queries, or in a common pool accessible to any user of the installation. The saved queries can be displayed and modified online.

    It is possible to add a user-written exit module (in Assembler or PL/I language) for user-specific processing of:

    • SEARCH query prior to processing by STAIRS/VS, and/or

    • The document list resulting from a retrieval step.

    The contents of the formatted fields of the documents can be modified online. The modified fields are immediately available for the SELECT function. The documents that are presented as answers by the system can be ranked according to their probable relevance or they can be sorted according to the contents of a formatted field. Search and display can be restricted to a subset of paragraphs of the documents.

    Documents viewed on display terminals can be paged forward and backward.

    In an IBM 3270 display terminal, the keywords of a query, where appearing in the text, can be displayed with double intensity - if CICS/VS is used. The paging command P* can be used to skip to the next page of the displayed document on which a word is highlighted.

    There are two options for document highlighting. With global highlighting, all words from the query occurring in the displayed text are highlighted. With query highlighting, only those words in the displayed text are highlighted that match the logic of the query. With this option also synonyms of query-words are highlighted - if they match the query logic.

    It is also possible to have those paragraphs displayed or printed automatically which contain query hits - even if they have not been specified for display.

    Retrieved documents, or pages of them (when using a display terminal), can be copied immediately on a print-terminal (e.g., the IBM 3284 Printer). They can also be transmitted for later printing on a high-speed printer. Words from the queries can be underscored in the printed output. This function corresponds to highlighting of query words at IBM 3270 display terminals. Only global highlighting, however, is provided; all words from the queries are underscored regardless of the logic of the queries.

    The number of data bases that can be handled online is limited only by the capacity of an OS/VS installation for DD-statements per job-step.

    Up to sixteen different data bases of identical structure can be concatenated and searched by one query, as if they were a single data base. This holds for each subset of the sixteen data bases, thus providing the capability of retrospective search as well as current information selection.

    Up to four data bases of identical structure can be merged to a single data base. This provides a possibility of reorganization for a (logical) data base consisting of concatenated (physical) data bases.

    A retrieval dialog which has been interrupted by system or machine malfunction can be continued, after the system has been restarted, at any other terminal by means of the STAIRS/VS warm-start function. The data base restart/recovery facilities of IMS/VS are not effective for STAIRS/VS.

    Facilities to help maintain the privacy and security of data bases are incorporated in the system. Security of data can be enhanced at data base, document, paragraph, and field levels by means of registered user names, passwords, and privacy codes.

    When CICS is used, data bases may be created online and concatenated to existing ones so that the extended data bases can, subsequently, be used for retrieval with STAIRS/VS. The input for this online data base creation can be produced in the appropriate format by means of the IBM Advanced Text Management System (ATMS-III/OS/VS, Program Number 5740-XYL), which operates only under control of CICS/OS/VS.

    Alternatively, the ATMS output for STAIRS/VS may be used as input for the Batch Data Base Creation program of STAIRS/VS. This program is of course also applicable to STAIRS/VS under control of IMS/VS. Input for batch data base creation in the same format can also be generated by the Document Composition Facility, Release 2 (5748-XX9) and the Distributed Office Support System/370 (5740-XY9).

    With STAIRS/VS 4.3, a new terminal device support facility is available (STAIRS/PC). The highlights of STAIRS/PC are:

    • Data base administration
      • Create document types via frame
      • Data base selection
      • Select document from document list
      • Display document type structure

    • Retrieval
      • Novice user search
      • Expert search (Fast Path)
      • Synonyms
      • File (Save) queries
      • File (Save) synonyms
      • Continue previous search
      • Result panel/display document list

    • Update/Modifying Documents
      • Select for delete a document
      • Browse specifications
      • Browse document
      • File document for print
      • HELP panels


    The Storage And Information Retrieval System/Virtual Storage (STAIRS/VS) Release 4.3 is an enhancement of the current release (Release 4.2) of STAIRS/VS and will replace it.

    In addition to the service corrections that have been incorporated into STAIRS/VS Release 4.0, the new release will have the following functional enhancements:

    • PRINT/MAIL Improvements

      The Print/MAIL commands will support additional (optional) parameters, such as:

      • End-user information (address or others) listed at print time
      • Comment line
      • Display of all PRINT/MAIL requests of the terminal session
      • Cancellation and reactivation of PRINT/MAIL requests during the terminal session

        Confirmation of a print request is forced, if a certain (data base-defined) number of documents is exceeded.

    • SAVE/EXEC Improvements
      • Displaying the names of saved profiles
      • Displaying the queries of a saved profile
      • SDI (Selective Dissemination of Information) function for saved profiles

    • SIGN-ON/OFF and Other Improvements
      • News function
      • Status display after use of the command CHANGE, at sign-off, and on request, containing user and data base name, time of day, session time, and accounting information
      • The command EDIT allows the user to edit a saved query profile without execution

    STAIRS/VS is a terminal-oriented multi-user dialog system for the storage and retrieval of information, which also allows for batch processing. It offers the user a variety of resources for data base creation and maintenance and, especially, for data base searching and display and/or printing of documents and/or formatted data.

    STAIRS/VS operates under the IBM operating systems OS/VS1 Release 7.0 and OS/VS2 MVS Release 3.8 and MVS/SP Version 1 Release 3.0 (collectively referred to as OS/VS) or subsequent releases unless otherwise identified.

    For data communication, STAIRS/VS uses the facilities of the IBM S/370 Customer Information Control System/Virtual Storage (CICS/VS) Version 1, Program Number 5740-XX1, Release 5 or the IBM Information Management System/Virtual Storage (IMS/VS) Version 1, Program Number 5740-XX2, Release 1.6 (OS/VS1) or Release 2 (OS/VS2 MVS) or subsequent releases of both systems unless otherwise identified.

    Device-dependent message-formatting routines are provided by STAIRS/VS for the IBM 3270 Information Display System (display units with screens of 24, 32, or 43 lines that are 80 characters wide, and associated printers), for the IBM 2740 and 2741 Communication Terminals, and for 'batch' simulated terminals (combination of an input and an output data set). While all of the above terminals are supported by STAIRS/VS under CICS/VS, the IBM 2741 and the IBM 2740 without the Station Control feature are not supported by STAIRS/VS under IMS/VS; this is because they are supported by IMS/VS as response terminals only.

    Technical Description

    Operating Environment

    Hardware Requirements

    For compilation and/or execution of STAIRS/VS, an IBM S/370, an IBM 3031, 3032, or 4300 Processor with a main storage capacity large enough to run IMS/VS or CICS/VS is required.

    The additional storage required for STAIRS/VS may vary widely, depending on the number of active terminals and the used system:

    • For STAIRS/VS under CICS/OS/VS

      120KB for the first terminal and 8KB for each additional active terminal in the CICS/VS region. If online data base creation is used, 125KB are required additionally: 60KB for the Online Data Base Creation program and 65KB for the Sort/Merge program.

    • For STAIRS/VS under IMS/VS

      A batch message processing region with 200KB for the first terminal and 8KB for each additional active terminal.

    • The batch Data Base Creation and Maintenance programs of STAIRS/VS require an address space of 128KB.

    For the data bases and other STAIRS/VS data sets, the same devices are used as supported by OS/VS and CICS/VS.

    One IBM nine-track magnetic tape device is required for the installation.

    At least one 1920-character or larger IBM 3270 display station, attached to the appropriate control unit, or an IBM 2740 or IBM 2741 Communicating Terminal must be available. The Communicating Magnetic Card Selectric Typewriter Model 6610 and the IBM Displaywriter System can be used as IBM 2741 terminals via switched lines, if CICS/OS/VS and BTAM are used. The IBM 2740 without the Station Control feature and the IBM 2741 are supported only if CICS/OS/VS is used.

    Software Requirements

    Most modules of STAIRS/VS are written in the IBM Assembler language and use the macro language facility. Some batch utilities are written in PL/I. All modules are distributed in both source and load module form. Thus, for the execution of the PL/I modules, only the PL/I Transient Library, Program Number 5734-LM5, is required. If a STAIRS/VS module written in PL/I is to be compiled (for APAR corrections, program modifications, or user-written exits), the PL/I Optimizing Compiler, Program Number 5734-PL/I, and the PL/I Resident Library, Program Number 5734-LM4, are also necessary. For data base creation, the OS/VS Sort/Merge, Program Number 5740-SM1, is used. If online data base creation under CICS/OS/VS is used, ATMS-III/OS/VS, Program Number 5740-XYL, is needed.

    STAIRS/VS is designed for an online OS/VS environment and requires the following programs:

    • OS/VS1 Release 7.0 or OS/VS2 MVS Release 3.8 or MVS/SP Version 1, Release 3.0.

    • CICS/OS/VS Version 1, Program Number 5740-XX1, Release 5 or IMS/VS Version 1, Program Number 5740-XX2, Release 1.6 (OS/VS1) or Release 2.0 (OS/VS2 MVS) with the Data Communication feature.

    Subsequent releases of the above programs are also supported unless otherwise provided by IBM.

    Planning Information

    Customer Responsibilities

    This section briefly discusses the activities to make STAIRS/VS operational; it gives a rough guideline for assessing the total installation effort. It is assumed that a system running under OS/VS with either CICS/VS or IMS/VS with the Data Communication Feature has already been installed.

    The major implementation steps are:

    • STAIRS/VS must be installed according to the installation description and the distribution tape.

    • The required tables for CICS/VS or the control blocks for IMS/VS must be regenerated including the entries required for STAIRS/VS.

    • The supplied sample data base can be accessed using the sample users to verify the installation.

    • User registration records for the anticipated users of the system must be generated.

    • Documents to be incorporated into the STAIRS/VS data base(s) must be edited according to the input specifications of the Data Base Creation programs. The data base(s) must be loaded and appropriate DSCBs generated. The users must be registered for the data base(s). The data base(s) must be included in the File Control Table, and DD cards for the data base data sets must be included in the Job Control of the online STAIRS/VS job and the Print utility.


    • GH12-5114 STAIRS/VS General Information Manual

    Security, Auditability, and Control

    MVS System Integrity Applies:



    (R), (TM), * Trademark or registered trademark of International Business Machines Corporation.

    ** Company, product, or service name may be a trademark or service mark of others.