The Commission's IMPACT programme for the establishment of an internal information services market (1991-1995) is supporting 22 projects to develop interactive multimedia titles. This support follows a call for proposals published on 2 June 1992 under Action Line 4 of the programme, "Support for Strategic Information Initiatives". It requested proposals to develop, on a shared-cost basis, new interactive multimedia information services aimed at wide consumer and professional markets. The services envisaged would present collections of images, text and data, together, where appropriate, with sound, video, animation and simulation, to be offered on digital optical media or via telecommunications channels. Particularly important was that the services would feature interactive interfaces and retrieval mechanisms. A total of 317 proposals were received. After evaluation, 59 projects were selected to carry out an initial Definition Phase from 1 January to 30 June 1993. At the conclusion of this phase, 22 projects were selected for support for an implementation phase running in most cases from November 1993 to the end of 1994. Most of the titles produced will appear on CD-ROM or CD-I (Compact Disk Interactive) and should be ready by Autumn 1994. These are aimed largely at the mass market and use the new multimedia techniques to improve explanations and make access to information easy and attractive. Some of the projects focus on the health field, covering baby care, sex education, physical exercise and the prevention of spinal injuries. The programmes will be designed for use both in the home and in relevant institutions. Full-motion, full-screen video will be incorporated into at least two of these titles. Other projects will present cultural programmes, such as contemporary art, Flemish art, Gothic cathedrals and baroque styles. Here the use of multimedia is exemplified as an interactive tool for research and comparison, enabling different texts and images to be found and viewed at will. The techniques being developed contrast with traditional consultation of printed material where it is often difficult to juxtapose relevant items of interest. A third focus of the set of projects supported is the history and geography of places. The titles will include Berlin, London, Luxembourg, Catalunya and Mount Olympos as well as more general European geography. An interesting feature of some of these programmes is the use of games and quizzes to help in the assimilation of knowledge. Finally, the series includes two industrial applications, technical documentation and health and safety in the workplace. With the support given to these projects, the IMPACT programme intends to stimulate European enterprises to forge transnational cooperative links and enter the new and competitive industry of electronic information production and distribution. The companies taking up the challenge come from a variety of backgrounds, including traditional publishing, education and electronics and bring together expertise in a wide range of disciplines, such as printing, film and software as well as subject knowledge. If the first range of products is successful, a step will have been taken towards a European multimedia production industry able to compete both within the Union and worldwide. A list of the 22 projects, including title (with Acronym), the partners involved, contact persons, plus a brief description of each project, is contained in the Text (TXT) field of this RTD-News item.
Policy making and guidelines
9 December 1993