Amor R, Turk Z, Hyvarinen J, Finne C
CONNET: a gateway to Europe's construction information
Abstract: "The EC funded project CONNET (Construction Information Service Network, at http://www.connet.org/) has developed a set of Internet-based information services for Europe. These services are linked through a European gateway for the construction industry which provides a ""virtual technology park"", accessible to the whole industry regardless of national boundaries. The gateway provides mechanisms to link all information services for the construction industry, and to establish national gateways to services which can then inter-operate across Europe. The CONNET consortium is moving to establish the existing services in all European nations, and to encourage further existing or planned information services to be linked.
A suite of five Internet based services has initially been developed, comprising: a technical information centre; a waste exchange centre; manufactured product services; a calculation and software centre; and an electronic news service as described below:
1. The Technical Information Centre provides a single point of entry to locate technical information from quality providers, initially in the UK. The centre draws upon information held by the major publishers in the UK, with over 200 identified to link into the service. Once a publication is identified a user is able to place an order to purchase, or browse, the item. An automated notification service for users, based on their areas of interest, is also available as part of this centre.
2. The Waste Exchange Centre extends the current UK based system to better enable the disposal and reuse of site waste across organisations Nationally and in Europe. Availability of, and requests for, waste materials are automatically matched in order to broker greater reuse of materials.
3. The Manufactured Product Service enables Finnish and export-market users to identify manufactured products which match their design specification by incorporating product attributes into the selection system. Users are able to identify certified products and drag-and-drop CAD information into their designs.
4. The Calculation and Software Centre provides the European entry point for information on all software products available for the civil engineering domain (over 3,900 collated to date). Online demonstrations, online purchase, and even pay-per-use software is available.
5. The Electronic News Service enables members of the construction industry to register an interest in specific topics and to be notified of any Internet published news that matches their interest. The news sources are drawn from the main information providers and professional institutes in the industry, both within the UK and Internationally. Currently over 14,300 Internet sites have been identified and indexed for this service.
This paper describes the infrastructure which has been developed for the European gateway and the benefits it can offer to linked services within a single nation, or across Europe. The virtual technology park infrastructure developed in CONNET provides for user identification, centralised user profiling and profile management, automated and periodic user profile servicing, classification system management and mapping, discussion groups, secure communication and service validation, etc. The way in which these technology park services are able to be used and adapted in independent, but linked, national services is highlighted in the paper. The five individual services are also described briefly, highlighting the benefits they offer to the European construction industry and the possibilities they offer in terms of ensuring national services are inter-operable across all of Europe."
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by Icelandic Building Research Institute. The assistance of the editor, Mr. Gudni Gudnason, is gratefully appreciated