Bloomfield D, Amor R
I-SEEC: an internet gateway to european construction resources
Abstract: For the construction industries to move into the knowledge society and knowledge economy they need to be able to build upon their existing information base. This information base is unique within individual countries (though often with significant overlap between countries, for example, with Eurocodes utilised across Europe) and usually widely dispersed. Drawing together the information resources within nations, and then connecting them with each other to form trans-national resources enables a more effective, informed and intelligent industry. I-SEEC is a collaborative project funded by the European Union with the overall goal of creating an infrastructure to enable and link high quality commercial electronic information services throughout its member countries. This project started in March 2000 and finishes in April 2001. It builds upon a previous EU project - CONNET (CONstruction information service NETwork). This paper provides a description of the final state of the infrastructure, services and business models available through I-SEEC. The countries participating in I-SEEC are Finland, Iceland, Italy, the Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom.
CONNET provides access to a range of high quality Internet-based services for the construction industry in Europe. It provides both a European entry point to identify resources and national entry points for localised service delivery. The European CONNET entry point provides a range of technology park services as well as industry-specific services. These services include:
· Management of security services, including installation and monitoring of security systems
· Help desk, providing a point of contact for potential service providers and for problem resolution
· Information broker role, enabling transparent access to information in the CONNET services
· Technology observatory service, including leading edge, current and best-practice technologies
· Provision of user profiles, allowing personalised delivery of updates in areas of interest
· Multi-classification support, permitting handling of national systems used across the EC.
· Inter-service communication services, allowing all comparable services to be identified and a query to be passed from one service to another service to answer.
· Multi-language support, enabling EC languages to be handled correctly and to provide basic translations between them.
The services offered by I-SEEC include a Technical Information Centre, Waste Exchange Centre, Electronic News Service, Calculation and Software Centre, Who's Who in Construction, Specialist Equipment Directory and a Best Practice Information service.
The CONNET infrastructure and the I-SEEC information services provide the means to promote effective use of information by construction industry professionals in an efficient and cost-effective way. The ability to pass queries from one high quality service to another in a different country is a substantial contribution to the CIB goal of providing information to achieve performance. This paper draws out lessons learned - both technological and practical - in the course of this multi-country initiative to develop a portal for the construction industry. It also invites participation in this open initiative and describes how existing and developing services across the world can be made interoperable within a CONNET (and any Internet portal) environment.
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Permission to reproduce these documents have been graciously provided by CSIR Building and Construction Technology. The assistance of the editors, Mr. Gustav Coetzee and Mr. Frances Boshoff, is gratefully appreciated.