Novell Inc.'s computer software, NetWare, will be used to network more than 400 personal computers at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Atlanta - the first political convention to use networked PCs as the main computing platform.

"The way in which the Democratic National Committee has chosen to automate the convention using NetWare clearly illustrates the acceptance of LAN (local area network) technology in mainstream America," said Craig Burton, senior vice president of corporate development at Novell. "From a technological standpoint, what they've done is impressive."More than 100 custom applications were developed by the convention's information systems group for use on the Novell network, including on-line facilities management to track hotel accommodations; master calendar scheduling to control attendance at events by level of security required; an umbrella system to sort and manage "VIP" requests from politicians; and more than 50 databases on subjects ranging from names of delegates and alternates attending from each state to Credential Distribution that will handle the daily admission of some 20,000 politicians, delegates, press, vendors and staff.

Both the Dukakis and Jackson staffs will have access to the system's wide area network (WAN) via Novell's Asynchronous Communications Service (ACS) servers. Both campaign staffs will use the tie-in to send information to the press and to route electronic mail throughout the convention sites in Atlanta. The Atlanta police and other outside agencies will also have access to the convention WAN through the ACS servers for security purposes.

A special dial-in news service has been implemented on the LAN to enable press from all over the country to obtain news generated during the convention.