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We look at projects on the web that similar to ours in aims or in structure.
The Scorecard project is an information service provided by the U.S. based Environmental Defence organizaton. This community website tracks public health risks from various pollution sources by county and provides resources for people in affected communities to work together. Examples of services provided includes discussion forums, site maps of pollution sources, lists of polluting companies, and lists of volunteering oppurtunities. The site is also searchable.
The emphasis in Scorecard is on building a community of active citizens. People are encourage to contribute in many ways, for example, by adding to the information available on the website. The project encourages the distribution of data collected.
The website is powered by a system very similar to the Arsdigita Community System.
This Environmental Defence sponsored site allows users to sign up for email action alerts from its member organizations; users can choose which organizations and environmental topics they care about. Replying to the email alert will cause Action Network to send out email and faxes to the appropriate policy makers.
The Birdnotes site provides a suite of services to bird lovers and orinthologists. Services provided include a rare bird alert service, personalized user web pages, graphs of bird populations by location and/or time of the year, equipment surveys and others.
This site uses OpenACS.
A community website dedicated to animal rescue. From the website:
arfdigita.org is a free service dedicated to help match pets in animal shelters and rescues with the people who want to adopt them. Here you will be able to see the pets who are waiting to be adopted, find the shelters and rescues in your area, and get started with the adoption process.
The government of Madhya Pradesh has created a web site on the community schools under their "Education Guarantee Scheme". This website is titled Fundaschool, and allows its readers to donate money to support schools in MP.
There are notable differences between this project and our effort:
This is a project attempting to collect MIS data on the running of schools in the state of Uttar Pradesh. The web page referenced mentions the aims of the project, but their results are not being made available over the web.
This website attempts to provide community information relevant to the Indian context over the WWW. Noteworthy services provided include information on government departments and their procedures, and explanations on current community laws. Another feature of the site is that a translation of the web site into a regional language, Hindi, have been provided, though this in turn requires specific fonts and software to be installed on the viewers system.
Unlike our work, this site:
A less than desirable feature of the site is that it uses a number of non standard, proprietary technologies requiring specific software to be installed at the readers end to fully utilize the site. This also practically ties the site to being viewed from a specific hardware platform (an IBM PC clone running Windows(r)). It remains to be seen how future proof their site will be, given the rate of change in the software industry.
Supporting information in multiple languages requires substantial investment in document and information management. It is not clear from the site, how they plan to tackle issues like the current lack of standardization in indian language information exchange, or how they plan to keep the documents upto-date while tracking revisions in multiple languages.
The Institute for Medical Informatics, Giessen, Germany is using XML to capture and make amenable for processing, unstructured textual data like pathology reports, treatment guidelines and the like. They report on their software architecture in a paper presented at the XML Europe 2000 conference.
Like in our project, they use XML as a storage format, and generate HTML for viewing in a web browser. The translation between XML and HTML is done by a "Document Manager" that translates between the two formats using a template description.
Unlike our project, they allow users to update data in their database using HTML, and unlike our project they are not aiming to build communities of people around their data.
[Thanks to "kc" <kc[@]pd.jaring.my> for sending me this link.]