News Update :: Tuesday, May 9, 2006

News

Federal, Higher Ed Team Open Iraqi Virtual Science Library

U.S. government officials, university scientists and publishers launched the Iraqi Virtual Science Library (IVSL) last week, a digital portal that gives the Iraqi science and engineering community free online access to millions of scientific articles and other resources. The IVSL is a partnership between the U.S. departments of State and Defense, universities, computer firms, publishers, and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.

The idea was hatched by Alex Dehgan, an ecologist working in Iraq to rebuild the Museum of Natural History. He saw a need for access to updated scientific literature. Dehgan enlisted other scientists to develop the concept, and they were eventually joined by Springer Publishing, Sun Microsystems, the U. of Maryland, Cornell U., Yale U., MIT, and the National Academy of Sciences.

Over the next two years, the IVSL will be transferred to and owned by the Iraqi government. “Together, this extraordinary group created an electronic library that gives Iraqi students, faculty members, scientists, medical doctors and researchers…the same access enjoyed by a full professor at MIT,” said Paula Dobriansky, undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs. “This is in a land that is home to a rich history of mathematic and scientific advances in fields such as algebra, geometry, and medicine.” For more information, click here.

BYU Pres: ‘The Best Technology is the Technology That Wins’

Brigham Young University-Idaho President Kim Clark told Utah business executives last week that “ there are many ways to 'win' in today's fluid economy," but that the companies that win are the ones that find creative ways to meet consumer demand. Speaking at a breakfast meeting of the Utah Technology Council, Clark, the former dean of the Harvard Business School said the technology sector has become stronger and more “modular” in the last 30 years.

Winning companies, he said, have become experts at developing pieces of the whole. They also operate independently, but create products that work in concert with other "modules," as opposed to providing end user solutions that are packaged all in one piece.

Clark points out that for emerging companies, modularity creates options. When there is high option value, companies can create new versions rapidly and innovation occurs quickly. Option value is derived by knowing about your customers and knowing (or being able to identify quickly) what your customers want. For more information, click here.

Cornell IT Publishes Online 3-D Annual Report

Cornell University’s information technology department is issuing its business plan and annual report using a Web-based 3-D page-flipping format. The “Digital Flip” format was developed by E-Book Systems, an electronic publishing technology firm.

The technology, which can convert print and electronic versions of documents into the page-flipping format, can also incorporate multimedia elements such as MID, WAV, and MP3 files. The system also has a “Flip Analyzer” to track page views and duration. Bob Bourdeau, assistant director of marketing for Cornell Information Technologies says, "It has the natural look and feel we were looking for and is customized exactly to our needs.”

To see the report, click below and download FlipViewer or Mac FlipViewer to read the digital edition of the business plan and annual report. For more information click here.

Maryland Flexcar to Reduce Parking Pressures

The University of Maryland launched a Flexcar program that would give qualified staff, students, and faculty the free use of one of four fuel-efficient vehicles that will be kept on campus. Maryland President C.D. Mote said the program is expected to encourage people to leave their cars at home, to reduce parking pressures on campus and to cut down on the number of cars parked in neighborhoods surrounding campus.

Members will be able to reserve the vehicles via the Internet or touchtone phone for hourly use. Flexcar covers the cost of the car, gas, parking, insurance and maintenance, allowing members to enjoy the freedom of car ownership without the hassles and costs. The Flexcar fleet is made up of low-emission vehicles, including gas/electric hybrids, pickup trucks, all-wheel drive "crossovers," and minivans.

"If you ask people why they don't take transit to campus, they tell you they want to have a car 'just in case' an unexpected meeting or family need arises," said John David Allen, director of the Department of Transportation Services at the university. "With Flexcar on campus, they now have a car 'just in case.' We expect this will decrease the number of people driving to campus each day, reducing the number of vehicles searching for parking spots." For more information, click here.

Free Web Player for 3D Content Sharing

Caligari Corp., a producer of 3-D modeling and animation software, announced the release of truePlay, a free Web player for sharing interactive 3D objects, scenes and multimedia “worlds.” The company said truePlay enables users to interact, learn, and work in real-time in a photorealistic, simulated, 3-D space that offers a richer presence than 2-D technology can provide.

truePlay allows participants to open, enter, and interact with 3-D scenes that are sent to them via download or e-mail. Multiple participants can join the same 3-D space to meet, interact, and collaborate in real-time. The company said the player would support applications in education, where it will enable students and teachers to use real-time demonstrations and virtual experiments, or join each other in a shared space on the Internet and learn in real-time. For more information, click here.
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