Electronic Publishing and the 5th Framework Programme
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European Union RTD funding | 5th Framework Programme (1998-2002) | Information Society Technologies (IST) | Interactive publishing and information engineering | Multimedia content and tools | Authoring and design systems | Content management and personalisation | Projects in electronic publishing | MM content and tools - call schedule | Assistance for FP5 proposers | Links to 5FP and IST information and resources | Manufacturing in the IST programme
For those of our readers who are not familiar with RTD funding in Europe, we should start by saying that funding programmes exist at company and national level, as well as at the European Union level. The European Union supports a variety of programmes from basic research to near market demonstration programmes. Over the years the main programmes have been drawn together into what is called the Framework Programme (FP) that runs in a four year cycle.
The 4th FP is ending and the 5th is just starting. The programme runs from 1998-2002, although projects started near the end of a programme may run on for 1-2 years after the start of the next programme. General information about the European Union RTD programmes is on the CORDIS (Community Research and Development Information Service) web site.
The main activities of the programme are "key actions". These are thematic programmes that consist of: "a cluster of small and large, applied, generic and, as appropriate, basic research projects directed towards a common European challenge or problem, not excluding global issues".
There are four key actions:
- Improving the quality of life and management of living resources - largely concerned with food and health
- Creating a user-friendly information society (IST) - concerned with information technology and its application
- Promoting competitive and sustainable growth - centred on industrial innovation in areas such as transport and aeronautics
- Energy, environment and sustainable development
Further information on the programme is available on the FP5 section of the CORDIS web site. The main area of interest for people working in electronic publishing is in the IST programme.
URL: FP5 http://www.cordis.lu/fp5/
URL: IST http://www.cordis.lu/ist/
Creating a user friendly information society
The IST programme is built on the belief that the present trend towards increased penetration of IT into business and the home will continue and be a major factor in economic growth. Improved communication through networks will lead to the emergence of new products and services. It is vitally important that we create an Information Society for ALL. New digital interactive information products and services will emerge, their success will depend on the quality and attractiveness of their contents, and on how users will be enabled to access and use them.
Within IST there are four key actions (KAI - KAIV), each with a number of action lines. The key actions are:
- KAI: Systems and service for the citizen
- KAII: New methods of work and e-commerce
- KAIII: Multimedia content and tools
- KAIV: Essential technologies and infrastructures
Loosely speaking the first three are application oriented - demonstration - lines, and the fourth is more technology oriented.
The programme will have a more flexible structure than earlier programmes with the work-programmes being modified during the four year cycle to keep pace with changing IT capabilities and other priorities. The current state of the programme and information on other IST activities than key actions can be found on the IST pages on the CORDIS web site. There are some slide shows on the web from the December 1998 Vienna Conference which outline the principles.
URL: IST http://www.cordis.lu/ist/
Details of 500 successful projects, including EPIFOCAL (the project responsible for maintaining El.pub), selected to participate in the Information Society Technologies Programme of FP5 have been published on the Cordis web site. Currently the site features an alphabetical list of projects by their acronyms along with a contact email address.
The Commission plans to add to this information shortly, providing a brief description detailing the each project's objectives, a description of the workplan, a list of participants and more complete contact information. 10/03/00
The Digicult (Digital Heritage and Cultural Content) web service, hosted by Cordis, is part of Key Action III (Multimedia Content and Tools) of the IST Programme, but is specifically focused on the action lines aiming to expand the contribution of libraries, museums and archives in developing the emerging "cultural economy"; which includes economic, scientific and technological development. These action lines have three stated research priorities:
- ensuring integrated access to collections and materials held in libraries, museums and archives;
- improving the operational efficiency of large-scale content holdings by means of effective interfacing and management techniques;
- preserving and accessing multimedia content of various types, including electronic materials and surrogates of physical objects.
Information on opportunities for libraries, museums, archives and related partners in connection with the Fifth RTD Framework programme (FP5) is also available from the site. 10/03/00
URL: Digicult http://www.cordis.lu/ist/ka3/digicult/
CORDIS focus has published a printed supplement entitled: "Fifth Framework Programme (FP5) - An Introductory Guide", the purpose of which is to provide a specialist reference document for potential participants in FP5. The document is designed to be used in conjunction with the CORDIS FP5 web service which provides up-to-date information on developments within FP5. The core of the supplement comprises two main sections:
- guidelines for participating in FP5;
- and an indicative timetable for all programmes and calls in 1999.
For further informtion see CORDIS focus online at the address below.
URL: FP5 programme http://www.cordis.lu/fp5
URL: CORDIS focus online http://www.cordis.lu/focus/en/
As part of its aim to provide a central source of knowledge for UK participants in the IST programme, the UKISHELP web site now features a discussion forum where bidders can share advice and opinions and take advantage of peer support. The existing user forum has been improved to facilitate ease of use and extra features have been added.
UKISHELP is a UK Government funded service for UK organisations seeking project funding under European Information Society programmes. 21/03/00
The Singleimage booklet called "Successful Proposals" is aimed at organisations intending to apply for support from the European Commission for research and technological development (RTD) projects. Aimed at UK organisations, the 30 page, the booklet explains:
- How to assess whether your project idea is a good candidate for support;
- What to look for when choosing partners;
- How proposals are evaluated;
- How to address the Framework 5 evaluation criteria in your proposal.
The booklet, available for 30 UK pounds, aims to help potential proposers understand and interpret the Commission's Workprogramme and Guides to Proposers.
Singleimage provides support (funded by the UK's Department for Trade and Industry) to potential proposers to the IST programme. A further booklet entitled: "A Practical Guide to Co-ordinating and Managing RTD Projects" is available direct from from the Department of Trade and Industry, at the phone number below. 18/04/00
URL: Practical Guide to Co-ordinating and Managing RTD Projects, tel: 0345 15 2000
Frequent visitors to this web site will know that it is part of a project (IESERV2) funded under the 4th Framework Programme. In addition to the web site the project organises workshops in European cities and supports projects in disseminating information and working together.
The project is funded by part of the Telematics programme (the IT application part of the 4th FP) called Information Engineering. IE is a "horizontal" activity focussed on applying engineering principles to information systems through demonstration projects with an emphasis on usability, systems integration, user involvement in design, and multimedia. Most of the projects are concerned with electronic publishing in some form and are briefly described on the IE project page.
In the 5th FP, the priorities embodied in IE have been promoted to the whole programme: "the key issues of usability, interoperability, dependability and affordability will be addressed ubiquitously throughout the programme". The main home for electronic publishing projects will be in KAIII Multimedia content and tools. The IE concepts will continue, but be extended to include a more vertical view of electronic publishing. During the 4th FP, IE extended its view of "electronic publishing" to embrace all sorts of information products and services delivered over networks or on fixed media such as CD, or broadcast by terrestrial and satellite systems. This extended view of publishing to cover all sorts of content creation and management that can be delivered digitally is continued in the 5th FP.
KAIII, has a number of strands covering publishing, culture, education and training, language and information access, filtering, and handling. Details of the 1999 work-programme will appear on CORDIS and the I*M Europe web sites when they become available.
URL: I*M Europe and IE http://www.echo.lu
The present planning for the development of IE into more general electronic publishing, is based on two draft action lines covering what is termed, Interactive Publishing:
- the first line, authoring and design systems, is focussed on creativity and production of content;
- the second, content management and personalisation, on packaging, storage, and delivery of content, and tailoring content to, and by, the user.
URL: reports of focus meetings http://www.elpub.org
Two concepts are central to the objectives of the action line:
- First, promoting creativity and better design of multimedia content through the application of advanced technology in areas such as interactivity, visual content, 3D, virtual reality and other broadband content. This area involves validating the use of the technology, innovative products and services, transferring old communication skills to new environments and developing new means of communication.
- Second, improving the authoring, design and production systems for creating content. This area involves new workflow procedures such as real-time tele-collaboration, cross-media integration and new multi-platform publishing and broadcasting applications. The benefits will include greater usability, functionality and productivity and more attractive products and services.
Digitisation has created a situation where the delivery methods for electronic information have become progressively independent of the final rendering on TV, cinema or computer screen. Information, whether intended for use in a business, knowledge or life-style environment, is packaged by the broadcaster or publisher in a variety of forms, delivered through alternative channels, for viewing on whatever device the user has available.
New content management possibilities are opened. Access, delivery and personalisation from large distributed and multi-owner collections (eg. digital libraries) require new methods and tools. This area includes: automated content packaging, tailoring, user control, web-based systems, agent services, new business models, transaction systems for asset management and user access, standards for interoperability, privacy. The benefits will include improved asset productivity, user control, and access to products and services.
Although EP projects will generally look for support in KAIII, the 5th FP idea of clustering projects around themes means that some will be better placed elsewhere. For example, projects that are strongly focussed on administrative or health information may find a home in KAI, those concerned with information closely tied to e-commerce applications in KAII, and those where infrastructure or other technology development, rather than the application, is paramount in KAIV. Within KAIII, other action lines concentrate on cultural and scientific heritage, multilingual aspects, education and training, multi-sensory content, and media representation and access.
URL: to register interest in IEP http://www.elpub.org/html/register.html
Related to the supplement published above, the Cordis Focus dated 20 December 1999 (Issue 140) includes a section entitled: "Spotlight on IST 99", the annual European Conference on Information Technologies, held in Finland on 22-24 November. The section provides details of the work programme for the year 2000, and provides a draft timetable for for all the Key Action lines including KA III "Multimedia Content and Tools".
Cordis Focus is published every two weeks and presents the latest news on European Union research and Innovation and related programmes and policies. Available free as a print publication and also online, subscribe from the web site below.
A special issue of Cordis Focus, published by the European Commission's Innovation/SMEs Programme is entitled "Assistance for FP5 Proposers". Published as a 40 page printed supplement it provides an excellent aide memoire for all those who have, or are planning to, submit project proposals in the Fifth Framework Programme for Research and technological development and Demonstration (1998-2002).
The supplement includes some useful tables with complete details (including phone, fax and email) of national contact points for each of the action lines in the programme. It also summarises the support services available to proposers, their roles, the relationships between them and sources for additional information including email and web addresses.
Following consultation with users, the Guides for Proposers for the Fifth Framework Programme have been updated. According to the EC the changes introduced in December, "simplified procedures and ironed out areas of confusion". 18/02/00
The IPR-Helpdesk Legal Team have prepared a free booklet on Intellectual Property issues within the new Community Research and Technological Development (RTD) Model Contract (Cost Reimbursement) within the Fifth Framework Programme (FP5). The brochure can be downloaded direct from the web or is available in print, order a copy form the web site below.
MANIST, the UK's National Contact Point for Manufacturing in the Information Society Technologies (IST) Programme has launched a web site to provide help and advice to existing, and potential, participants in all manufacturing areas of the new IST Programme. The web site includes:
- an introduction to MANIST;
- overview and background to Framework 5 and the IST;
- proposal evaluations;
- partner search;
- links to other Framework 5 related web sites;
- call details;
- news and events.
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Last up-dated: 10 August 2023
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