According to mfinni, "this was one of the things that Netware was specifically made for."
This can be done using the Netware Client from Novell or depending on the vintage of your Novell fileserver, you can also serve up a fileshare using SMB instead of NCP and won't require the Netware client at all.
Once you have access to the fileserver, through either method it can be mapped as a drive or accessed as a network drive. For Java, I [Johnny Maelstrom] believe that using SMB or a mounted Windows drive letter is the best way to do this. As a standalone application you need to have access to the drive as a authorised user of the Novell fileserver. As a service the service logon needs to be an authorised user of the Novell fileserver.
Note: This answer combines information from mfinni, Canacourse, dsolimano and some of my own research.