Lowering Technological Barriers to Developing, Deploying and Maintaining Web-based Interactive Information Systems

Ms Shirley Fenton,
Dr. Don Cowan,
Douglas Mulholland
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Community-based and similar small to medium organizations are not taking advantage of modern information technologies to interact effectively with their clients. Add-on advanced components such as databases and maps are rarely being used as adjuncts to the Web. Cost and complexity are key factors in deterring these groups from taking advantage of these software components. The cost and complexity relate to the development, deployment and maintenance of both the software systems and the associated content.

This paper contains a description of a model of university-community partnership that has been found to overcome many of the barriers to using advanced information technologies. A software research group from a university worked with four community-based organizations to develop and deploy advanced Web-based information technology with a view to understanding both the technology and the supporting processes. The content of the paper addresses both social and technological issues. Building partnerships requires adequate communications, a well defined description of obligations for both partners, a strong trust relationship among the partners, and a smooth transition as a community-based group moves to a wider use of information technology. In addition to the social processes, the technological and content barriers to the development of information technology systems must be lowered; technology must be created that can guide a developer through the production of complex Web-based systems. The paper contains a description of a software toolkit that uses several techniques to overcome many of the technology barriers. While technology is the enabler in disseminating relevant information, building and maintaining community partnerships is an essential ingredient to the success of technology deployment.

Keywords: Community, Engagement, Information Technology, World-Wide Web, Partnership, Sustainability, Service-Oriented Architecture, Metadata, XML, XSL, Technology Transfer
Stream: Human Technologies and Useability
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Lowering Technological Barriers to Developing, Deploying and Maintaining Web-based Interactive Information Systems

Ms Shirley Fenton

Managing Director, Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, Faculty of Science, University of Waterloo

Shirley Fenton is Managing Director, Waterloo Institute for Health Informatics Research, University of Waterloo and Research Associate, Computer Systems Group (CSG). Her research interests are innovative Internet applications, community information portals, web-based tools and technology deployment across various sectors. She is active in building research and technology transfer relationships with industry, organizations, and government. She has worked in information technology and research positions for over 20 years.

Dr. Don Cowan

Distinguished Professor Emeritus, School of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo

Douglas Mulholland

Technical Manager, School of Computer Science, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Waterloo

Ref: T05P0149