Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

FP6

BRICKS — Result In Brief

Project ID: 507457
Funded under: FP6-IST
Country: Italy

Europe's knowledge assets at a mouse click

Searching the web can be frustrating if the information sought is ill-defined or obscure. The morass of web resources presents a formidable hurdle. Determined to find a solution to this problem, the Bricks partners set their sights on the digital library arena.
Europe's knowledge assets at a mouse click
Libraries and museums in the digital era are more than custodians of artefacts; they are gateways to their vast collections. That is why the European Commission has earmarked considerable funding to look into how the digital and institutional world can connect.

Several research projects have come up with interesting solutions, including a possible model for opening up digital library technology to a wider clientele. A different approach was followed by the 'Building resources for integrated cultural knowledge services' (Bricks) project.

Funded under the Sixth Framework Programme, Bricks took on the challenge to identify new technologies and services, with integration as the most important point. One of the key aims was to create a community of organisations around a single digital library platform.

Unlike many other such digital libraries, this Europe-wide distributed library is open and expandable. It consists of a number of loosely coupled components built on top of a peer-to-peer network. Each member organisation runs one or several nodes, through which its content is made available to the entire network.

The absence of central administration, although posing various implementation challenges, was seen as a major incentive to join the network - with no additional costs other than setting up and maintaining their own nodes. Moreover, the software is available for free and runs on standard computers.

Smaller organisations generally lack the funds to build and maintain their own systems so the Bricks solution can open up new possibilities for them. By simply downloading the software and adding their content to the network they can share their knowledge assets across the globe.

The Bricks community started with 50 member organisations but it is growing worldwide. The international connections are important for the project's credibility and can help attract further interested organisations.

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