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Information engineering feasibility projects get under way

Information engineering (IE) is a new activity within the recently adopted Telematics Applications specific programme of the Fourth Framework Programme for research and technological development (1994-1998). Managed by the Commission's DG XIII/E in Luxembourg, IE is concerned ...
Information engineering (IE) is a new activity within the recently adopted Telematics Applications specific programme of the Fourth Framework Programme for research and technological development (1994-1998). Managed by the Commission's DG XIII/E in Luxembourg, IE is concerned with the problems of providing easier and more selective access to information and improving the usability of information.

IE may be considered as applications research in support of the emerging information superhighways, which will enable the general public and non-professional users as well as SMEs to access facilities that until now have been available almost exclusively to research workers and large corporations.

The actions will use the results from programmes such as RACE and ESPRIT, which have created the individual building blocks but have not attempted to put them together into integrated applications.

The focus of the IE work will be on large pilot applications that integrate the different elements in the information chain: creating information, delivering it to users, and helping them to use it effectively. The new communications systems that deliver still pictures and video over the telephone network require the tools for creating and managing information to be used in new ways. The design of information products must change to exploit the new technologies, so as to offer the public, particularly those who are not familiar with computers, products that are easier to use. New methods of presentation and filtering can reduce the growing information overload. Application research is needed to tie all the different elements together into practical systems.

Although the first major call for proposals in the IE sector of the Telematics Applications programme will not be published until 15 March 1995, some funds were made available for exploratory actions during 1994. Two activities have taken place:

- A call for proposals for feasibility projects for pilot applications in multimedia publishing;
- A number of studies, the results of which will be widely disseminated to the marketplace.

The call for feasibility projects was launched in March 1994 and closed in June 1994. From over 400 proposals submitted involving more than 1,600 companies, 22 projects have been selected for support. The main subject areas that the proposers put forward as suitable for application research pilots were:

- Multimedia asset trading networks (trading images, designs, newspaper articles, fine art illustrations, advertisements, educational material, etc.);
- Electronic newspapers and magazines;
- Scientific, technical and medical publishing and information services;
- Multimedia catalogues (for tourism, fashion, industrial products, TV programmes, etc.);
- Multimedia technical documentation/corporate publishing and services;
- Corporate memory.

For the list of feasibility projects selected for support, see the text (TXT) field of this news item.

Source: European Commission, DG XIII

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