The RIO project addressed the needs for an active information system to support day to day operations of the RACE Programme. Its main objectives were:
- To set up a System Prototype (RIO Version II) using ISDN.
- To provide widely acceptable user interfaces.
- To establish a RIO Service Operational Environment.
- To support RIO Users with a high speed communication service, document (text and image) location, browsing and local printing.
- To support the needs of the RCO and INTERACT projects.
- To widen the user population and subsequently respond to their evaluation of the services.
- To define data collection procedures and establish contacts for the actual data collection.
- To identify, collect and port RACE related information to RIO.
The main objective of the research was to assist the operation of the research and technology development in advanced communications technologies in Europe (RACE) programme by providing:
information important to RACE needs (eg RACE workplans, reports, RACE concertation meetings (RCM) proceedings, common functional specifications, project summaries, project deliverables);
services based on user tasks related to RACE work (eg electronic mail or file transfer);
providing an operational support environment to the technoeconomic tools developed access to RACE related information bases (ie Community research CORDIS).
Key issues in the research include:
adapting RACE online information services to the needs of the RACE Community;
providing the widest possible connectivity (networks and terminal types) to RACE users;
developing the RACE online information services by exploiting public domain software.
The major achievements have been:
a user interface for both ASCII based and Windows based environments;
prototype services on integrated services digital network (ISDN) and X.25 networks;
TCP/IP and NFS over ISDN;
operational requirements defined for the INTERACT project;
service operational environments defined for the RIO project;
documents handled by the documents retrieval service may be stored in structured and unstructured forms, and can be of either ASCII or MS Word format.
The main directions of the RIO project were the:
- Provision of services associated with document database browsing, downloading and uploading of RACE information.
- Provision of basic ISDN services such as transparent file transfer, mail and conferencing.
The project had to establish an ISDN-based document server to provide services to the RACE Central Office. These services once established, would then have been extended to the wider RACE Community, using both ISDN and X.25 (with the latter giving reductions in performance rather than functionalities). A project server, located in Brussels, consisted of sufficient hardware and software to support the initial service and the expected user population. It included communication interfaces to ISDN and X.25 networks to permit user access and remote maintenance, and was based on the SCO UNIX operating system. Communication services were based on public domain software specifically extended for ISDN operations (e.g. XBBS package).
As a second stage, a more advanced RIO system was to provide communication and document services in a more user friendly, integrated manner. This was to be based on a document server merged on the same infrastructure as the Communication Server. Documents containing text, images, and graphics could then be easily handled at the highest speeds supported by the network.
- More efficient management of RACE related information.
- The widest possible connectivity to be provided to RACE users (networks and terminals types).
- Services developed by exploiting public domain software.
Having now set the technical environment, defined the user profile & requirements, and fixed the operational aspects, the know-how acquired can be used to design and implement a complete professional RACE Information On-line System.
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