- Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research

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- Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research
Kuwait Conference on Information Highway
Conference Proceedings
Part Two
All Copyrights Reserved
Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research
P.O. Box 24885 Safat, State of Kuwait
Postal Code: 13109
Tel: 4836100 – 4818713
Fax: 4836097
E-mail: [email protected]
Foreword
Holding the "Kuwait Conference on Information Highways" came simultaneously as
a natural and an essential response to the outstanding developments witnessed by the
twentieth century, especially in the last decade. Information highways constitute a
phenomenon that does not withstand regression but is rather the basis for subsequent
developments of which we may presently see some main features but are not able to
foresee all its results. This phenomenon is a natural consequence of the progress in
computer science and communications and in the world's directive toward more
integration following the elimination of several divisions and toward more openness
following the relaxation of several boundaries.
Kuwait was always a pioneer on the regional level in the issues of culture and
technology communication. This conference, which was held under the patronage of
his Excellency the First Deputy of the Prime Minister, the Minister of Foreign
Affairs Sheikh Sabah AI-Ahmad AI-Jaber AI-Sabah, constitutes a new step in the
progress of Kuwait locally, regionally, and universally toward the maximum
utilization of new technology and the prevention of its negative effects in the
domains of economy, culture, and social life.
In approximately less than a decade, the information highways made the world more
like one village, but is this actually the case? This attribute is sometimes right and at
other times erroneous. Communications have transcended boundaries and shortened
time differences and distances. Few years earlier, the universal "internet" was merely
a local American "internet". Also few years ago, it was not possible for this network
to reach many countries, yet connecting to it has now become the rule and
disconnection from it is the exception. Thirty years ago, the "internet" was merely a
means to prevent the destructive effects of American communications in the event a
third world war erupted. Presently, it has become a multi-purpose and service
universal web network, such as but not limited to mail, electronic trading, on-line
learning, health services, and unified netmeeting with digital communication and
distribution within the context of time and place (real-time).
Information highways are the equivalent of the invention of printing in the world of
communications, the circulation of books in the world of education, the invasion of
outer space in the world of aviation, and the invention of the stearn engine then the
internal engine and subsequently the electrical engine in the worlds of transport and
industry, they even surpass all this. With the advent of computers in the large
majority of the machines we use, even in homes. it is probable that information
highways reach everything thus combining at least the telephone, the personal
computer, and the television, if not also all house appliances and office equipment.
As we previously mentioned, information highways constitute a phenomenon that
does not withstand regression as it is a subjective progress and a continuation of all
technological developments in the twentieth century. It is beneficial to prevent its
consequences to avoid their occurrence, this in anticipation and as a precaution.
In the domain of communications, the world may become one village, but in the
economic, political, and social domains, the world remains several "viJ1ages" with
disparate progress, customs, cultures, and priorities. There is rather a large difference
in the importance of information highways between one circumstance and another.
The interests of where these highways originated differ from those where they ended
at. Also, the interests of the buyer of this highway technology differ from those of its
inventor who maintains its development.
In any case, the information highways involve simultaneously great opportunities
and challenges. It is thanks to their f1exihle nature, if properly exploited, that they
can reinforce unity and maintain variety also at the same time. However, they
necessitate that we rise up to their technological level and that we confront them
with a critical methodology, not with absolute rejection or acceptance.
This task is handled by professionals. Consequently, Kuwait Institute for Scientific
Research, with the collaboration of the Ministry of Finance, Kuwait Foundation for
the Advancement of Sciences, Kuwait University, Telecommunications Company,
AI-Awqaf General Secretariat, Civil Service Commission, Kuwait Airways
Corporation, and the Central Bank of Kuwait, took the initiative of the conference
hosting a group of Kuwait, Arab, and expatriate professionals in various fields.
This conference was held shortly prior to Our entering the twenty first century at a
time when communications and computer science are developing at great speed thus
making keeping pace with them an essential daily task. The electronic trading which
saw the light only a few years ago and whose value did not exceed few millions of
dollars is now worth tens of millions and even billions of dollars. Also, the internet
which was restricted to correspondence and had then evolved to a slow and grueling
search tool has now become a quick and instant network at a relatively low cost and
with multi-services simultaneously. The progress in computer science aspires at
present to eliminate the barriers between hardware and software in order to allow to
install, probably shortly, a new piece made of simple atoms in the computer's hard
drive thus doubling its abilities. It is in such scientific meetings that we can proceed
toward anticipating scientific developments rather than waiting at their mercy.
Dr. Abdulhadi Saadoun AI-Otaibi
Director General of Kuwait Institute For Scientific Research
Introduction
The world is now facing a technological obstacle which will forever change the way
in which we work, learn, purchase, and communicate with one another. The
information century tools, which are on their way to become a daily reality of our
life, will change the way in which we make our decisions and choices with respect to
everything in our life. The developments of the information and communication
revolution, which began in the last two decades, will last for several future decades.
As it was not estimated that the progress of the information and communication
technology would occur to that degree and at that speed, also the prediction of the
extent the information tools will reach, their importance, and the possibilities of their
investment has become a matter that is no longer subject to certain considerations,
especially that the information revolution has touched all aspects of human sciences
and provides highways which offer possibilities which seem magical making our life
easier and better.
The course these highways will take and the benefit which may be reaped from them
depend on the decisions made by governments and institutions guiding their
handling and specifying the methods and bases of their investment. These decisions
will be affected by several aspects related to information highways, such as
technical, legal, economic, administrative, and social aspects.
In light of the rapid and unprecedented diffusion in the field of communication and
information technology, and with the emergence of the terms "universal",
"globalization", and "universal village", we find ourselves facing great challenges in
a world where we may discover room for agreement and another for disagreement
depending on our view, potential, and cultural and social privacy.
The State of Kuwait, which always strives to be in the lead of rising nations seeking
to keep pace with progress, could only respond to the new civilization established by
the information community through research, studies, and applications, and by
benefiting from international experiments and research. Hence, it held the "Kuwaiti
Conference on Information Highways" which was the first conference of its kind in
our Arab world and in the Middle East region, this in the belief that the large
participation of professionals and individuals in discussions over how to build a
developed technology would always bring upon progress in accordance with a lived
reality thus achieving our objectives of shaping technology for the service of society.
Perhaps our choice of the phrase "Technology Serving Society" as a slogan for this
conference came as an expression of our aspirations with respect to the uses of
information technology. Also, our endeavors to expand the circle of participation in
the conference, so as to cover discussions and studies on the present situation and
the futuristic vision for information highways in Arab organizations and countries,
proceeded to emphasize a truth which has long been a means and a goal to the effect
that our thinking of our future should not be within a narrow local perspective but
rather through a wide comprehensive view which assimilates the regional and
universal developments and applies new tools that can meet - in the future unforeseen needs.
I presume that the participation of a number of Arab organizations and institutions in
our conference and their interest in the path of the future and the technology era are
compatible with the Arab endeavors striving to keep pace with the use of developed
highway techniques, the promotion of scientific and investment activities in the field
of the communication and manufacture of these techniques, and their continuous
development.
The participation of these institutions has provided an excellent opportunity to
peruse and examine the infrastructure in many Arab states, the fact that may
contribute to finding new channels of communication, collaboration, and
participation among them. Should we add the scientific papers completed by
universal establishments and international experts to the research submitted by Arab
institutions and organizations, we would find that we possess a record abounding in
numerous and diversified researches covering various topics on information
highways, their infrastructure, and technical and security aspects, in addition to
studies revolving around the relationship of information highways with education,
arabization, intellectual property rights, and library sciences, also the research which
tackles political, economic, and legal aspects.
This diversification allowed the conference to reach some crucial recommendations
ill agreement with the anticipated aspirations. The conference divided its
recommendations into general and executive ones summarizing the conclusions of
the participants in the conference. A section of the register was designated for these
recommendations which were listed in Arab and English languages. In view of our
keenness to record the main characteristics of the conference activities, a section of
the register was designated for the directives of the discussions and the debate in
conference sessions, while another section detailed the most important contents of
the debate session which was held marginally to the conference reuniting the
conference experts with a group of Kuwait University students.
The National Information Center at Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research submits
this register inclusive of research, studies, and recommendations to professionals,
interested parties, and leaderships responsible for the information policy, this in the
hope that it would constitute a qualitative addition to information libraries. It also
calls upon political and legislative leaderships to support and assist the information
field and to develop its national policies in order to enable us to find a better place in
a world which believes that new civilizations and advanced economies are not built
just by accumulating real capital and human skills but rather on the basis of
information, education, knowledge, and the advancement of scientific research. To
accomplish this necessitates that we keep abreast of all findings and proceed to find
means for providing a technological industry which takes into account the
consecutive and rapid developments in this field, to which the report issued this year
about progress in the world by the Central Bank of Kuwait refers, indicating that
"information technology IS progressing at a tremendous rate and had the plane
industry developed at the rate of computer industry since the sixties, the Boeing
airplane would have cost 500 Dollars in the mid eighties and would have been able
to fly around the world in 20 minutes with 20 liters of fuel.
Finally. the success of this conference, confirmed by the participation of 520
individuals representing ] 10 national and international establishments, prompts us to
follow up the information highway subject with more research, studies, and constant
review of our accomplishments in this field, also to keep pace with the developments
witnessed by the information technology sector, this based on the reality that every
invention can be developed and not all that needs to be invented has yet been
realized.
Ms. Ferial AI-Fraih
Chairperson of the Higher Organizational Committee
HIGHER ORGANIZING COMMITTEE
Ms. Ferial AI-Freih
Mr. Khalid AI-Muhailan
Dr. Abbas Khan
Mr. Abdul Rahman AI-Shayji
Dr. Moosa Al Mazeedi
Dr. Mahdy AI-Jazzaf
Mr. Mubarak AI-Adwani
Mr. Mohammed Elias
Dr. Randa Azar Khouri
Chairperson, KISR
Rapporteur, KFAS
Member, KFAS
Member, MOF
Member, KU
Member, KISR
Member, KISR
Member, KISR
Member, NBK
SCIENTIFIC COMMITTEE
Dr. Mahdy AI-Jazzaf
Mr. Nader Marafie
Dr. Moosa AI Mazeedi
Mr. Saleem AI Ghodouri
Ms. Ghaneema Nadher
Mr. Yousef Al Khadher
Mr. Fuad AI bahran;
Chairman, KISR
Rapporteur, KISR
Member, KU
Member, MOF
Member, KISR
Member, KISR
Member, KISR
Work Sessions:
Carrying out the Conference Work:
After the notion of setting up the Kuwaiti Conference on Information Highways has
become established, the organizers proceeded to utilize its scientific findings in
serving society. As an expression of this, the phrase "Technology Serving: Society"
has been selected as its slogan. Also, as the conference agenda emphasized the new
opportunities which the information highways will offer for the service of society in
various fields and highlighted the challenges and obstacles which the technology
users may face along with the means for tackling them, the Higher Organizational
Committee felt keen to attract a group of professionals and highly qualified experts
in the field of information and communication technology and the related
organizational and legal aspects.
The fruits reaped from these efforts came in the participation or a group or universal
experts and professionals from Arab establishments who made a presentation of the
current condition and the futuristic vision for information highways in Arab
organizations and states.
All scientific papers were examined during (3) main sessions and (13) marginal
sessions which spread over the three days of the conference. In addition to the
indicated sessions, the conference agenda witnessed the following secondary
activities:
1. debate session between Kuwait University students and the conference
experts.
2. An exhibition comprising a large number of wings where the latest techniques
of information highway and communications were displayed in order to allow
the public to learn about the most recent findings of the companies working in
the field of information technology.
Organization of the Conference Proceedings:This register comprises in its two parts (44) scientific papers of which (II) are in
Arabic language and (33) are in English language. Every scientific paper has been
placed according to the language it was submitted in and a summary based on 11112
contents of the introduction was prepared for the papers which were not submitted in
their complete format. Thus. we rind that this register consists of two parts of which
one part is in Arabic language while the other is in English. The Arabic section
comprises the opening speech, the scientific papers submitted in Arabic language,
and the recommendations in addition tot he addenda section. As to the English
section. it includes the papers which were submitted in English language in addition
to a translation of the conference recommendations.
Scientific Paper Presented in English
Role of The Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development in
Developing Information Infrastructure in the Arab World
Mr. AhdulatifY. AI-Hamad*
Abstract
This paper will discuss role of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development
in developing infrastructure in the Arab World. Also, it will discuss how the
Information Highway can improve our lives in many fields, such as education and
health fields. This paper will exhibit three projects to achieve this aim, mentioned
above, the first one was developed in coordination with the United Nations
Development Program (UNDP), the second one was developed in collaboration with
the UNESCO's Regional Office in Cairo, and third one is the Global Campus or the
first Internet Arab University.
* Director General! Chairman of the Board of Directors, Arab Fund for Economic and
Social Development, Kuwait.
Introduction
Today. we are on the opening stages of the information revolution that will unfold
for the next few decades. The marriage of computers and communications is
happening at a torrid pace and is affecting the way we learn and conduct business.
Clearly, information technology is changing Our world. It is reshaping our
economies and affecting the life and work of everybody. As converging
communications technologies bring digital contents into our lives and our homes
with unpredictable effects, we sense what it means to travel the Information
Highway.
The Information Highway is not, however, one monolithic network - quite the
opposite. It has a series of components. It is a collection of public and private highspeed, interactive, narrow and broadband networks that exist today, and others that
will emerge tomorrow. It is satellite, terrestrial, and wireless technologies that
deliver content to homes, businesses, and other institutions. It is the information and
content that flow over the infrastructure, whether in the form of data, words, films,
music, sounds or computer software. Through computers, televisions, telephones,
and radio receivers, this infrastructure will be accessed. But it is people who will
provide, manage, and generate new information. All this will benefit the individua1
Arab who will use the national information infrastructure. The Information Highway
is a region wide invisible, seamless, dynamic web of transmission mechanisms,
information appliances, content, and people.
By linking large numbers of individuals and institutions to one another and
providing an unprecedented altel11atives, the Information Highway has the potential
to be our most significant asset in the knowledge-based economy of the coming
century.
One can cite a number of examples on how the Information Highway can improve
our lives, far instance in the field of education. These include the following:
1.
The integration of digital content into curricula means that the students can
read, listen to and see what their instructor is talking about, all in real time.
2.
Na longer will the "school" be limited to a building where people attend
during regular hours. People will be able to learn about anything, anytime and
anywhere.
3.
By using appropriate software, students can simulate scenarios, run them
and see the results of their decisions.
4.
A student studying about a certain subject can electronically communicate
with the "world expert" 011 this subject and ask him (her) questions and get
his answers, all during a regular classroom session.
Similarly. if we turn our attention to the health field, we see a world 111 which:
1.
2.
3.
4.
Doctors can remotely diagnose their patients' illnesses.
Doctors can consult with their peers, anywhere in the world.
Doctors can access medical databases, anywhere in the world.
The elderly can be connected to emergency medical services for
imll1ediate response in cases of emergency.
5.
Emergency vehicles can plan through Graphical Mapping Systems the
shortest and safest routes to their destinations.
In short. the possibilities are endless. The same could also be said about how the
Information Highway can affect the way we will buy, sell, advertise, and bank.
However, for the potential of the Intonation Highway to be realized, personal
privacy, including information, transactions, and communications, must be protected
in the design, and use of the services.
To achieve its full potential, the Information Highway must incorporate technical.
legal, and self-regulatory means to protect personal privacy, it will engender public
confidence in the Information Highway.
Now, there is a number of the questions that need to be answered:
1.
2.
What is the proper balance between competition and regulation?
What should be the role of governments in the ownership and control of
communications networks?
3.
How should copyright and intellectual property issues be addressed?
4.
What controls, if any, should be placed on the information that is put on
the network?
5.
How can personal privacy and security of information be protected?
The world now stands at the edge of the information revolution. We must ensure that
the enormous empowering capabilities be available to all Arabs. and that we do not
create a society of disparities in the Arab World. Our nation will only realize fully
the benefits of this intonation revolution if all Arabs participate.
In my opinion, the Arab World needs to take following Course of action:
1. First, we need to drastically improve the communications infrastructure in the
Arab World. In most of the Arab countries there is an average of 5 to 10
telephones per 100 individuals. This ratio is SO to 70 telephones in the USA
and most of Europe. Moreover, in some Arab countries like Egypt and Syria, a
person has to wait for more than ten years to be connected to the telephone
system.
2. Second, we need to standardize our Arabization programs. Progress up to this
data has been spotty and uncoordinated.
3. Third, we must liberate our phone systems from government controls with the
private sector participating in building part of the Information Highway.
4. Fourth, we must integrate information flows from Arab institutions. We all
know the frustration of researchers trying to find accurate, reliable and timely
data, published by Arab organizations.
5. Last, but not least, we need to train our people on all aspects of the new
technologies, so that they can absorb it, interact with it, and eventually
improve on it.
The Arab Fund, since its establishment in 1972, has participated in helping the Arab
countries enter the age of advanced technology. As early as 1976, the Arab Fund
financed a study to identify the best technical means to interconnect the national
telecommunications networks of the Arab countries and proceeded to finance fhe
projects that evolved from that study.
From 1974 through 1997, the Arab Fund provided 36 loans to finance 18
telecommunications projects in Algeria, Morocco, Yemen, Jordan, Syria, Somalia,
Djibouti, Tunisia, Sudan, Mauritania, Bahrain, Iraq and Libya. In the late seventies
and early eighties the emphasis was on projects that help interconnect the Arab
countries together, and to the outside world through the financing of earth stations
and submarine cables. With the arrival of the digital revolution in the nineties, the
emphasis has shifted towards replacing and/or upgrading of the analog systems to
digital modes.
The Arab Fund has also contributed to three very vital projects in this area:
The first project, which was developed in coordination with the United Nations
Development Program (UNDP), involves the following:
1. Establishing two regional software technology centers, one in Egypt and . the
other in Kuwait. The mission of these centers is to acquire and diffuse stateof-the art software technology and to enhance the capacities of the region for
the design and production of software-related products. Their mission is also
to set standards for software development and packaging in the Arab World
and to lead the software Arabization efforts.
2. Establishing a cooperative network of professional organizations and research
institutions to ensure the growth of a healthy software industry in the region.
3. Delivering advanced training in software engineering to professionals in the
region and producing course-ware that is used for this training.
RlTSEC in Cairo has been in operation since 1992, and has recruited and trained
large cadre of programmers and system analysts that are contributing to the
development of software in the Arab world RITSEC, Cairo, was one of the first
Internet Service Providers in the Arab World. RITSEC Kuwait is in the process of
establishments. Its start was delayed by the Iraqi occupation.
Through RITSEC Cairo, the Arab Fund has helped the creation of an integrated
multimedia database for the preservation of rare Islamic manuscripts. Manuscripts in
major libraries within and outside the Arab World such as the "Oar AI Kutob" in
Egypt and in the "AI Rakada" in Tunis as well as the libraries of Princeton and
Chicago Universities were recorded on CD-ROM multimedia format. These will be
a major source of information for scholars and researchers. In addition RlTSEC has
put the treasures of the museums in Cairo and Tunisia on CD-ROM multimedia
format. Needless to say how important these developments are to scholars and
tourists.
Another project "Upgrading Science and Engineering Education in the Arab
Universities", called USEE, is a special program which has been developed in
collaboration with the UNESCO's Regional office in Cairo, Egypt. Dr. Adnan
Shihabuddin has been the initiator of this very important project. It is designed to
assist science and engineering faculties in Arab Universities in upgrading the
efficiency and quality of their undergraduate teaching programs. This is achieved
through intensive and dynamic use of computer multimedia and networking
technologies. The objective of this project is to develop, in co-operation with leading
universities of the world, a multi-media acaden1ic database, to teach mechanical
engineering, information systems and management sciences.
Another important project we are about to start with RITSEC and UNESCO's
regional office is the Global Campus or the first Internet Arab University. The basic
principle of this project involves the utilization of the Internet, multimedia and the
World Wide Web technologies to bring first class education from leading
institutions to students in Arab Universities.
However, in order to accomplish this, we must recognize that making use of
computer networks implies having open-ended classrooms and research centers in
which students direct their own learning and research. We must remember that while
technology has enormous potential to help people prepare for the new demands of
the twenty-first century, merely installing it will accomplish little. Networking
advocates are unlikely to succeed, unless they convince policy makers, and the
public at large that using technology to empower students, scholars and the
community at large, will promote active learning and break clown walls between
classroom and the "real world". That is the only way to prepare our people for the
Information Age. Our technology experts must continue to build bridges to the
education community. We must ensure that teachers are given the training, technical
support and time needed to integrate networking into the curriculum. And finally, we
must develop new tools to evaluate the performance.
I would like to conclude by re-emphasizing that we are living in very exciting times.
Technology is advancing at a dazzling pace, and it is up to us in the Arab World, to
reap the benefits of these advances. The traditional role of schools and universities
will drastically change. It is 110t enough to add computers to the curriculum. The
challenges are enormous, but so are the rewards.
* *
*
*
*
Beyond The Boundary ... The Next 20 Years
Dr. Boh Glass'"
Abstract
What happens after the World Wide Web matures and much of the world is wired
("Webtone " replaces "digital tone")? As we enter the next millennium, what
technology and new ideas will affect education, business and our lives? If we push
beyond the current boundary, and imagine the next twenty years, how different will
the world be?
The influence of technology on our lives is undergoing the most radical change since
the mid-eighteen hundreds. These changes are causing a major upheaval in the
direction and structure of information and the demands on people's lives. One of the
ways we can cope with the future is to put it in perspective. "Dr. Bob" will talk about
future trends in technology and it's effect on us.
* Director. Sunsoft Science Office, Sun Microsystems, U.S.A.
Electronic Commerce
A Kuwaiti Banks Perspective
Dr. Rola Vashti*
Mr. Simon Clements'"
Abstract
This paper will display a brief history of electronic commerce and the impact of the
internet. Also it will show a Kuwaiti Bank's view and Kuwait's communication
infrastructure.
This paper will explain how Kuwait is in a real need to invest in its communications
infrastructure. Also this paper will show that communications are one of the most
vital elements in Kuwait commercial environment.
* National Bank of Kuwait.
Introduction
Good morning ladies and gentlemen. I am honored to have been given the
opportunity to present to this conference a Kuwaiti bank's perspective about the
information highway and electronic commerce, and the dramatic impact that the
Internet and the surrounding technologies are having on the banking industry. The
opportunities - being presented by these emerging technologies are enormous.
Indeed, they are changing the way companies conduct their business, and they are
changing the way banks interact with their customers as well. Organizations that can
best adopt these technologies for competitive advantage are the ones that will
succeed in the future. Organizations that chose to ignore them do so at their own
peril.
This presentation is not technical in anyway and aims to provide some background
to the developments of electronic commerce and what is happening as the market
responds to the opportunities provided by the Internet. I will also cover how NBK as
a Kuwaiti financial institution views these developments and how electronic
commerce might develop in this country. This presentation also raises the important
issue of the shortcomings of the communications infrastructure in Kuwait and how
that already restricts organizations from realizing the full benefits that the Internet
can provide. I will complete the presentation by offering some conclusions on the
points discussed.
My presentation today will follow this agenda:-
A brief history of Electronic Commerce.
The impact of the Internet.
A Kuwaiti Bank's view.
Kuwait's Communication Infrastructure.
Conclusions
A Brief History of Electronic Commerce
The concept of electronic commerce is not new. Indeed companies have been
conducting business-to-business transactions electronically on private networks for
over 20 years. Bankers too have had secured and reliable electronic payment
networks for a similar period. This early form of electronic commerce was
essentially the automation of the "clown stream' activities in the supply process.
Essentially it facilitated the electronic exchange of the traditional trading documents
between business counterparts. This process has become known as Electronic Data
Interchange (ED!). These trading documents have in the main covered purchase
orders, invoices and payment advices. EDI has traditionally covered business-tobusiness transactions and has probably found the widest application and usage in the
manufacturing, health care and retal1 industries. EDI networks are run on private
networks known as Value Added Networks (V AN). For example. a large
manufacturing company would set up EDl relationships with their suppliers and
derive considerable cost savings through reductions in paper work, reduced
inventory levels, automated stock control and ordering, and improved delivery
times. Each participant would hook into the V AN and conduct business over this
network. It required considerable investment not only in linking into the network,
but also ill developing EDI applications. Transmitting data over these networks has
also attracted relatively high tariffs. Standards have been developed to facilitate
global EDI but their adoption has been slow. Interpretation of the standards used has
frequently been determined by the largest player on the network, adding to the
proprietary nature of this form of electronic commerce. This has also resulted in
suppliers having to adopt multiple standards in order to transact with more than one
buyer. This has been viewed as a significant barrier to entry by many firms.
Banks have played their part in these activities by allowing corporate EDI systems to
be connected to the banks' payment networks e.g. SWIFT, CHIPs etc. This
completed the automated process of order, supply and payment. In this environment,
banks have been able to set high security standards with the particular EDI network
concerned.
Thus, although EDI offered tremendous benefits in reducing costs and delivery times
it was only available to those who were prepared to make the substantial investments
required in the appropriate network and software applications. Hence, it has been
limited to major corporations and their largest suppliers, some of whom were forced
to join EDI networks due to the practice of some companies to charge penalties for
paper based transactions. In effect this has excluded small to medium sized
companies, and of course, the retail customer had no opportunity to enter this market
place at all.
With the arrival of the Internet and its related technologies, the nature of electronic
commerce has witnessed a dramatic change.
The Impact of the Internet
Firstly. the Internet provides an open global communications network that has none
of the proprietary elements of the private networks used to support electronic
commerce previously. It is accessible by all, requires no large initial investment, and
operating costs are low. The open and non proprietary nature of the Internet means
that an affordable and flexible solution can be provided. In addition. the
opportunities provided by the technologies of the Internet mean that the solution is a
total solution. Previously, I have referred to electronic commerce in terms of
purchase order, invoicing and payment. Electronic commerce on the Internet will
provide far greater functionality, particularly at the front end. This is because
conducting electronic commerce over private networks did not allow for the use of
images, sound, graphics and video which are becoming more widely used in the
commercial world. These new functionalities lend themselves very well to retailing
over the Internet. Consequently, we now see electronic commerce covering the
business-to-consumer segment (retailing), as well as the traditional business-tobusiness segment referred to earlier. The low cost of entry has made electronic
commerce available to all and not just to a selected few.
The offered opportunities and benefits by Internet electronic commerce are
considerable and accrue to both the buyer as well as the seller. The Internet has now
made each and every participant a global player. Companies are now able to present
their products to all markets around the world. From a customer point of view,
access to suppliers is now available, irrespective of their geographic location
increasing the range of choice dramatically.
Utilizing the technology available, companies are able to provide vastly improved
service both before and after sales. This is achieved through the publication of
product information and guidance on usage, as well as responding rapidly to
customer inquiries. The electronic interaction provided by the technology allows
companies to collect customer specific information, allowing tailoring of the
offering to individual customers. This is known as "mass customization". This new
approach for marketing products over the Internet is necessitated by the changing
attitudes of consumers, where time efficient access has become a priority, alongside
a heightened awareness of the value for money, and insistence on products that meet
individual customer needs.
An additional benefit includes the potential for shortening the traditional supply
chains substantially, with many situations where goods are shipped directly from the
manufacturer. The resulting reduction in processing time, activities, and in inventory
levels, generate enormous cost savings, a part of which can be passed on to
consumers in the form of lower prices.
The result of these developments, and the availability of enabling technology
together with an increasing willingness on the part of consumers to use it, have
created the conditions for electronic commerce to take off.
In the financial sector, leading banks are gaining an understanding of the new
processes and technologies and developing the skills and infrastructure needed to
leverage them effectively. They are investing in specialist interface. navigation and
product customization technology OlC. They have begun to market across all major
platforms and channels to provide Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow banking. Banks are
using innovative lifestyle marketing to enter other market sectors and value stages,
and establishing a compelling presence on e-place which are appropriate to their
chosen target markets. Their customer relationships are being re-shaped to enable
effective cross selling. offering value for money services. In other words, leading
banks are preparing their people, infrastructures and customers for electronic
commerce now.
Many hanks and financial service companies are now offering Internet based
services. The basic services typically include On-line banking where customers can
obtain information about their accounts and bank products, perform transactions
such as bill payments and account to account transfers, communicate with service
representatives, and conduct interactive video conferencing with a personal banker at
any time of day or night. At some banks. On-line services offer all the services
customers can get at a branch.
Indeed. On-line services can be so comprehensive that virtual banking has become a
reality with the first cyber bank, Security First Network bank, being set up 2 years
ago. Security First existed only on the internet until recently. when for legal
purposes they had to set up one physical branch. Customers were able to open
accounts and conduct all their banking business On-line.
Banks and other financial institutions also use their On-line services for marketing
their products and services in the same way other retail businesses engage in
electronic commerce. As the technologies continue to develop, the opportunities in
this area grow accordingly, and so do competitive threats. The Internet will not only
intensify the competition among banks through their service offerings as the
physical barriers between them disappear, but they are likely to face increased
competition from non-banks and non-financial institutions in a process known as
"disintermediation". An example of this is the ability of companies to bypass banks
and offer financial instruments directly to investors. The first such transaction was
cleared in early 1995 by the Securities and Exchange Commission in the USA that
allowed a company to offer its shares through a formal On-line prospectus through
which it was managed to raise $ ].6 million from 3,500 investors without paying any
underwriters fees or brokers commissions.
The speed with which business-to-consumer commerce including banking, will
develop on the Internet is the cause of some debate amongst analysts. But it i, only
the speed of that development that is debated, and to the fact of whether it will
happen or not. There is a number of issues that feature prominently here such as,
confidentiality, consumer protection, tax implications, import and export controls,
but undoubtedly security is foremost on everyone's mind.
Security is an important issue to all participants with regard to transacting business
over the Internet. As with any network there are three areas of threat that need to be
addressed. Firstly, the threat that data can be intercepted, read or modified. This is
covered through the application of encryption. Secondly. the threat that users
misrepresent their identity to commit fraud. This is approached through
authentication techniques e.g. digital signatures. Thirdly, the threat of unauthorized
access to an internal network from another network, this is prevented by the use of
fire wall security strategy.
It would be true to "'Y that at this moment in time the Internet doe, not provide the
same level of security that was offered by the proprietary EDI networks referred to
earlier. A variety of security standards either have been or are being developed
covering the different elements of activity on the Internet. The area that is attracting
most attention as far as Retail electronic commerce is concerned, is that of payment
over the Internet. Here perhaps the most significant development will be the
adoption of the Secure Electronic transaction (SET) standards that aim to secure the
use of credit cards over open networks. This is an initiative from Visa and
MasterCard that utilizes powerful encryption and digital certificates and has been
supported by IBM. Microsoft, Netscape, Verisign and others. The objective is that
SET will establish a world wide standard that will be adopted by all companies
selling in the retail market on the internet. Its wide acceptance will go a long way to
allaying consumers fears over making payments on the Internet. There is a number
of trials underway involving the use of SET for end-to-end Internet transactions. 1n
addition, it seems as though the US government, in particular, is willing [0 export
powerful encryption technologies to facilitate the growth of electronic commerce.
Previously, these technologies had been subjected to export restrictions, which are
now gradually being lifted.
Of course, not all transactions will be settled using credit cards. Considerable
progress is being made in the area of electronic cash. This will be particularly useful
for small value transactions. There are several varieties, but one that is attracting
attention is the transfer of technology normally associated with smart cards to the Pc.
This technology allows value to be stored on the PC and used for Internet purchases,
replenish able from the owners bank account. This is just another extension of the
much anticipated electronic purse.
The predictions for the total value of retail commerce conducted over the Internet
vary widely. Forrester Research Group of the US have estimated On-line sales at
US$ 2.4 billion in 1997, doubling to US$ 4.8 billion this year and a staggering US$
17 billion by the Year 2001. Compared to other figures being put forward this
growth rate is conservative.
Business-to-business electronic commerce is likely to be the area where we will see
the biggest expansion in the future in terms of dollar value being transacted over the
Internet. Again Forrester Research Group indicate that the dollar value of this type
of electronic commerce is predicted to rise from US$ 8 billion in J 998 to US$ 327
billion by the year 2002. They also predict that the Internet will he the dominant
supply channel by the year 2000. The driver behind this growth will be transporting
the work already put into EDI to the Internet where all companies can benefit from
EDI, and not just the large players. As a first step in this direction, we see a
tremendous rise in activity utilizing Internet technologies to establish corporate
intranets. The linking of corporate Intranets between trading partners is already
happening, although this tends to be achieved via private secure hens and not over
the Internet. However, the opening of corporate Intranets to allow access from the
Internet to create "Extranets" is still very much in its infancy. Security is again a
major issue here, but this will eventually be resolved. For some, the issue of
reliability is of equal importance as security. For example, the Internet does not
provide built-in mechanisms to ensure message or data delivery. As with security,
such facilities have to be built into different layers of software.
Electronic Banking and Commerce in Kuwait
Before I move on to the issue of how technological developments and electronic
commerce are influencing the banking industry in Kuwait, I will say a few words
about National Bank of Kuwait. We are the largest commercial bank in Kuwait and
have been operating in our domestic market since 1952. We have been one of the
most successful banks in the region for many years. Since our inception our business
has undergone many changes but none have been as dramatic as those that have
taken place inn the last 3 to 5 years. Deregulation, globalization and the advances in
technology have seen the financial services industry undergo changes in many areas,
particularly in Retail Banking where the key to sustained success has become "Triple
A Banking" which stands for "Anytime, Anywhere, Anyhow" banking.
The changes that have swept through the retail banking industry are also visible at
NBK. We are recognized as one of the most technologically advanced institutions in
the region. We fully intend to maximize the benefits provided by the new
technologies of the Internet. In late [997, we introduced our browser-based home
banking application called "Watani On-line". The take-up rate has far exceeded our
expectations and continues to grow daily. Internally, our Corporate Intranet is
providing the platform for information sharing. publications and collaborative work
across the enterprise. The Intranet will be exploited even further this year as we feed
information from our Data Warehouse to our sales teams in the call centers and the
branch network.
In Brief, we at NBK view the Internet as a strategic delivery channel for our service
offerings. Currently, using the Internet as a delivery channel serves a niche market
given the profile of the average Internet user. Consequently, products and services
delivered over this channel will target that niche segment. However, as we look to
the future, it is quite evident that with the rapid advances taking place in Web TVs,
mobile phones, Net PCs etc., access to the Internet will be open to everyone. It will
become a ubiquitous as the telephone is today. As a consequence, the Internet, as a
delivery channel will grow in importance over time.
It is our belief that companies in Kuwait have much to gain from adopting Internet
technologies to support electronic commerce both domestically and internationally.
The utilization of On-line catalogues and product information will greatly enhance
the quality of customer service, which is general[y poor in the retail market in
Kuwait, with one or two notable exceptions. Kuwaiti companies would also gain
substantially from the ability to customize offerings to their clients, and from the
reduced costs that this technology can provide when properly deployed. For some,
the opportunities to provide access to their products to consumers ill overseas
markets would be a major benefit. Conversely, of course, customers with access to a
greater number of suppliers on the Internet may well increase the competitive
pressure on local companies. We would, however, add some reservations.
Not all types of business are readily adaptable to being conducted over the internet.
Companies should be aware of their customer profiles and ensure that they fit the
profile of an Internet user either in Kuwait or Internationally. Perhaps, the most
important element that companies should address before stepping into electronic
commerce is to ensure their processes are able to cope with doing business this way.
Internet commerce is all about rapid response to a customer's needs and the
provision of convenience. Companies must put in place the necessary business
processes to support this emphasis. This will be a major change in the way many
companies conduct business.
In Kuwait, our experience has been that consumers accept new technologies readily
and are looking for convenience and availability. Thus the concept of shopping over
the Internet should be accepted quite easily. Supermarkets and co-operations could
be the earlier providers of this type of service where the products are necessities and
most consumers would see the benefit of obtaining the goods without having to visit
the supermarket. The success of this will of course depend upon the quality of
delivery.
Kuwaiti banks should play an integral role in the development of electronic
commerce from both the buyers and sellers point of view. The total commercial
banks need to co-operate to ensure that an adequate payment infrastructure is
available to facilitate the settlement of different types of transactions that may take
place as the result of electronic commerce activity. This refers both to business-tobusiness and business-to-consumer electronic commerce.
We would encourage the Central Bank of Kuwait to push ahead with their plans for
a fully automated real time gross settlement system for high value corporate and
interbank payments. The commercial banks, on the other hand should look to
leverage off the banks financial network that currently supports only ATM and Point
of sale transactions. Additional facilities need to be provided to accommodate small
value bulk payments, direct debits, etc. In addition, there will be a part to be played
in providing the network infrastructure for stored value/smart cards which are not far
away. Banks may also want to consider letting non-banks into the network to
facilitate payment processing.
As a bank, we already provide our corporate clients with the ability to access our
payment networks through our Corporate Banking solution "Watani 2000.'·
Although this is not browser-based, it uses the Internet communication protocol of
TCP/IP, and the move to the Internet platform is not far away. Corporate, it may be
interesting to note, have been slower to adapt to these new solutions than consumers.
This may well be due to the
need to redesign their current processes in order to implement automated solutions
successfully. On the Retail side Our "Watani On-line" browser-based home banking
solution already provides financial transactions. Further developments in this area
could see the integration of Internet based retailing. Customers could have their
credit card details authenticated through this mechanism or payment generated
automatically from their accounts for cash based purchases.
We at NBK realize that in order for us to compete, or actually survive, domestically
and internationally, we need to utilize the full benefits surrounding the Internet.
Indeed, we view the developments surrounding the internet very positively both for
ourselves and for our client base. However, this positive outlook is tempered to a
large degree by the constraints that are placed upon all of us in Kuwait due to the
shortcomings of the communications infrastructure.
Kuwait's Communications Infrastructure
In Kuwait, there are an estimated 20,000 subscribers to the Internet. Given the
population of country and the demographics of that population this is an impressive
take up rate. However, accessing the current Internet Service Providers (lSPs) is
frequently not possible as they are overloaded. In addition, the old analogue
connections used by private subscribers cannot deliver consistently at speeds of 28.8
kbps and some areas' speeds drop to as low as 9.6 kbps. These line speeds are not
sufficient, particularly when data is being downloaded. and in the electronic
commerce arena, data being downloaded in the form of image, video etc. simply will
not be possible at these speeds. On top of this unsatisfactory situation, subscription
fees are relatively high for both corporate and private users. A recent announcement
that additional licenses will be granted to ISPs is a positive and welcomed move as it
will lower the subscription costs and encourage an even greater usage of the Internet.
It is hoped that the facilities provided to ISPs will ensure that a subscriber can rely
on consistent and reliable access to the network. Whilst this may be a step in the
right direction, the continued limitations of 28.8 kbps need to be urgently addressed.
Many developing countries - let alone advanced ones - recognize the importance of
investing in their communications infrastructure to permit their people and
economies to benefit from the advances in technology. Singapore is perhaps at the
most advanced stage in this respect. The Singapore One Project - as it is called aims to bring the advantages of technology to everyone in the country. Essentially
the intention is:
" To deliver the new level of interactive, multimedia applications and services to
homes and businesses throughout Singapore. Singapore will become all "Intelligent
Island" staying at the cutting edge of the digital age, redefining life styles,
reinventing work and leisure and powering the country’s economy. " .
These words are taken from the Singapore One web site. This is a good example of a
national government grasping the power and potential of the emerging technologies
of the Internet for the benefit of all. Along with this initiative goes the funding for
the required infrastructure. This infrastructure will deliver information and content
from the Internet to subscribers at 100 times the speed of using a regular 28.8 kbps
modem. It is achieved through the establishment of a broadband network that
utilizes Asynchronous Transfer Model (A TM) technology. Asymmetric Digital
Subscriber Line (ADSL) and Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connections deliver these
services to offices homes, schools and government throughout the island.
Closer to home, though not as ambitious as Singapore, our neighbouring gulf
countries have recognized the importance of communications for the development of
their domestic economies. Advanced communications infrastructures have been
provided in recognition of the growing needs of the commercial segment. as well as
the increasing demand for network connections from private subscribers. For
instance, in Bahrain, private subscribers are provided with digital links via ISDN
into the Internet at a speed of 128 kbps. This type of line speed is a minimum
requirement for effective utilization of the Internet. The cost to the consumer is
around KWD 8 per month and usage time is charged at very attractive low rates.
Hence, private subscribers are provided with high speed, low cost access to the
Internet.
The initiatives undertaken in Singapore and Bahrain illustrate the type of facilities
and infrastructure that need to be developed for subscribers in Kuwait. Until then, it
is unlikely that the full benefits of the Internet will be realized in this country.
Let me present some examples form NBK to underline the inadequacies of the
existing infrastructure in Kuwait and how it is hindering our progress in this area. As
mentioned earlier, National Bank of Kuwait launched the country's first browserbased home banking solution last year. It was developed using some of the latest
Internet technologies. Yet, we were unwilling to offer access over the Internet
preferring the traditional dial-up connection. This decision reflected the fact that
Internet access in Kuwait is far from being reliable or stable enough to be considered
as a viable delivery channel for banking services.
As the emphasis in our branch network moves towards sales and marketing
activities, we will be utilizing video and multimedia technologies to present our
services to our customers. Ultimately, these Facilities should be available to
customers where ever they may be. Kuwait's current infrastructure does not provide
the required capability to delivery these facilities to the home. So again we find our
strategies limited by the infrastructure in place.
It is indeed unfortunate that such initiatives from leading institutions in the country
are so restricted by the limitations of a national infrastructure. As a bank we are a
heavy communications user and our requirements driven by our customer base and
competition are going to increase dramatically in this area in the yeas to come. If we
and our competitors will meet these demands and compete effectively with foreign
entities, we have to have the tools to do it. We need a modern communications
infrastructure and so does Kuwait. Such facilities, that perhaps in the past were
considered luxuries, are now a necessity. For a bank, as indeed it must be the case
for many other organizations, communications are the most important element of the
technology infrastructure. We need an advanced, stable and reliable communications
system that can support the necessary speed, volume of data and number of users in
order to facilitate not only our growth, but the growth of the Kuwaiti economy as
well.
I am sure that the Ministry of Communications has done its best, given the
constraints it faces in trying to meet the needs of both the business and the private
sector. However, there is a lot still to be done and the provision of an advanced
communications infrastructure is a matter of national concern. In order for us to
compete in the global market place, we need access to the very latest technologies.
But, there is more than a commercial motivation behind this need. The benefits of
interactive entertainment, distance learning, news on demand, video conferencing,
and information retrieval enrich society. Services should be offered on a tmly
commercial basis and should keep pace with the technological developments in the
field. New technologies are being developed on the assumption that a minimum
communications capability is in place. If this is not the case, then users will be
unable to benefit from the new technologies and, in some instances, be placed at a
competitive disadvantage. We, like many other companies in Kuwait, are facing the
limitations of our current communications infrastructure each and every day.
We urge the Ministry of Communications and the Kuwaiti government to look
closely at the situation and explore the available options for upgrading the
infrastructure. Significant investment is required if Kuwait is going to provide the
right communications platform to allow consumers and corporate to interact
effectively in the domestic market, and to allow corporates to compete in markets
overseas. We recognise that the demands on public finances are enormous and that
government spending has to be rationalized and prioritized. But, we strongly believe
that investing in this vital infrastructure is a national priority. That is why we are
anxiously awaiting the implementation of the privatization program, which, in
today's world is an economic necessity. Countries with far more advanced
economies and greater resources have recognized the need for privatization
especially in the provision of services on a commercial basis. We realize that the
Kuwaiti Government shares this belief, but we hope that the responsible parties take
the initiative and expedite the process so that all of us in Kuwait reap the benefits
that the information highway and technologies promise.
Conclusions
In conclusion, let me reiterate that the Internet is a truly global market place.
According to the latest figures produced by Netree.com (which is an Internet
research company) there are a worldwide approximately 260 million people
connected to the Internet, and some 30 million web sites. The growth rate is
exponential. These numbers, along with the predicted dollar values of electronic
commerce indicated earlier, are quite daunting. If nothing else, they make it quite
clear that no company can ignore the Internet, and must develop strategies on how to
utilize it effectively.
The high cost of entry to the world of electronic commerce has been the main reason
for its relatively slow adoption in Kuwait and elsewhere. The Internet has removed
these barriers and allows any company or individual to enter this rapidly expanding
market place. I have outlined some of the benefits that can be gained from entering
the electronic commerce arena. I would, however, reiterate the points concerning
customer profiling, as well as the need to understand that changes to traditional
business processes, are needed to support commerce on the Internet. There are no
guarantee for success, and many pitfalls to avoid.
Financial Institutions have much to gain from these new technologies and there are
significant opportunities for collaboration between banks and their clients to further
the development of internet based solutions. In addition, the banks must provide the
necessary payment infrastructure, or face the risk of loosing their position as the
payment provider of choice. It is important that banks co-operate to provide the
payment infrastructure, and then look to provide competitive offerings that leverage
off this common platform.
Finally. I will finish this presentation by once again emphasizing the need for
Kuwait to invest in its communications infrastructure. Communications are one of
most vital elements in our commercial environment and cannot and should not be
neglected for long without having a negative affect on the Commercial enterprises
and private subscribers. In addition the benefits to society as a whole should not be
forgotten. We share these concerns with many other organizations and urge the
Kuwaiti government to address this matter as soon as possible. In particular, we
strongly believe that the private sector can and should play an important role in the
development of the country’s communications infrastructure both through
alleviating the need for public funding through privatization, and to benefit from the
dynamic and entrepreneurial resources available in Kuwait.
* * *
The Information Super Highway and the Health Practice: Opportunities and
Challenges
Ms. Hana Razzouqi'*
Abstract
A professional within the healthcare field is confronted with a demand for
continuous education. wide interaction, and availability. Yet he/she must manage all
of the above with increasing time limitations. The past few years' advancements in
the field of communications and its employment by the information technology,
namely the Information Superhighway, has offered a solution at time of need.
This paper examines the healthcare reception and application of this technology, and
Kuwait University's experience as manifested In the following interactions:
1.
Professional: Resources; a health professional can almost instantaneously
reach information resource:" across the globe for purposes of research,
information update, work follow-up and data warehousing. In return, the
health professional can extend his/her knowledge, thus providing a resource
for others with equivalent ease.
2.
Professional: Professional ; professionals can reach each other and
exchange views regarding a specific topic by direct E-mail contact. joining
working groups through professional societies, or more formally by
agreement, as in Telemedicine.
3.
Professional: Patient; for a highly regulated and heavily licensed field, the
possibility of medicine being regarded as a practice without boundaries
emerges. The issue of physicians offering clinical consultation on-line over
the world wide web (WWW) is a fact nowadays, though debatable. In
addition, the possibility of communicating with the patient through E-mail, is
considered, and prompts questions as to whether it would become a common
practice for results reporting or selectively for only those who can afford it.
4.
Health service : The Public ; at large, the health service can utilize the
WWW as a powerful media (especially for preventive medicine) to spread
health information, offering the unique advantage of being a two-way street
(dual interaction).
The previously discussed points often imply more than advantages; They present
possible legal issues of breach of privacy, accountability, and the fact that there's
absolutely no guard against acts of malice. New 'malpractice over the web' laws have
to be introduced with the necessity of altering the law education to include an
understanding of this new virtual world.
In conclusion, the Information Superhighway will rapidly affect every aspect of the
health practice, and the latter would definitely adapt with modified procedures in
offering its services. On the other hand, in Kuwait, advanced Internet application by
the Health Sciences Center at Kuwait University and by individual physicians
indicates the readiness and the ability to employ the new technology. However, the
healthcare practice will not follow suit without a comprehensive networking
infrastructure within the healthcare facilities.
* Director. Health Sciences Computer Center, Kuwait University.
Introduction:
The recent revolution of global connectivity has led to a new behavior among critical
masses of people that cannot be reversed. Nowadays, millions of people at home or
at work are communicating electronically using the Internet. Major businesses
worldwide are responding to this new development with varying speeds, because of
the shift in the economics of information.
Information, in fact, is the base that governs the health practice operation. A
healthcare professional, whether a physician, a nurse, a lab/X-ray technician or an
administrator, works on a daily basis with a continuous now of vital patient
information that circulates among a group of professionals of varying
specializations. Furthermore, the decision making process within the healthcare
practice has always has been and will continue to be a collective one through a chain
of professional contributors. Therefore, working in an environment where there is a
continuous demand to be available, in many cases on an urgent basis, to interact with
a large number of people and yet allocate additional time for essential further
education, definitely requires a rapid means to facilitate all these demands. The
Information Superhighway offers a solution at time of need.
This paper will present the wide healthcare practice reception and application of this
new technology in the modern world, and discuss the healthcare practice eventual
adaptation to the new era of connectivity and the challenges it faces at present. It
will also shed light on the existing level of application within the healthcare sector in
Kuwait.
Discussion:
The Healthcare Practice uses of the Internet:
The healthcare practice has always been quick to adopt new technologies whether in
diagnostic, therapeutic or support systems. With equal readiness. the Internet has
penetrated the healthcare practice. The following is an overview of the various
applications of this fast developing technology as manifested in the following"
interactions:
1.
Professional interaction with Resources:
Healthcare professionals continuously seek additional knowledge, and in order to
remain up-to-date and competitive must update their current information. The role
that libraries have played in the past is now changing dramatically. The Internet
offers a wealth of worldwide resources 0n the desktop, thus making medical
research infinitely more efficient than 1 previously. Knowledge at your fingertips is
a definite reality nowadays. Resources over the World wide web (WWW) can be
accessed instantly in al variety of ways:
1. Search engines: web sites maintained by specialized companies or groups,
provide links to a huge set of world wide subscriber sites based on a subject
area. Through a search engine such as Excite, Yahoo!, Lycos or many others,
a topic can be specified and the search narrowed and refined until the
information sought is retrieved.
2. Specified locations already known to the researcher, or obtained through the
effort of specialists who collect a list of sites that pertain to a certain topic and
provide content evaluation. Some examples include the Australian
prescription drugs guide (www.appco.com.au/appguide/ index.htm!), and the
HSC (Health Sciences Center at Kuwait University) antibiotic therapy guide
(hsccwc,www,kuniv.edu.kw home page and selecting medical links!).
3. On-line information services: specialized services for health information,
which are normally available through CD-ROM distribution media, are now
available on the Internet. Not only has this meant ease of search at any time
and from the leisure of the home, but it has also introduced the liberty of
carrying out the search by oneself, a task which professionals previously
relied heavily on librarians/information specialists, Examples include that for
bibliographic searches such as Medline and Premedline, available currently
free
of
charge
from
the
National
Library
of
Medicine
(www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/).
Just as a professional can use the Internet for research, he can also establish
himself/herself as an information resource for others, either through his/her own
homepage (e.g. WWW.drwei1.com) or through his/her institution's web site.
The intermit is also very suitable for professional education. Some organizations
maintain a distributed database of their information at relevant sites for fast access.
A professional can identify and diagnose diseases by examining a wealth of images
stored in databases from all over the world. An example of this modified concept of
data warehousing is implemented between the HSC and M,D, Anderson cancer
Center
(MDACC)
of
the
University
of
Texas
(http://netcme.mdanderson.org/internationa1.html) where an FIP account is kept
locally on the HSC server in Kuwait for storing its diagnostic images pertaining to
cancer patients. A user accessing the MDACC site could click on Kuwait (one of its
international collaborators ) and would actually be using the local database. This
service is intended both for the local physician's education and the diagnosis of
cancer images.
Healthcare students also find Internet communication more educational in certain
contexts. In a study by the State University of New York at StoBrook school of
Medicine, an E-mail track was established for second year students participating in
the Medicine for Contemporary Society curriculum2 For group participation, E-mail
helped quiet, passive an non-confrontational students to better structure and
communicate their reasoning. In addition. it allowed the faculty the opportunity to
interact at any time with the whole group, part of the group or with an individual
student.
2.
Professional interaction with Professional:
Health care Professionals from all over the globe are able now to communicate with
each other more efficiently in a number of ways:
a) Electronic mail (E-mail), the electronic version of regular mail across the
WWW, is established by getting an E-mail account from a local service
provider or through a commercial service similar to obtaining a post office
box number and a key. It offers almost instantaneous transfer of messages and
files across thousands of miles with no risk of mail delays or losses, blurred
images as in Fax transmission or high costs of courier delivery. In addition,
locating a specific professional and obtaining his/her address (E-mail or
otherwise) has never been easier. The relevant organization's homepage may
be located, and if the professional is not listed, the postmaster at that site may
be contacted.
b) Working group discussions over the WWW are extremely beneficial to
facilitate colleagues staying in touch, finding out what is happening and
keeping abreast of the latest trends in an area of expertise. Professional
societies maintain different special interest groups whereby members can
communicate with each other via the Internet. Questions, controversial issues
or forthcoming events are raised by any member of the group and
automatically E-mailed to the rest of the members for active participation,
thus engaging a wider audience.
c) A more formal communication among professionals is that between
Institutions as in Telemedicine. As defined by the American Telemedicine
Association (www.atmeda.org), Telemedicine is the use of medical
information exchanged form one site to another via electronic
Communications for the health and education of the patient or healthcare
provider and for the purpose of improving patient care. In some cases it
involves special equipment on both sides for image transfer (x-ray or
pathology tissue images). This service was started initially for rural and
distant areas with no high-level quality care. Whether the transfer is
Video/Video-conferencing, E-mail or otherwise, consulting with doctors
across national or continental borders is now being practiced every day.
Numerous examples include Telemedicine Canada (www.tmed.org), Canada's
National Telehealth Network, has programs that reach every remote
geographic region in Canada and more than 60 locations in the U.S. and
abroad. The University of California at Los Angeles has a Teleradiogrpahy
project (www.itmedicine.net). as does California Telehealth/Telemedicine
Coordination Project (www.catelehealth.org), as well as many more
professional institutions.
3.
Professional interaction with Patient:
Is medicine becoming a practice without boundaries? A question that is becoming
more and more legitimate with yes as a very likely answer in the years to come. For
a profession that has traditionally relied on face to face communication between the
patient and the doctor, and within the boundaries of a physical healthcare facility,
many changes are happening. Some of the most recent changes include:
a) Cyber clinics: Digital diagnosis, doctors in cyberspace are common terms on
the Internet for browsers nowadays. Should people follow the advice of
others, they have never met or accept treatment without "Doctor hands on the
patient"? While the topic remains controversial, there are a number of sites
where one can get a paid medical consultation (e.g. hltp://Cyberdocs.com). On
many other sites, a patient may scroll down the list of doctors, review
credentials and choose the physician of his/her choice. In other words one can
go shopping on the Internet if it is not an emergency
(http://cma.commerce.com/docfinder).
b) Physician communication with the patient electronically, although still
selective to those who are able to use computers, offers numerous advantages.
One successful application is that of a mental healthcare service at the School
of Social Work, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, which examined
what they called "Computer-assisted Groups" in their therapy3 Benefits
reported included increased accessibility. convenience and anonymity. In
addition. E-mail can be used for simple communication with the patient such
as the quick reporting of results or appointment reminders. However
controversial, it remains to be valid and could be a reality in the future.
c) Medical Records on Intranet: Internet-based technology is very suitable for
healthcare systems integration. It offers a unique set of standards allowing
independent, disparate information systems to fit together in a distributed
environment. And while security issues are still a big concern, some have
actually begun making patients' medical records through Intranet
configuration. One example, the Regentrief Institute for healthcare, a
nonprofit organization that provides the information infrastructure for Indiana
University Medical Center, created a private network that uses Internet
technologies such as WWW browser and TCP/IP protocol. To use it, a
physician uses the browser to reach the institute's web site
(http://fakon.inpais.edu:8120) and enters an identifying name and password to
link to the Medical Record System which holds valuable clinical data on
millions of patients.4
4, Healthcare Practice interaction with the Public:
Interaction between the healthcare practitioner and the population at large is the
most promising area, and will grow to be a bi-directional communication path. The
Internet is a perfect tool for large-scale, rapid dissemination of information. It is
quickly becoming a tool of empowerment for patients and consumers who no longer
have to rely solely on a physician’s word for information on diagnosis and treatment.
Sites containing medical information are popping up on the web everyday. One can
find information on a certain condition or treatment, read up on medical interests,
buy products or even visit a "Cyberspace Clinic." Examples of efforts on part of
practitioners include the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center's web site
for the general public seeking specific medical information for themselves and for
their families. This site provides information on the recognition and treatment of
cardiac arrhythmia with a tool for the analysis and explanation of the complex
cardiac system5 Another example is that of the United States government's
contribution in providing general health care information for the public
(www.healthfinder.gov).
Family support groups, patient talk groups etc., are no longer limited to a certain
geographic territory. This is highly appreciated in under-developed cultures. where a
parent or a patient seeking interaction with those suffering from the same problem
can achieve it easily by navigating the web for an existing group or even starting a
new one.
Challenges:
Clinical practice is a highly regulated, licensed profession, and is therefore governed
by a number of laws. Normally, laws are effective within the confinement of a
country or even a state. If the practice of consultation via the web grows to become a
world wide one, are we then prepared for "malpractice over the web"? It seems that
such laws are inevitable and to understand the intrinsic of the new Internet world,
this understanding must be included in the basic education of law at universities.
In spite of the rapid advancement of technological tools and the quick reception and
application by the healthcare practitioners as mentioned above, solutions to a
number of challenges have not emerged as quickly. And although the application is
growing, reservations and concerns exist. Some main aspects of concern presenting
argument and counter argument are:
a) Breach of privacy: a medical record available over the Internet may still be
protected from unauthorized access. However, there is a debate as to whether a
doctor should entertain his patients' record at the leisure of his home. Although
taking charts home is illegal, some doctors do so. Is an electronic chart any
different?!
b) Accountability: Is a Cyber doctor licensed in California-U.S.A, liable or
accountable to a patient in Kuwait that sought his/her consultation over the
Internet? And if so, is there any way to bring him/her to justice')
c) Acts of malice, such as spreading false or untrue information is very possible.
This cannot be prevented, yet many feel it is the responsibility of the user to
evaluate the source.
For further follow up on healthcare laws over the web, the reader may refer to this
site: www.netreach.netl-wmanning/index.html.
The Healthcare Sector in Kuwait and the Internet:
The start of the Internet in Kuwait:
The Internet service officially began in August] 992, when the Ministry of
Communications offered its services through Gulfnet International/KEMS. The first
customer was Kuwait University (KU) which holds the credit for its start. The Public
Authority for Applied Education & Training (P AAET) followed in Feb. ] 993 and
Kuwait Petroleum Corporation (KPC) was next in June 94. (Internet Services were
limited to educational institutions until 1993).
The Healthcare Sector:
Basically, the healthcare sector in Kuwait is constituted of:
a)
The Health Sciences Center - Kuwait University
b)
The Ministry of Health
c)
The Private Sector
d)
Others (PAAET/Health Sciences College, ... )
This paper will consider only the Health Sciences Center at Kuwait University and
the Ministry of Health.
Health Sciences Center of Kuwait University:
Kuwait University (KU) started with 64kbps on X.25 Link to all campuses. Due to
demand to bigger bandwidth, KU now has 256kbps clear channel. The Health
Sciences Center (HSC) which comprises four faculties: Medicine (FOM), Allied
Health Sciences & Nursing (FAHSN), Pharmacy (FOP), and Dentistry (FOD),
launched its first web server in the fourth quarter of 1993. This was the first web
server in Kuwait, and the second in the Middle East (the first one was in Israel). By
mid 1994, the HSC had established its comprehensive networking infrastructure in
both of its colleges at that time (FOM in Jabriah and FAHSN in Shuwaikh). Every
staff member at the HSC has access to the Internet from his/her office, in addition to
student PC labs. The total number of points that exists to date is 1200 points. Thirtytwo telephone lines are available for dial-up link to the network. The home page is
available at (hsccwww.kuniy.edu.kw) with full details about faculties, departments,
curriculum, etc. The HSC library home page, created in March '97, includes links to
health sciences resources on the WWW and allows users to connect directly to the
library's electronic databases, with the future possibility of the online catalog
(OPAC).
At the beginning in 1993, Internet E-mail was started as SMTP service. Although all
staff and students had access to it, only 100 actually used it In the second quarter of
1994, the SMTP mail users increased to 300, and a POP mail server was introduced
with IS users. Today, there are 1000 SMTP mail Users and 400 POP mail users.
Homepage visitors increased from 100 per day at onset to 600 per day now.
The Ministry of Health (MOH):
The main healthcare provider in the state of Kuwait lags behind in the use of
I11formation technology in general. "AFYANET", a major project to establish a
networking infrastructure linking all premises of the MOH, was started in 1995.
More than 13,000 network points would have been established in 149 locations,
including all primary healthcare centers, hospitals, and administrative departments.
Implementation was aborted in Dec. 1997 for non-technical reasons. Access to the
Internet was recently introduced (Nov. 1997) within the Information Department
only. More than 17,426 healthcare practitioners (excluding administrative staff) at
the ministry of health don't have access to the Internet at work. Individual doctors
may have access to the Internet from home either through subscription to KEMS or
for a cheaper rate through their membership to Kuwait Medical Association
(K.M.A.). However, out of almost 3,500 physicians at MOH, only 250 have
subscribed to KMANet (KMA network offering link to the Internet).
Telemedicine is another project that was started in 1995 but has not been
implemented yet. MOH still contemplates as to whether to undertake it on its own or
make it available through the private sector. No clear policy or jurisdiction has been
officially decided yet.
Internet Utilization by the Healthcare Sector in Kuwait:
A survey to qualify the use of the Internet within the healthcare sector was
conducted in Feb. 1998. The survey was E-mailed to all staff at HSC and KMANet
subscribers. The first 103 respondents were considered for analysis. Out of those
86.4% were HSC staff, 13.6% were MOH staff. Respondents were 45.6%
physicians, 41.7% healthcare academics, 12.7% others (technical, administrative,
students). 93% used the Internet for both E-mail & browsing. Results were as
follows:
a) Use of the Internet: About 70% use the internet frequently, either for
updating or accessing information, where the remaining 30% use it
occasionally. On the other hand, approximately 70% use it either frequently or
occasionally for making their information available to others and the
remaining 30% rarely or never use it for the same. Less than 50% use it to
exchange views with other professionals.
b) Physicians' views on Online interaction with the patient: Sixty percent
agree to offer online consultation, whereas 90% would accept consultation
over the WWW. Around 45% feel positive on communicating with patients
through E-mail, while 43% of respondents disagree.
c) WWW as powerful media for public awareness: Fifty-one (51 %) feel
strongly that the Internet is a powerful media for public awareness, and 45%
moderately agree. Only 4% thought it is hardly useful.
d) A void the use of WWW for healthcare information: Only 20% strongly
support avoiding WWW due to the issues of breach of privacy. lack of
accountability and probable acts of malice. However, around 60% would use
it moderately, while almost 20% are not concerned at all with any risks.
e) Adaptability of the Healthcare Practice to the WWW by modifying its
procedures: Almost all (97%) agree strongly or moderately that health care
practice will adapt to the Information Superhighway by modifying its
procedures.
Conclusion:
A review of the literature over the years from 1995 until 1997, shows clearly that the
published articles started with contemplation of the promise of new technologies
towards the healthcare practice and ended with articles publishing their own applied
experience in 1997. There is a general tendency that any concerns about security,
though justified, need not stop organizations from making the switch6 The broad
acceptance and application are quite obvious to any navigator of healthcare sites
whether government, nonprofit, educational or commercial. In Kuwait, healthcare
professionals with Internet access (surveyed Internet users) agree with the
worldwide trend of the Internet reshaping the healthcare practice. However, efforts
towards proper utilization of the numerous benefits of the Internet should go beyond
the individual effort to an active organizational policy. And no matter how advanced
the healthcare practitioners are in their Internet use, or the Health Sciences Center in
its application of Internet technologies, unless a proper networking infrastructure is
in place within the premises of the healthcare facilities (hospitals, etc.) the healthcare
practice in Kuwait will not embark on proper utilization of the Information
Superhighway.
Glossary:
World Wide Web (WWW): The Web consists of numerous documents, which can
contain text and graphics, and even sound and video. Most of these documents
contain Hypertext links to other documents. User can: navigate through documents
by sleeting highlighted words, images and' graphics within text documents that call
another related pages. WWW refers to the global Internet network connecting these
webs.
Internet Protocol (IP): The Internet is a collection of information stored in
computer physically located throughout the world. The Intermit is responsible for
sending data across multiple networks. The Internet protocol is responsible for
sending data across multiple networks.
Web Site: A group of Web Pages which collectively represent a company, or
individual on the WWW. A group of web pages which have been developed together
to present information on a specific subject(s).
File Transfer Protocol (FTP): Is used to transfer files across an Internet. A . I host
can connect to a remote host on the Internet and send or receive files, list directories,
and execute simple commands. FTP is usually implemented as user and server
software. The user software interacts with the user at a,' terminal, and the server
software receives requests from remote users to store or retrieve files.
Health Sciences Center (HSC): Established in the Year 1982, with a view of
expanding the health education in Kuwait. For More information visit the HSC Web
site (http://hsccwww.kuniv.edu.kw/) Transmission Control Protocol (TCP/IP): Is a
combined set of protocols that performs the transfer of data between two computers.
TCP monitors and ensures correct transfer of data. IP receives the data from TCP,
breaks it up into packets and ships it off to a network within the Internet. TCP/IP is
also used as a name for a protocol suite that incorporates these functions among
others.
Browser: An application program that interprets HTML & presents the final web
Page. Browser enables you to access information on World Wide web. One of the
most popular Browser software is Netscape Communicator I Navigator. Intranet:
Refers to an organization's private network that uses Internet technology, but is not
accessible through the Internet.
References:
1. Dobardzic A.M., Dobardzic R.S., Razzouqi R: Antibiotic Therapy Guidelines.
Internet resource, 10th. Mediterranean Congress of chemotherapy.
2. Couleham J., Williams P., Naser c.: Using Electronic Mail for a Small-group
Curriculum in Ethical and Social Issues, Academic Medicine, Vol. 70, No.2,
Feb. 1995.
3. Galinsky MJ., SchopIer JH., Abell MD.: Connecting Group Members through
Telephone and Computer Groups. Health & Social Work, 22(3): I 81-8, 1997
Aug.
4. Sherter A.: Providing Easier access to Clinical Data. Health Data
Management, August 97, 33-37.
5. Widman L., Tong D.: Requests for Medical Advice from Patients and
Families to Healthcare Provider who publishes on the World Wide Web,
Archives of Internal Medicine, 157(2): 209~I2, Jan 1997.
6. Jackson R., Information Systems on the Internet: time to make the move.
Health System Leader. 4(5): 23-6, 1997 May.
Acknowledgments:
The writer acknowledges the efforts of the following: Mrs. Maha Razzouqi, Mr.
Ahmed AI-Saddah, Mrs. Cathy Abdullah, and Dr. Moussa Khadadeh for reviewing
the manuscript. The HSC staff: Mr. Khaled AI-AIi, Mr. Ram Noar, Ms. Mona AIAbdulrazzaq, Dr. Sharma, Mrs. Vivian Ramzi and Mrs. Sophia Saldanha for their
help with the survey. Dr. Mohammed AI-Manee, Assistant Undersecretary, the
Ministry of Health for providing MOH information, Dr. Alaa AI-Saleh from KMA
for facilitating survey distribution to subscribers over KMANet. Mr. Abdulmajeed
Sharif, General Manager, KEMS far providing Internet information, in addition to
all survey participants.
* * *
Project of Developing the Integrated Information
and Services System: Mission 2000 Project
Mr. Fahed Abdulkarim Jafar*
Abstract
Information System Center/ Ministry of Interior is still proceeding to provide
services from information system and others to all the ministry departments in order
to realize the higher goals by providing the maximum security degree and the
upgraded services for citizens and residents.
The' work curricula followed by the information systems center was depending since
liberation upon the strategic deliberated planning by studying the ministry growing
requirements in addition to the continuous awareness of the recent information
systems technology worldwide, and choosing what is appropriate for the ministry.
From this point and after establishing the infrastructure for integrated information at
the ministry level, we are:
1. Seeking to build and apply informative systems to be used for the higher
technologies currently available.
2. Updating the Front End with public and between personnel at the ministry.
3. Causing the qualitative move in the way of entering data and getting
information in an advanced manner that is convenient with the giant
developments of the information technology.
4. Enhancing the safety and confidential level of information.
From this point comes out our project Mission 2000.
Mission 2000 Project
This project is deemed a strategic planning for the information system at the
ministry level and is aimed to develop the information system development and to
apply the recent technology of the information system, among it communication,
technologies and means, this project is still subject to study and planning.
* General Manager of Information Center, Ministry of Interior, Kuwait.
Introduction:
In 1991 the information systems center (ISC) in the ministry of interior (MOI)
followed and implemented an information strategic planning (ISP) for the reason of
building up information core systems (infrastructure) considering the integration
between systems as a vital issue, and allowing the expansion of the systems and
adding up vertically and horizontaI1y with no data duplication.Our aim was and
stills to maintain the highest security possible for both country and citizens, as well
as providing the easiest and sophisticated services.
MOI decision makers have growing demands day after day requiring more
information accurately and on-time, not only in the classical shape but in the modern
way of representing information, and fortunately the technologies are very much
helping nowadays and it will be definitely better in the future.
Based on that, ISC started a new project named "Ministry of Interior Security &
Services Integrated On-Line Network" - MISSION 2000 for short, which should
review each business process in every activity of MOI, and try to improve it by
implementing new available and approved technologies which suite it for the reason
of enhance the security and service for both MOI staff as well as the public.
Among this we realized that the internet/intranet should be on the top of our list of
priorities being the infrastructure technology essential to build up a lot of other
technologies.
The following case study is an attempt to establish an approach of laying down a
plan to convert (gradually) from classical networking environment as in MOI
towards a complete intern et based environment over four phases.
Project Definition
"To investigate the MOI business opportunities in intern et technologies, give a well
fundamental project definition document with regards to MOI Internet needs, now
and in the future, and develop implementation plan including estimated costs and
benefits".
Definition of objectives
1.
General MOI Objectives regards the Internet.
Presence on the Internet.
Integration of business process on the Internet.
Enabling: Placing business process on the Internet.
2.
General MOI Benefits and saving from adapting Internet
Improve public services.
Go international.
MOI general announcements.
Decrease MOI load.
Staged conversion from SNA to TCP/IP.
Lower Communication cost.
Staged conversion to network computing.
Lower equipment / maintenance cost.
Centralized management.
Application integration.
Improved application interface (GDI.(
Build on top of previous investments (No application modifications.(
Email system.
Improved business transaction.
Scope of Work
Definition of Internet needs
ICSC would like to clearly investigate all business opportunities available with the
introduction of the INET concept in MOI, study the applicability of those which
have major effect on enhancing its services and meeting its objectives. This effort
should be followed by a formalization of the study in the form of clear plan of
implementation for those selected opportunities, this plan should identify all
required modifications in current work methods and procedures, tasks required to be
carried out, resources needed for implementation, and benefits of implementation.
Definition of integration to existing applications
ICSC would like to investigate the pros and cons of integrating existing and new
MOI applications into INETs. This investigation will center around how to provide
ICSC and MOI users direct and dynamic access to enterprise database and richcontent data (e.g., images, fingerprint, photos). It should be stated that this type of
application is different from ordinary HTML pages which for the most part are
static. Investigating ways of implementing dynamic pages which can be created onthe-fly based upon input from the Web user and how user, for example, may request
a list of his/her traffic violations, submit visa request form, or request renewal of
Kuwaiti passport.
Dependencies
The effect of other major ICSC projects currently under or on going on INET
implementation should be examined very carefully from the point of relationship to
INET implementation, dependency between these projects, scheduling, and the
effect on business processes.
Planning and Duration
The result of the project should be presented in form of well explained
implementation plan which should state all the required tasks to be taken out,
estimated duration for every and each task, relationship between tasks, suggested
responsibilities, resources required on the level of each task, and finally the expected
partial and overall cost.
The plan should also try to pinpoint the areas where savings may result as a direct or
indirect result of implementing the project.
Methodology
- Definition of the Objective
- MOI strategy with regards to Internet
- Presence on the Internet
- Integration of business process on the Internet
- Enabling: placing business process on the Internet
- Requirement Study
- Requirement Category
- Requirement Priority
- Dependencies
- Issues/Concerns
- Security
- Arabization
Deliverable
- Implementation Plan
- Issues
Implementation Process
There are many tactics and strategies that organizations might use to deploy INET
applications. The transformation is based burley on business requirements, priorities,
and available resources. The recommended transformation is based upon a phased
approach. This approach is recommended as a way for MOI to provide a better
understanding of the new opportunities that INET presents and the technologies that
are required to take advantage of these business opportunities.
Phase One Connection
Description
In phase one, MOI is primarily interested in accessing information and services on
the public Internet and World wide Web (WWW). Once connected to the Internet
and WWW.anindividual can send EMAIL to any other user of the Internet,
participating in user discussion groups (USENET). Or access WWW sites, which
provide a wealth of information and services.
In order to connect to the WWW to utilize E-mail, the user must have a desktop
device that supports Web browsing and network access to the Internet and WWW.
During this phase, MOI may install Web browser on an existing Pc. Browsers are
designed to run on Windows, OS/2, Macintosh and UNIX desktops.
Alternative desktop devices, which are designed to control and substantially, reduce
the high cost of ownership of PC; these devices are sometimes called network
computers or information appliances.
Network computers are optimized to access information and software applications
over INETs. While network computers will come in many forms, the basic
configuration will contain a Web browser and network connection (e.g. modem,
network card). They will also have local memory storage. This basic configuration
has very low maintenance requirements, will not obsolete as quickly as PCs, and is
very easy to install and use. It is a plug-in go environment, which can be utilized for
a wide variety of applications.
Connecting Up To the Internet
Once the desktop is in place, MOI must connect into the Internet. There are many
alternatives available to MOI, for low-cost access, 28.8Kbs and 33.6Kbs dial-up
access are available from Internet ISP. Leased 56KB, 56KB, ISDN, T-I, and T3lines (up to 45MB) can be investigated for future availability in Kuwait. Leased
lines are secured approach towards creating a Company Intranet.
In order to simplify initial setup and to increase security, new users can request
passwords, which get expired every 60 or 90 days, or expire upon itiallog in but are
subsequently non-expiring.
Deliverables
- Introducing Internet environment.
- Ministry Email services.
- Searching and browsing WWW.
Required Tasks
a)
Internet subscriptions.
I. Select ISP.
- Prepare Requirements Specification _ Design Selection Criteria.
- Evaluate Offers.
- Select.
I. Connect to Internet
- Install HTML Server
- Install Email Server
b) Create Inet structure (Personnel, Tools, Procedures, .... )
- Develop Inet Job Description & responsibilities
- Allocate/Recruit Required Human Resources
- Develop Inet Standards
- Develop Inet Procedures
- Select Tools
c) Training (Inside ICSC, Inside MIO) - Agree Required Training
- Allocate Instructors
- Prepare training materials
- Schedule Courses
- Conduct Courses
- Evaluate
d) Develop Email System (Standards, Procedures, Security, ... ) - Develop Email
Standards
- Develop Email Procedures
- Design Security requirements
- Design Email Flow System
- Conduct Pilot Project
- Test
- Trail Email Users
- Small Scale Implementation
- Staged Full Email Implementation
e) Workflow
Phase Two Presence
Description
MOI to publish mostly static information for internal use on intranet and also set up
its own WWW server for publishing information on the Internet. The staged
conversion from SNA to TCP/IP project start in this phase.
Once MOI is connected into the Internet, it will establish some presence.Creating a
presence can be accomplished with a minimum amount of effort and expenditure. It
basically requires setting up a Web server and publishing HTML pages on the
server. As MOI establish the presence there is an increased awareness of security
and performance issues. For this reason it is important to look closely at the different
types of security software and services that are available and choose that the minimal
requirements for applications that are being deployed.
In this phase, the HTML pages will be static; they do not change based upon input
from the Web browser user (advertising services, newsworthy information). It is also
important to begin organizing the Web site so that HTML pages adhere to certain
standards and are linked in such a way that Web users can easily find the
information they are looking for. Developers may wish to evaluate existing search
engines, which assist users in finding data.
MOI also to use Internets, which can be populated with static pages as a cheap way
to publish standards and policy documents and internal announcements (could be on
specialized servers.(
Deliverables
- Go international
- MOI general announcements
- Improve public service
Required Tasks
Tasks
A- Develop Static home page
i) Finding a home for MOI home page
- Choice #1: Use an ISP
- Choice #2: Establish and maintain private Web Server
ii) Building MOI Web Site
- Planning Web Site
- Gathering & Composing Content
- Designing MOI Site - Testing
B- Develop home page update mechanism
i) Keeping track of Content - Designing a Tracking System
ii) Updating Information
- Develop Input Handling & getting Feedback Procedures
- Develop update mechanism
- Approved update mechanism
C- Publish home page
- Install Web Server
- Install Web Server Software
- Install Web Server Communications
- Getting files on the Server
- Promoting MOI Site
- Install CMOS-OS/390 (Enterprise Data Server)
- Network plan finalized
- Start Staged SNA to TCP/IP conversion (MOI private internet)
Phase Three Integration
Description
Information becomes more dynamic, WWW servers are integrated with content
databases, Users invokes applications from Web browsers which dynamically
retrieve or update information in content databases to their current daily transactions,
open MOI application to Extranet users.
With dynamic access to MOI databases and applications, ICSC users can perform
their day-to-day function. This can be achieved by making existing applications
available directly via Intranet by linking current applications and databases to the
Web server and web browser technology. There are two methods to achieve this:
1. Using Common Gateway Interface (CGI): CGI programs can be written and used
as intermediary programs linking the INET to existing application programs that
access database. This approach is viable but time consuming to develop.
2. Using [email protected] WWW connection: Which wil1 provide a direct access to DB2
database from any Web browser. Developers use DB2 WWW connection to
directly embed SQL language. Statements into HTML pages, the SQL
dynamically populates the HTML. Page with data retrieved from the database,
once the Web user has updated. The page from a browser, the data on the page
can be used to update the Database.DB2 WWW connection supports user ID and
password authentication.
Network computers are optimized to access information and software applications
over INETs. While network computers wi11 come in many forms, the basic
configuration wil1 contain a Web browser and network connection (e.g. modem,
network card). They will also have local memory storage. This basic configuration
has very low maintenance requirements, wi11 not obsolete as quickly as PCs, and is
very easy to install and use. It is a plug-in and go environment, which can be utilized
for a wide variety of applications.
Network computers can be used to build client/server applications with one
significant difference. The application software is installed on the Web application
server instead of on the desktop. As a result, applications are easier to deploy,
maintain, monitor, secure, and upgrade. They are also far more secure than they
would be if they were installed on each and every desktop. Initially, network
computers can be used to replace the hundreds of dumb terminals that are being used
today. The advantage in using network computers over dumb terminals is that
network computers support:
ƒ GUI interface, which can be used to greatly improve productivity and enhance
the type of information, supported by existing systems without rewriting
applications.
ƒ Java environments which can be used to add new functionality to the application
and to establish securable and reliable connections to one or more INET
applications.
The Java applications can be stored on a Web server and downloaded when required
or network computers will develop capabilities, which wil1 al10w Users to run
common desktop applications such as word processors, and spreadsheets with or
without network connection. To accomplish this, these software wil1 be built-using
Java. A timestamp can be used to ensure that applications are only downloaded
when there is a new version of the software.
- Full connection to any current or future INET application.
Network computers can be introduced in an incremental manner - just like any other
INET technology. They can replace dumb terminals as new INET applications come
online or they can be used as alternatives to PCs as current PCs become obsolete or
as new devices have to be deployed in remote offices or on local networks. The
objective is to bring support and maintenance costs closer in line with that associated
with dumb terminals (some estimates are on-half to one-fifth the cost of PC
ownership) while still providing flexible INET capabilities and local computing
power.
Deliverables
-Lower communication cost
-Lower equipment / maintenance cost
-Centralized management
-Application integration
-Improved application interface (GUI)
-Build on top of previous investments (no application modifications)
-Improved application services to Extranet users
Required Tasks
Tasks
A- Finalize SNA to TCPIIP conversion
i) Develop browser application interface (application front ends)
-Analysis
-Integration with existing applications
-Design
-Generate
-Implement
ii) User training
-Agree Required Training
-Allocate Instructors
-Prepare Training materials
-Schedule Courses
-Conduct Courses - Evaluate
B- Workflow implementation
C- Introduce network computers
D- Smart Cards
Phase Four Full Internet
Description
Applications can be used as means of reaching out the enterprise to offer services to
public.
Same as phase three, but for Internet, and selecting accessing of outside public to
certain subset of MOI applications and data.
Outside public is to be able to send or launch their inquiries regarding the status of
their own current permitted data, and to apply for certain pre-determined transaction.
This will improve the MOI public service and decrease the number of visitors to
MOl locations.
Deliverables
-Improve public service
-Decrease MOI load
Required Tasks
Tasks
A- Develop transaction I document flow
B- Introduce forms in MOI home page
C- WorkFlow
D- Service Centers
E- Smart Cards
Dependencies
1- Network
One of the most critical projects to affect the Internet project implementation is the
enhancement of the current MOI network. As the current MOI network IS mainly an
SNA network, which is not capable of handling TCP/IP protocols required for
internet, so a staged conversion for the current network from SNA to TCP/IP
capable network have to be done. As TCP/IP is becoming the most dominant
network protocols in computer industry for
their superior facilities they offer over the SNA network, this move from Mal regardless of Internet project implementation _ is a strategic move for Mal. It worth
mentioning here that OS/390 - the new operating system from IBM to replace the
traditional MVS - offer rich facilities to enable this type of staged conversion.
2- Install CMOS-OS/390 (Enterprise Data Server)
The current trend in moving towards the changing the old tradition concept of
having a mainframe computer (where all the data manipulation and processing is
done) to the Client/Server concept (where Server is the repository of information and
management, and the Client is where most of the processing is done). Added to this
is the mixing of the Client/Server concept with another (with equivalent importance)
which is the Open System concept, had pushed IBM and other vendors to change
their design philosophy for hardware and software to accommodate this changes
which was reflected in a new CMOS processors and OS/390 operating system. This
new computing platform has the ability to act as real Enterprise Data Server, with
intermixing the power and facilities of the Client/Server, Open System, and Internet
Concepts. CMOS-OS/390 platform provides a wealth of tools and facilities for
Internet development and implementation in a very efficient and economical
approach.
3- Workflow
The merge of Internet and Workflow will enable Mal to easily reach the real end
user (the public user) in a more efficient and cost effective way than ever before.
This will enable end user to request their transactions without having to approach
Mal authorities for request (as the current environment implies). This will enhance
dramatically the way MOI in performing its business process.
4- Smart Card
One of the biggest concerns in implementing Internet project is the issues of
security. Implementing the smart card project for Mal users will reduce to a large
extent the hazards of misuse of the Internet facilities, as the smart card will ensure
that information processing through Internet is only available to the authorized
requester. It should be clear that using smart card would not eliminate other types of
security concerns such as unauthorized breach to Mal network and information,
which have to deal with using different approaches.
Issues / Concerns
I -Security
As the usage of Internet is more and more globally accepted more and more effort
that is done to enhance the tools and facilities of security in Internet environment.
Security is a major concern through out the Four Phases of INET transformation,
and should not be overlooked in all stages of the project. MOI should develop a
separate study detailing its requirements for security in Internet environment and
suggest the proper methods and tools for implementing these requirements during
project implementation phases.
This study should also layout a clear mechanism for ensuring the proper
implementation of these security requirements and continuous evaluation of the
latest technologies in this area in the market. As a result of rapid change in the
Internet security, it may be a good practice, if Mal could benefit from the services
offered by specialized vendors in this area. Many companies offer Security Analysis
support to investigate any vulnerability that exist in the network and will try to break
into the network, report all success and suggest avenues to further secure the
environment. These companies also offer Emergency Response Service that
investigates unauthorized break-ins.
2- Arabization
Because of rare usage of Internet in Arabic world in electronic commerce
(commerce over Internet), a few fully arabized browsers and Internet development
tools do exist in the market. Certain techniques should be used to develop Arabic
applications over Internet, which impose more loads on the Internet developers.
MOI should internally standardize a common Arabic Internet development
methodology, which is best suitable for its own application requirements.
* * *
The Petroleum Industry - Building Fueling,
and Repairing The Information Highway
Dr. William N. Wally*
Abstract
Chevron is a major international oil company with revenues of over $42 billion, and
petroleum liquids production of over I million BOPD. This paper discusses how
Chevron and other major oil companies are contributing to, and benefiting from, the
"Information Highway". Also discussed is what is likely to be a "speed bump" which
will at least slow down some uses of this technology - the "Year 2000 problem".
Building the Information Highway: Internet/Intranet technology is in widespread
and growing use at Chevron. Important benefits include:
ƒ Cost-savings - Internet/Intranet technology is now virtually "free". It is a standard
protocol widely available and easy to understand, program and use.
ƒ Better communication between employees and management - bulletin boards, job
postings, and general business developments are now widely available
ƒ Efficiency - most Chevron company policy manuals and forms are now available
on our Intranet.
Fueling the Information Highway: Geographic Information Systems (GIS)
technology is becoming increasingly important for the petroleum industry as a
whole. In this case the "fuel" contributed by the oil companies consists of rigorous
technical requirements, and the financial resources to purchase significant quantities
of those products that meet these requirements.
Repairing the Information Highway: The Millennium (Year 2000) Problem is
beginning to be recognized as a serious worldwide issue, that will likely cost
$billions to fix. Although most old computer software will need repair or
replacement, a more serious and costly problem exists with "embedded logic"
computerized control systems managing infrastructure such as refineries, pipelines,
electricity transmission, etc. At the very least, significant human and financial
resources will be diverted from normal productive activities.
* Chevron Information Technology Company, Houston, Texas, USA.
Definitions
-Highway = a public road from one place to another.
-Data = numbers, letters, words, images (data by Itself has no meaning)·
-Information = meaning derived from data.
-Fact = a concept whose truth can be proved. .
-Knowledge = a collection of facts and rules about some subject.
-Wisdom = accumulated knowledge.
In many instances, the "Information Highway" would be better termed "Data
Highway" and unfortunately, there is a large discontinuity between Information" and
"fact" which raises doubts about how much now Knowledge and "wisdom" is
actually traveling down this thoroughfare. Nevertheless, the term "Information
Highway is in common " usage so we will attempt to contain doubts about its
semantics.
Building the Information Highway: Intranet/Internet
"The Internet" is a catch-all word used to describe the world-wide net. work of
interconnected computer networks. "Intranet" is the. term describing. a similar
network, but with access restricted to certain designated computers, typically
internal to a single organization.
Both Internet and Intranet use the same technology, which has significant features: .
ƒ Open (non-proprietary) TCP-IP protocol, which is a robust worldwide
telecommunications standard.
ƒ Web browsers (e.g. Netscape Navigator and MS Explorer) are easy to use and
can feature:
- Hypertext links (i.e. connections to other documents stored within the
text).
- Both data retrieval and data input from the same application.
- Java programming "write once - run anywhere” on any kind of computer.
At Chevron we have been building Internet-Intranet solutions since 1990, when we
first installed our "portal computer to support E-mail. At that time most users were
scientists m our research centers who use email and "FTP" to communicate with
their peers at various other universities an research centers.
In 1996, our Intranet (internal web page) “GO.CHEVRON.COM” was
established. Since its initiation in October 15, 1996, it has registered more than 6
million "hits", and is accessed by over 8,000 employees each day. Topics include:
- Company announcements such as meetings, and organization and personnel
changes.
- Customized new feeds.
- Expense account processing (reimbursements are made using Electronic Funds
Transfer typically in 2 days).
- Forms (e.g. human resource benefits change forms).
- Job postings.
- Surveys of employees on business, workplace, and technical issues.
- Chevron stock price - this especially popular feature is accessed as often a
150,000 times/day when important events (like bonus announcements tied to the
stock price) occur.
Fueling the Information Highway:
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology IS becoming increasingly
important for the petroleum industry as a whole. In this case the "fuel" contributed
by the oil companies consists of rigorous technical requirements, and the financial
resources to purchase significant quantities of those products that meet these
requirements. As a result, the largest GIS vendor, Environmental Systems Research
Institute (ESRI) has stated that the oil industry has more influence on their product
plans and direction than all other industries combined.
There are numerous definitions of what is a GIS. One of the best comes from
ESRI's web site (www.esri.com):
"A geographic information system (GIS) is a computer-based tool for mapping and
analyzing things that exist and events that happen on Earth. GIS technology
integrates common database operations such as query and statistical analysis, with
the unique visualization and geographic analysis benefits offered by maps. These
abilities distinguish GIS from other information systems, and make it valuable to a
wide range of public and private enterprises for explaining events, predicting
outcomes, and planning strategies.
"Map making and geographic analysis are not new, but a GIS performs these tasks
better and faster than do the old manual methods. And, before GIS technology was
introduced, only a few people had the skills necessary to use geographic information
to help with decision-making and problem-solving."
What do we put in a GIS?
Since 1995, Chevron Overseas Petroleum has had several initiatives applying GIS
technology on an in-country enterprise-wide bases. We have demonstrated that GIS
technology is seriously relevant to our industry, offering unique, affordable,
comprehensive solutions, readily supporting entities including:
-Wells
-Pipelines
-Seismic locations
-Facilities
-Engineering drawings
-Photographs of facilities, wellheads, etc.
-Safety and environmental reports
-Spills
-Land ownership and permits
-Roads
-Rivers
-Vil1ages
-Digital orthophotos
-Satellite images
The ESRI Petroleum User Group (PUG)
About ten years ago, ESRI created an oil industry vertical marketing organization,
staffed by former oil industry professionals. In 1991, ESRI, along with
representatives of several major oil companies, formed the ESRI Petroleum User
Group (PUG). The PUG has proven to be a very effective forum for conveying oil
industry needs to ESRI senior management.
Several important enhancements made to ARC Info, ARC View, and Spatial
Database Engine (SDF) were specifically requested by the PUG, and have
dramatically improved these products for petroleum industry use including:
-"Regions" (Overlapping disjoint polygons)
-Overposting elimination (Maplex)
-"Dynamic segmentation"
-Major enhancements to Spatial Database Engine (SDF) 3.0 including
measures, vector compression, and better annotation·
-Major enhancements to CAD Client to support heterogeneous coordinate
systems.
The PUG now has more than 2000 individual members, representing more than 450
companies and organizations including Amoco, ARCO, Chevron, Conoco, Eagle
Information Mapping, Exxon, IBM, Landmark graphics, Marathon, Mobil,
PetroConsultants, Petroleum Information, Saudi Aramco, Shell, Texaco, and Unocal.
Chevron is a member of the PUG steering committee, and 111 1997 was selected
PUG Steering Committee Chairperson.
PUG Mission Statement
Why the PUG?
The ESRI Petroleum User Group (PUG) exists to further the effective use of GIS
technology by the Petroleum Industry.
How?
By facilitating communication about GIS usage, problems, and future needs between
ESRI and:
-Oil companies.
-GIS consultants.
-Oil service companies·
-Hardware suppliers·
-Software suppliers.
The PUG Steering Committee, composed of Users and assisted by ESRI, organizes
and schedules PUG meetings. Participation is on a volunteer basis with the support
of each member's employer. The PUG is self-financed by fees charged to the
sponsors of the Vendor Faire, T-shirts, and the social functions.
When/Where?
The PUG has its 2-day Annual User Meeting in Houston in January or early
February, and also holds a l-day session as part of the Annual ESRI User Meeting in
San Diego in July. The meetings are attended by a broad cross-section of the
Petroleum Industry, as well as ESRI top management. They are intended to be a
vehicle for technical information exchange, combined with a vendor faire to al10w
efficient meeting with the growing number of GIS hardware, software, service, and
data
suppliers".
There
is
a
PUG
web
site
(www.csrLcol11/base/l11arkets/petroleul11/pug.html) to enhance communication.
Who?
The PUG Steering Committee consists of representatives from:
- Amoco- Pete Rush worth (prushworth @ amoco.com)
- Berger & Co. - Anita Hobson rahobson @ berger.com). David Dignum
(ddignum @ berger.com)·
- Chevron - Bill Wally (Chairman) wnwa @ chevron.com)·
- Conco - Nancy Pinkerton (nancy [inkerton @ conoco.com)·
- ESRI – Lisa Derenthal (Iderenthal @ esri .com) Geoff Wade (gwade @
esri.com)·
- Exxon - Larry Brooks (LaITY Brooks @ exxon.sprint.com)·
- Marathon - Paul Kilpatrick (kilpatri @ hou.moc.com)·
- Texaco - Greg Slutz (slutzgs @ texaco.com)·
- Unocal - Bob Waylie (rwylie @ unocaJ.com)·
- UPRC - Bob Kline (rjkline @ upt.com).
Repairing the Information Highway:
Like many other highways, the "Information Highway" has at least one obstruction.
Estimates vary as to its size, but it is likely to be very large.
The Millennium (Year 2000) Problem is beginning to be recognized as a serious
worldwide issue, that will likely cost $billions to fix. It is caused by programmers
using only 2 digits to represent the year (e.g. 18/3/98 for 18 March, 1998). When the
actual date exceeds 1999, such dates may be confused with the wrong century, so a
date like 1/1/00 might mean either Jan. I, 1900 or Jan. I, 2000.
The June 2, 1997 issue of Newsweek, (p. 59) quotes Nigel Martin-Jones of Data
Dimensions, on the Year 2000 problem:
"There are two kinds of people. Those who aren't working on it and aren't
worried, and those who are working on it and are terrified."
Although most old computer software will need repair or replacement, a more
serious and costly problem exists with "embedded logic" computerized control
systems managing infrastructure such as refineries, pipelines, electricity
transmission, etc.
The Year 2000 failure modes for Embedded Systems can include the following:
- Halting of device operation temporary or permanent: some systems may fail only
after a reboot with a post-year 2000 date).
- Erroneous calculations.
- Overflow of registers with unpredictable results.
Also be aware of the following possibilities for the Year 2000:
-
Software licenses may expire.
Passwords may expire.
Maintenance or calibration procedures may be triggered.
Automatically scheduled applications may fail to run or be run at inappropriate
times.
"Embedded logic systems" are everywhere, for example:
Manufacturing and process control systems
-
Distributed Control Systems (DCS)·
Digital Single-loop Controllers·
Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC)·
Packaged Control Systems (Egatrol...)·
Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA)·
Safety Interlock Systems (SIS, ESD)·
Compressor Blower Control Systems·
Speed Governor Control · Motor Speed Control·
Burner Management Systems·
Emissions Monitoring Systems·
Vibration Monitoring Systems·
Electrical Monitoring Systems·
Temperature Monitoring Systems·
Tank Monitoring Systems (SDM, E&J)·
Pipeline Pigging Systems·
Monitoring Information Systems·
Alarm Systems·
Laboratory Information Systems (LIMS)·
Laboratory Management Systems·
Advanced Control Systems (V AXs, Alphas, other)
Advanced Control Applications (DMC.RMPCT, Perfecter.BRC.BPC)
Real Time Optimization·
custom Real-time Applications·
Leak Detection·
Smart Transmitters·
Smart Valves·
Smart Sensors·
Flow Computers·
Tank Gauging Sensors·
Analyzers (On-line, Main Lab, Field Labs)·
Maintenance Management Systems (Indus, Passport team)·
Document Management Systems·
-
Process Simulators·
Foam Systems·
Uninterruptible power Supplies (UPS)·
Man-Machine Interface (Wonderware)·
Interface Hardware and Software (ABE, DMC, CM50S)·
Modeling System, Hardware and Software (Planning, Blending)·
Hand-held devices for data capture or configuration·
All test equipment (including Maintenance equipment)·
Fire truck engine control·
Other PC-based systems and applications·
Shipping systems (Navigation, offloading, propulsion)·
Automatic custody transfer systems·
Seismic systems
Building Management Systems
Security Systems (Badge readers, Surveillance systems)·
Thermostats·
Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning Systems (HV AC)·
Elevators·
Halon Systems·
Lighting Systems.
Telecommunications
-
Networks (LANs, W ANs)·
Servers·
Bridges.
Routers·
Hubs/concentrators·
Repeaters·
Firewalls·
Modems·
Phone Systems·
Switches·
Telephones·
Fire Phone·
Voice Mail·
Remote Terminal Units (RTUs)·
Radios·
Microwave·
Satellite.
Office Facilities
- Faxes·
- Copiers·
- Desktop computers.
At the very least, significant human and financial resources will be diverted from
normal productive activities. At worst, major breakdowns of energy,
communications, and financial systems may occur. Serious possible problem areas
include:
1- Health and Safety·
- Loss of Emergency Shut Down (ESD) capability.
- Loss of access to control functions in plants, refineries, oil platforms, or SCADA
equipment.
- Loss of security access control or environmental control systems.
2-Environmental·
- Uncontrolled flaring or effluent release.
- Explosions, collisions, spills.
- Loss of pipeline or tank-leak detection capability.
3- Financial·
- Inability to wire transfer money, pay creditors, collect form debtors.
- Inability to take customer orders deliver or "meter" products to maintain the
revenue stream.
- Inability to accomplish treasury functions.
4- Legal Exposure·
- Failure to meet reporting requirements of 40IK's environmental compliance
reports, taxes, etc.
- Breach or contract failure to meet obligations in various forms to customers,
suppliers, and employees.
- Disclosure issues surrounding mergers/acquisitions/sales.
- Suppliers/service providers may be unable to fulfill obligations.
Chevron has appointed an executive-level Year 2000 task force to manage this
problem. The task force has a mandate to:
A- Ensure that the Corporation has taken all known precautions and has
implemented and tested appropriate changes to our systems to prevent disruptions of
our operations.
B- Coordinate Y2K activities across the Corporation.
C- Identify critical issues to resolve.
D- Manage the resources to address the issues.
E- Leverage internal and external skills and best practices across opeos.
F- Manage the "white space" issues between the opeos.
G- Develop, Coordinate, and conduct a full compliance audit by 1 2/3 l/98 of:
- Major IT systems·
- Non-GII hardware and software (GIL is the internal Chevron standard, which is
already Y2K-compliant)·
- Embedded technology·
- Supplier compliance·
- Customer assurance.
H- Provide bi-monthly status reports to the Management Committee.
I- Remain active during the current business planning cycle i.e., 1998-2000.
Chevron is also actively working with the American Petroleum Institute and other
industry organizations to share best practices in Y2K problem solving.
* * *
Information Highways and KNPC
Data Communication Network
Eng. Khalid Al-Asoosi *
Abstract
The Information Highway will be, "a network of networks," a massive client/server
and peer-to-peer mesh capable of carrying gigabits, and eventually terabits, of data
per second on its trunk lines. The data highway's backbone will use every wide-areas
communication technology now known, including fiber, satellites, and microwaves,
and connecting users to the backbone will be fiber, coaxial cable, copper, and
wireless. Software used on the network will include operating systems, networking
protocols and services, user interfaces, databases, data sources (or content), and a
new generation of smart middleware that will help users navigate the network.
KNPC has assimilated Information Highways to support not only refinery
productivity, operations and maintenance but also for local market outlets and filling
stations.
KNPC is one of the early proponents of the DSL Technology in Kuwait.
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), a new modem technology, converts
existing twisted-pair telephone lines into access paths for multimedia and high speed
data communications. ADSL transmits more than 6 Mbps to a subscriber, and as
much as 640 kbps more in both directions. ADSL can literally transform the existing
metallic cable connections from one limited to voice, text and low resolution
graphics to a powerful, ubiquitous system capable of bringing multimedia, including
full motion video.
KNPC has acquired internet connections from the service providers for the purpose
of accessing latest in the field of Petroleum, Engineering and information
Technology.
What will be the benefit of all this? For business users, the information highway
represents the ubiquitous of connectivity: a inter-network that allows them easily
and inexpensively to. connect with customers and suppliers, improve
communications among employees, and gather competitive data. Applications
facilitated by the highway, such as videoconferencing, document sharing, and
multimedia E-mail, could reduce travel spending and encourage telecommuting.
Let us not forget that productivity job creation, economic growth and export
competitiveness are largely due to the deployment of new technologies of
Information age such as Information Highways. Information Technology drives
productivity, creates and destroys jobs, changes the skills required in the economy,
and affects the capacity of firms and industries to perform in international markets.
The economic gains generated by Information technology result as much from its
widespread diffusion as from its creation.
* Superintendent, Computer systems services Kuwait National Petroleum Co., Kuwait.
Introduction
Whatever may be the new paradigm of Information Technology - Internet, Intranet,
and Multimedia - all point to a tremendous increase in data transmission rates and
consequently vast increase in bandwidth requirement. This has resulted in new
technologies such as, Fiber Cable, Switching Technology in Local Area Network
(LAN) / Metropolitan Area Network (MAN) / Wide Area Network (WAN), satellite
communication etc. are now challenging traditional technologies such as analogue
cable and telephone infrastructures.
There's little disagreement over the grand vision of the data highway. It will be, "a
network of networks," a massive client/server and peer-to-peer mesh capable of
carrying gigabits, and eventually terabits, of data per second on its trunk lines. The
back-end servers, networking technologies, client devices, and software applications
will be utterly heterogeneous-the most secular network ever constructed.
The data highway's backbone will use every wide-area communication technology
now known, including fiber, satellites, and microwaves, and the on- and off-ramps
connecting users to the backbone will be fiber, coaxial cable, copper, and wireless.
Data servers will be supercomputers, mainframes, minicomputers, microcomputers,
and massively parallel machines, while a great diversity of clients will populate the
end points of the network: conventional PCs, palmtops and Personal Digital
Assistances (PDAs), smart phones, set-top boxes, and TVs. Software used on the
network include operating systems, networking protocols and services, user
interfaces, databases, data sources (or content).
In this report, let us first have a look at general information about KNPC, its
economic and social importance to Kuwait as a whole and development of new data
information highways to support not only refinery productivity, operations and
maintenance but also local market outlets and filling stations.
About KNPC and the Importance of KNPC to Kuwait
Kuwait National Petroleum Company (KNPC) was established in October 1960 as a
shareholder company owned by the Government and the private sector. After the
creation of Kuwait Petroleum Corporation in 1980, KNPC became fully owned by
KPC, which itself is owned by the State of Kuwait.
When the oil sector was restructured, KNPC was entrusted with the responsibilities
of Oil refining and gas liquefaction, as well as the
distribution of petroleum products in the local market on behalf of KPC.
Consequently, the company became in charge of the three oil refineries; Mina AI-
Ahmadi, Mina Ab.dulla and Shuaiba, in addition to the LPG plant in Mina AIAhmadi.
Refinery modernization projects increased the refining capacity for the three
refineries so it reached to 850,000 Barrels per Day during 1996 and, also improved
the quality of petroleum products.
With regard to the local market, the company maintained the drive to expand
marketing outlets so as to meet the growing demand on petroleum products and lube
oils. The number of filling stations located in various parts of the country is about
100.
Fiber Optics Infrastructure:
Kinds of Fiber used in KNPC
For KNPC Intra-Refinery Fiber network, composite Fiber Optic Cables consisting of
8 strands of single-mode and 4 of multi-mode will be used. Petroleum environment
necessitates the use of Lead Sheath and Steel Armoring. Lead Sheath is used for
chemical and hydro-carbon resistant purposes, whereas Steel Armoring is used for
crush resistance. For Inter-Refinery connections and links to Head Offices, singlemode fiber optic cables will be installed in the near future.
Multi-mode fiber cable is made of multiple strands of glass fibers, with a combined
diameter in the 50-ta-lOO micron range. (One micron is 1/250th the width of a
human hair) Each fiber in a multi-mode cable is capable of carrying a different
signal independent from those on the other fibers in the cable bundle. Multi-mode
fiber comes in two forms, Step index or graded index fiber. The most common size
used in North America is 62.5/125 and in Europe is 50/125. These numbers
represent the diameter of the core (62.5 or 50) and diameter of the cladding (125) in
microns. Multi-mode fiber is typically used in applications such as local area
networks, at distances less than 2 km.
Single-mode cable is a single stand of glass fiber with a diameter of 8.3 to 10
microns. Single-mode fiber has a much higher capacity and a]]ows longer distances
than multi-mode fiber. It is typically used for wide area networks such as switch to
switch connections and cable TV (CATV).
KNPC's Fiber Infrastructure Topology
The physical topology of the KNPC Information network can be thought of as
"hierarchical star wiring." One or more communications outlets at each workspace
are wired back to a utility closet where the first level of interconnection takes place.
Utility closets, typically encompassing one floor, are linked together with multi
mode fiber cables leading to the Computer Room. Single mode fiber cables shall be
used to interlink the refineries and also to link the Head Offices with the Refineries.
This hierarchical wiring plan facilitates the best management and maintenance of the
communication systems. Composite fiber optic cables will be installed in all the
three refineries, interlinking all major buildings in the near future.
Installing fiber in KNPC effectively "future-proofs" the network infrastructure, and
its high bandwidth supports all current and proposed protocols without laying new
cable. A single fiber cable specification encompasses the full spectrum of fiberbased LAN options, including Ethernet, asynchronous transfer mode (ATM), fiber
channel and enterprise system connection.
A TM Switched Backbone Over Fiber Optics
Suitability of A TM for various kinds of Traffic
ATM is suitable for different kinds of information traffic: Voice, video and data each has its own set of requirements using the transport network. TM, because of its
fix-length, small cell based transfer in combination with the support for high speed is
well suited for these types of traffic. The following three factors contribute to this:
I) Fair share of the bandwidth.
2) Sequential delivery.
3) Guaranteed rate
Using 53-octet cells, ATM can give fair access to each type of information traffic.
No one traffic type can take-over the line to the extent that hinders other traffic
types. Sequential deliveries of cells allow certain types of information transfer to
continue operation even though a particular cell was lost. Guaranteed rate provides
service for certain traffic types such as voice that requires a steady constant transfer
rate
Factors Leading to the Selection of Leading Edge A TM Technology
For upgrading the backbone info1Tl1ation network, KNPC evaluated the available
technologies, such as FDDI and ATM. FDDI was rejected, sinceFDDI is NOT
scalable beyond 100 Mbps and is only suitable for bursty type of traffic and not for
continuous stream of traffic such as Video and Audio.
ATM based on Multi Protocol Over ATM (MPOA) was chosen because
a) It is scalable.
b) It is suitable for Video, Voice and Data Traffic.
c) Quality of Service guarantees
In addition, ATM can be used in both LAN and WAN. This is a major point for A
TM compared to frame relay and X25.
Multi-Protocol support Vs MPOA
Transporting multi-protocol data over ATM connections is not the same as multiprotocol support over ATM. The transposing method encapsulates the data and
sends it over ATM connections. The ATM connection is used only as a transport
path without any consideration to the topology and configuration of the ATM
network. On the other hand, the multi-protocol support over ATM (MPOA) takes the
ATM network topology and configuration into consideration to effectively support
the network and link layer protocols.
The purposes of the MPOA framework are:
I) To uniformly support end-to-end internet work layer connectivity over A TM
networks.
2) To effectively support bridging and routing functions in ATM networks.
3)To seamlessly support LAN network technologies, such as LANE and VLAN.
4) To efficiently support 13 network protocols over ATM networks
Internet work, subnetwork and A TM with MPOA
In the Internet work and subnetwork model with logical IP subnets, routes do the
forwarding from one subnet to another subnet. This traditional model that originated
from the point-to-point connection network was enhanced to support the LAN
environment. In this model, the router takes care of forwarding from subnet-A to
subnet-B. Traffic belonging to each subnet stays inside the subnet.
A TM belongs to the non-broadcast multi-access (NB MA) type of link protocols
similar to frame relay and X25. In addition, ATM is connection-oriented and
supports connection route setup independence of IP subnets. Though ATM is
capable of direct connectivity, it dose not correlate to the way the current IPv4 or
classical IP operates, and hence MPOA is used to support classical IP and IPX.
KNPC's ATM Switched Backbone Topology and Configuration
In each refinery, Central ATM Switches will be installed in the Computer Room and
Central Control Room of Refinery Operations. Central A TM switch has pure A TM
interfaces.
In each major building in a refinery, Edge Switch will be installed which integrates
the Switched Giga-Ethernet, Fast Ethernet and Shared Ethernet to A TM, apart from
providing high speed serial connections over fiber and metallic cable.
A TM switches will be connected over fiber to support multi-media applications
operating at speeds of 155 and 622 Mbps. Usage of fiber optic cables and ATM
Switches as the backbone of the data highway, along with Ethernet at the desktop,
KNPC will have a corporate network that can blaze along at the speeds required by
the bandwidth-hungry applications of today and tomorrow. KNPC is thus poised to
launch itself into the 21st. century with a vision, a mission and the information tools
to achieve these.
KNPC's VSA T Network
Type of VSA T Service used in KNPC
The main factor that differentiates VSAT services is the types of network topologies
they support. There are two basic VSAT technologies: single carrier per channel
(SCPC) and time-division multiple access (TDMA).
KNPC uses SCPC technology to support its high bandwidth requirements.
SCPC is a point-to-point network technology - VSAT's equivalent to conventional
leased lines. With SCPC, sites with VSAT dishes communicate directly with each
other using dedicated satellite bandwidth. Because channels are dedicated, SCPC
can deliver bandwidths as high as 2 Mbit/s between stations. However high
bandwidth comes at a high price, SCPC-based VSAT services generally cost the
same as conventional leased lines.
Factors Leading to the Selection of VSA T by KNPC
KNPC's Computing infrastructure is centered on Computer Room in Mina AIAhmadi Refinery and Mina Abdullah Refinery. The Company has in the recent past
established new offices in Kuwait City at the old NBK building and the Emad
center. These new offices, in addition to the existing offices have made tremendous
impact on the data-communication needs between HO sites and the refineries.
Since the leased lines and the X25 lines provided by MOC and KEMS can't support
high speeds, apart from difficulties in getting additional lines for data
communication, KNPC had chosen the only long-term viable solution then available
in Kuwait, that is VSAT Communications provided by GULFS AT.
KNPC's VS AT Network Configuration
VSA T data communication network is functional between KNPC offices at HO-I,
Mina AI-Ahmadi Refinery and Mina Abdul1a Refinery at data transfer rates of 256
kbps and 384 kbps using SCPC type VSA T communications and dedicated data
lines. As part of VSAT infrastructure, VSAT Antenna is located in the Head office
and Mina AI-Ahmadi Refinery. A leased line, of speed 384 kbps, between the Mina
Abdulla Refinery and GULFS A T Hub is used to link the Mina Abdulla Refinery
with the VSA T network.
HO-I in turn is connected to HO-2, HO-3 and HO-4 over dedicated data lines, thus
full mesh data communication network has been established.
Switched Ethernet to Desktop
Transition
Inevitable transition period is looming large in which networks must move from the
current hub/router model to the integrated routing/switching fabrics of the future.
Tremendous diversity of switching and A TM products, which are being
continuously released, deliver more bandwidth and less latency. But do these
products integrate with current hub and router networks in a Way that moves users
to switched internetworking incrementally, without disruption? In many cases, the
answer is no.
However, KNPC is well prepared to meet this transition from current hub/router
model to integrated routing/switching. KNPC is thus poised to adopt switching
without leaving old network infrastructure behind in the transition process.
Switching Model
The switched internetworking model represents a major paradigm shift in the way
internet works are built and operated. Switched internetworking use A TM and LAN
switching and intelligent virtual-networking software, to increase
bandwidth and to virtualize the way users access the network. With virtualization, a
switched internet work offers users high-speed access to servers and other resources
without the constraint of the network's physical layout. Tightly-coupled virtual
workgroups and virtual departments can be configured and administered as cohesive
units, even though the users are spread out all over a building, a refinery campus, or
ultimately, any where in KNPC. When properly deployed, the switched internetwork
is an ideal vehicle for emerging multimedia applications that will put extreme and
specific demands on networks in the very near future.
But as alluring as switched internetworking can be, it is a very challenging
architecture to deploy in multi-protocol, multi-platform enterprise environments. As
with current hub and router networks, switched internetworks need the full
complement of network services, including end-to-end transport, robust network
management, traffic control policies, planning and design tools.
Performance, convenience, cost-savings, and migration to A TM
Switching reduces costs and provides significant network performance benefits. For
these reasons, switching technology is now replacing hubs, bridges, and in some
cases routers, in the design of new networks, and in the expansion of existing ones.
On the basis of a survey of network use in KNPC, it is estimated that 20 percent of
all network users will move to a different location within a year.
This mobility causes a considerable expense associated with re-wiring and network
management tasks. Fortunately, switched networking and virtual LANs (VLANs)
eliminate this expenditure. When a user moves, VLAN automatically updates the
location of the device, with no need for re-wiring or manual reconfiguring of the
user's settings.
Switches also connect easily to asynchronous transfer mode (A TM), so that
migration to advanced technologies is painless and inexpensive. In addition to lower
costs, switches improve network performance by providing dedicated bandwidth for
high-speed data transfer and improved security for broadcasts. Applications, which
require greater bandwidth, are no longer slowed down by congestion at hubs and
high latency rates. Switching significantly lowers latency and increases the overall
speed of data transfer.
By handling domain broadcasts locally and providing a direct point-ta-point
connection, switching technology delivers data securely to the intended recipients.
KNPC's Migration from Shared to Switched
STEP 1:
Determine the Network's Cabling Type: Since the existing cable is
Category 5 UTP and 2 pairs are available for data transmission, use 1
OOBASE- TX network technology throughout network. I OOBASETX uses the same cable pinout as IOBASE- T, so there is no need to
change existing Category 5 cabling.
STEP 2:
Future-Proof the Desktop Devices: Install dual-speed Fast EtherLink
10/100 Ethernet adapters in new Pentium IITM, and Power PCTM
computers and servers with PCI buses.
STEP 3:
Implement 10-100-1000 Mbps Ethernet Switching: Introduce a 10-1001000 Mbps Ethernet switch to boost performance to existing PCs, while
proa 100-1000 Mbps Fast Ethernet connection to the server. The switch
can be used to segment the existing LAN or provide dedicated 10-100
Mbps links to PCs.
STEP 4:
Effective Combination of ATM and Ethernet Switching;
- Introduce A TM module in Ethernet Switches which shall in-turn be
connected to the Central A TM Switches over Fiber Central ATM
Switches are connected to one another to provide the seam less
connectivity.
- Upgrade the server port to 155 Mbps or centralize servers on the A
TM backbone.
High-Speed Leased Lines Using ADSL/HDSL Modems
Early Adoption of DSL Technology in KNPC
KNPC is one of the early proponents of the DSL Technology in Kuwait.
Digital Subscriber Line (xDSL), a new modem technology, converts existing
twisted-pair telephone lines into access paths for multimedia and high speed data
communications. xDSL can transmit more than 6 Mbps to a subscriber, and as much
as 640 kbps or more in the other direction. Such rates expand existing access
capacity by a factor of 50 or more without new cabling. xDSL can literally transform
the existing metallic cable connections from one limited to voice, text and lowresolution graphics to a powerful, ubiquitous system capable of bringing multimedia,
including full motion video.
Technology
xDSL depends on advanced digital signal processing and creative algorithms to
squeeze so much information through twisted-pair telephone lines. In addition, many
advances have been required in transformers, analogue filters, and AID converters.
On the outside, xDSL looks simple - transparent synchronous data pipes at various
data rates over ordinary telephone lines. On the inside, where all the transistors
work, there is a miracle of modern technology.
To create multiple channels, ADSL modems divide the available 'bandwidth of a
telephone line in one of two ways - Frequency Division Multiplexing (FDM) or
Echo Cancellation. FDM assigns one band for upstream data and another band for
downstream data. The downstream path is then divided by time division
multiplexing into one or more high speed channels and one or more low speed
channels. The upstream path is also multiplexed into corresponding low speed
channels. Echo cancellation uses bandwidth more efficiently, but at the expense of
complexity and cost. With either technique, ADSL splits off a 4 kHz region for
POTS at the DC end of the band.
An ADSL modem organizes the aggregate data stream created by multiplexing
downstream channels, duplex channels, and maintenance channels together into
blocks, and attaches an error correction code to each block. The receiver then
corrects errors that occur during transmission up to the limits implied by the code
and the block length. The unit may, at the users option, also create super-blocks by
interleaving data within sub-blocks;
this allows the receiver to correct any combination of errors within a specific span of
bits.
Usage and Performance of High-Speed Links
In KNPC, xDSL Technology is at present extensively used inside refineries,
between refineries, between Head Offices and also between refineries and Head
Offices. In addition xDSL modems are used within refinery to inter-connect major
buildings. In all these cases, first an attempt is made to derive a 2 Mbps channel, and
in case it is not possible then settle at 384 Kbps. Non-availability of suitable
modems restricts us to use either 2 Mbps or 384 Kbps and not at in-between speeds.
Connectivity to Internet
KNPC has acquired internet connections from the two service providers, namely
K.E.M.S. and the GULFS AT. Since the 64 kbps link from K.E.M.S is NOT
sufficient for Internet connectivity purposes, KNPC has also acquired a VSAT
connection from another service provider, GULFS A T. At present KNPC uses 128
kbps VSA T connection to Internet, which can be upgraded beyond 512 kbps as and
when need arises.
ISDN
The Unique Value of ISDN
To many users, especially individuals and those in smaller companies, ISDN is by
far the most important of these technologies. To literally millions of users, it offers
inexpensive dialed service, high-speed data transmission, and the ability to send and
receive voice, data, still and moving images through the same fully digital
connections. It is also a communications standard accepted throughout the world,
which means that voice and high-speed data connections to most of the major
business centers of the American Continent, Europe and the Pacific are literally no
more than a simple, dialed phone call away.
ISDN Links to isolated buildings in the Refineries
ISDN uses switched digital connections. Perhaps the most important single feature
of ISDN is supposed to offer inexpensive dialed digital access to the worldwide
telecommunications network. In that case, it is no longer necessary to lease costly
dedicated lines for low to medium-speed digital transmission, or to limit data speed
and accuracy by using modems to convert digital signals to analog pulses.
ISDN exchanges are being installed in all the three refineries and in Head Office.
Concrete plans are made to utilize the inherent data capability of these ISDN
exchanges to provide data links to isolated buildings in the refineries for the
purposes of accessing Local Area Networks.
Whenever ISDN connections are available elsewhere in Kuwait, KNPC will extend
the LAN and Internet connectivity for telecommunicating purposes.
Network Applications
Process Computers & Refinery Operations in KNPC
New Process Computers deployed in KNPC have its own data highways, connecting
several basic controllers. Distributed Control Systems and subsystems are
superimposed on these data highways. Process computers areused to run advanced
control applications and refinery operations support system. Even through
applications are distributed on different computers at different levels, they are all
interfaced one to another in order to form an integrated information system.
Refinery Operations Support System (ROSS)
Refinery Operations Support System in KNPC is a hierarchical structure of four
levels, real time system. The first level is characterized by a high frequency of data
acquisition and processing. The second level handles higher volumes of data on real
time basis and automatically initiate most of the functions apart from sending
information to level 3. Level 3 handles Relational Database and Client/Server
applications. The fourth level covers Corporate and Management functions. Even
though applications are distributed on different computers at different levels, they
are all interfaced one to another in order to form an integrated information system.
KNPC data network supports both the ROSS data streams and the business data
streams. Network management based on HP Open View facilitates this.
Maintenance Management System
Material Management System (MMS), which was recently implemented in KNPC is
designed to be an on-line, interactive system. MMS has four basic modules, which
are further divided into many sub-modules. The four basic modules are:
a) Material Catalogue
b) Material Requisition
c) Material Transactions
d) Material Procurement
Target machines for Material Management System are Sequent S5000 in MAA for
MAA users, Sequent S5000 in MAB for both MAB and SHU users. These are UNIX
operating system based machines having Ingress as Relational Data Base
Management System (RDBMS). In other words MMS is built using Ingress database
on UNIX operating system.
Total number of personnel who use the Material Management System are about 500
in MAA, 400 in MAB and 350 in SHU. These users are located in 27 scattered
buildings in MAA, 12 buildings in MAB and 17 buildings in SHU. To provide
access to the material system, trunking, computer wiring and installation of data
communication equipment for Local Area Network(LAN) has been done in the
above-mentioned buildings so that they are computer network-ready. Transport
Control (TCP)/Internet protocol (IP) software stack is required in Personal
Computers for an access to MMS.
Benefits
What will be the benefit of information highways? For business users, the data
highway represents the ubiquitous con: a internetwork that allows them easily and
inexpensively to connect with customers and suppliers, improve communications
among employees, and gather competitive data.
Applications facilitated by the highway, such as videoconferencing, document
sharing, and multimedia E-mail, could reduce travel sending and encourage
telecommuting. Business might also save big on reduced health-care costs if the data
highway improves distribution of medical records and enables new techniques such
as remote diagnostics. In short, the data highway could help businesses find
information more easily, open up new modes of research and education, and give
consumers a wide choice of services.
The information highway would be an internationally interconnected, high-speed,
two-way switched network. It would give us all access to home shopping, home
voting, home banking, facsimile newspapers that would "roll off' our television sets,
movies-on-demand, electronic mail, interactive computer information services and
digital libraries. And, if we all embraced these services with enough passion we'd be
able to fix education, break down social isolation and help people communicate.
Conclusion
Productivity, job creation, economic growth and export competitiveness are largely
due to the deployment of new technologies of Information age.Information
Technology drives productivity, creates and destroys jobs, changes the skills
required in the economy, and effects the capacity of firms and industries to perform
in international markets. The economic gains generated by Information Technology
result as much from its widespread diffusion as from its creation.
* * *
Promoting Touristic Destinations Through The
Use of the Internet: A Conceptual Framework
Muzaffer Uysal, PhD *
Abstract
The recent development of digital economy has reshaped how people and
organizations. transact business in everyday life throughout the world. Touristic
destinations and organizations are also taking advantage of the Internet technology.
Today's Internet began as an experiment more than two decades ago, and since than
it has grown exponentially. Never before in history have so many people been
connected to each other through the Internet and computer technology. The main
objective of this paper is to explore .the use of the Internet-information technology
in promoting touristic estimations The Paper consists 0 two major parts. Part one is
intended to provide a general framework of a touristic destination based on a
systems' approach. Once the framework of touristic destinations has been developed
part two will explore the possible applications based on the use of the internet
technology. The study will conclude with management and marketing suggestions as
to how destinations can become more effective in their efforts to promote their
tourist attractions.
* Professor of Tourism, Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management Virgin', Polytechnic
Institute and State University, V A, U.S.A
Introduction
Tile Tourism System
A number of scholars have proposed models of the tourism system (Gunn 1988;
Leiper 1979; Mill and Morrison, 1985). The tourism system consists of an origin and
a destination in its simplest form. An origin represents the demand side of tourism
from which visitors generate. A destination, on the Other hand, refers to the supply
side of tourism that may have certain attraction power. The tourist and tourism
attractions are the central aspects Of the system. The transportation and information
(marketing) components are seen as "linkages" which enable the tourist to make
decisions concerning \\there to go, how long to stay, and what to do. These linkages,
however, also enable the industry through promotion, product development, and
pricing Strategies to directly affect the decisions of prospective customers
(Fesenmaier and Uysa11990, UysaI1998).
People travel or participate in leisure activities because they are "pushed or Pulled"
by the forces of motivations and destination attributes. Push factors are considered to
be the socio-psychological constructs of the tourists and their environment that
predispose the individual to travel or participate in leisure activities, thus influencing
actual demand. Pull factors, on the other hand, are those that emerge as a result of
the attractiveness of a destination ql1d are thought to help establish the chosen
destination (Uysal and Hagan, 1993). However, in order for a destination or site
attribute to meaningfully respond to demand or reinforce push factors, it must be
perceived and valued.
The interaction between the two is reciprocal and affects the intensity 0f demand and
travel flows. An important factor affecting this relationship between the market
place and destination is the notion of accessibility of the sites, reasons for travel,
information about the site and destination evaluation by the tourist. Destination
promoters have the opportunity to create on-line data bases to increase the digital
information access and flow between the market place and destination site. Figure 1.
depicts the tourism system that consists of three major components; (1) Origin, (2)
Destination, and (3) the Linkage.
The resources which attract tourists are numerous, varied in numbers, in distribution
and degree of development, and in the extent that they an known to the tourist
market (Pearce 1987). On the market side, producers 01 transport, accommodation,
catering and entertainment services are involved with travel marketing
intermediaries such as tour operators and travel agents On the supply side, leisure
and recreational activities at destinations are the concern of the different types of
tourism suppliers including local and state agencies, private business owners,
tourism destination organizations, and the providers of infrastructure, and supporting
services of tourism. Thus, the supply side of tourism can be divided into three
elements; tourism-oriented products, resident-oriented products, and background
tourism element~ (Jafari 1983). Tourism-oriented products include accommodations,
food services, transportation, travel agencies and tour operators, recreation and
entertainment, and other travel trade services. As tourists extend their stay al
destination sites, they may increase their use of resident-oriented products which
include hospitals, bookstores, barber shops, and so forth. When utilizing the
aforementioned products, tourists also are exposed to or experience the background
tourism elements such as natural, sociocultural and man-made attractions that
frequently constitute their main reasons f01 travel. In the market place, the tourism
system cannot function without communications and information dissemination in
printed and audio-visual forms (Poone, 1988).
At the individual level, the operationalization of the tourism system needs to be tied
to the different phases of a tourism / travel experience. Clawson and Knetsche
(1971) provided five phases of a travel experience; Pretrip planning and information
gathering, Travel to site, On-site activities. Return trip and Post trip (see, Figure 2).
The interaction between the traveler and the service provider (the industry) may
occur with each phase of travel. During the first phase of travel, pretrip activities
transpire that may include forming the motivation for the trip, searching for triprelevant information, making pretrip arrangements, and so fort. Next, tourists use
some form of transportation enroute to the selected travel destination. Often, tourists
turn to the travel and tourism service providers (e.g., airlines, business) to help them
reach their destination site. Subsequently, tourists reach their destinations whereby
they often rely on travel/tourism service providers to supply the accommodations,
restaurants, entertainment, and encounters of the trave1er at the final destination.
Finally, tourists make the return trip from the leisure destination. During this phase,
tourists may interact with travel carriers and personnel. After the travel experience is
over and the travelers have returned to their homes, they are likely to reflect upon
their trip experiences. (Neal, Sirgy and Uysal, 1998). Brathwaite (1992) also
presented a framework called - value chain - that stretches across the different sub
sectors of the travel and tourism industry. Each link on the value chain represents an
experience point. The value each experience or travel phase creates may range from
"high", "moderate" to "low". Each point has the potential to produce a value for the
customer. Each offering of service-oriented technology may affect the value a
customer receives at one or more experience points. The question is then: How
technology may be used to influence the phases or processes of vacation
experiences? .. The impact of technology needs to be examined in relation to the
elements of the functioning tourism system for it to be more useful. The nature of
tourism as a system makes it ideally suitable to the increasing applications of
information technology.
Information Technology and the Internet
According to Poone (1998), Information Technology (IT) is the collective term used
to describe and understand the most recent developments in the mode (electronic)
and the mechanisms (computers, communications technologies and the software
which drive them). IT is used for the acquisition, processing, analysis, storage, date,
mining dissemination, and application of information. Different technological
developments and never-ending improvements in technology-based applications
have already impacted and will continue to impact the way that tourism and travel
industries do business. Sheldon (1994) points out that the tourism and travel industry
is one of the largest users of IT, due to the nature of travel and tourism businesses.
Some old technologies such as Air Traffic Control, security systems in hotels,
scanning systems, electronically controlled heating and cooling systems and
computer reservation systems (CRS's) must be updated and interfaced with new
technologies such as the smart highways and global positioning systems, electronic
multi-media information delivery systems for tourism promotion and effective
marketing, interactive wireless communication and virtual reality games and
experiences (Reed 1995).
At present, the most impactful technology is the Internet (Olsen, 1997). The Internet
supports a vast, multi-disciplinary community of researchers and educators within
universities, government, business, health, and industry. The phenomenal expansion
of the Internet came as a result of the rapid growth of high-performance computing
within the international research and development community during the 1980's.
High performance computing is now widely considered a keystone technology
which supports advances in many areas of science and technology, which in turn
have a large impact on future national and international progress and
competitiveness in the market place. Olsen (1997) cites several reasons for this,
including its rate of growth and user adoption, its ability to bring together a
multitude of other technologies, and its potential to derive electronic commerce. "In
short, it is believed that the Internet changes everything - the services and amenities
offered, and how they are delivered, the organizational structure, and the customer /
service provider interaction" (Olsen, 1997, p.2).
Destination Marketing and Tourism Promotion
In today's highly competitive market environment, the distribution and promotion
system of touristic products is being affected by the changing consumer needs and
technological advancements. Through the use of Information Highway, millions of
people are served throughout the world. New developments in direct access to global
distribution systems make travel and tourism arrangements instant and more
accessible. For example, agents can make the flight arrangements, get a rental car,
book a room, and buy a ticket to a show without ever using the telephone. In
addition, there is enough evidence to suggest that direct-sell, away from the location
of production and consumption, is on the increase since consumers have more access
to the world information system of the Internet and other available information data
bases. The Internet and the use of computer technology are transforming the
potentials and the capabilities of marketing, and especially direct marketing and
distribution channels (Walle, 1996). For example, Internet Travel Network, a leading
provider of on-line travel information via the Internet, has recently announced that it
has become the first Internet travel service to provide reservation services on the
four main central reservation systems (CRS's) of Sabre, Apollo, Systemone and
Worldspan. The service enables customers to make reservations 24 hours a day for
flights, car rentals and hotel rooms directly through the four CRS' s (Rimmington
and Kozak 1997).
The Interactive nature of the Internet is of great use in developing ongoing
relationships with, and have access to potential customers (Schonland and Wi1liams,
1996) Internet web sites are available on demand to consumers 24 hours a day. The
interactive potential of the medium could be used by market researchers and
destination promoters to engage customers in an ongoing "dialogue" as to inquire
and gather information, select and make a decision of interest on line. For example,
the Commonwealth of Virginia's home page is one that allows the user to evaluate
alternative destinations, including lodging types, entertainment places and
restaurants and different attractions for a given length of vacation time. The other
example is the USA CityLink Project which is the most comprehensive United
States city and state listing on the web, as well as one of the most visited travel sites
on the Internet today. It provides users with a starting point when accessing
information about US states and cities. The strict listing standards ensure that the
USA CityLink Project maintains links to quality sites that are geared toward
providing information about a certain city that will be useful to tourists. This Project
attracts users wanting to travel or relocate to a State or City in the United States.
This Project has captured the attention of the information-seeking Internet
community and maintains very prominent links in major directories. This project is
marketed outside of the United States, as well as domestically through national
media sources. Both traditional and advanced Internet marketing methods are used
to attract users to this site. The USA CityLink Project is unique to the Internet. The
Project incorporates a unique approach to boosting traffic. All linking sites work
together across the United States to promote this site in their local media making this
aspect
of
marketing
a
proven
grass
roots
effort
(http://usacitylink.com/overview.htm).
Distribution Channels and Technology
A tourism distribution channel may be defined as a total system of linkages between
actual and potential travelers and the suppliers of travel and tourism services. The
structure of the distribution system may be either direct (from the producer to the
seller) or indirect (the sale to the consumer through an intermediary). As the
definition implies, the challenge is how to get the customer to the consumption site
(the retailer), that is, make it convenient and accessible. The use of the Internet has
the potential to play a faster and less expensive role in direct tourism marketing.
This unique feature raises the need for a different kind of distribution system in
tourism. Suppliers of touristic goods and services and destinations may use several
different methods to distribute their products and services. These include their own
channels (partially or wholly owned), managing through management and marketing
contracts, franchising, hiring sales representatives, and using various intermediaries.
The intermediaries of tourism channel of distribution consists of three main
categories: tour packages, retail travel agents and specialty channels. Included in the
specialty channel category are incentive travel firms, meeting and convention
planners, hotel representatives, association executive marketing organizations,
corporate travel offices and others. Internet marketing offers new ways and means of
supplying information to the end user. For example, inclusive tours produced by tour
operators can be directly offered to customers via the Internet and touristic
destination promoters can play an active role in the IT-based new direct tourism
marketing (Rimmington and Kozak, J 997).
The diversity of intermediaries creates different combinations and interactions,
resulting in a wide variety of channel configurations. Each intermediary with a
different distribution configuration has the power to influence when, and where
people travel. A major task of these intermediaries is the packagit1~"9f.a number of
complementary touristic products to generate demand and achieve a vacation's
experience. Today, through the use of the Internet, destination promoters and tour
operators have the opportunity to reach and serve their actual and potential
customers directly. The role of travel agents may also be refined in that they may
serve as an information center and would like to be informed about products and
services of both destinations (tourism suppliers) and tour operators, to assist the
customer with decision making and the reservation process through direct
communication. In this way, they can probably offer their own specialized products
and services.
There are three main channel strategies that may be used to stimulate demand on the
Internet Marketing professionals and destination promoters may employ: (1) On-line
joint promotional efforts or cross marketing, (2) The push strategy, and (3) The pull
strategy. And in the pull strategy, the goal is to entice the consumer to buy the
product. Certain inducements are offered to make the consumer more interested or
seek the appropriate distribution channel for the product in question. For example,
Frequent Flyer Programs, or incentives for repeat visitors to a given resort or golf
course. Such incentives and programs wi11lure the potential customer to seek out
the product. The push strategy, on the other hand, acts in the opposite way. The goal
is to get the intermediary to sell the product to the consumer. For example, tour
operators and travel agents that work with resorts and hotels, or convention and
meeting planners may be offered commission to increase bookings for a given time
period. Certain incentives are given, such as complementary rooms, free airfare to
selected destinations. The Internet offers destination promoters and tourism suppliers
the ability to show ful1-color virtual catalogues, provide on-screen order or
reservation forms, offer on-line customer support, announce and even distribute
certain products easily (Berthon, cited in Rimmington and Kozak, 1997). Such
communication can give customers a clear impression of what they are likely to
experience.
Concluding Comments
So far, major steps in the promotion and development of tourism destinations have
been linked with advancements in physical linkages and the level of accessibility,
the system that creates the structural linkage between the market place (origin) and
the destination site. Today, this linkage between the market place and destination
site is also embodied in information systems relating to both computerized
reservation services and communication systems in the computerization of travel
financial services. These technological components of the distribution channels help
facilitate the flow of information at a faster pace and make business transactions
instantaneous, resulting in efficiency and effective use of time and resources.
Potential visitors have the opportunity to have access to, and interact with databases
at any points of the tourism system and its phases of vacation experiences.
IT has become a critical factor in tourism operation and management. One new
development in the information systems is the destination management systems
(DMS's) which combine destination information and product databases with or
customer databases and offer a combined information retrieval and reservation
capability. The national tourism offices and suppliers in destinations could promote
their products much more effectively through DMS's (Sheldon, 1993). Several
countries as destinations, such as Canada, Denmark, Ireland, New Zealand and
several states in the USA, have already developed comprehensive electronic
databases that are available to a wide range of users, ranging from those which
contain information only to those ful1y incorporated with reservations (Liu and
Jones, 1995).
It is not sufficient to simply put the destination information on-line. At the
destination site, touristic goods and service providers must strive to ensure that they
provide the highest levels of visitor experience and satisfaction possible. This may
mean providing appropriate services that are consistent with the advertisements and
promises of on-line digital information.
In order to facilitate the flow of information between the consumer and suppliers of
tourism goods and services, special marketing and management considerations are
needed. For example, up-to-date information packages should be developed and
maintained on-line, clearly describing and illustrating the nature of the product
offerings. On-line information should be made specific to destinations. It is the
responsibility of destinations to provide intermediaries and potential customers with
updated and accurate information. The Internet offers destinations a cost-effective
means of promoting, presenting their attractions and reaching a wider audience of
potential travelers. IT applications enable customers to manage and mine their own
information gathering and making travel arrangements. The use of the Internet as a
marketing tool in tourism, however, should not be "one shot case study", it should
rather be an on-going communication effort with built-in customer monitoring
mechanism.
References
• Clawson, M and J.L. Knetsch (1971). Economics of Outdoor Recreation.
• Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins Press.
• Brathwaite, R (J 992). Value-Chain Assessment of the Travel Experience.
Cornel! Hotel & Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 33(5): 49.
• Fesenmair, D and M. Uysal (J 990). The Tourism System: Levels of
Economic and Human Behavior, in Tourism and Leisure: Dynamics and
Divers;ty, edited by J.B. Zeiger and L. M. Canedy, published by NationaJ
Recreation and Park Association, Alexandria, Va, USA, pp. 27-35.
• Gunn, C.A (1988). Tourism Planning (second edition). New York: Taylor &
Francis.
• Jafar, J (1983). Anatomy of the Travel Industry. The Cornel! Hotel and
Restaurant Administration Quarterly, 24 May: 71-77.
• Leiper, N (1979). The Framework of Tourism: Toward a Definition of
Tourism, Tourist and the Tourist Industry. Annals of Tourism Research, 6 (4):
390A07.
• Liu, Z and E. Jones (1995). The Role of Technology in Tourism
Development. Paper presented at the Fourth Annual World Business
Congress, July 13-16, Istanbul, Turkey.
• Mill, R.C and A.M. Morrison (1985). The Tourism System: An Introductory
Text. Prentice hall, Inc., Englewood Cliffs: New Jersey, USA.
• Neal, NJ., Sirgy, MJ and M. Uysal (1998). The Role of Satisfaction with
Leisure Travel/Tourism Services and Experience in Satisfaction with Leisure
Life and Overall Life. Journal ofBus;ness Research, in press.
• Olsen, M (1997). IH&RA Technology Think Thank Session Summary,
Unpublished paper, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, Va., USA. pp. 8.
• Poone, A (1988). Tourism and Information Technologies. Annals of Tourism
Research, 15(4): 531-549.
• Reed, C. (1995). White House Conference on Travel and Tourism Technology
- Keeping with Change. Unpublished Whitepaper, Virginia Tech. Blacksburg,
Va.,USA.
• Rimmington, M and M. Kozak (1997). Developments in Information
Technology: Implications for the Tourism Industry and Tourism Marketing.
Anatolia, 8(3): 59-80.
• Schonland, A and P. Williams (1996). Using the Internet for Travel and
Tourism Survey Research: Experiences from the Net Travel Survey. Journal
of Travel Research, 35(2): 81-87.
• Sheldon, P.J. (1993). The Impact of Computer Reservations Systems on Long
Haul Travel. Tourist Review, 4: 3 I -35.
• Sheldon, PJ. (1994). Information Technology and Computer Reservation
Systems. In S. Witt and L. Mountinho (Eds.), Tourism Marketing and
Management Handbook, pp. 133-141. Prentice Hall.
• Uyal, M and L. Hagan (1993) Motivation of Pleasure Travel and Tourism. In
Encycloped;a of Hospitality and Tourism, edited by M. Khan, M. Olsen and
T. Var. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold, pp. 798-810.
• Uysal, M (1998). The Determinants of Tourism Demand: A Theoretical
Perspective in press, in The Economic Geography of Tourism, edited by D.
Ioannides and K. Debbage, London Rutgledge, UK.
• Walle, A.H. (1996). Tourism and the Internet: Opportunities for Direct
Marketing. Journal qjTravel Research, 35(1): 72-77.
* * *
Arabic Internet/Intranet: Specifications,
Technologies, and Products
Dr. Hazem Y. Abdelazim, PhD*
Abstract
The necessity of having competitive Arabic Internet/Intranet solutions, is currently
being more and more witnessed, as the cyber culture is penetrating into various
aspects of every day life. The language factor in the Internet, and it's relative, the
intranet, is highly influential, due to it's cultural, socio-economic, and political
implications.
The current paper aims at highlighting Arabic issues/problems related to the
Internet/Intranet Industry, and presenting the state of the Art in Arabic products and
solutions. Sakhr solutions and products will be presented as a model for a
comprehensive Arabic Internet/Intranet suite. The solution comprises major
Information content-related technologies such as browsing, publishing, search, and
directory categorization. Special attention will be focused on Arabic search
requirements, since search and the web are too tightly coupled inter-related words
nowadays.
* Executive Director, Sakhr Software, Kuwait.
Introduction
The Internet, as an invention, may have more impact than most of the historical
inventions such as electricity, radio, steam engine, and printing. It is rapidly
changing the way people think, act, and communicate. The language factor is
extremely influential in this new era, due to it's cultural, socio-economic, and
political implications.
The internet content has been dominated by English/American language, while other
languages are starting to catch up. The Arabic language, however, is considerably
lagging behind, leaving the road to other cultures to force their presence.
The current situation with Information Technology and its super highway the
Internet - is even more serious. Failing to create effective and international quality
solutions for any language would mean that this language will become less and less
significant, as information systems using other languages take center stage in
everyday life.
The current paper aims at
1. Highlighting Arabic issues related to the Internet Industry, and presenting the
state of the Art. Main focus will be on:
a. . Specifications / standards.
b. . Technologies / products.
2. Describe the components of an Arabic Intranet solution.
3. Touching some advanced and future technologies for the Arabic Internet, such
as Machine translation, Speech, and Natural Language Understanding.
Internet standards will be discussed, while focusing on Arabic-related specifications.
Arabic language parameters and tags, in Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP), and
Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) will be clearly presented.
One of the most important Internet services, electronic mail, will be considered from
an Arabic perspective. The Main focus will be on the impact of the standard Simple
Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP) on Arabic E-mail sending and receiving, and
possible solutions to the 7-bit problem. New trend in E-mail (rich mail, based on
HTML standard) will be investigated, as well as the associated IN-BOX Direct
commercial capabilities, when used in Arabic. Emphasis will be on Sakhr solutions
in the Internet as a model for a comprehensive Arabic Internet solution, from a
technology and product specification perspective, and not from a pure marketing
perspective.
The solution comprises major Information content-related technologies such as
browsing, publishing, search, and directory categorization. Special focus will placed
on Arabic search requirements, since now search and the web are too tightly coupled
inter-related words, and having an "effective" Arabic Search engine on the
Internet/Intranet is increasingly representing a basic need.
Finally, a flash on future technologies for Arabic Internet/intranet, will be depicted.
Technologies such as Machine translation, Speech, and Natural Language
Understanding, will be discussed in the context of Internet solutions.
New trends/standards in push technology, and the associated requirements for an
Arabic Push solution to be prevalent, will be envisaged.
Arabic Specifications and standards.
Hyper Text Transfer Protocol (HTTP).
The Internet is runned on protocols, which are standardized, by which computers
exchange data. The underlying protocol is TCP / IP that is Transfer Control
Protocol/Internet Protocol, but individual functions are controlled by protocols that
ride atop TCP/IP. HTTP controls the retrieval of web documents (HTML) files by
the browser. It also controls interaction over the web through such features as forms.
Currently there is an Internet draft for HTTP ver 1. I , presented by IETF.
The main concern in the present paper, is on Arabic-language related parameters in
the HTTP specifications. There are two basic request-header fields, that are
language/code page-related. These are Accept-Charset, and Accept-Language. The
header fields are related to the Content Negotiation mechanism that is defined in the
latest HTTP specifications. Content Negotiation is the process of selecting the best
representation for a given response when there are multiple representations
available. One of the objectives of the protocol is to define a mechanism for
negotiation between the browser, and the server, when the server contains different
data representations, in the form of different code pages, and different Languages.
The Accept-Charest header is used to negotiate on the characters set level, which is
very important for the Arabic Language. This is due to the fact that there are lots of
Arabic code pages, with no adopted unified standard. Implementing the character set
negotiation requests the client to client his preferences through Accept-Charset, and
the server, to have a bU1~t-I.n negotiation function to respond with the proper code
page. Currently, this IS not implemented in most Arabic browser, and if it's
implemented in some browsers, it will be useless, unless the server has a
corresponding negotiation function, which is currently not implemented in almost all
servers containing Arabic text.
Sakhr's Approach to the Code Page problem on the Internet
Sakhr has adopted a practical solution, for the current problem, which is automatic
Code page detection and conversion on the fly for 11 of the most widely used code
pages.
The other request-header field, which is Accept-Language, is used for Language
selection and is essential for Multi-lingual sites, which is starting to be a trend.
Again Automatic translation on the fly could be an intelligent remedy, if available
efficiently.
Needless to say that the ultimate solution to all of these issues is the Unicode, that
wi11 contain all languages, with a defacto standard character set. Unicode has been
set as a standard, but not yet widely adopted by operating systems and applications.
B- Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML)
It's the lingua franca of the Web. Currently there is RFC 2070[1], concerned about
all HTML tags and attributes related to the Bidirectional languages (that include
Arabic). The following attributes are related to Bidi languages,
Align: Right Alignment is essential for Arabic display (Available since HTML 2.0)
DIR: Directional ordering for text pieces (Right-to-Left) for Arabic "RTL"
Lang: Language attribute to specify a specific order of characters within a string.
Lang=ar forces character typed to be displayed from right to left irrespective of it's
original language.
These attributes are available in almost all text entities. However, there is a container
tag <SPAN> that can contain all these attributes in one section.
There is also a code page element defined in the Meta tag that identifies the
character set of the current webpage. For ex. <META charset="windows-1256">.
This is different than the Accept-Charset on the protocol level in the fact that in the
former, the tag is an instruction to the browser to support the designated code page,
whereas in the latter, the content negotiation is triggered on the server to respond
with the appropriate Code Page.
Arabic Technologies/products.
A- Arabic Browser
The browser technology is currently being a platform rather than a viewer
application for displaying HTML documents. A complete browser currently should
host other executable contents like java applets, ActiveX, and Plug-Ins. There are
also some scripting languages that should be interpreted by the bowser, namely
javaScript, and VbScript.
Therefore, the complete Arabic browser, should have all the above specifications, in
addition to proper bidirectional browsing.
State of the Art
Internationally, the major two players in browser market, are Microsoft, and
Netscape, with their products, Explorer, and Navigator/Communicator. For the
Arabic market, it's also the same. Arabic MS Explorer from Microsoft, and Arabic
Netscape Navigator (Sindbad) from Sakhr. Alis also has a multilingual browser
called Tango.
It is worth mentioning that although it was expected that some companies in the
middle east, would have thought of developing a browser that is tailored for the
Arabic Language, this didn't happen. The main reason as mentioned previously, that
it's a platform war rather than developing a viewer for HTML. which is an
achievable task, even with the complexity of the bidirectional algorithms.
The best approach for developing a bilingual, Arabic/English browser is to inject
Arabic functionality inside a powerful Latin browser. This approach was adopted by
Sakhr, and the browser of choice was Netscape Navigator. This means that all the
power, and capabilities of the Navigator as a browser, is augmented with proper
bidirectional support. This is in addition to useful add-on tools, as Web-Based
Bilingual dictionary, Arabic rich E-mail, Arabic chatting, Auto-Code page detection,
among others. An important feature in Sindbad, is that it can be used worldwide by
any user having non-Arabic Windows 95 without changing the operating system.
B- Arabic E-mail
E-mail is the most important communication service currently provided by the
Internet protocols. Unfortunately, the basic E-mail transfer protocols was designed
for only the English language, and assumes a 7 -bit ASCII code for transmission.
Arabic language, irrespective to the code page, used octet (S-bit) representation.
Accordingly, direct transmission of Arabic E-mail, will not work properly. The
normal solution is through 7-bit encoding. There are various encoding techniques,
like base-16, base-64, and quoted printable. In all these algorithms, the message is
encoded into 7 bits, get transmitted, and then decoded back by the recipient.
State of the art,
There are a few products now that support Arabic E-mail, using the abovementioned encoding techniques. These products provide only flat Arabic text, which
means that no colors, or text effects, like bold, or emphasized is supported. Also
other elements of rich content like images, tables, ... etc is not supported in the Email message.
New trends in E-mail
Currently, the trend is web based rich mail, i.e., the mail itself is a web page with all
the richness of HTML. This also means that you can also send active content as an
E-mail message, like Java applets, ActiveX, ... and others. This approach has been
pioneered by Netscape, and Sakhr Sindbad was the first product to support this new
trend for the Arabic language.
As a direct consequence of the rich E-mail concept, a service called In-BOX direct
has emerged. The Internet technology is now moving from a Pull Model to Push
Model. This means that web pages will be pushed to Internet Users in their In-Box
as an E-mail rather than (in addition to) pulling and searching data from the web.
Currently, publishing houses are implementing this feature, and there are many online magazines now pushing their daily or weekly news to end users, mail boxes.
Arabic implementation of this feature is still in it's infancy, but this is expected to
change in the near future.
c- Arabic Web publishing
This product can be considered as the corner stone for the existence of an Arabic
Internet content. Due to the current absence of this tool, most of the Arabic content
was published in the form of images, which has many shortcomings, namely
downloading time which is more pronounced in the middle east for limited
bandwidth, as well as hindered navigation and search capabilities, which are crucial
for data mining on the web.
· There are four main levels for Web Creation tools,
Level I: Basic HTML editor, that allows direct editing of HTML tags with no What
You See Is What You Get (WYSIWIG) support.
Level Il: Support for most of HTML tags and attributes in a WYSIWIG manner.
HTML syntax validator. Examples are, "Word Assistant" from Microsoft, Netscape
Navigator Gold, and Communicator Composer.
Level Ill: Professional Web Publisher tool: Additional features are full support for
frames, Image maps, ActiveX, Java Applets, Plug-Ins, JavaScript, and VB script.
Examples, are Hot Metal pro, Hot Dog.
Level IV: Web Authoring, Administration and Management tool. This is a high end
client/server product, which includes all the above, in addition to web site control,
layout link view, remote publishing, highly artistic web development, Data-base
publishing. Example is Microsoft Internet Studio.
Microsoft Front Page97 is midway between Levels Ill, and IV.
State of the Art
Currently, there is no real professional Arabic Web Publisher. Sakhr has developed
an easy to use Internet Writer that is bundled with Sindbad, and that can be used to
create Arabic Web pages easily without knowing HTML. The Internet Writer is
considered to be Level II, in the scale above. Sakhr has released a professional
Arabic authoring tool, which is "NasherNet" Vel' 1.0, that is considered to be
midway between Levels Ill, and IV, as far as the general publishing specifications
are concerned. NasherNet Vel' 1.0, is equipped with very advanced Arabic specific
features, such as:
· Use High Quality script font for generating Arabic Fancy Headlines · Use
Sakhr Speller
· Use Sakhr Proof Reader / Grammar Checker
· Use Sakhr Dictionary
· Arabic Diacritizer
. Integrate Arabic OCR (Optical Character Recognition) for Automatic Data
Acquisition
· Arabic Indexer to automatically fill Meta tag
· Tracking of created documents, Using Arabic Full Text Search engine
Nasher Net Ver 2.0, will have the following additional major features:
· Support for HTML 4.0
· Support for dynamic HTML
· Full Site Management
· Collaborative - MultiUser - Client/Server Support
D- Arabic Internet Search
Internet without search is like drowning in an information flood. There are numerous
search engines on the Internet/Intranet [2l for Latin languages. However, Arabic
search is still in it's infancy.
Following are the requirements, and features for an Arabic search engine:
I. Search
a) Query By Example (QBE): this is one of the most powerful search features. It is
characterized by ease of search and efficient retrieval. It allows a normal user
to enter freely any text without following restricting rules like those of
conventional Boolean systems. QBE type of search, detects intelligently
significant words, expands them morphologically, and applies concurrent
search, and finally combines the result.
b) Common Arabic Mistakes (CAM) search: This is also a useful feature, as there
are some common spelling mistakes in "Hamza" and "Haa". The system
intelligently searches for the mistaken words as well as the correct words. For
example, Other Search types:
· Search Exact
· Search by Stem (Arabic and English)
· Phrase Search
· Search by word derivatives
· Boolean Search
· Search by synonyms
· Search by meaning (using a Bilingual Dictionary)
· Proximity search (same paragraph, header, sentence, etc. ..) · Search with
Diacritics
· Search by Concept
2. Retrieval
a) Relevancy Ranking: A very significant feature, particularly in the Internet. It
works in collaboration with QBE search to rank the resulting document based
on relevancy with respect to the input query. Without this feature, the retrieval
efficiency becomes minimal, and the user will be forced to navigate through
the search results successively to find his target.
b) Search Term Highlighting and Tracking: Arabic search system should provide
the ability to highlight search terms, an important feature that is rarely found
in many search engines, as it is an expensive feature that requires high
resources and good engineering design to keep track of the offsets, and
coordinates of each word on the web.
For an Arabic search solution on the web, Sakhr has developed IDRISI, Intelligent
Document .Retrieval and Information Search for the Internet IDRISI is available at
www.AIIDRISI.com
What is IDRISI?
IDRIST is Sakhr Solution for Arabic Search on the Internet. With the exponential
growth of textual information on the Internet, and the need to advertise and expose
information on a world wide scale, the availability of an Internet Search becomes
inevitable.
Basically, IDRISI adds advanced retrieval capabilities to any Arabic / Bilingual Site
whose information needs to be exposed and searched publicly.
IDRISI is the first "Arabic search engine" on the Internet. The term "Arabic" in this
context, does not mean surface Arabic string search, but what is meant is contentbased linguistic search. For a search engine to qualify as an Arabic Search Engine, it
should be armed with a strong base of Linguistic processors, simply to render proper
Arabic search. The Arabic language is highly inflectional in nature, and accordingly,
flat (exact) search will definitely yield poor results, as far as Arabic content is
concerned.
"Retrieval Precision", is a major criterion for evaluating any Full Text Retrieval
system. Its importance is even more pronounced on the Internet. For Arabic content,
Retrieval precision means linguistic search capabilities. IDRISI is characterized by
strong search, and retrieval features.
E- Arabic Directory and remote search
Recalling a statement from the economists Review, September 14th, 1996:
"Traditionalists worry that the Internet will drown knowledge in a sea of
random information. Indexing technology has proved them wrong so far"
The Internet's greatest asset, is that it is a World Wide Publishing Media... for
anyone. This means an unprecedented growth of information on the Web. Taming
that growth represents a serious challenge to computer and Information scientists.
The indexing and search technologies should be moving step-by-step, with that
growth, to provide instant and comprehensive access to Web surfers.
There are three main categories for tackling the problem,
a) Directory Index: Prespecified subject categories, in a tree structure.
b) Full Text Search: This is based on a robot to crawl the web and generate a
universal index + search engine.
c) Hybrid.
There is a valid belief that the ultimate solution is the hybrid, which combines a
directory index for narrowing down the scope, followed by a more focused Full Text
Search.
Sakhr has started to implement the ultimate hybrid model. A preliminary Directory
Index has been built, since the number of Arabic sites on the Internet is very limited.
Building the directory index, needs professional and experienced classifiers, to
assign web pages to the appropriate categories. Sakhr has a solid foundation and
experience in this field, and a well known product: the Islamic directory.
Sakhr has also developed a powerful tool that semi-automates the indexing process.
The automatic indexer can extract significant key words that represent a profile for
the document to be classified. In the near future, there will be an automatic theme
prediction tool, that can automatically suggest the theme of the web page to be
categorized.
The other main component of this hybrid model is the Internet Search engine. Sakhr
IDRISI is that engine. The Arabic Directory is available at www.Al-Dalil.com
Arabic Intranet
Intranet is a TCP / IP network inside a company that links the company's personnel
and information in a way that makes people more productive, information more
accessible, and navigation through all the resources and applications of the
company's computing environment more seamless than ever before.
The Full Service Intranet takes advantage of the family of open standards and
protocols that have emerged from the Internet. 62% of Fortune Magazine's Top 1000
companies are either evaluating or have implemented Intranets.
There are many benefits of using intranets [3], namely, Making use of existing
technology, Enhanced Corporate communication and Knowledge Sharing, Standard
Interface, Consistency in sharing a World Wide Standard document format (HTML),
and quick deployment.
Components of an Intranet
Generally speaking, the architecture of an Intranet is a blend between client and
server software. What follows is an enumeration of the components involved in any
Intranet,
1. Client Side:
a) Browsing & Navigation
b) E-Mail
c) Web Publishing
d) Collaboration and News
2. Server Side:
a) HTTP Web Server
b) Mail Server
c) News and Collaboration Server
d) Search Server
e) Directory Server
For a full Arabic Intranet solution, all the client side components should be Arabicenabled, whereas Mainly the search on the server side should be in Arabic.
Future of the Web: Arabic Language Perspective
It's highly believed that advanced technological products as machine translation and
speech processing will play a significant role in the future of the web. With Machine
translation systems, on line language translation from within the browser, is
definitely a revolutionary tool. This is because the web by it's nature is
multinational/multilingual, and in order to expose to other cultures and civilizations,
this tool will be inevitable.
Speech processing will serve as a natural interface to the web. With speech
recognition, E-mail can be dictated form a microphone, forms can be filled and
submitted online, just by giving verbal instructions. With Text-to Speech
synthesizers, E-mail can be heard rather than read, and audio browsing will be a
reality.
Combining Speech recognition with Intelligent search and Text-to-Speech, the
dream of natural human / machine communication will come true, which is one of
the themes of the fifth generation of computers.
Natural Language Understanding will also have a significant impact on agents
personalization and content analysis. It will be possible to censor web content by
meaning and sense political, social, or cultural inclinations of the web contents.
Sakhr's well established base of Natural Language Processing and research for more
than 10 years will give the company the chance to be a key contributor to these
inventions in the upcoming years.
References
1. F. Yergeau, et a1. "Internationalization of the HyperText Markup Language",
RFC2070, January 1997.
2. D. Carneron, "Intranets, Technical Issues, and Business Applications",
Computer Technology Research Report, 1997.
3. Delphi / Doculabs Intranet Search and Retrieval Report, Delphi Consulting
Group Inc., 1997.
Building Arabic Information Retrieval Systems
Mr. Abdelghani Bellaachia*
Abstract
This paper addresses three main issues in the development of an Arabic information
retrieval system. The first issue concerns the design of a parser' that, besides
recognizing Arabic terms, deals with common mistakes when writing Arabic text.
The second issue relates to stemming techniques. Stemming is used to reduce the
space complexity of the index and to improve information retrieval effectiveness.
Techniques for suffix and prefix removal for Arabic text will be discussed. The third
issue consists of stopwords removal. A list of 100 stopwords for non-vocalized text
is provided. It was identified using a corpus of 100 MB of an Arabic newspaper text.
Finally, we review our work on the Arabization of BASIS, a commercial document
management system. In this work, we have developed an Arabic search engine that
supports non-vocalized, vocalized and partial1y vocalized text and queries. We have
also designed a stopword list of over 3,700 words and a stemming algorithm.
* Computer Science and Mathematics Division, AI-Akhawayn University in Infrane, Morocco.
Introduction
Nowadays, the Internet is not just a tool to disseminate information, but it has
become a means of national development in today's technology world. A vast
diversity of heterogeneous information is becoming electronically available, highly
distributed throughout the Internet. To efficiently search this information, a very
sophisticated search engine is mandatory. Today, we are all familiar with search
engines such as AltaVista, Yahoo!, etc. Search engines were extensively studied for
a long time before the Internet existed. A search engine represents the heart of an
information retrieval (IR) system. An IR system is usually described as the task of
searching a collection of documents to produce a list of documents preferably ranked
in order of relevance to a given query. It has been extensively studied since the
1940s.
Several IR system issues have already been studied for several languages, other than
English. Examples of these languages are Chinese, Japanese, Slovene, Dutch, and
Spanish, etc. Both Spanish and Chinese retrievals were present in TREC (Text
Retrieval Evaluation Conference), 96 for evaluation [Harm96l. Research in Arabic
information retrieval systems is very new and limited compared to work in English
and other Latin or Asian languages. Moreover, the poor presentation of Arabic
language on the WWW is mainly due to the lack in the development of Arabic IR
systems.
Very little work has been done for the Arabic IR (AIR). The Airis system [Khar94l
is an information retrieval system that uses both manual indexing and stemming with
a binary term weighing. A· recent work on automatic indexing of Arabic documents
is addressed in [Hmei97l. In this paper, the authors talked about automatic indexing,
without providing a stemming algorithm to automatically generate the stems.
Furthermore, they have applied the Luhn's observation without verification for the
Arabic language. Luhn based his observation on Zipf's law and conjectured that the
index terms of a collection are located in the middle frequency range when the terms
are sorted with respect to their frequencies in the whole collection.
In this paper, we address three fundamental requirements for the development of an
AIR system: a parseI' or lexical analyzer, a stopword list, and a stemming strategy.
A stopword list consists of words that are either highly frequent or have no meaning
in the retrieval of relevant documents. Their presence in the index would yield a
degradation in the overall system performance. Stemming reduces the different
morphological variants of a word to a base form called a stem. It consists of
stripping a word from all its prefixes and suffixes. Conflicting word variants lead to
a reduction in the size of the index of the system, and to an enhancement of the
retrieval effectiveness which we will define in the next section.
The paper is organized as follows. The next section gives an overview of an IR
system. Section 3 presents issues that should be integrated in an Arabic parser. A
stop word list is discussed in Section 4. In section 5, stemming techniques of Arabic
words are presented. Section 6 presents our work on the Arabization of BASIS, one
of the most powerful document management system software from Information
Dimensions. Finally, Section 7 concludes the paper.
Overview of IRS
The main objective of an IR system is to search, in real time, the terms and phrases
of a user's query in a document database, and retrieve potentially relevant
documents. Figure I shows a typical on-line IR system. The goal of every system is
to retrieve all relevant documents in the database. This is called the recall measure. It
is the ratio of relevant documents retrieved for a given query to the number of
relevant documents for that query in the database. Another fundamental and classical
measure in IR is the precision. It represents the ratio of the number of relevant
documents retrieved, to the total number of documents retrieved. Both the recall and
the precision measure the effectiveness of an IR system.
One of the main modules of the processor of an IR system, Figure I, is the indexer of
the document database. The retrieval of relevant documents wi1l not be possible
without building an index of the document database.
Indexing a collection of documents can be done either manually or automatically.
Details of the cons and pros of these indexing techniques can be found in the book
by Salton [SaIt83]. In order to cope with the huge flow of information published
every day on the Internet, manual indexing would be very time-consuming and very
costly. Furthermore, Salton has already shown back in 1975 that automatic indexing
gives better results. Hence, automatic indexing is the technique of choice for the new
and future IR systems.
Since it is always difficult to retrieve all relevant documents and reject irrelevant
documents based on the initial query, Relevance Feedback (RF) is used
automatical1y to reformulate the query, using previously-retrieved documents.
Determining which retrieved documents are good ones is normalIy done by the user.
Most of current WWW search engines support relevance feedback [Hask97]. For
example, AltaVista provides a visual tool for relevance feedback. More information
about relevance feedback can be found in [Frak92]. Relevance feedback techniques
should be incorporated in an AIR system.
In order to enhance the retrieval performance, other operations are performed on
extracted words at both the indexing phase and at the query processing. Figure 2
shows these operations. They include a parser or lexical analyzer, the removal of
high-frequency words (stopword list or negative dictionary), stemming algorithms,
and term weighting. In case of query processing, an efficient search operation is
required. In this paper we discuss and present solutions for three fundamental
requirements: parsing, stemming and stopword list. The remaining issues such as
weighing schemes and relevance feedback are outside the scope of this paper.
Lexical analysis
The first important step in building an index of a collection of documents or
processing a user query, is to answer this fundamental question: what are the words
that have to be considered? The answer to this question depends on both the topics
and the language of the collection. For example, most of the time numbers are not
considered as good index terms and therefore they are not indexed. However, they
are very important in some applications, such as legal databases. Therefore, the
designer should take into account the topics of the database to be indexed when
customizing his or her lexical analyzer.
To recognize words in a document, it is necessary to define the punctuation and any
other characters in the language that are used as word separators. The Arabic
language uses also white spaces as in English and some Arabic punctuation
character that are: ":", ".", "," "" "", "(" ,"')" " These characters are used to implement
an Arabic lexical analyzer.
In addition to word recognition, an Arabic parser should also deal with the link
character or Arabic Tatweel character as it is called in the 1256 Windows Arabic
code page. This character is used only in cosmetic writeup, i.e., instead of writing
‫ ﻋﻠﻤﻰ‬we write ‫ ﻋﻠﻤﻲ‬The parser should remove if from every input word.
Finally. the parser should handle common mistakes when writing some characters
such as tS and 15 (the dots in the second character are missing in the first character).
An example is in ‫ ﻋﻠﻰ‬and ‫ ﻋﻠﻲ‬Other characters where Arab writers make mistakes
are ‫ ة‬and ‫ ﻩ‬and in the characters ‫ أ‬, ‫ا‬, and ‫( إ‬writers drop‫ ء‬from the ‫ أ‬and ‫)إ‬. In general,
the parser wiII adopt one character at the index step and at the query processing.
Stopword List
Luhn (1957), one of the pioneer researchers in IR systems, showed that high
frequency or "flugg" words in English such as "the", "of', "and", "is", etc., are
worthless as index terms. A list of these words is caned a stopword list or negative
dictionary. In English, there are about 425 words that are considered as stopwords
[Frak92]. An IR system using these words is likely to retrieve almost every indexed
document. Furthermore, these words represent a large fraction of most documents.
Francis and Kucera (1982) found the ten most frequently used words in the English
language typical1y account for 20 to 30 percent of the words in a document
[Fran82]. Therefore, the elimination of these words improves both the effectiveness
and the efficiency of the retrieval. Hence, when indexing the words of a collection,
stopwords are not included.
Currently, there is no published Arabic stopword list. When building our Arabic
stopword list, we had to consider a11 terms that are highly frequent such as particles
(e.g., (>A , ~ ' ~ ,~ ' etc.) and some verbs and nouns that have no retrieval meaning
such as ‫ "آﺎن' دام ' آﺎد‬and ‫ اخ‬, ‫ اﻟﻴﻮم‬, etc.
Once this first list was designed, we had to generate a11 the variants of each word,
i.e. adding a11 affixes and conjugating a11 verbs in a11 tenses. We have produced a
list of 3,700 stopwords. We have used this list in the Arabization of the document
management system BASIS, section 6.
In [Be1l98a], we looked for the first time at the Arabic word and character frequency
distribution and provided an Arabic non-vocalized stopword list. We tested this list
using a corpus of 100 MB of non-vocalized newspaper data. We found that there is a
total number of 2,896,792 stopwords from our list in the co11ection. This represents
about 24% of the total number of words in the whole co11ection. We also
considered only the first 100 most frequent stopwords in the co11ection. We found
that they represent about 22% of the total number of terms in the whole collection. A
list of these 100 words is given in the table 1. We think that this is a good list of
candidate stopwords for a non-vocalized Arabic textual database.
Stemming
Many IR systems use stemming to replace all words to a common form, genera11y
called stems. If a user formulates a request containing the word "networking", it is
likely that s/he is also looking for documents containing "network", "networks", etc.
Different stemming algorithms have been used for the English language, namely the
"S" stemming algorithm, the Lovins algorithm, the Porter algorithm [Harm91].
several other stemmers have been proposed for other languages with similar
morphological structure to that of English such as French, Dutch, Finnish, and
Turkish. It has been shown that for these languages the removal of only suffixes is
sufficient for the purposes of information retrieval. The most popular English
stemming algorithm, the Porter's stemmer, has no rule for prefixes. Unlike English
and other languages, the usage of affixes in Arabic is very complex. Verbs and many
derived nouns and adjectives are formed from roots with person, number, and
gender, and tense expressed by affixes. Besides suffixes, we have a rich set of one-,
two-, and three-character prefixes. Therefore, we have to seriously consider the
removal of suffixes as well as prefixes.
To our knowledge, there is no stemming algorithm for the Arabic Language. In
[Khar94] stemming was done manua11y. The work in [Hmei97] addresses
automatic indexing and states the following "automatic prefix and suffix cutoff
algorithms are much more expensive and complicated· because of Arabic
morphology". Hence, both [Hmei97] and [Khar94] do not provide any stemming
algorithm. these are the two published papers we are aware of.
In this paper, we look at the techniques used to handle both suffixes and prefixes.
There are two methods to process suffixes in an IR system: (1) indexing all words
with their suffixes and (2) indexing the words after stripping their suffixes using a
stemmer. In the first method, the retrieval is done using wild characters at the end of
the query terms, so that all these terms will match corresponding terms with all
possible suffixes in the index.
In the second method, the stemmer provides rules for suffix stripping. We have
developed a stemmer similar to Porter's stemmer for AIR systems [Be1l98b]. Some
rules of our stemmer are:
501,
502.
503,
504,
505,
,«‫»هﻤﺎ‬
,«‫»آﻤﺎ‬
,«‫»ﻧﺎ‬
,«‫»هﻦ‬
,«‫»هﻢ‬
Lambda, 2, -1,
Lambda, 2, -I,
Lambda, 1, -1,
Lambda, 1, -1,
Lambda, 1, -1,
In each rule, the stemmer deletes the corresponding suffix from the word and
substitutes it with lambda, i.e., a null string. The field after Lambda refers to the
size-l of the suffix and the last field refers to the size-l of Lambda.
As we stated earlier, the removal of prefixes in an Arabic IR system is a necessity
and critical to effective retrieval. We divide the Arabic prefixes into two categories.
The first category contains the prefix aJI») and its derivations such as J~ 'JL.S' ,etc.
The removal of these prefixes does not pose any problem. It can be efficiently done
by the stemmer. The second category consists of the remaining prefixes such as the
prefix «j» and «'-:-I» , etc. The removal of these prefixes is very complicated. We
cannot automatically know whether the first character is a prefix, or it is a part of the
word; such as in «d ;; ~~j» and «J.;..:>j» . The character «j» in «J.;.':>j» is a prefix
while it is not in «d ;; ~~» . Hence, we need a better tool to decide on the removal of
the these prefixes. In this paper, we propose three methods to handle the removal of
the prefixes in this category:
A- Stemmer removes all prefixes
In this method, the stemmer has additional rules for prefixes. The following are
prefix-stripping rules in our stemmer:
201, '«‫ »أب‬Lambda,
1,
-1,
203, ,«‫ »ك‬Lambda,
1,
-1 ,
204, ,«'‫ »ف‬Lambda,
1,
-1,
205, ,«‫ »و‬Lambda,
1,
-1 ,
206, ,«'‫ »ب‬Lambda,
1,
-1,
We are currently testing this stemmer using a database of two thousand documents.
B- Lazy removal
Another solution, we call lazy removal, consists of asking the user to perform a
search with prefixes. In this case, the search engineer will retrieve the documents
containing the query terms with and without prefixes. In this method, effective
retrieval becomes the user's responsibility. It may also lead to severe degradation of
the overall system performance. For a prefix list of p elements and a query of k
terms, the system needs to search for pk terms. IDRISSI, the search engine from
SAKHR, uses this method in its advanced search option. The user needs to select the
option search with prefixes, «‫ »ﺑﺤﺚ ﺑﺎﻟﻠﻮاﺻﻖ‬. I really don't think that this kind of
method will contribute to the development of Arabic IR systems.
C- Intelligent prefix removal
In this method, a tool, we call PR, automatically removes the prefix in a predefined
list of prefixes, P, from a word using an exceptional list of words D. This tool is
invoked at both the indexing phase and at the query processing. Once a token w-xy
is returned by parser, the PR checks whether x is an element of P. If x is not in P, the
processing proceeds. Otherwise, PR checks whether x is part of the word, or it is a
prefix using the list D.
Case Study: BASIS Search Engine
The BASIS system is a comprehensive set of document management services. It
ensures the efficient control, management, full-text retrieval, and navigation of
document collections. Standard Web servers and clients, such as those from
Netscape Communicators, are used to access BASIS document collections. It
belongs to Information Dimensions (ID), Dublin, Ohio, USA.
This product has been Arabized in a joint project by Al Akhawayn University in
Ifrane, Cybernetica, a computer company in Morocco, and ID.
Our Arabization of BASIS was not limited to the translation of interface modules
and different messages. We have developed a new Arabic search engine. It is a
multilingual search engine that efficiently supports vocalized, non-vocalized and
partially vocalized Arabic text and query. If a user is looking for documents that
contain the word «‫ »ﻋﻠﻢ‬,the search engine will return first the non-vocalized version
of the word, ‫ ﻋﻠﻢ‬,and a1,1 its varia!1ts that have the exact vowels as in the input
word. In this case, ‫ ﻋﻠَﻢ‬،ْ‫ ﻋﻠﻢ‬،‫ اﻟﻌﻠﻢ‬for example, will all be returned.
We have also developed a stemming algorithm that performs suffix-stripping as well
as prefix-stripping. However, the prefixes are only those defined in the second
category. If a query contains the word, the documents containing the following
words are all retrieved:
‫ﺷﻤﺲ‬
‫اﻟﺸﻤﺲ‬
‫واﻟﺸﻤﺲ‬
‫آﺎﻟﺸﻤﺲ‬
etc.
We have also generated a comprehensive list of stopwords that has over 3,700 terms.
The list is fully vocalized. We are in the process of testing this list using a vocalized
text.
Conclusion
In this paper, we have addressed three requirements for the development of an Arab
information retrieval system. First, we have proposed the requirements for the
implementation of a lexical analyzer. Besides recognizing terms in the collection, the
parser should also correct general mistakes when writing Arabic text.
Second, a non-vocalized stopword list of 100 words is also provided. This list is
identified using a corpus of 100 MB of an Arabic newspaper text. We found that the
list represents about 24% of the total size of the text.
The third requirement concerns techniques related to stemming. Stemming is a
critical process in the overall performance of an information retrieval system. We
have presented techniques for both suffix- and prefix-stripping.
Finally, we have reviewed our work on the Arabization of BASIS, a commercial
document management system. We have developed an Arabic search engine that
efficiently supports non-vocalized, vocalized and partially vocalized text and query.
Weighing scheme, proximity searching, and relevance feedback are just a few of the
issues still to be addressed in the development of Arabic information systems.
References:
[BeIl98a] A. BeIlaachia and Y. Houmame, "The First Step TowardsAutomatic
Indexing for the Arabic Language," Submitted to JASIS.
[Harm96] Dona Harman, "Overview of the Sixth Text retrieval Conference (TREC5)," Proceedings of TREC-5, Gaithersburg, 1995.
[Be1l98b] A. Bellaachia and Y. Houmame, "An Arabic Stemming Algorithm," In
preparation.
[Khar94] LA. Al-Kharashi and M.W. Evens, "Comparing Words, Stems, and Roots
as Index terms in an Arabic Information Retrieval System ," JASIS, 45(8), pp548560, 1994.
[Hmei97] I. Hmeidi, and aI., "Design and Implementation of Automatic Indexing for
Information retrieval with Arabic Documents," JASIS, 48(10): 867-881,1997.
[Frak92] W.B. Frakes and R. Baeza-Yates, "Information Retrieval: Data Structures
& Algorithms," Prentice Hall, 1992.
[Harm91] D. Harman, "How Effective is Suffixing?," JASIS 42(1): 7-15, 1991.
[Fran82] W. Francis and H. Kucera, "Frequency Analysis of English Usage," New
York, Houghton Mifflin, 1982.
[Salt83] G. SaIton, "An Introduction to Modern Information Retrieval," New York:
McGraw-HiIl, 1983.
[Hask97] D. Haskin, "Power Search," Internet World, December 1997.
Electronic Education System
The Need and The Feasibility
Towards an Arabnet For Education
Prof Mohamed A. Hashish*
Abstract
This paper addresses itself to the presentation of a proposed educational system
concurrent with the current technologies and international trends. This proposed
educational system was not possible without the marriage between the computer and
communication technologies and the new advances in knowledge representation and
storage and retrieval. This technology marriage is generating opportunities to all
disciplines to revise their way of doing things. The current educational system,
especiaIly in the third world countries, suffers from misconceptions and in spite of
the growing governmental subsidies and improvement policies implemented from
now and then, the current education system generate more social instability and
problems than solutions.
The organization of the paper will be as follows:
1. Set the objectives and goals that the proposed educational system will achieve.
2. Discuss the current situation, problems and the difficulty of their solution in
the present context.
3. Outline the current international trend in education technology with justi
fications drawn from international examples supported by the available
products.
4. Present the technical requirements of the proposed education system.
5. Outline and discuss social impact and benefits as well as industrial
opportunities generated by the proposed educational system.
* Professor at the Faculty of Engineering, Cairo University, Egypt.
The Goals and Objectives
An educational system usually sets achievable goals and specific objectives. The
following constitute the basic desirable goals and objectives for a sound education
system:
1. To transfer education to all members of a society wherever and whenever they
are i.e. total coverage of all sites at suitable times compatible with conditions
of the recipients.
2. To offer education in all fields of interest and satisfy the needs of members of
the society at different levels.
3. To transfer education to all members of society at a high standardized level
using all potential technologies to realize the ease and speed of achievement.
4. To focus on understanding concepts rather than rote learning encouraging
creativity and skill development.
5. To assess educational objectives continuously and interactively with emphasis
on the possibility of testing each individual at his own convenience and pace.
6. To regularly and continuously improve the practical and scientific content in
each field of specialization highlighting implications of scientific concepts to
production and services, that is to say, the follow up of development, and their
applications in industry, production, and services.
7. To achieve the above at minimal cost and time.
The goal and objectives of the proposed educational system will among other things
provide educational and training to all interested learners according to their level of
proficiency in an interesting, easily assimilated education process enhanced by
Multimedia technology and ease of use. The learner can access the educational
services wherever he/she is and whenever he/she wants through the advanced
communication network. In addition, he/she can assess his comprehensive and get
evaluated interactively.
This revolutionary educational system will also provide a uniformed education to all
participants through their centralized centers for generation of educational materials.
Such centralized centers will be able through their highly qualified staff to maintain
the educational materials to an up-to-date level reflecting the international scientific
and practical developments and their integration with the industries and services in
the recipient's society. Moreover, the education and training materials will be
designed to emphasize the acquisition of skills rather than rote learning.
The status Quo of the Current Educational system
In the current situation there exists a wide discrepancy with the required desired
educational system. Basic elements of any educational system, namely the
equipment and even the premises are far from fit for any development system. There
exists a wide discrepancy in the professional standard of education provided to
learners. Despite all efforts to improve the educational system from time to. time
with the consequent instability of the system, curricula are still far from the world
wide scientific technological revolution, let alone its integration with practical
implications.
Besides, the current system encourages rote learning rather than comprehension,
creative thinking and addimilation of educational concepts and skill building. Fixed
timing of learning and testing might not suit all learners' style and conditions. In
addition, in spite of continuous establishment of educational institutions, the learners
level of comprehension is still below the minimum required. The educational
illustrative equipment is also below standard together with a generally low standard
of instructors of certain fields.
Appendix (I) includes set of tables illustrating the distribution of students
(Boys/Girls), schools and classes (Public/Private) and number of teachers in the
different levels of education in the 27 Egyptian provinces. The levels of education in
Egypt are:
1. Primary education level
2. Preparatory education level
3. Secondary education level:
1-General education
11- Industrial education
lll- Agricultural education
1V- Commercial education
In addition, the average number of students per class is calculated and included in a
separate table 4 in Appendix (I).
In spite of the growing governmental investment in building new schools and
classes, the number of students per class is still above the acceptable international
number. In addition, the school day - in some schools in Egypt _ has been divided
into morning session and afternoon session to accommodate the increasing number
of students. In some other locations the school day is even divided into three
sessions. The student/teacher ratio need adjustments to achieve better education.
In higher education, the last two years have witnessed the opening of new faculties
and institutions to offer higher degrees in new specialization such as Computer
Science, Biotechnology, .. etc. The number of faculties and institutions are given in
the following table:
Today the number of students in the different faculties and institutions are about
[.317 Mil1ion students and they are expected to increase in the next academic year
(98/99) to 1.397 Million students. The limited space and facilities at the higher
education institutes and faculties cannot cope with the growing number of students
interested in higher education.
World Wide Examples
Due to the fact that the educational system does not abide to rules governing a model
system of education expressed by the goals presented here, a number of countries
and international corporations particularly the multinational ones, have realized the
necessity to deviate from traditional straight jackets through suggesting different
methods to satisfy the needs of society and individuals to receive education in a
smooth, easy style and also satisfy the needs of industry and coping with the fast
developing technology.
The successful experience of an open university in England inspired by Sr. H.
Wilson basically depended on the following:
1. TV transmission of educational programs which were excellent directed in an
interesting manner.
2. Punctual postal service to transient content subjects.
3. Small developed industries of educational equipment.
This experience has been a success because it was based on the modern technology
of the age and the socio-industrial conditions in UK. Later on, technology has
developed and so have the methods of achieving these goals such as the experience
of distant learning of the EU where a number of lectures are given from a distance
but still have teacher-learner interaction.
In multinational companies such as IBM, the education and continuous training of
their employees and guests has always been achieved through mobile institutes such
as:
1. IBM European Institute.
2. IBM Middle East Institute.
3. IBM African Institute.
and permanent education centers such as La Hulpe education center in Belgium.
Today, the Belgium education institute provides education services and working on
what is called Global University on the Web for education and certification.
The recent trend of establishing electronic institutions for education and training is
found in many other organizations such as Motorola Microsoft, Stanford University
and other international institutions.
In short, the present trend favors electronic educational institutions based on modern
technology which is the marriage of electronic communication and means of
transmitting, storing and handling different media like sound, music, picture,
motion, and digital video.
Video presents the most challenging media and the following section introduces the
current technology related to video streaming.
Video Streaming
Video Streaming is not just for large media organizations anymore, Managers of
corporate intranets in dozens of industries are installing video streaming technology
for training videos and advanced multimedia presentations, The delivery methods
are especially useful for products or information that are related to video, such as an
online video store that includes short clips from its available titles. Video Streaming
is essential for real-time video broadcasting and multicasting.
Video Streaming uses a client-server approach. Depending on the vendor's
implementation, the vendor's products are divided between the server and the client.
In one case the server may be a basic Web server with special client support; in
another vendor may use a special server with conventional Web browser as a client.
A more common configuration uses custom software on both the client and the
server.
Because the starting point for any user receiving video stream is normally a Web
page or URL, web server integration is included in all vendor's products.
Understanding transport protocols is crucial to offering video streaming, UDP is the
most efficient, but many firewalls block UDP because of its need for an open port on
the client. HTTP provides the lowest performance, but with the guarantee of broad
accessibility,
The following section provides an overview of some of the Video Streaming
products available on the market.
Video Streaming products
In this section set of features are provided to compare some of the Video Streaming
products available on the market. As outlined in the above section, Video Streaming
uses client-server approach, therefore, the set of features are divided into features of
the server and its management and features of the client. Last but not least, there are
other features that influence the selection of one product versus others such as price
of the product, scalability, '"….etc
The server features are:
Server platforms
Web server integration
Low speed connection support
- Protocol
- Size
- Frame per second (fps)
Third-party codec support
Repeater support
Multicast IP support
Supported protocols
Guaranteed delivery rate per stream
Delivery streams at rates higher than available bandwidth
Dynamic throughput adaption
The server management features are:
Server console
Database management
Database search support
Split audio/video content
The client features are:
Platforms
Browsers
Client type
Linked stream
Embedded actions
Automation bandwidth and source file negotiation
Appendix (ll) includes a comparison of products from five companies, Many other
companies are also available and provide products supporting video streaming.
Technical Requirements for the Proposed Educational System
It is quite obvious that the proposed educational system is based on the avail
ability of:
1. Communication system capable to provide enough bandwidth to support
interactive multimedia documents.
2. Group of professionals in all required disciplines to prepare up-to-date
educational and training materials emphasizing concepts in different fields of
interest with continuous maintenance to cope with the new international
advances,
3. Similar to cinema industry, group of professionals are needed to turn the
educational manuscripts into attractive multimedia educational materials.
4. The internet technology needs minimum training on the user side to access
information by the use of browsers and provide very powerful tools for
organizing the data in hypertext and media which allows easy update and
maintenance of the material content and provide nonlinear reading to the
users.
5. Enough horsepower on the server side and high capacity storage media with
fast access time supported by efficient high quality compression!
decompression techniques.
Industrial Opportunities Generated by the Proposed Educational System
It is quite obvious that once the above set up is in place, many other useful
applications wi11 be available such as:
- Electronic Publishing.
- Electronic Commerce.
- Multimedia development Industry with the possibility of getting share from the
growing international market.
Social Impact and Benefits
We are all aware that the current educational institutes have many other
responsibilities beside education such as encouraging sport, social events ... etc.
Such responsibilities are not covered by the proposed educational system and should
be compensated elsewhere e.g. sport clubs. It is the believe of the author that
specialization is the heart of progress and no institution can retain all responsibility
and still expected to achieve the required goals. Therefore, we can limit the
responsibility of the education system in building the learner knowledge, skill and
letting other specialized institutions complement the other aspects and needs of the
learner.
Conclusion
World education reports from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and conferences such as the World Conference on
education for all (I990) discussed different issues related to education in selected
developing and developed countries. In the present work world wide examples are
presented and discussed together with the presentation of the current educational
system in Egypt. The paper concludes that the international trend favors the
electronic educational institutions based on the current technology.
It is recommended that all interested participants in the Arab world, coordinate their
efforts to establish the infrastructure as outlined in this paper, as it will reflect
positively on all education system participants. It is quote obvious that the
implementation be achieved in phases.
It is also recommended that the initial phase should start with a single high impact
educational field which is mostly used and needed by our Arab societies, usually that
of computer education. There is a distinctive lack of qualified teachers, whereas
there is a multitude of educational material in electronic form in this area. This
would seem to be an appropriate starting point for implementing the system
presented.
*
*
*
Information and Communication
Technologies in Higher Education
A Global View and a Regional Experience
Dr. Adnan Shihab-Eldin*
Abstract
The rapid and unprecedented pace of advances in Information and Communication
Technologies (ITC) is having a profound impact on all sectors of society, including
education and higher education in particular.
Just as the development of the printing press forever changed the teaching and
learning enterprise, ITC represents a fundamental change in the basic methods and
levels of teaching and learning. This in turn is ushering us into new spaces and
dimensions of knowledge which lend themselves to applications that were not
remotely thought possible nor comprehensible before. The impact of these ITC
developments is already changing the organization and delivery of higher education
in developed countries with North American universities playing the leading role.
In Part I of the paper, a global view of ITC developments and their impact on
university education in developed countries is presented. Issues here range from the
emergence of new interactive models of learning, to the changing role of universities
in relation to their societies, and the changing nature of societal demands on higher
education. The role of Government initiatives to promote, support and enhance the
use of ICT in higher education is reviewed. Examples of major past and current
initiatives from US and UN are presented.
The implications of these developments for the future of higher education in the
Arab region are discussed in part II of the paper. Current regional experience and
main initiatives are presented. The paper concludes by recommending a number of
regional priorities and initiatives which are thought to be vital, for an efficient
transfer of ITC to Arab universities, and for building an effective role for higher
education in Arab regional economic and cultural development.
* Director, UNESCO's Cairo Office, Egypt.
Preamble
The rapid and unprecedented pace of advances in Information and Communication
Technologies (ICT) is having a profound impact on all sectors of society, including
education and higher education in particular. Just as the development of the printing
press forever changed the teaching and leaming enterprise, ICT represents a
fundamental change in the basic methods, and levels of teaching and leaming. This
in tum is ushering us into new spaces and dimensions of knowledge, which lend
themselves to applications that were not remotely thought possible, nor
comprehensible, before. The impact of these ICT developments is already changing
the organization and delivery of higher education in developed countries, with North
American universities playing the leading role.
This paper, prepared for the Kuwait Information Highway Conference (KCIH'98), is
intended to provide background information and analysis on the rapid incorporation
of ICT in teaching and learning in higher education. The first part presents a global
view of ICT developments and their impact on university education in developed
countries. Issues here range from the emergence of new interactive models of
learning to the changing role of universities in relation to their societies and the
challenges posed by the societal demands on higher education.
The implications of these developments for the future of higher education in the
Arab region, in general, and the Gulf countries, in particular, are then discussed. The
analysis presented in this part draws on the wealth of information and field
experiences acquired by UCO over the last few years in the course of implementing
the ongoing program for Upgrading Science and Engineering Education (USEE) in
Arab universities. The paper concludes by recommending a number of regional
priorities, which are thought to be vital, for an efficient transfer of ICT into Arab
universities and for building an effective role for higher education in Arab regional
economic and cultural development.
Global View
1. Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and University
Education
The current revolution in information technology has been driven by the
convergence of two rapidly growing industries, the microchip-based personal
computer (PC) and digital telecommunications. Since its early stages in the eighties,
when the PC was introduced and acquired universal proliferation, the technology
always lent itself to, and thrived on, educational applications, especially in the
higher education (HE) sector.
From first applications of PC-based software in support of traditional course
material (e.g., for word processing, spreadsheets, databases), experiments on
embedding of IT into university teaching continued to grow in volume and
sophistication, as the technology itself continued to leap forward through its record
sequence of triumphs:
- Continued development of increasing PC processing power and memory storage
with ever decreasing prices.
- Development of the laser driven CD-ROM with its portable capacity to store
large (e.g., multimedia) files.
- Development of the multimedia PC with ability to process and create digitized
files of graphics, animation, visual images and sound, in addition to text.
- Continued development of sophisticated computer networks with capacity for
seedy, multi-Ieveled and protocol coordinated data computer-computer
communication, at the local, metropolitan or wide area level which led among
other things - to the explosive growth of the Internet.
New electronic versions of course material (courseware) were developed on
diskettes, CD-RaM's and servers which can be delivered from stand-alone
workstations, local network servers or World Wide Web servers. In fact, the Internet
and its main services (e.g., www, e-mail, FTP, Tele-net) were originally developed
in response to growing academic needs to exchange research information and data
and to share valuable scholarly resources across time and geographic barriers.
2. A Changing Learning Environment.
The electronic multimedia hypertext, usually delivered on a CD-ROM or a network
server, has several distinct attributes which merit favorable comparison with
traditional course resources. The first is interactivity. Embedded links in any page
allow for point-and-click jumping to another page or to a specific element of a page
in the same document or another document located in the same directory. It could
also lead to the loading and running of a video or sound clip or to an application
program located on the same CD-ROM or workstation or, if the courseware is
network-based, on any another server connected to that network. If the courseware is
based on a web server, then links can be made to the global collection of resources
located on web and other Internet servers.
This feature al10ws the student to use the hyperlinks to explore a vast amount of
material (e.g., references, textbooks, encyclopedias, glossaries, journal articles, other
courseware) on their own, thus changing the traditional mode of page-turning into
discovery learning. Although this requires much more effort from the course
designer, no technical skills are required on the part of the student.
Another related aspect of interactivity in hypertext courseware is that the learner can
be guided through other links to engage in various aspects of course activities, such
as problem solving, parameter variation, graphical investigation of concepts, selfassessment exercises, simulated display of natural phenomena, or laboratory
experiments under various conditions and so on. If properly exploited, these features
can be harnessed to create a new learning environment for the learner where he/she
is in more control of the learning process, with nearly limitless access to learning
resources, than a passive receiver of knowledge.
Networking of computers plays a crucial role in creating this new environment. At
the local level, of say a classroom or department, learners can share valuable
hardware and software resources (e.g., printers, scanners, CD-ROMs, course ware
files, databases). They can also benefit from on-line services systems, electronic
mail and bulletin boards, which can be used to enhance student-instructor and
student-student communication, as wel1 as team col1aborative activities. Network
platforms can also be used for student self-assessment and feedback as wel1 for
organizing examinations and homework.
New courseware, and web-based courseware in particular, thus offers new cognitive
models of learning where people learn by doing, exploring, communicating and
discovering, as opposed to existing models of people being taught as in a "pouring
water into a jug" mode1. This major pedagogical advantage is behind the new drive
to develop interactive learning models, to be discussed later.
3. Investment in Educational Research.
While the traditional role of the lectures, laboratory sessions and seminars are
expected to be redefined, supplemented and partially replaced (e.g., respectively by
resource-based learning, virtual and simulated experiments and on-line services),
careful experimentation and research remains the key to the whole process of ICTbased innovation in higher education. Pedagogical and technological considerations
as well as factors of quality, efficiency, assessment and cost need to be assessed at
every stage with full participation of instructors and students. For these reasons, the
learning resources and methods are being introduced gradual1y to the classroom and
mainly as supplements to normal methods, while intensive pilot experimentation and
research on full scale implementation continues with increasing momentum.
As a result, large numbers of new educational research publications, web sites,
centers and journals have spawned the academic world, addressing hitherto
uncharted areas of educational research. Inevitably serious effort is also being
directed towards finding suitable institutional frameworks for supporting,
acknowledging and accrediting this category of research, which may entail
redefining the traditional lines between academic teaching and research. This is
especially the case in the United States and some other developed countries where
on-line delivery of courses has reached the implementation stage, for several courses
in several universities. In few cases, large degree-awarding programs are also being
offered on-line.
It is widely believed, given the current momentum of technological advances, that
continued investment in ICT-based university education will eventually lead to
radical improvements in the quality and efficiency of higher education and,
importantly, to sizeable reductions in some of its significant costs. This will happen,
for example, as part of the new learning resources are actual1y used to replace some
of the time consuming and costly aspects of teaching (e.g., manpower, laboratory
equipment, and library resources, etc.). However, it is also widely believed that
significant investments are needed before such rewarding outcomes are to be
attained. . The main areas of needed investment are infrastructure and facilities,
training and research and development(l).
4. National ICT Initiatives and Strategies in Higher Education.
As would be expected, responses to the challenges of ICT vary widely among
countries. In the USA, leading universities and HE centers are playing the major role
in this process of educational innovation through experimentation, with strong
support from, and partnership with, the federal government and the industry. In
almost all other countries, where internal markets and HE resources are more
limited, a major role is usually played by the central government in drawing up ICT
strategies for HE and in providing universities with the necessary funding
requirements for network infrastructures, training and educational research.
In the UK, for example, several initiatives were mounted by the Higher Education
Councils in the early nineties, with full central government funding. For example,
universities were enabled to form consortia for developing new courseware across
the full spectrum of academic disciplines (the TLTP initiative:
http://www.icb1.hw.ac.uk/tltp). Further, centers were established to enable groups of
discipline-like departments and faculty members to network together, monitor and
assess all new ICT -related products and developments which relate to their
discipline (the ICT initiative: http://www.ICT.ac.uk).This is in addition to the full
funding by the central government of the UK national HE Network (SuperJANET),
which links all universities and higher education centers together with connections
provided to the European HE network and the Internet.
5. Emerging Interactive Learning Models.
As indicated earlier, web-based offering of courses is emerging as a generic learning
model, which is gaining wide acceptance, in the United States and around the World.
It is now a simple and quick task for any instructor to place his/her course material
on the web, given the simplicity of the authoring language (HTML) and the
availability of HTML editors and converters. But, while this model of course
delivery has several advantages in terms of hyperlink interactivity and facility of
production and updating of material, it actually represents only a minimum and
static version of the potential capability of web-based courses.
Progress in upgrading the design of web pages to include fuller multimedia and
program applications capabilities, as well as higher levels of interactivity and
participation on the part of the user, is being gradually achieved. This is enabled by
improved versions of HTML, in combination with additional features embedded into
the HTML pages (e.g., Java applets), on the part of the designer, and the addition of
viewer and plug-in software tools, to be configured with the browser, on the User
side.
Such combinations allow for an object-oriented environment to be created within the
HTML page, which enables embedded applications to be run and viewed by the
user, including two-way exchanges of information between user and site. The course
may thus include scientific notation and formulas, interactive graphics, animation,
images and sound in addition to automated quizzes, built in electronic dialogue and
student contributions. The extent to which these capabilities are attained will depend
on the nature and level of programming that is invested in designing the Course and
on the technological limits of used facilities, such as those associated with the user
PC platform and the speed of its available connectivity to the Web server.
The last factor is particularly significant, as accessing a university web server
through a dial-up modem connection will be inevitably limited by the speeds of
available modems. This could for example limit access to the storage-consuming
multimedia or interactive graphics applications of the course. On the other hand, for
any university with a modern Ethernet network, high-speed access to a web server
located on campus can be achieved from any terminal outlet within that network.
With adequate Internet connectivity, good access from within the university network
can also be made to servers in other locations around the world, but at a lower
speed.
It is worth noting therefore that in-house university electronic communication and
delivery of services (e.g., web-based courses) still offers maximum advantages in
terms of demand, efficiency and speed. This is illustrated, for example, by available
statistics on the volume of daily data traffic for the Oxford University Network. This
shows that the traffic generated among the users within the university (for internal
research, education and administrative purposes) exceeds by orders of magnitude
that between the users and the outside world.
6. The Illinois Model.
An example of the emerging web-based learning models is the suite of advanced
(senior and graduate) web-based courses offered by the Department of Theoretical
and Applied Mechanics (TAM) at the University of Illinois. Through embedded
programming (e.g., using Java applets, CGI) and the use of a set of browser-enabling
software (plug-in tools), the capability of offerings in terms of scientific notation,
interactive graphics, 3-D simulations and electronic dialog was significantly
enhanced. All course material is made available to course participants on the web, in
parallel with, and in addition to, normal lectures. While these offerings are intended
as a supplement to the lecture, albeit a very significant one, the same material can in
principle be used, in place of lectures for distance learners.
Such experiment was in fact successfully conducted by Professor Shawki,
(Depm1ment of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics at the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign), in the fall semester of 1996, while on a sabbatical leave at the
Regional Information Technology and Software Engineering Center (RITSEC) in
Cairo. He delivered fully online a full course to registered students at I11inois,
complete with home assignments, regular discussions and final examination, the
results of which were duly registered and accredited by the University, as for any
regular course.
7. The WebCT Model
Another example of a web-based resource was recently developed by Goldberg(l) at
the Computer Science Department, University of British Columbia
(http://homebrew.cs.ubc.ca). The new resource, named WebCT, for Web Course
Tools, is basically an authoring shell or an expert system, which enables an
interested faculty to easily transform the content of his subject and related activities
into a fully-interactive web-based course. By making use of WebCT's built-in
facilities, high levels of interactivity and user participation may be achieved, leading
to the creation of a dynamic and lively learning environment for the course.
The extent of WebCT's claimed interactivity can be seen from the extensive list of
built-in tools that are available to the course ware designer. These include, among
other things, facilities for: collaborative student creation of their own documents on
the Internet; the addition of students' self annotation notes; timed on-line quizzes;
interactive multiple choice questions for student self-evaluation; tracking student
progress, together with a grading tool allowing students to view their grades against
the background of overall class performance; one to one electronic mail open to all
students,
8. The Changing Role of Universities
The above examples illustrate the potential impact of new technologies in redefining
the functions of instructor and student alike and in re-engineering the whole
university learning environment with all its traditional elements (lectures, tutorials,
seminars, laboratory sessions, homework, examinations, course management, and
curricula). These changes will gradually blur, or dissolve, the barriers between
teaching and learning, learning and investigative research, campus-based learning
and distance learning. The potential for further development and innovation in
course material, delivery and management is far from being exhausted since the
technology itself is sti11 in a state of evolution, both on the hardware as well as the
software fronts.
Almost all major universities in developed countries and some of the developing
countries are now fully networked. HE networks connecting universities and HE
institutions in one country (e.g., UK) or region (e.g., European Union) have been
installed and operated, with strong connections to the Internet. Full central
government funding is normally used to enable the HE sector to achieve and
maintain such levels of internal and external connectivity. Nonetheless, both
educational needs and technology continue to move forward in the direction of
seeking broader bandwidth connectivity that will enable full multimedia
transmission capabilities at all levels.
In the USA, a major initiative for infrastructure improvement was recently launched.
Due for completion in 3-5 years, the Internet2. a project for advanced Internet
development, is a consortium of 120 of the most prestigious research universities, 25
corporate technology leaders and government agencies. Resources committed by this
consortium for 1998 alone range between 35 and 78 million US$. With a broadband
network, 100 to 1000 times faster than the present Internet, a new generation of
applications such as tele-immersion (a system that would allow individuals at
different locations to share a single virtual environment), digital video without delay,
and digital libraries could he effectively developed. Moreover, in most developed
countries and some of the developing countries, telecommunication companies are
offering facilities to provide integrated digital data connection services to schools
and homes. In canada, as an examplet2, an alliance of telephone companies
announced an 8 billion 5, 10-year initiative that will bring broad band multimedia
services to 80-90-% of all homes and business in Canada by the year 2004.
Such communication networking initiatives will undoubtedly help to elevate the
emerging learning models to new levels of interactivity, versatility and effectiveness.
Multimedia synchronous and asynchronous modes of communication will eventually
remove most of the limitations that still beset the emergent web-based models, while
reinforcing their obvious merits and advantages.
One of the major roles of universities in such a new environment will he that of
designers, producers and credit-awarding centers for courses and learning programs
that are tailored to a wide range of needs and abilities. Faculty and ICT specialists
will compile the needed subject content from various sources or “content providers”,
including their own, and transform these contents into well designed courses,
lectures, tutorials, virtual laboratories or program modules and expert systems
thereoø3. Universities will customize and deliver these products to various
individuals and communities of networked users or to other universities and
“educational service providers” in the same country or across continents. New
complex forms of relationships and commercial partnerships between content
providers, course designers and service providers are expected to emerge in the
context of a HE education industry, in which universities are primary p1ayers3.
Regional Experience
1. Computer Technology in Arab Universities: The Beginnings
The first phase of computer technology, which was made possible by the solid-state
revolution, extended between the late fifties and early eighties and was centered on
main frames/mini computers and on-line terminals, with limited and mainly
localized use of data communication. All· Arab universities responded in various
ways and forms to that phase of computer technology. Limited ranges of computer
courses and degree awarding programs, with emphasis on programming languages
and system analysis, were introduced in almost all Arab universities. Some form of
central or department-based computing facilities were introduced for scientific
research, teaching and administrative applications. General training courses on
programming were organized for university students and the public.
The spread of these technologies in Arab universities increased with time as the
power of computer logic and memory storage increased while costs decreased. This
contributed, among other things, to some dissemination of computer literacy within
Arab societies. But on the whole, costs were seen to be relatively high and only few
universities managed to build effective computing facilities and programs, as
measured by international standards whether for research, teaching or administrative
applications.
The computer technology gap between the majority of Arab universities and those in
developed countries was considerably amplified, however, with the advent of the
current phase of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), briefly
described in the first section of this paper. Apart from a. handful of public and
private universities in the region, most universities were simply left behind the rapid
sequence of ICT developments, for which they appeared to be clearly unprepared,
both financially and professionally. The lack of sufficient investment in (and
experience gained from) the first wave of computer technology and the speed of the
new developments led inevitably to the creation of an awareness as well as a
technology gap between the majority of Arab universities and their counterparts in
developing countries.
2. Origins of UCO's Regional ICT Experience
As the potential impact of ICT on university education became apparent in the early
nineties, the UNESCO Cairo Office decided to concentrate its limited resources on
raising awareness, with regard to the new development, among leading faculty
members and administrators of Arab science and engineering faculties. The
motivation behind this initiative, which has launched in 1994, was significantly
reinforced by the expressed wish of leading faculty members and decision makers,
especially in heavily populated Arab public universities, to upgrade the traditional
and largely ineffective resources, methods and formats of their undergraduate
teaching programs.
The UCO initiative was intended as a strategic regional response, albeit on a
catalytic/seeding scale, to the new ICT-related international developments in higher
education on the one hand, and the severe constraints on Arab hi aher b education,
on the other. Its ultimate objective was to assist the Arab science and engineering
academic community to both acquire the skills and knowledge of the new
technologies and to use these skills in upgrading the level of their teaching
programs.
As an example of the activities carried out during this campaign, the UCO organized
during the period 199-95 alone l6 national and regional faculty awareness/short
training workshops. These were conducted by experts at the cutting edge of ICT,
from Western universities, and attended by few hundreds of science and engineering
faculty members from Arab universities. In parallel with these activities, a number
of task forces, formed on the initiative of some of the basic science departments in
Egyptian and Jordanian universities for reviewing and reforming current curricula,
were supported by UCO.
The field experience gained through this campaign provided the foundation for
building a new UCO initiative. Launched in 1997, this initiative represented a
second phase of the UCO strategy and took the form of a structured multicomponent program organized under the title banner of USEE: the program for
Upgrading science and Engineering Education in Arab universities. The funding
requirements of this program were soon covered by generous grants from several
regional and international organizations. The main components of the program are:
- Provision of grants for pilot development of foundation courses in basic and
engineering sciences.
- Organization of regular workshops for intensive ICT training for project leaders
and other science and engineering faculty members in the region.
- Provision of lCT-related expert advisory support to Arab universities through
technical field missions.
- Regional disemination of lCT News and developments.
3. Profile of Undergraduate Teaching Conditions and ICT Facilities at Arab
Universities
A major conclusion derived by DCO from its field experiences and studies in that
the need for upgrading undergraduate teaching and for using lCT as the means to
achieve that objective, is at highest in the heavily populated or "large" Arab public
universities (i.e., arbitrarily defined as universities with 20,000 to 100,000 or more
students). Typical teaching conditions in most, but not all of these universities, were
characterized by: large numbers of talented faculty members with good graduate
training and motivation; large classes; very limited access to quality textbooks and
library facilities; obsolete laboratory equipment; traditional and largely ineffective
methods of teaching; and limited opportunities for faculty development and
academic interaction with counterparts in neighboring universities or advanced
universities and research centers abroad.
As expected, the majority of these universities were also found to lack basic lCT
facilities. Computing facilities and skills were mainly concentrated around some
disciplines and active individuals within those disciplines (e.g., computer science,
engineering, some of the basic sciences). PC facilities were either non-existent in the
case of some departments, or largely limited to stand-alone or room-based
configurations. Lack of knowledge and skills, as well as demand for training in
computer networking was very common.
While the situation is markedly better in some of the small and medium sized
universities in the region, of which some are private, the statistical argument for
addressing the needs of the large public universities is overwhelming. Using
statistics that became available to UCO in the early overwhelming. an analysis was
carried out on a data sample including 33 leading Arab universities with a total
population of 718,000 undergraduate students. This showed that 80 of Arab students
in this group were enrolled in "large" universities, 12 in "medium" sized universities
(i.e., 10,000-20,000 student per university) and only 8 in small universities (i.e.,
below 10,000 student per university). The same data also showed that the student 1
staff ratios ranged between 1 and 7 with an average of 37 for large universities,
which is to be compared with a combined range of 9-31 and an average of 19 for
medium and small universities. Larger ratios would be obtained if only Ph.D.
holders were included in the number of teaching staff.
Significantly, the effects of heavy student population were reflected in the average
annual expenditure per student, a critical quality indicator of university investment.
The same statistics showed that the studied group of 33 universities included 12
"large" universities (of which 11 are located in five of the most populated Arab
countries) and that the weighted average for this group of 11 universities was $6901
student/year. This is to be compared with a range of $370-$12,800 and a weighted
average of $1 ,900, for all Arab countries.
Corresponding values(() available for tertiary (university plus other forms of postsecondary) education over the same period in other world areas were $13,372
(USA), $9,327 (OECD) and $6,3 8 (Eastern Europe and ClS). These figures would
also become significantly higher if adjusted to exclude non-university tertiary
institutions in order to better compare with the Arab university figures.
4. The Need for Recording of Development Priorities in the Region
On the basis of its field findings, experiences and analytical studies, and in view of
the growing role of competitive higher education and lCT in determining the
qualities of a country's workforce, the UCO has come to identify a number of HEand lCT-related priorities which it believes to be of strategic significance to the
economic and social development of the region. These are:
- university admission policies and HE share in public spending;
- homegrown educational research as the route to lCT transfer;
- the need for intensive professional interaction among Arab academics and
between them and counter-parts in developed countries; and
- the need to build comprehensive data network infrastructures within and between
Arab universities.
These priorities will now be elaborated on in the remaining parts of this paper in as
much as they are seen to apply to the prevailing conditions in the majority of Arab
universities and to offer new opportunities for radical progress and development in
the Arab HE sector. Since the design and implementation of all UCO activities under
the USEE program have been strongly guided by these priorities, examples of these
activities will be given in relation to each priority.
5. The Share of Higher Education in Public Spending
(a) Determinant Factors: Two main factors were considered by UCO in explanation
of the relatively static and deprived conditions of undergraduate science and
engineering teaching in the majority of Arab universities; the observed lack of
significant lCT facilities and activities in those universities was seen to be a natural
consequence of these conditions. The first is the rapid expansion in student
population without proportional expansion in allocated financial resources. This is
clearly reflected in the low annual expenditure per student. The second is the
possible lack of sufficient recognition, at the national level, of the role of selective
and competitive higher education as a critical determinant of a country's economic
and social development and growth.
(b) Rapid Expansion: The last four decades witnessed rapid expansion in the
establishment of new universities in the Arab world. Of a total of 132 universities
established by 1991, 66 were established after 1981 and 122 after J 960. A similar
pattern of rapid growth can be shown to apply to the total number of university
students in each country and university; this is also reflected indirectly in the
statistics given earlier. While such expansion is a welcome and expected
consequence of national independence and country building, it was not, and indeed
could not, be matched by proportional investment in educational resources and
facilities, as can be concluded, for example, from the very low figures for annual per
student expenditure.
This negative feature of student expansion can be partly attributed to the lack of
sufficient national resources in the face of competing demands from other sectors of
public spending, such as industrial expansion, agriculture, public health, basic
education, national security, public transport and road infrastructure. But this pattern
of university expansion also reveals insufficient recognition of the qualitative role of
higher education as a vital national resource for enabling real and competitive
development in all of these sectors.
(c) Quality Factors: It is now globally recognized that a country's workforce, with
higher education providing its core leadership, is its most effective resource for
determining its economic future and its ability to deliver competitive goods and
services to world markets. A university with competitive teaching, backed by
dynamic research and community oriented programs and services, is needed not only
in every country, but also in every region or area with serious developmental
ambitions within that country. Standards of training and qualifications of new
university graduates need always to be competitive, not only locally, but also
regionally and internationally, against those of the country's international
competitors, since national workforces are in effect all competing for world markets.
Universities will need to be able to tailor their teaching programs and deliver them
wherever and whenever they are needed and to contribute to national job creation
rather than unemployment, masked or explicit. They should help through campusbased, distance and lifelong learning programs, in the formation of indigenous
groups of enterprising engineers and managers, school teachers and scientists,
technicians and industrial designers, marketing specialists and salesmen,
programmers and ICT specialists to name but few examples.”7”.
(d) The Need for Qualitative Expansion: It is believed that national strategies for
Arab higher education need to be radically reexamined with a view to effectively
meeting the societal and global challenges of the next century. This may entail
imposing limits on the expansion, or even the entire elimination, of certain academic
disciplines, while creating new programs or strengthening existing relevant ones.
Investment in teaching facilities and staff resources, as measured for example by
average per student annual expenditures, will certainly need to be significantly
increased, even if for selected disciplines at the beginning. A specific priority needs
to be given to investment in ICT within the HE public sector in order to catch up
with the rapid developments in that area, to help in transferring the new technology
to other sectors of the society and to use the technology as a means of upgrading
existing methods and facilities of teaching and research.
This will entail significant increases in the HE share in public spending, but will also
require imaginative planning and vision in finding new sources of secure financial
income for the universities. A variety of methods, some of which have already been
implemented successfully in some countries of the region, may be considered. These
may include as examples: levying of limited special taxes or tariffs; payment of
tuition fees by the financially able students; and active involvement of the private
sector in sponsoring university programs. The common underlying pre-requisite for
any of these options to become feasible is the recognition of higher education as a
high national priority, with ICT representing an important agenda item within this
priority.
6. Educational Research as the Route to ICT Transfer
The transfer of any new technology, and particularly one as pervasive and evolving
as lCT, cannot be achieved through off-the-shelf or turnkey transactions. Even the
initial process of acquiring the knowledge and skills through training requires, in
itself, sufficient experimentation and numerous iterations.
Effective integration or embedding of ICT into teaching is a gradual and open-ended
process, which requires at its most basic level comparative assessment of
international courseware and delivery configurations and adaptation of available
technologies to the local requirements and challenges. A certain amount of authoring
and production win also be needed. Developments of this nature can only be attained
through systematic investigative research conducted by Arab academics and
technicians in their home institutions. This wi11 allow results to be reproduced,
assessed, disseminated and used by other scholars in the region. As for any other
research activity, a minimum amount of organization, mostly in the flexible form of
a project (with clearly defined objectives, time plan and a11ocation of financial
resources) wi11 be needed.
Without these indigenous investigative efforts, the technology would not be
transferred or effectively used, even if all the formal training and equipment were
provided. This is a point worth considering by decision-makers as well as regional
and international funding agencies. At this stage of regional ICT development, pilot
research projects of the nature just described need to be viewed as an integral part of
training since effective transfer of ICT requires more than formal training.
Investigative research and experimentation are at the heart of the approach adopted
by UCO in designing and implementing the currently ongoing USEE program. The
task of upgrading university teaching is organized in the form of structured research
projects each of limited duration and targeting the development of one specific
course. Each project is carried out by a sma11 team of academics and technicians
located in one department. While intensive training and advisory support is provided
to the team, through workshops and short training visits abroad, the actual task of
course development is carried out locally, or jointly with advanced universities,
through systematic exploration and experimentation.
7. Professional Interaction with Advanced Centers of Learning and Research
In order for academic individuals and institutions to develop their own effective
programs in teaching or research, they need the stimulus and guiding hand of a
dynamic peer environment where new concepts, methods and applications are
constantly assessed, compared, adopted, further developed or discarded. This is
normally achieved through local, regional and international platforms of professional
interaction which include among other things seminars, short visits, sabbaticals,
journals, textbooks, society meetings, conferences, collaborative projects, task forces
and committees. Opportunities for these forms of professional interaction have been
severely reduced in most large Arab universities over the last three decades due to
limited financial resources.
However, the required expenditures for these activities are usually sma11 when
compared with other items of academic expenditures or with the significant
academic benefits they yield. Furthermore, several international programs are
typically organized to assist in funding such activities. One of the striking
advantages of the internet is that it opens many new opportunities for these
interactions in ways which are affordable to all universities. At this stage where
Arab universities need to bridge the academic gap created by years of relative
professional isolation and to be able to harness the power of ICT in the service of
their own programs, organized intensive professional interaction with counterparts in
developed countries is perhaps one of the most essential and cost effective
requirements for achieving these objectives.
Mechanisms for creating some of these interactions have in been embedded, on
grounds of necessity, into all components of the USEE program. Faculty training
workshops, which are organized on a regular basis for the benefit of project teams
and other Arab science and engineering faculty members, are conducted by
professionals from advanced universities who are on the cutting edge of ICT-based
university education. Every pilot course development project team is also assigned
an experienced advisor from an advanced center to assist, through periodic visits, in
the final design and regular monitoring of the project. The principal investigator of
each project is given the opportunity to make one training/ advisory visit to a
suitably selected advanced center abroad over the duration of the project.
The third component of the USEE program provides technical advisory support to
Arab universities in the form of organized short visits by ICT experts, in response to
requests from the host universities. Through intensive field visits, which involve
meetings and dialogue with faculty members and academic managers, these
technical missions can offer help on any area of intended ICT-related development
at the host university.
Furthermore, in the course of organizing and implementing the USEE program and
other related activities, the UCO developed a number of long-term collaborations
and partnerships with advanced universities abroad.
Notable among these are Oxford University (for faculty training and technical field
missions), the UK Computer Teaching Initiative (CT!) and
the universities of London, Surrey, Nottingham and Glasgow (for project advisory
and information support and training visits for project leaders). With the continued
expansion of USEE activities and funding from the European Union, these
collaborations are expected to be extended to a number of other European
universities in France and Italy.
Similar long-term collaborations have been developed since the early days of the
USEE program with a number of well-known American universities. These
collaborations have been formalized within the framework of the UNESCO
UNITWIN program, which has provided an umbrel1a for three of USEE's ongoing
projects, each being conducted jointly between one American university and one
Arab university. These projects are: Biology (Purdue, Ain-Shams), Mathematics
(Suez Canal, Iowa State), Chemistry (Ain-Shams, Illinois). Other universities in the
region which include Assiut (Egypt), Yarmouk and Hashemite University (Jordan),
Qatar and UAE (Arabian Gulf) have also formally joined some of the UNITWIN
agreements, which are in principle open to all universities in the region.
8. Building of computer Network Infrastructures within and between Arab
Universities
(a) General Profile of Current conditions: By 1995, all leading universities and
research centers in advanced countries have effectively become ful1y networked
from within and as part of national higher education networks which were connected
to the Internet. Other universities in those countries and around the world were also
on their way to build similar capabilities, which have by then acquired the status of
an essential and standard pre-requisite without which the ability of any university to
embrace the new technology would be severely reduced to negligible levels.
A very different situation prevailed in the Arab region. Apart from a very small
number of universities and centers where comprehensive infra-structural plans were
developed and implemented, most Arab universities had very limited internal
networking facilities or skills. E-mail services, if available, were usually confined to
a single location (e.g., computer center) which collects and transmits e-mail via an email server through periodic dial-up or leased circuits of limited bandwidth. Public
or private data services, where available, were of limited speed and high cost.
The earliest national effort to install a HE network, at least for providing intern et
connectivity to all universities and centers, (as well as other public and private
organizations) was implemented in Egypt, in the early nineties.
Under the authority of the Supreme University Council (SUC) universities and other
institutions were connected through PTT leased circuits and dial-up connections to a
central node (Egyptian University Network, EUN) at Cairo University, which acted
as the country's internet gateway and administrator. Both the inter-university and the
Internet connections started at very low bandwidths but, driven by growing demand,
they have been increased steadily ever since.
The last three years have shown a significantly faster rate of developments in this
region. Some universities (e.g., AUB, AUC, Kuwait, some universities in Jordan and
Birzeit in Palestine) have already established modern campus-wide Ethernet
networks whose connection tot he Internet depended on available national
connectivity in the countries concerned. More universities (e.g., in Jordan, Palestine
and Egypt and possibly the Arab Maghreb) started to plan and build their own
network infrastructures. Syria, Lebanon and possibly other Arab countries have
embarked on serious technical planning efforts at the national level. As for the
majority of Arab public universities, however, the process of network building
within and between Arab universities is still in its early stage and much planning and
effort is needed to provide adequate Intranet and internet connectivity to Arab
academics and scholars.
(b) UCO Technical Missions: Although the USEE program was focused on
enabling science and engineering faculty and technicians to use ICT as a means of
upgrading their teaching using available (stand-alone or networked) facilities, global
developments over the last three years have moved decidedly in the direction of
using the internet, and the web in particular, as the favored platform for authoring
and delivering of university courses. The need for adequate Intranet/Internet
connectivity have become increasingly evident to regional academics and decisionmakers alike, which may explain, at least partly, the recent encouraging
developments in this area.
The UCO was able on its part to contribute to some of the important awareness
creation and planning activities in this field. This took the form of technical missions
with the single objective of recommending national HE technical plans for network
infrastructure building and operation in Arab countries. They were sponsored and
coordinated by UCO, on the request of the HE authorities in the countries in
question. Three such technical missions were consecutively organized in 1997 to
Syria, Lebanon, and the WBG Occupied Territories.
These missions revealed striking similarities among Arab universities and countries,
with respect to common infra-structural conditions and needs. Fortunately, the
technology itself has reached an advanced state of standardization and modularity
which allows common generic solutions to be applied. While these solutions mirror
the technologies and practices adopted at the most advanced universities (e.g.,
Oxford University), they can also be implemented in an incremental and modular
manner that is tailored to the financial resources and technological needs of each
university.
A common standard approach thus emerged, which is believed to apply to the
majority of Arab countries, especially those with large public universities and
limited resources. this approach can be outlined as follows:
- Highest priority should be given to building campus-wide networks within each
university and center, regardless of the prevailing state of inter-university or
Internet connectivity in the country, as all the experiences and applications
associated with the uses of Internet resources (e.g., e-mail, web browsers and
servers, shared resources and facilities, etc.) can be developed within the intranet
of each university.
- National policies should give high priority to immediate provision of leased
circuits of adequate and incrementable bandwidths to link each networked
university or center to a Higher Education central router and servers, with
connection tot he Internet, to be managed on behalf of HE sector.
- In order to ensure effective long term operation, maintenance and expansion of
university networks, local technical terms in each participating university or
center should be organized, and provided with the necessary intensive training, to
be fully involved in all stages of network building (e.g., planning, preparation of
technical specifications, installation, setting up of network servers, operation of
network and management of its services).
- Due to its flexibility, ease of use, robust performance, high level of
standardization and underlying open system architecture, Ethernet 10BaseT
technology with optical fiber backbone and UTP Category 5 structured wiring
can be adopted as the entry choice by all Arab universities.
- To allow for local technical teams to grow in experience, it is possible, and
indeed highly recommended, that networks be built in stages, staring with a core
network involving say several key buildings on each campus, which can be
expanded gradually with growing usage and demand.
- It is broadly estimated that the total cost for implementing a core project
involving universities and institutions in the same country will cost about
$100,000 (n+ I 0, including all passive and active comml1l1ication equipment
and servers, as well as concurrent training and consultancy support.
- Proportional adequate funds should be also be made available to departments to
enable them to meet the expected growing demand for provision of PC power
and related software and applications.
- Modular units for university-wide faculty training on major ICT topics (basic
applications and authoring languages) and should be established at each
university, using common experiences and practices in advanced universities.
National Perspective
The need for full exploitation of ICT in support of aJl sectors of the economy is
particularly apparent in the Arabian gulf countries due to the shortage of the national
work force and the need for its optimal use. As a result, various initiatives have been
introduced by some of the gulf countries in an attempt to benefit from this new
opportunity. For example, the five-year plan for the State of Kuwait (1996-2000)
cans for the upgrading of government services and the streamlining of bureaucracy
through automation. To facilitate this, a new cabinet portfolio (Minister of State for
Administrative Development) was recently created and a national board of
information (Committee on Information Systems) was set up by the Ministry of
Planning to supervise the integration of an government-related computer facilities
and resources.
Through the development of a systematic national awareness plan, the number of
Internet users at the United Arab Emirates has essentially doubled in the six-month
period between July 1998 and January 1998. Presently at about 90,000 users, this
number is the largest in the Arab region (Nua Internet Surveys). As a percentage of
the total population, another gulf country, Qatar, is in the lead with slightly more
that 3 percent. Recently, the Kuwait Ministry of Communication has licensed about
50 new Internet Service Providers and is currently contemplating the authorization
of a host on new ICT tools (e.g., voice-activated telephony, video conferencing,
fiber optics cabling, etc.). Kuwait Computer Society, an NGO established in 1981,
has taken an active role in raising lCT awareness through the offering of regularlyscheduled training programs, seminars and workshops in various aspects of lCT.
Gulf countries have, by and large, seriously invested in the establishment of first-rate
ICT infrastructure and facilities for higher education. In parallel, several universities
have taken active steps to effectively incorporate this technology in teaching. For
example, the United Arab Emirates University introduced nearly five years ago a
new basic education core program. Required of all entering freshmen regardless of
specialization, the program focuses in the most part on providing students with a
solid working knowledge of computers. As a follow-up, departments were required
to re-engineer their curricula to ensure that this expertise is further enhanced
throughout all academic programs.
Similarly, several faculty members in engineering and basic sciences at Kuwait
University, the University of Bahrain, and Sultan Qaboos University are actively
pursuing the upgrade of their individual courses and modes of delivery. To
institutionalize these efforts, the respective colleges in these universities have
established state-of-the-art multimedia, networked computer laboratories for course
development activities and teaching purposes.
Universities in the Gulf region have particularly taken an active part in the programs
and activities of the UNESCO Cairo Office pertaining to the Upgrade of Science and
Engineering Education - the USEE program. Several intensive faculty training
workshops were organized within the USEE program in the United Arab Emirates,
Qatar and Kuwait. Currently, the USEE program sponsors the development of four
pilot engineering courses at Kuwait University, University of Bahrain, and Sultan
Qaboos University in Oman.
In summary, it is believed that the Gulf countries are well-suited to develop local
capabilities in ICT that can have a value-added impact. It is important, however, that
existing efforts be nourished and guided by coordinated and . focused strategies that
are translated into national plans for improving the efficiency and quality of higher
education, especially in expanding access to university services by new groups of
the society through distance, open and life-long learning.
Recommendations
Higher Education institutions are now facing the dual challenge of managing the
internal structural changes that are needed to adapt to and harness the power of the
ICT, on the one hand, and meeting the changing qualitative and quantitative
demands on their services from their constituent societies, on the other. Within the
increasingly de-regulated world economic environment, universities, whether public
or private, will be mainly assessed and financially sustained through the public
response to, and demand f01:, their educational products and services. Information
technology is already helping university managers and administrators in coping with
increasingly complex activities and services (finance, personnel, registration, time
tabling, assets management, etc.). But the full exploitation of ICT in support of the
central university mission of teaching, research and community services requires a
collaborative effort on the part of the Governments, funding agencies, universities
and higher education institutes.
As such, Governments of the Region should work to develop strategies and action
plans to ensure that all sectors of the society are having increasing access to basic
ICT products and services at affordable cost that are commensurate with
international levels. They should provide universities with the financial and other
resources that are needed for building and operating modern ICT network with full
access to the Internet. Finally, Governments should give high priority to providing
universities with the resources needed for building the ICT capacity of their staff
through sustained programs of training and through organized professional
interaction with their counterparts in the region and in advanced universities abroad.
Regional and International funding Agencies should give high priority to funding of
activities aimed at building academic informatics infrastructure and at expanding
ICT capacity of faculty in Arab universities. Special provisions should be made for
funding of training programs; ICT-based development projects, and exchanges of
expert visits with counterparts in the region and abroad.
Universities and higher education authorities in the region should adopt and quickly
implement action plans and strategies aimed at: developing suitable incentives to
motivate faculty members to invest time and effort in adapting the new technologies
to local needs and conditions of university teaching, research or management;
encouraging initiatives by academic departments and colleges for planning and
implementing activities aimed at using ICT for upgrading university teaching
through technical and financial support from recognized regional and international
organizations; and working to create common flexible platforms of collaboration
among universities in the same country or the region for regular exchanges of ICT
experiences and sharing of lCT resources.
References
1. Murray W. Goldberg, Department of Computer Science, University of
Vancouver, Book Chapter: "Using a Web-based Course Authoring tool to
Develop Sophisticated Web-based Courses", Ed. Badrul Khan, Pub.
Educational Technologies Press, July 1996. (http://homebrew.cs.ubc.ca/
webct).
2. For example, Tony Bates, Director, Education and Distance Technology
Continuing Studies: "The Impact of Technological Change on Open and
distance Learning", keynote paper, Conference on: Open and Distance
Learning, December 6, Brisbane Australia (http://bates.cstudies.ubc.ca/
Brisbane, Australia); "Educational Multimedia in a Networked Society.
3. Communications and Information Technology, (http://www.1eads.ac.uk/
educo1.ncihe). Professor Diana Laurillard, Pro- Vice Chancellor (Technology
Development), Open University: recommendations of the National
Committee, Colloquium proceedings: IT & Dearing: Implications for HE, p 613, ICTSS Publications, July 97 (http://www.ICT.ac.uk).
4. The Higher Education System in the Arab States: Development of S&T
Indicators, a study report prepared by Professor Subhi Qasem, University of
Jordan for UNESCO; published by UNESCO/ROSTAS, Cairo, 1995.
5. World Education Report 1993, Table 11, p. 10, UNESCO Publishing, 1993
(ISBN-92-3102935-5).
6. For example: The Royal Society (UK): Submission to the Nationa.
7. Committee of Inquiry
www.royalsoc.ac.uk).
into
Higher
*
*
*
Education,
May
97
(http://
Intellectual Property Rights and the Information
Highways: The New WIPO "Internet Treaties"
Dr. Mih61y Ficsor*
Abstract
This paper briefly reviews the recent developments of the international norms on
copyright and related rights since the 1967/1971 revisions of the Berne Convention,
through the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement, until the signature of the so-called
Internet treaties, that is, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO
Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT); then offers a detailed analysis of the
latter Treaties.
As the paper points out, the importance of the new WIPO Treaties may be found in
the fact that they offer a response to the challenges posed by digital technology, and
particularly the Internet, to intellectual property protection.
The Treaties reflect the recognition that there is no need for fundamental changes in
the international copyright norms. Essentially, what they do is that they clarify the
ways and conditions of application of the existing norms in a network environment;
eliminate some more or less illogical gaps which exist in the Berne Convention in
the coverage of certain rights, particularly the right of communication to the public
and the right of distribution; identify the scope of possible exceptions, on the basis
of the three-step test included in Article 9(2) of the Berne Convention, and now also
in Article 13 of the TRIPS Agreement; and introduce truly new elements only in
respect of the protection against the circumvention of technological measures of
protection (such as encryption systems) and against the illicit removal or alteration
of electronic rights management information (such as digital identifiers). Those new
elements are indispensable in the new environment, where rights may only be
exercised appropriately in combination with such measures and such information.
It is general1y recognized that the new Treaties are flexible and represent an
appropriate balance between the various interests involved; at the same time, they
offer a sufficient basis and the necessary guarantees for those who consider using the
Global Information Network (GIl) as a market place for their cultural and
information products. The adherence to the treaties is in the interest of all those
countries which wish to enjoy the benefits of the GIL This is reflected in the number
of signatories of the Treaties (5 I for the WTC and 50 for the WPPT).
At the end, the paper also refers to the current and future activities of WIPO in the
field of the adaptation of the international norms on intellectual property to the
conditions and requirements of emerging new technologies.
* Assistant Director General, World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), Geneva,
Switzerland.
I. Introduction
After its adoption in 1886, the Berne Convention was revised quite regularly, more
or less at least every 20th year, until the "twin revisions" which took place in
Stockholm in 1967 and in Paris in I 971.(i) The revision conferences were convened,
in general, in order to find responses to new technological developments (such as
phonography, photography, radio, cinematography, and television). (ii)
It is well known that, in the 1970s and 1980s, a great number of important new
technological developments took place (reprography, videotechnology, compact
cassette systems facilitating "home taping," satellite broadcasting, cable television,
the increase of the importance of computer programs, computer-generated works and
electronic databases, etc.). For a while, the international copyright community
followed the strategy of "guided development,"(iii) rather than trying to establish
new international norms. This also concerned the so-called "Related Rights" covered
by the Rome Convention adopted in 1961, which has never been revised since then.
The recommendations, guiding principles and model provisions worked out by the
various WIPO bodies (at the beginning, frequently in cooperation with UNESCO)
offered guidance to governments on how to respond to the challenges of new
technologies. They were based, in general, on the interpretation of the existing
international norms (for example, concerning computer programs, databases, "home
taping," satellite broadcasting, cable television, etc.); but they also included some
new standards (for example, concerning distribution and rental of copies).(iv) The
guidance thus offered in the said "guided development" period had quite important
impact on national legislation, and contributed to the development of copyright al1
over the world.
However, at the end of the 1980s, it was recognized that mere guidance would not
be sufficient any more; new binding international norms became indispensable. (v)
The preparation of new norms started in two forums. At GATT, in the framework of
the Uruguay Round Negotiations, and at WIPO, first, in one committee of experts
and, later, in two parallel committees of experts.
The preparatory work in the WIPO committees was slowed down, since the
governments concerned wanted to avoid any undesirable interference with the much
more complex negotiations on the trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights
(TRIPS) within the Uruguay Round. After the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement, a
new situation emerged. The TRIPS Agreement included certain results of the period
of "guided development) but it did not respond to all challenges of new technologies,
and, whereas it, if properly interpreted, has broad application to many of the issues
raised by the spectacular growth of the use of digital technology, particularly
through the Internet, it does not specifically address some of those issues.) The
preparatory work of the new copyright and neighboring rights, norms in the WIPO
committees was, therefore, accelerated, and that led to the relatively quick
convocation of the WIPO Diplomatic Conference on Certain Copyright and
Neighboring Rights Questions, which took place in Geneva from December the 2nd.
to the 20th., 1996.
The Diplomatic Conference adopted two treaties: the WIPO Copyright Treaty
(hereinafter will be referred to as "the WCT" or, in specific contexts, as "the Treaty")
and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (hereinafter will be referred to
as "the WPPT", or, in specific contexts, as "the Treaty").
The international press, which followed the Diplomatic Conference with great
attention, frequently referred to those treaties simply as "Internet Treaties". In a way,
such a reference was quite justified. Although the Treaties, as discussed below,
contain also certain other important provisions which clarify obligations under
existing international norms, their specific importance is mainly due to those
provisions which offer responses to the challenges posed by digital technology.
In this paper, we will first briefly discuss the legal nature of the two treaties and their
relationship to other treaties, then, in harmony with the topic of this conference, we
will deal with the so-called "Digital Agenda" of the Diplomatic Conference. This is
followed by a brief inventory of the other substantive provisions, as well as the
administrative and final clauses of the treaties; and finally, reference is also made to
the continuation of WIPO's norm-setting activities in the field of copyright and
related rights..
11. The Legal Nature Of The New Treaties And Their Relationship to Other
International Treaties
The WIPO Copyright Treaty
The first sentence of Article I (1) of the WCT provides that "[This] Treaty is a
special agreement within the meaning of Article 20 of the Berne Convention for the
Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, as regards Contracting Parties that are
countries of the Union established by that Convention."
Article 20 of the Berne Convention contains the following provision: "The
Governments of the countries of the Union reserve the right to enter into special
agreements among themselves, in so far as such agreements grant to authors more
extensive rights than those granted by the Convention, or contain other provisions
not contrary to this Convention." Therefore, the above-quoted provision of Article 1
(1) of the WCT has a specific importance for the interpretation of the Treaty. It
makes it obvious that no interpretation of the WCT is acceptable which might result
in any decrease of the level of protection granted by the Berne Convention.
Article 1 (4) of the WCT establishes a further guarantee for the fullest possible
respect of the Berne Convention, since it includes, by reference, all substantive
provisions of the Berne Convention into the Treaty in providing that "Contracting
Parties shall comply with Articles 1 to 21 and the Appendix of the Berne
Convention." Article 1(3) clarifies that, in this context, the Berne Convention means
the 1971 Paris Act of the Convention. These provisions should be considered in the
light of the provisions of Article 17 of the Treaty, refereed to below, under which
not only countries party to the 197 I Paris Act, and, in general, not only countries
party to any act of the Berne Convention, but also any member countries of WIPO,
irrespective of whether or not they are party to the Convention, and also certain
intergovernmental organizations, may adhere to the Treaty.
Article 1 (2) contains a safeguard clause similar to the one included in Article 2.2 of
the TRIPS Agreement: "Nothing in this Treaty shall derogate from existing
obligations that Contracting Parties have to each other under the Berne Convention
for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works." The scope of this safeguard clause
differs from the one included in the TRIPS Agreement.) The latter has importance
also from the viewpoint of at least one article of the Berne Convention which
contains substantive provisions on moral rights - namely Article 6bis since the
TRIPS Agreement confers no rights or obligations in respect to that article. On the
other hand, Article 1 (2) of the WCT only has relevance from the viewpoint of
Article 22 to 38 of the Berne Convention containing administrative provisions and
final clauses which are not included by reference (either in the WCT or in the TRIPS
Agreement) and only to the extent that those provisions provide for obligations of
the Contracting Parties. (ix)
The second sentence of Article 1 (I) of the WCT deals with the question of what
relationship the WCT may have with treaties other than the Berne Convention. It
states that "[T]his Treaty shall not have any connection with treaties other than the
Berne Convention, nor shall it prejudice any rights and obligations under any other
treaties." The TRIPS Agreement and the Universal Copyright Convention are
examples of such "other" treaties.(x)
It should also be pointed out that there is no specific relationship between the WCT
and the WPPT either, and the latter is also an "other" treaty covered by the second
sentence of Article 1 (1) of the WCT. There is even no such relationship between the
WCT and the WPPT, as the one existing between the Berne Convention and the
Rome Convention. Under Article 24(2) of the Rome Convention, only those
countries may adhere to that Convention which are party to the Berne Convention or
the Universal Copyright Convention, while, in principle, any member country of
WIPO may accede to the WPPT; it is not a prerequisite that they be party to the
WCT (or the Berne Convention or the Universal Copyright Convention). It is
another matter that such a separate adhesion is not desirable, and, hopefully, wi1I
not take place.
WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty
When the preparatory work leading to the Diplomatic Conference started in 1990-9
I, only one single treaty was foreseen which was tentatively called a protocol to the
Berne Convention and which became later the WCT. According to the terms of
reference, that treaty was to also cover the protection of sound recordings and thus
serve as a "bridge" between the various legal systems. That was not acceptable to
those countries which feel strongly about the need to separate copyright and related
rights. Thus, a separate project was born under the (unofficial) name of the "New
Instrument" to cover the rights of producers of phonograms and, along with those
rights, also the rights of performers. From then on, two committees of experts dealt
with the "Berne Protocol" and the "New Instrument," which, however, later regularly
held joint sessions.
In the early period of the preparatory work of the WPPT - the New Instrument - the
idea emerged that it should have the same relationship with the Rome Convention as
the WCT - the Berne Protocol - was supposed to have with the Berne Convention;
that is, it should be a special agreement under Article 22 of the Rome Convention
(which determines the nature and conditions of such agreements, mutatis mutandis,
the same way as Article 20 of the Berne Convention).
The relationship between the WPPT and the Rome Convention has been regulated in
a way that it is similar to the relationship of the TRIPS Agreement and the Rome
Convention. This means that (i) in general, the application of the substantive
provisions of the Rome Convention is not an obligation of the Contracting Parties;
(ii) only a small number of provisions of the Rome Convention is included by
reference (those relating to the criteria of eligibility for protection);(xi) and (iii)
Article 1 (2) of the Treaty contains, mutatis mutandis, practically the same provision
as Article 2.2 of the TRIPS Agreement: it states that nothing in the Treaty derogates
from obligations that Contracting Parties have to each other under the Rome
Convention.
Article I (3) of the Treaty, in respect of the relation to the other treaties, includes a
provision similar to the one in Article 1 (2) of the WCT quoted above: "The Treaty
shall not have any connection with, nor shall it prejudice any rights and obligations
under, any other treaties."
The title of Article I of the WPPT is "Relation to Other Conventions," but its
paragraph (2) deals with a broader question, namely with the question of the relation
between copyright, on one hand, and the related rights provided in the Treaty, on the
other. This provision reproduces the text of Article I of the Rome Convention word
by word: "Protection granted under this Treaty shall leave intact, and shall in no way
affect the protection of copyright in literary and artistic works. Consequently, no
provision of this Treaty may be interpreted as prejudicing such protection." It is well
known that, in spite of the fact that, during the 1961 Diplomatic Conference
adopting the Rome Convention, such attempts were resisted, and this is clearly
reflected in the records of the Conference,(xii) there have always been experts who
tried to interpret that provision in suggesting that, under it, not only the protection
but also the exercise of copyright should be left completely intact by the protection
and exercise of neighboring rights; that is, if, for example, an author wishes to
authorize the use of the sound recording of a performance of his work, neither the
performer nor the producer of the recording should be able to prohibit that use on the
basis of his neighboring rights. The Diplomatic Conference rejected such
interpretation when it adopted an agreed statement which reads as follows: "It is
understood that Article 1(2) clarifies the relationship between rights in phonograms
under this Treaty and copyright in works embodied in the phonograms. In cases
where authorization is needed from both the author of a work embodied in the
phonogram and a performer or producer owning rights in the phonogram, the need
for the authorization of the author does not cease to exist because the authorization
of the performer or producer is also required, and vice versa."
Ill. The "Digital Agenda" and The New Treaties
During the post-TRIPS period of the preparatory work, it became clear that the most
important and most urgent task of the WIPO committees, and ~he eventual
diplomatic conference, was to offer clarifications of the existing norms and, where
necessary, to create new norms to respond to the problems raised by digital
technology, and particularly by the Internet. The issues addressed in this context
were referred to jointly as the "digital agenda." The provisions of the WCT and the
WPPT relating to that "agenda" covers the, following issues: certain definitions,
rights applicable for the storage of works and objects of related rights in digital
systems, transmission of works and objects of related rights in digital networks,
limitations on and exceptions to rights in a digital environment, technological
measures of protection and rights management information,
Definitions
The Berne Convention, in general, does not contain definitions, and the WCT
follows that tradition. In the Berne Convention, the only real excepti0n is the
definition of "Published Work" in Article 3(3). It was in connection with that
definition that the draft of the WCT included an interpretative provision. That was
not, however, adopted. (That draft provision, nevertheless, is discussed later in this
paper, because it had a specific relation with the question of applicability of the right
of distribution for digital transmissions.)
The WPPT, however, follows the structure of the Rome Convention, and it contains,
in its Article 2, a series of definitions, The definitions cover more or less the same
term, as those which are defined in Article 3 of the Rome Convention: "Performers,"
"Phonogram," "Producer of phonograms," "Publication," "Broadcasting": more, in
the sense that the WPPT also defines "Fixation" and "Communication to the public,"
and less, in the sense that it does not define "Reproduction" and "Rebroadcasting."
The impact of digital technology is evident in the definitions on the basis of the
recognition that phonograms do not necessarily mean the fixation of sounds of a
performance or other sounds any more; now they may also include fixations of
(digital) representations of sounds that have never existed, but that have been
directly generated by electronic means. The reference to "Representations of sounds"
does not expand the relevant definitions as provided under existing treaties; it only
reflects the desire to offer a clarification in the face of present technology.
The scope of the Right of Reproduction
The texts of the two treaties and of the agreed statements related to them were
agreed upon during a series of informal consultation meetings of Main Committee I,
held during the third week of the Conference.
In the texts of the two treaties as adopted, this is not the case anymore, but, in the
draft texts, those contained provisions to clarify the scope of application of the right
of reproduction. Those provisions turned out to be the most controversial ones in the
two draft treaties, and, on the discussion of them, an extremely great amount of time
was spent.
The issues covered in those draft provisions mainly related to the fact that, during
transmissions in digital networks, a series of reproductions take place and that the
on-demand use of works and objects of neighboring rights (even "browsing")
involves the making of at least temporary copies in the receiving computers.
Article 7(1) of the draft of the WCT contained the following clarification: "The
exclusive right accorded to authors of literary and artistic works in Article 9( I) of
the Berne Convention of authorizing the reproduction of their works, shall include
direct and indirect reproduction of their works, whether permanent or temporary, in
any manner or form."
Article 7(1) of the draft of the WPPT included a similar provision: "Performers shall
enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing the direct or indirect reproduction, whether
permanent or temporary, of their [Alternative A: musical performances fixed in
phonograms,] [Alternative B: performances fixed in any medium,] in any manner or
form," Article 14 of the WPPT contained, mutatis mutandis, the same provision
concerning phonograms.
Paragraph (2) of all the three articles, subject to the relevant general provisions on
limitations and exceptions, provided for the possibility of specific limitations "In
cases where a temporary reproduction has the sole purpose of making the [work]
[performance] [phonogram] [perceptible] [audible] or where the reproduction is of a
transient or incidental nature, provided that such reproduction takes place in the
course of use of the [work] [performance ][phonogram] that is authorized by the
[author] [performer] [producer of phonograms] or permitted by law.,,(xiii)
The fact that the storage of works in electronic memories is an act of reproduction
has been recognized - and has never been questioned - for a long time. It was as
early as in June 1982 that the Second WIPO/Unesco Committee of Governmental
Experts on Copyright Problems Arising from the Use of Computers for Access to, or
the Creation of, Works clarified this as part of a set of recommendations. The
relevant recommendation reads as follows: "Storage in and retrieval from computer
systems (input and output) of protected works may, as the case may be, involve at
least the following rights of authors provided for in either international conventions
or national legislation on copyright or both: ...(b) the right to reproduce any work
involved... ,,(xiv)
The questions which emerged in respect of the scope of reproduction in a digital
environment did not, actually, concern storages in electronic form in general, but
only certain kinds of storages, namely those transient and incidental forms of
temporary reproductions which are mentioned in paragraph (2) of each of the three
above-mentioned articles. It was believed by some that such reproductions should
not be covered by the operation of the exclusive right of authorizing reproduction.
During the preparatory work, three schools of thought emerged concerning the
application of the right of reproduction in respect of such transient and incidental
reproductions. The followers of the first school were of the view that no specific
limitations or exceptions were needed, since the flexibility of the general provisions
on limitations and exceptions (based on the "three-step test" which is described and
discussed below under the title "Limitations and exceptions in the digital
environment") provided a sufficient legal framework. According to the second
school, the "too much" transient and incidental reproductions simply should be
excluded from the definition of "Reproduction." It was, however, pointed out that,
first, to exclude some reproductions on the basis of the duration of reproductions,
would be a very subjective exercise (what should be the limit: some hours, some
minutes, some seconds, some nanoseconds?), and second, that, as long as the acts
involved correspond to the concept of reproduction, the exclusion of such acts from
that concept would conflict with Article 9( I) of the Berne Convention, which clearly
covers reproductions "In any manner or form." Therefore, quite naturally a third
school gained more support, namely that no temporary reproductions should be because they cannot be - excluded from the definition of "Reproduction," but that
appropriate limitations on the right of reproduction should be made possible in
respect of certain transient and incidental reproductions where this is justified. The
above-quoted provisions in the draft treaties followed the latter idea.
Of course, there is an inevitable question which we should respond if we speak
about the concept of reproduction, namely the question of actually how we can
describe that concept. The Berne Convention does not offer a specific definition
about this, but the records of the various diplomatic conferences make it clear that
fixation of a work is the basic element of the concept. (xv) With this, however, still
nothing is truly settled since then the next inevitable question is what "fixation" is.
Fortunately, in respect of that, there seems to be a quite well-established position at
the international level: fixation means sufficient stability of form so that what is
"fixed" may be perceived, reproduced or otherwise communicated. A statement is
included about this also in the report of the WIPO/Unesco Committee of
Governmental Experts quoted above. The report clarifies that "Sufficient stability of
a form in which a work is fixed should be considered from the functional side, in the
sense that the work can be perceived, reproduced or otherwise communicated to the
public with the aid of a computer system.,,(xvi) It is interesting to note in this
context that, under Article 2(c) of the WPPT, "fixation" means "The embodiment of
sounds, or of the representation thereof, from which they can be perceived,
reproduced or communicated through a device." This indicates that the Diplomatic
Conference had also recognized the above-mentioned basic elements of the concept
of "fixation," and, through it, the concept of reproduction.
It is hardly questionable that, in general, even transient and incidental storages of
works and objects of neighboring rights in an electronic memory correspond to those
concepts since they are sufficiently stable so that, on the basis of them, the works
and objects and objects of neighboring rights stored may be perceived, further
reproduced or further communicated. Thus, it seemed appropriate to use the system
of limitations and exceptions (subject to the "Three-step test" discussed below)
where the application of the right of reproduction might not be considered to be
justified in the case of such temporary storages, rather than trying to exclude such
reproduction from the concept of "reproduction."
Nevertheless, the Diplomatic Conference did not adopt the famous Articles 7 of the
two treaties and Article 14 of the WPPT. There were delegations which supported
those provisions (actually there was widespread support for paragraph (1) of Article
7 in both treaties as well as of Article 14 of the WPPT, and the broad consensus only
fen apart on the issue of limitations and exceptions addressed by paragraphs (2) of
the same articles). There were some others which were in favor of excluding
transient and incidental reproductions from the concept of reproduction, and there
were also some delegations which, in principle, would have been ready to accept the
above-mentioned provisions, with the important difference, however, that the
application of the limitations mentioned in paragraph (2) of each of the three articles
should not be only a possibility left to Contracting States, but that it should rather be
an obligation of Contracting States.(xvii) Finally, the Diplomatic conference was
unable to reach agreement on those provisions and the three articles were left out
from the text of the treaties. Thus, that school prevailed which was against the
introduction of specific limitations or exceptions.
At the same time, the Diplomatic Conference adopted an agreed statement which
reads as follows: "The reproduction right, as set out in Article 9 of the Berne
Convention, and the exceptions permitted thereunder, fully apply in the digital
environment, in particular to the use of works in digital form. It is understood that
the storage of a protected work in digital form in an electronic medium constitutes a
reproduction within the meaning of Article 9 of the Berne Convention." A similar
agreed statement was adopted, also concerning the WPPT.
The first sentence of the agreed statement was adopted by consensus, as all the other
agreed statements, and it actually states the obvious: the concept of reproduction,
under Article 9(1) of the Convention, extends to reproduction "In any manner of
form"; therefore, under that provision of the Berne Convention, it is not allowed to
exclude a reproduction from the concept of reproduction just because a reproduction
is in digital form, through storage in an electronic memory, and just because a
reproduction is of a temporary nature. At the same time, it also follows from the first
sentence of the agreed statement that Article 9(2) of the Convention is fully
applicable, which offers an appropriate basis to introduce justified exceptions in
certain cases of transient and incidental reproductions in national legislation, in
harmony with the "three-step test" provided for in that provision of the Convention.
The second sentence of the agreed statement was not adopted unanimously (but by a
majority of the votes, which was actually much larger than the two-thir~. majority
required for the adoption of the text of the Treaty itself. (XVIII) Nevertheless, the
validity of what is included in that sentence, for the reasons explained above, could
hardly be questioned; storage of works and objects of neighboring rights is
reproduction; there is actually no need to state this in an agreed statement; it follows,
beyond any doubts whatsoever, from the existing international norms, particularly
from Article 9(1) of the Berne Convention.
Transmission of works in digital networks; the so-called "Umbrella Solution"
During the preparatory work, an agreement was reached in the WIPO committees
that the transmission of works and objects of neigh boring rights on the Internet and
in similar networks should be subject to an exclusive right of authorization of the
owners of rights; with appropriate exceptions, of course.
There was, however, no agreement on which right should be chosen of the two main
candidates: the right of communication to the public and the right of distribution.
The need for the application of one or both of those rights emerged because,
although it was recognized that reproductions take place throughout any
transmissions in digital networks, the application of the right of reproduction alone
did not seem to be sufficient. It would not reflect which acts are truly relevant; it
would not correspond to the extremely dynamic nature of the Internet-type networks,
and, furthermore, it alone would not offer satisfactory and readily enforceable basis
for liability of those who make available works and objects of neigh boring rights to
the public in such networks.
"Making available works and objects of neighboring rights to the public in an
interactive electronic network." This seems to be a more or less precise description
of the act - or series of acts - which should be covered by appropriate rights. Thus,
the idea may emerge to simply recognize such a right to cover such acts. Why not?
one may say.
We are not, however, completely free here. We do not act in a tabula rasa situation.
We cannot get rid of the categories, rights and exceptions included in existing
treaties and laws. We cannot forget that, on the existing categories, rights and
exceptions, well-established practices are based, that, on the basis of them, longterm contractual relations have been formed, and so on.
Thus, it is quite normal that, both at national level and at the level of international
norms, there is quite a general wish to try to apply existing norms to this new
phenomenon.
In this respect, we have to face the reality that, at the level of the existing
international norms, there is no such broad economic rights as the "right to make
available to the public." (It is another matter that the concept exists in a different
context; see the role of the (first) making available of a work to the public in the
calculation of the term of protection of certain works under Article 7(2) and (3) of
the Berne Convention. And it is still another matter that some national laws provide
for such broad rights(xix).).
At the international level, and under the majority of national laws, the acts of making
available a work or an object of neighboring rights to the public are covered by two
separate groups of rights: copy-related rights and non-copy-related rights.
Copy-related rights (such as the right of distribution, the right of rental or the right of
public lending [where recognized]) cover acts by means of which copies are made
available to the public; typically for "deferred" use, since the act of making available
and the perception (studying, watching, listening to) of the signs, images and sounds
in which a work is expressed or which are embodied in an object of neighboring
rights (that is, the actual "use") by the members of the public differ in time.
Non-copy-related rights (such as the right of public performance, the right of
broadcasting, the right of communication to the public by wire), on the other hand,
cover acts through which works and objects of neighboring rights are made available
for direct - that is not "deferred" - use (percepting, studying, watching, listening to)
by the public.
Digital transmissions scramble the beautifully arranged, dogmatically duly
characterized and justified picture of these two families of rights. They scramble it in
two ways.
First, it seems that the commercial dissemination of protected material in digital
networks will take place with the application of technological measures which will
allow access only if certain conditions are met by the members of the public. It is
foreseen that, for example, so-called "Software Envelopes" will be used.(xx) Such
an electronic "envelope" contains certain information freely available to the public,
without technological protection, such as encryption (hence, its similarity to
traditional envelopes on which some information appears but the contents of the
letter is only available to the person who has the right to open it). The information
identifies the material and the owner of the rights, and indicates the licensing
conditions. First, of course, the member of the public who would like to gain access
to the material should give his subscription number or, in open systems for example,
his credit card number. Then he may study the menu of possible uses indicated on
the "envelope." He may learn that, for browsing, at least to a certain extent, he does
not have to pay anything or, perhaps, he has to pay a minimum service charge; that
for being able to further study the material, to watch still or moving images or to
listen to music or other sounds included in the material, he has to pay a certain
amount of money; that for downloading the material on a more permanent basis he
has to pay more. Thus, the actual extent of the use in not determined at the moment
of making available (uploading) and is not determined by the person or entity alone
who or which carries out the act of making available, it is the given member of the
public, who, through his "virtual negotiation" with the system, determines the extent
of use, and whether the use will be "deferred" (through obtaining a more than
transient copy) or direct (such as on-line studying of a database, on-line watching of
moving images, on-line listening to music).
Second, with digital transmissions, some hybrid forms of "making available" emerge
which do not respect the pre-established border between copy-related and non-copyrelated rights. It is sufficient to refer to the fact that also on-line uses in such digital
systems do involve - as an indispensable step - obtaining at least temporary copies.
It is, therefore, not a surprise, that, when the study started on the question of which
existing rights might be applied to cover digital transmissions, the various countries
did not find themselves necessarily on the same side of the copy-related rights/noncopy-related rights border. Two major trends emerged: one trying to base the
solution on the right of distribution and the other one preferring some general
communication to the public right (both are combined, however, with the application
of the good old right of reproduction, where appropriate).
The United States of America seems to favor the first option,(xxi) while, for
example, the European Community (after a brief adventure with the idea to
.(")(xxiii) apply the right of rental) appears to prefer the latter(xxii).
It is not by chance why this or that country favors this or that solution. The
responses very much depend on the existing national laws - which rights, and to
what extent, exist, on the practices established, the positions obtained on the basis of
those laws, and, as a consequence, on the related national interests involved.
When it became clear that the international copyright community was faced with
two basic options - the application of the right of reproduction along with the right
of distribution or the application of the right of reproduction along with a right to
communicate to the public - and, of course, also with the further possibility of
combining these options somehow, it was soon recognized that the application of
those options was not so easy, and certainly not something which would only require
a simple decision and then the rest would be arranged automatically.
First, the present concepts of distribution and communication to the public may not
be applied directly without some important clarification. As far as distribution is
concerned, in many countries, its concept closely relates to the transfer of property
and/or possession of tangible copies. Thus, if the right of distribution is applied, it
should be accepted and clarified that distribution through reproduction and through
transmission - that is, making available copies by making such copies, through
transmission of electronic signals, in the receiving computers and/or by their
terminals (such as printers) - is also covered by the concept of distribution. Similar
clarifications are needed in respect of the concept of communication to the public.
First of all, it should be accepted and clarified that that concept extends not only to
the acts that are carried out by the communicators, the transmitters themselves (that
is, to the acts as a result of which a work or object of neighboring rights is actually
made available to the public and the members of he public do not have to do more
than, for example, to switch on an equipment necessary for reception), but also to
the acts which only consist of making the work or object of neighboring rights
accessible to the public, and in the case of which the members of the public still
have to cause the system to make it actually available to them. Further clarification
was needed in respect of the notion of the "public," more precisely in respect of what
is to be considered to be made available (accessible) "to the public." It had to be
made clear that on-demand "transmissions" are also covered.
Second, as far as the international norms were concerned, the said clarifications were
not sufficient, since, for example, the Berne Convention does not provide for a right
of distribution for all categories of works, but only for cinematographic works (see
Articles 14(1)(i) and 14bis(I), and, although the coverage of the right of
communication to the public (see Articles II(1)(ii), Il bis(1), ll ter(ii), 14(1)(ii) and
14bis(l)) is broader, it still does not extend to all categories of works in all forms. In
order that any of the above-mentioned solutions may work, the gaps in the
international norms had to be eliminated; the coverage of the rights involved had to
be completed.
Third, and this seemed to be for a long while the most difficult problem, it was
found that it would be difficult for various countries to go along with a specific
solution which would not recognize as legitimate any alternative solution. At the
same time, however, there was quite a general agreement on which acts should be
covered by exclusive rights, and the differences only related to the specific legal
characterization of those acts.
Therefore, a compromise solution was proposed; namely, that the act of digital
transmission should be described in a neutral way, free from specific legal
characterization (for example, as making available a work to the public by wire or by
wireless means for access); that such a description should not be technology-specific
and, at the same time, it should express the interactive nature of digital transmissions
in the sense that it should go along with a clarification that a work is considered to
be made available "to the public," also when the members of the public may access
it from different places and at different times; that, in respect to the legal
characterization of the exclusive right - that is, in respect to the actual choice of the
right or rights to be applied - sufficient freedom should be left to national legislation;
and, finally, that the gaps in the Berne Convention in the coverage of the relevant
rights - the right of communication to the public and the right of distribution - should
be eliminated. This solution was referred to as the "Umbrella Solution."
The WCT applies this "Umbrella Solution" in a specific way. Since the countries
which preferred the application of the right of communication to the public as a
general option seemed to be more numerous, the Treaty, first, extends the
applicability of the right of communication to the public to all categories of works,
and then clarifies that that right also covers transmissions in interactive systems
described in a legal-characterization-free manner. This is included in Article 8 of the
Treaty which reads as follows: "Without prejudice to the provisions of Articles 11
(I)(ii), 11 bis(l)(i) and (ii), 11 ter(l)(ii), 14(1)(ii) and 14bis(l) of the Berne
Convention, authors of literary and artistic works shall enjoy the exclusive right of
authorizing any communication to the public of their works, by wire or wireless
means, including the making available to the public of their works in such a way that
members of the public may access these works from a place and at a time
individually chosen by them." As a second step, however, when this provision was
discussed in Main Committee I, it was stated(xxiv) - and no delegation opposed the
statement - that Contracting Parties are free to implement the obligation to grant
exclusive right to authorize such "making available to the public" also through the
application of a right other than the right of communication to the public or through
the combination of different rights as long as the acts of such "making available" are
fully covered by an exclusive right (with appropriate exceptions). By the "other"
right, of course, first of al1, the right of distribution was meant, but a general right of
making available to the public as provided for in Articles 10 and 14 of the WPPT,
discussed below, might also be such an "other" right.
The above-quoted statement seems to be valid, not only because it was not opposed
by any delegation participating in the Diplomatic Conference,(xxv) but also because,
it is in harmony with an age-old practice followed by the member countries of the
Berne Union in the application of the various rights granted by the Convention
(practice the compatibility of which with the Berne Convention has never been
questioned), namely that the legal characterization of a right - the choice of the
applicable right - is frequently not the same under national laws as under the
Convention.
For example, in certain countries(xxvi) the right of public performance covers not
only those acts which are referred to in the provisions of the Berne Convention as
public performances of works,(xxvii) but also the right of broadcasting and the right
of communication to the public which, under the Berne Convention, are separate
rights. In other countries, the right of communication to the public is such a general
right covering all the three categories of rights mentioned. (xxviii) Still in other
countries, it is the right of broadcasting which also covers communication to the
public by wire.(xxix) With the "Umbrella Solution", the differing legal
characterization may involve crossing the border of copy-related rights and noncopy-related rights, but this is just the consequence of the fact that, with digital
interactive transmissions, for the first time, we are faced with hybrid acts. (The
acceptability of such differing legal characterizations of acts, of course, depends on
whether or not the obligations to grant a minimum level of protection, in respect of
the acts concerned, are duly respected. If, for example, the right of broadcasting was
extended to acts which, under the Berne Convention are qualified as communication
to the public by wire ("Cable-originated programs") and a compulsory licenses were
applied also for the latter act, citing the fact that Article] Ibis(2) of the Berne
Convention allows such licenses for broadcasting, this would be in clear conflict
with the Berne Convention which does not allow such licenses for "Cable-originated
programs."(xxx)
In the case of the right of distribution, the WCT also eliminates the gaps existing in
the Berne Convention. Article 6(1) of the WCT provides for an exclusive right to
authorize the making available to the public of originals and copies of works through
sale or other transfer of ownership, that is, an exclusive right of distribution.
As mentioned above, under the Berne Convention, it is only in respect of
cinematographic works that such a right is granted explicitly. According to certain
views, such a right, surviving at least until the first sale of copies, may be deduced
from the right of reproduction as an indispensable corollary of that right, and, in
some legal systems such a right is actually recognized on such a basis.(xxxi) Other
experts are, however, of a different view and many national laws do not follow the
solution based on the concept of implicit recognition of such a right. Therefore, that
provision of the WCT should be considered, as a minimum, a useful clarification of
the obligations under the Berne Convention (and also under the TRIPS Agreement
which includes by reference the relevant provisions of the Convention) but probably
it IS more justified to consider that provision as a Berne-plus- TRIPS-plus element.
Article 6(2) deals with the issue of the exhaustion of the right of distribution. It does
not oblige Contracting States to choose national/regional exhaustion or international
exhaustion - or to regulate at all the issue of exhaustion - of the right of distribution
after the first sale or other first transfer of ownership of the original, or a copy of the
work (with the authorization of the author). It goes, however, without saying that
digital delivery of copies is not, and should not be, covered by any exhaustion of the
right of distribution, since the ownership of the copy which is uploaded actually is
not transferred; the distribution takes place by reproduction of new copies through
transmission.
From the viewpoint of the application of the "Umbrella Solution," the agreed
statement adopted by the Diplomatic Conference concerning Article 6 (on the right
of distribution; see above) and Article 7 (on the right of rental; see below) may be
considered also relevant. The agreed statement reads as follows: "As used in these
Articles, the expressions 'copies' and 'original and copies,' being subject to the right
of distribution and the right of rental under the said Articles, refer exclusively to
fixed copies that can be put into circulation as tangible objects." The question may
emerge whether or not this agreed statement is in conflict with the "Umbrella
Solution," and, particularly, whether or not it excludes the application of the right of
distribution for transmissions in digital networks. The answer to this question should
be obviously negative. The agreed statement determines only the minimum scope of
application of the right of distribution; it does not create any obstacle for Contracting
States to go beyond that minimum.
On the other hand, the provision included in Article 3 of the draft of the WCT
concerning the notion and place of publication, and the discussion on that provision
at the Diplomatic Conference, underlined that the application of the right of
distribution for digital transmissions is a legitimate option. Paragraph (3) of the
Article contained the following draft provision: "When literary and artistic works are
made available to the public by wire or wireless means in such a way that members
of the public may access these works from a place and at a time individually chosen
by them, so that copies of these works are available, Contracting States shall, under
the conditions specified in Article 3(3) of the Berne Convention, consider such
works to be published works." It should be noted that the text to which emphasis has
been added is the same as the description of interactive on-demand transmissions in
digital networks included in Article 8 of the WCT "On communication to the
public." This made it clear that such "making available of works," at least in certain
cases, may result in a copy-related act: making available of copies, a synonym of
distribution of copies. The provision included in Article 3 of the draft Treaty finally
has not been adopted. The reasons for that, however, were not related to anything
which would have questioned the possibility of copy-related forms of "making
available of works.,,(xxxii)
The WPPT applies the "Umbrella Solution" in a more direct way. Its Articles 10 and
14 provide for a specific right of "making available to the public," an act which is
described practically in the same way as the way the interactive on-demand
transmissions in digital networks are described in Article 8 of the WCT. Article 10
reads as follows: "Performers shall enjoy the exclusive right of authorizing the
making available to the public of their performances fixed in phonograms, by wire
or by wireless means, in such a way that members of the public may access them
from a place and at a time individually chosen by them." Article 14 provides, mutatis
mutandis, the same right for producers of phonograms.
The concept of "communication to the public" as defined in Article 2(g) of the
WPPT, does not extend to such "making available." The right of broadcasting and
communication to the public (in Article 6 and 15) and the right of distribution (in
Articles 8 and 12, in a way similar to Article 6 of the WCT, mutatis mutandis) are
provided separately. The freedom of Contracting States in respect of the legal
characterization of the acts covered and the choice of the right(s) actually applied
seems the same as under the WCT. It is also interesting to note that while in respect
of the WCT, the draft provision (Article 3(3) of the draft Treaty, see above) which
would have recognized that publication may take place by means of digital delivery
in interactive networks has not been adopted, in the case of the WPPT such a
provision has been included. That provision (Article 15(4» reads as follows:
"For the propose of this Article [for the contents of the Article, see below],
phonograms made available to the public by wire or wireless means in such a way
that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time individually
chosen by them shall be considered as if they had been published for commercial
purposes."
It should also be noted that the Diplomatic Conference adopted an agreed statement
which was intended to address the issue of liability of service and access providers
and of "common carriers" in respect of transmissions in interactive, on-demand
networks.
It reads as follows: "It is understood that the mere provision of physical facilities for
enabling or making a communication does not in itself amount to communication
within the meaning of this Treaty [the WCT] or the Berne Convention. It is further
understood that nothing in Article 8 [of the WCT] precludes a Contracting Party
from applying Article Il bis(2)."
The agreed statement states the obvious, since it has always been evident that, if a
person carries out an act other than an act directly covered by a right provided for in
the Convention (and in corresponding national laws), that person has no direct
liability for the act covered by such a right. It is another matter, that, depending on
the circumstances, he may still be liable on the basis of some other forms of liability,
such as contributory or vicarious liability. Liability issues are, however, very much
complex; the knowledge of a very large body of statutory and case law is needed in
each country so that a given case may be judged. Therefore, international treaties on
intellectual property rights, understandably and rightly, do not cover such issues of
liability. The WCT follows this tradition (and this is also true in respect of the
WPPT).
Limitations and exceptions in the digital environment
An agreed statement was adopted concerning Article 10 of the WCT on limitations
and exceptions, which reads as follows: "It is understood that the provisions of
Article 10 permit Contracting Parties to carry forward and appropriately extend into
the digital environment limitations and exceptions in their national laws which have
been considered acceptable under the Berne Convention. Similarly, these provisions
should be understood to permit Contracting Parties to devise new exceptions and
limitations that are appropriate in the digital network environment. It is also
understood that Article 10(2) neither reduces nor extends the scope of applicability
of the limitations and exceptions permitted by the Berne Convention." An agreed
statement concerning Article 16 of the WPPT on limitations and exceptions foresees
the mutatis mutandis application of the above-quoted agreed statement.
This agreed statement requires appropriate interpretation. Both Article 10 of the
WCT and Article 16(1) of the WPPT prescribe the application of the same three-step
test as a condition for the introduction of any limitation on or exception to the rights
granted by the treaties as what is provided in Article 9(2) of the Berne Convention
concerning the right of reproduction and in Article 13 of the TRIPS Agreement
concerning any right. Thus, any limitation or exception may only be introduced (i) in
a special case; (ii) if it does not conflict with a normal exploitation of the works,
performances or phonograms, respectively; and (iii) if it does not unreasonably
prejudice the legitimate interests of the owners of rights. (The application of the
three-step test to the rights of performers and producers of phonograms is of
particular importance, since it means that the out-of-date provisions of Article 15(1)
of the Rome Convention - which, for example, grant full discretion to the
Contracting Parties to treat any personal use as non-infringing the rights of
performers and producers of phonograms - have been rejected.)
Article ] 0(2) of the WCT, similarly to Article 13 of the TRIPS Agreement, extends
the application of the three-step test to all economic rights provided in the Berne
Convention, while Article 16(1) of the WPPT provides that Contracting States may
introduce "the same kinds of limitations and exceptions with regard to the protection
of performers and producers of phonograms as they provide for, in their national
legislation, in connection with the protection of copyright in literary and artistic
works."
The WIPO study on the "Implications of the TRIPS Agreement on Treaties
Administered by WIPO" refers to the fact that "[T]he Berne Convention contains a
similar provision concerning the exclusive right of reproduction (Article 9(2)) and a
number of exceptions or !imitations to the same and other exclusive rights (see
Articles 10, 10bis and 14bis(2)(b)) and, it permits the replacement of the exclusive
right of broadcasting, and the exclusive right of recording of musical works, by nonvoluntary licenses (see Articles 11 bis(2) and 13(1))." After this, it states the
following: "None of the limitations and exceptions permitted by the Berne
Convention should, if correctly applied, conflict with the normal exploitation of the
work and none of them should, if correctly applied, prejudice unreasonably the
legitimate interests of the right holder. Thus, generally and normally, there is no
conflict between the Berne Convention and the TRIPS Agreement as far as .
exceptions and limitations to the exclusive right are. concerned "(xxxiii)
As indicated in that analysis, the application of the three-step test for the specific
limitations and exceptions allowed by the Berne Convention is an interpretation
too]: it guarantees the appropriate interpretation and application of those limitations
and exceptions.
On the basis of this analysis, it is clear that what the above-quoted agreed statement
refers to - namely the carrying forward and appropriate extension into the digital
environment of limitations and exceptions "which have been considered acceptable
under the Berne Convention" - should not be considered an automatic and
mechanical exercise; all this is subject to the application of the three-step test. The
conditions of normal exploitation of works, performances and phonograms are
different in a digital environment from the conditions in a traditional, analog
environment, and the scope where unreasonable prejudice may be caused to the
legitimate interests of owners of right may also differ. Thus, the applicability and the
extent of the "existing" limitations and exceptions should be reviewed when they are
"carried forward" to the digital environment, and they may only be maintained if and only to the extent that - they still may pass the three-step test.
Technological measures of protection and rights management information
It was recognized during the preparatory work that it is not sufficient to provide for
appropriate rights in respect of digital uses of works, particularly uses on the
Internet. In such an environment, no rights may be applied efficiently without the
support of technological measures of protection and of rights, management
information which are necessary to license and monitor uses. There was agreement
that the application of such measures and information should be left to the interested
rights owners, but there was also agreement that appropriate legal protection is
needed for the use of such measures and information.
Articles 11 and 12 of the WCT oblige Contracting Parties to grant such legal
protection.
Under Article 11, Contracting Parties must provide "adequate legal protection and
effective legal remedies against the circumvention of effective technological
measures that are used by authors in connection with the exercise of their rights
under this Treaty or the Berne Convention and that restrict acts, in respect of their
works, which are not authorized by the authors concerned or permitted by law."
Article 12(1) obliges Contacting Parties to "provide adequate and effective legal
remedies against any person knowingly performing any of the following acts
knowing, or with respect to civil remedies having reasonable grounds to know, that
it will induce, enable facilitate or conceal an infringement of any right covered by
this Treaty or the Berne Convention: (i) to remove or alter any electronic rights
management information without authority; (ii) to distribute, import for distribution,
broadcast or communicate to the public, without authority, works or copies of works
knowing that electronic rights management information has been removed or altered
without authority." Article 12(2) defines "rights Management Inf0ll11ation" as
meaning "information which identifies the work, the author of the work, the owner
of any right in the work, or information about the terms and conditions of use of the
work, and any numbers or codes that represent such information, when any of these
items of information is attached to a copy of a work or appears in connection with
the communication of a work to the public."
An agreed statement was adopted by the Diplomatic Conference concerning Article
12 which consists of two parts. The first part reads as follows: "It is understood that
the reference to 'infringement of any right covered by this Treaty or the Berne
Convention' includes both exclusive rights and rights of remuneration." The second
part reads as follows: "It is further understood that Contracting Parties will not rely
on this Article to devise or implement rights management systems that would have
the effect of imposing formalities which are not permitted under the Berne
Convention or this Treaty, prohibiting the free movement of goods or impeding the
enjoyment of rights under this Treaty."
Articles 18 and 19 of the WPPT contains, mutatis mutandis, practically the same
provisions as Article 11 and 12 of the WCT, and an agreed statement concerning
Article 19 of the WPPT also foresees the mutatis mutandis application of the abovequoted agreed statement also for that Article.
These provisions are of a sufficiently general nature, but contain the necessary
elements on the basis of which appropriate provisions may be adopted at the national
level. It follows from the general nature of these provisions that national legislators
may have to go further and more in detail in order to offer efficient protection for
technological measures and rights management information where technological
developments so require and where such protection, taking into account all the
legitimate interests, is justified.
IV. Other Provisions of The New Treaties
As discussed above, the most important role of the two new WIPO treaties is to give
responses to the challenges of digital technology, particularly of the Internet. If the
provisions related to the "digital agenda" had not been agreed upon, the adoption of
the other provisions included in the two treaties would have hardly justified a threeweek Diplomatic Conference and any new Treaty. They are, in a way, of a
complimentary nature.
For this reason, in the following part of this paper, only a brief inventory is
presented about those other provisions.
Substantive provisions of the WCT
Criteria of eligibility:
Article 3 provides for the mutatis mutandis application of the relevant
provisions of the Berne Convention.
Scope of copyright protection:
Article 2 reproduces the principle included in Article 9.2 of the TRIPS Agreement,
which, in turn, had always been followed by the countries of the countries
Convention: "Copyright protection extends to expressions and not to Ideas,
procedures, methods of operation or mathematical concepts as such."
Computer programs and compilations of data (databases):
Articles 4 and 5 contain clarifications concerning the protection of computer
programs as literary works and compilations of data (databases). With some wording
changes, those clarifications are similar to those which are included in Article 10 of
the TRIPS Agreement. This is underlined by two agreed statements adopted by the
Diplomatic Conference concerning those Articles, which state that the scope of
protection for computer programs under Article 4 of the Treaty and for compilations
of data (databases) under Article 5 of the Treaty "is consistent with Article 2 of the
Berne Convention and on par with the relevant provisions of the TRIPS Agreement."
The only more or less substantive difference between Article 4 and 5 of the WCT,
on one hand, and Article 10 of the TRIPS Agreement, on the other, is that the
provisions of the WCT use more general language. Article 10.1 of the TRIPS
Agreement provides for the protection of computer programs "whether in source or
object code," while Article 4 of the WCT does the same concerning computer
programs "whatever may be the mode or form f of their expression.” It is understood
that the scope of protection is the same under the two provisions, but the text of the
WCT is less technology-specific. Similarly, Article 10.2 of the TRIPS Agreement
speaks about "compilations of data or other material, whether in m~chll1e-readable
or other form," while Article 5 of the WCT, refers, 111 general, to "compilations of
data or other material, in any form."
Right of rental:.
Article 7 provides practically for the same protection for the right of rental. in
respect of (i) computer programs; (ii) cinematographic works; and (m) works
embodied in phonograms, as determined in the national law of the Contracting
Parties, as Article 11 and 14.4 of the TRIPS Agreement (The same protection as
under the TRIPS Agreement means, of course, also that, in respect of
cinematographic works, the obligation to grant su.ch ~ right ,I~ not of a general
nature, it only extends to cases where commercial rental ~as led to widespread
copying of such works materially Impairing the exclusive right of reproduction.)
Term of protection of photographic works:
Article 9 assimilates the minimum term of protection for such works (which under
Article 7(4) of the Berne Convention is 25 years) to the general duration (50 years)
of protection under the Convention.
Application in time:
Article 13 provides for the application of Article 18 of the Berne Convention for the
protection granted by the Treaty.
Enforcement of rights:
Article 14 contains two paragraphs. Paragraph (I) is a mutatis mutandis version of
Article 36(l) of the Berne Convention. It states that “Contracting Parties undertake to
adopt, in accordance with their legal systems, the measures necessary to ensure the
application of this Treaty” (a slight difference in this text, which goes beyond what
was necessary for the mutatis mutandis application is that, while the Berne
Convention only refers to the constitutions of the Contracting Parties, the WCT
broadens this reference to the legal systems thereof). Paragraph (2) is a mutatis
mutandis version of the first sentence of Article 41.1 of the TRIPS Agreement. It
reads as follows: “Contracting Parties shall ensure that enforcement procedures are
available under their law, so as to permit effective action against any act of
infringement of rights covered by this Treaty, including expeditious remedies to
prevent infringements and remedies which constitute a deterrent to further
infringements.”
Substantive provisions of the WPPT
The WPPT includes five chapters: Chapter I: General Provisions (Articles J
to 4); Chapter II: Rights of Performers (Articles 5 to 10); Chapter III: Rights of
Producers of Phonograms (Articles 11 to 14); Chapter IV: Common Provisions
(Articles 15 to 23) and Chapter V (to be discussed below).
Criteria for eligibility:
Articles 3(2) and (3) refer to the criteria provided under the Rome Convention
(Articles 4, 5, 17 and 18).
National treatment:
Article 4 provides for the same kind of national treatment as the one prescribed by
Article 3.1 of the TRIPS Agreement in respect of "related" (neighboring) rights, that
is, national treatment only extends to the rights granted under the Treaty.
Coverage of the rights of performers:
The coverage of the rights of performers is similar to the coverage of such rights
under the TRIPS Agreement: it only extends to live aural performances and
performances fixed in phonograms, except for the right of broadcasting and
communication to the public of live performances, which under Article 6(i) extends
to all kinds of live performances, not only to aural ones (as under the second
sentence of Article 14.1 of the TRIPS Agreement). It is a question for interpretation
whether or not the right to authorize the fixation of unfixed performances under
Article 6(ii) extends to all kinds of fixations, or only to fixations on phonograms.
The text of the provision may suggest a broader coverage; if, however, the definition
of "fixation" under Article 2(c) is also taken into account, it seems that a narrower
interpretation is justified. According to the said definition, "fixation" only means
"the embodiment of sounds, or the representation thereof, from which they can be
perceived, reproduced or communicated through a device (emphasis added)." Thus,
Article 6(ii) seems to only extend to fixation on phonograms (as the first sentence of
Article 14.1 of the TRIPS Agreement).
Moral rights of performers:
Article 5(1) provides as follows: "Independently of a performer's economic rights,
and even after the transfer of those rights, the performer shall, as regards his live
aural performances or performances fixed in phonograms, have the right to claim to
be identified as the performer of his performances, except where omission is dictated
by the manner of the use of the performance, and to object to any distortion,
mutilation or other modification ~f his performances that would be prejudicial to his
reputation." This provision in main lines, follows Article 6bis of the Berne
,Convention ( on the moral rights of authors) the minimum level of protection It
prescribes IS somewhat lower: in respect of the right to be identified as performer,
the element of practicability is built in, and the scope of "the right to respect" is also
narrower. Article 5(2) and (3), on the duration of protection of, and the means of
redress for safeguarding the rights, are mutatis mutandis versions of Article 6bis(2)
and (3) of the Berne Convention.
Economic rights of performers:
In addition to the rights related to the "digital agenda" (right of making available,
right of distribution), the WPPT provides for practically the same economic rights
for performers - broadcasting and communication to the public of unfixed
performances (but in Article 6(ii) it is added: "except where the performance is
already a broadcast performance"), right of reproduction and right of rental (Articles
6, 7 and 9) - as the rights granted in the TRIPS Agreement (Article 14.1 and 4).
However, although the scope of the rights are practically the same, the nature of the
rights (other than the right of rental) is different from the nature of such rights under
the TRIPS Agreement, and also under Article 7 of the Rome Convention. While the
Agreement and the Convention provide for the "possibility of preventing" the acts in
question, the Treaty grants exclusive rights to authorize those acts.
Rights of producers of phonograms:
In addition to the rights related to the "digital agenda" (right of making available,
right of distribution), the WPPT provides the same rights for producers of
phonograms - right of reproduction and right of rental (Articles 11 and 13) - as the
rights granted under the TRIPS Agreement (Article 14.2 and 4).
Right to remuneration for broadcasting and communication to the public:
Article 15 provides practically the same kind of right to remuneration to performers
and producers of phonograms as Article 12 of the Rome Convention (except that,
while the latter leaves it to national legislation whether this right is granted to
performers, to producers, or to both, the former provides this right to both, in the
form of a single equitable remuneration) and with the same extent of possible
reservations as under Article 16.1 (a) of the Rome Convention. However, as
discussed above, paragraph (4) of the Article also clarifies that "[f]or the purposes of
this Article, phonograms made available to the public by wire or wireless means in
such a way that members of the public may access them from a place and at a time
individually chosen by them shall be considered as if they had been published for
commercial purposes."
The Diplomatic Conference adopted the following agreed statement concerning
Article 15: "It is understood that Article 15 does not represent a complete resolution
of the level of rights of broadcasting and communication to the public that should be
enjoyed by performers and phonogram producers in the digital age. Delegations
were unable to achieve consensus on differing proposals for aspects of exclusivity of
reservations, and have therefore left the issue to future resolution." This statement is
a reference to the position that, in the case of certain near-on-demand services,
exclusive rights are justified.
Transferability of rights:
The question of whether or not the rights to be granted under what was first referred
to as the "New Instrument" and what became then the WPPT may be transferable
was discussed several times. Finally, no provision was included into the WPPT on
this issue. This, however, means that the Treaty - similarly to the Berne Convention
and the WCT - does not contain any limitation on the transferability of economic
rights. The transferability of economic rights is confirmed also by the introductory
phrase of Article 5( I) on moral rights of performers which reads as follows:
"Independently of a performer's economic rights and even after the transfer of those
rights..." (emphasis added).
Term of protection:
Under Article 17, the "term of protection to be granted to performers shall last, at
least, until the end of a period of 50 years computed from the end of the year in
which the performance was fixed in a phonogram." This term seems to differ from
the term provided for in Article 14.5 of the TRIPS Agreement since the Agreement
also refers to the year when the performance took place as an alternative starting
point for the calculation of the term. In practice, however, there is no difference,
since, in the case of an unfixed performance, the term of protection only has a
theoretical importance.
The term of protection of phonograms, however, differs also in substance from the
term provided for in the TRIPS Agreement. Under Article 14.5 of the Agreement,
the 50 year term is always computed from the end of the year in which the fixation
was made, while under Article 17(2) of the WPP:: the term is ca1culated from the
end of the year 111 which the phonogram was published, and it is only in case of
absence of publication that It IS calculated. Under the TRIPS Agreement Since
Publication normally takes place after fixation, the term under the Treaty, in general,
is somewhat longer.
Formalities:
Under Article 20, the enjoyment and exercise of rights provided for in the Treaty
must not be subject to any formality.
Application in time:
Article 22(1), in general, provides for the mutatis mutandis application of Article 18
of the Berne Convention. Article 22(2), however, allows for Contracting Parties to
limit the application of Article 5 on moral rights to performances taking place after
the application of the Treaty for them.
Enforcement of rights:
Article 23 contains the same provisions as Article 14 of the WCT quoted above.
Administrative provisions and final clauses:
Articles 15 to 25 of the WCT, and Articles 24 to 33 of the WPPT, include more or
less identical administrative provisions and final clauses which cover such issues as
the Assembly of Contracting States, the International Bureau, eligibility for
becoming party to the Treaty, signature of the Treaty, entry into force of the Treaty,
effective date of becoming party to the Treaty, denunciation of the Treaty, languages
of the Treaty and depository.
These provisions, in general, are the same as, or similar to, the provisions of other
WIPO treaties on the same issues. Only two specific features should be mentioned,
namely the possibility of intergovernmental organizations to become party to the
treaties and the number of instruments of ratification or accession needed for the
entry into force of the treaties.
Article 17 of the WCT and Article 26 of the WPPT deal with the eligibility for
becoming party to the treaties concerned. Under paragraph (1), any member State of
WIPO may become party to each of the treaties. Paragraph (2) provides that "[t]he
Assembly may decide. to admit any intergovernmental organization to become Part
to this Treat which declares that it is competent in respect of, and has Its. own
legislation binding on all its Member States on, matters covered by this Treaty and
that It has been duly authorized, in accordance with its internal procedures, to
become party to this Treaty." Paragraph (3) adds the following: "The European
Community, having made the declaration referred to in the preceding paragraph in
the Diplomatic Conference that has adopted this Treaty, may become party to this
Treaty."
The number of instruments of ratification or accession needed for the entry into
force of the treaties administered by WIPO, has been fixed traditionally quite low;
five is the most frequent number. The WCT and the WPPT, in Article 20 and Article
29, respectively, fix this number much higher, namely at 30 instruments of
ratification or accession by States.
v. Follow up to the Diplomatic Conference
The draft of the WPPT, as mentioned above, in respect of the rights of performers
included alternatives under which those rights, would also extend to audiovisual
fixations of performances. Extensive informal negotiations took place how this
extension could be obtained, and the Delegation of the United States of America
submitted a proposal containing a complex compromise solution.(xxxiv) However,
this issue was not discussed in substance in Main Committee I, and finally the other
alternatives were adopted in all the relevant provisions, under which the rights only
extend to fixations on phonograms.
The Diplomatic Conference adopted a resolution in which the participating
delegations "[c]all for the convocation of an extraordinary session of the competent
WIPO Governing Bodies during the first quarter of 1997 to decide on the schedule
of the preparatory work on a protocol to the WIPO Performances and Phonograms
Treaty, concerning audiovisual performances, with a view to the adoption of such a
protocol not later than in 1998."
The agenda of the Diplomatic Conference also included the consideration of a third
draft Treaty, the draft Treaty on Intellectual Property in respect of databases
containing provisions on a sui generis system of protection for databases.
The Diplomatic Conference did not discuss that third draft Treaty in substance,
mainly due to a shortage of time. It adopted a recommendation in which the
participating delegations "[r]ecommend the convocation of an extraordinary session
of the competent WIPO Governing Bodies during the first quarter of 1997, to decide
on the schedule of further preparatory work, on a Treaty on Intellectual Property in
Respect of Databases."
The Director General convened the competent WIPO Governing Bodies to an
extraordinary session to be held in Geneva on March 20 and 21, 1997. The
Governing Bodies decided that the International Bureau should convene a
Committee of Experts on a Protocol Concerning Audiovisual Performances and an
Information Meeting on Intellectual Property in Databases for the week starting on
September 15, 1997. Both meetings took place as schedu led. The Committee of
Experts on a Protocol Concerning Audiovisual Performances proposed that a second
session of the Committee take place during the week starting on June 8, 1998, where
concrete proposals on such a protocol, to be submitted by WIPO Member States and
the European Community, be discussed, and that this be preceded by consolation
meetings in the three regions of developing countries. The competent WIPO
Governing Bodies approved those proposals during their ordinary sessions in
September-October 1997. The Information Meeting on Intellectual Property in
Databases was of the view that further information was needed on a number of
questions concerning a possible sui generis system of protection for databases. We
are in the stage of collecting such information.
For the time being, however, still the WCT and the WPPT are the focus of attention
in many countries. The Treaties were open for signature until the end of last year. It
is promising that there are 51 signatories of the WCT and I 50 signatories of the
WPPT. If we take the WCT, the "geographical distribution" of the signatories is the
following: the European Community and its 15 Member States (that is, altogether 16
signatories), 10 other European countries (Monaco, Switzerland and eight countries
from Central and Eastern Europe), one country from the Middle-East (Israel), eight
African countries, four Asian countries, two North-American countries (United
States and Canada) and 10 Latin American countries.
In the forthcoming program period, it will be a priority activity for WIPO to promote
adherence to, and an appropriate implementation of, the new Treaties. This will take
some time, the more so because 30 instruments of ratification or accession are
needed for the entry into force of the Treaties. We have, however, good reasons to
be optimistic, and this is due not only to the high number of signatories, but also to
the fact that the preparatory work for ratification of, or accession to, the Treaties, as
well as for the necessary in general, not too many and not too important - legislative
changes is in progress in many countries.
Endnotes
(i)
(ii)
(iii)
(iv)
(v)
"Twin revision" in the sense that the substantive provisions of the
.1967 Stockholm Act did not enter into force, but they were included
practically in the same way into the 1971 Paris Act, the only new
substantive element of which was the Appendix concerning
compulsory translation and reproduction licenses for developing
countries. Thus, until the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement in April
1994 and the WIPO Copyright Treaty in December] 996, 27 and 29
years, respectively, had passed since the last real updating of the
Berne Convention in response to the challenges of new technologies.
For example, the following questions were dealt with at the various
revision conferences: in 1896, "mechanical reproduction": in 1908,
photographic works, cinematography; in 1928, cinematography,
radiodiffusion; in 1948, cinematography, radiodiffusion, mechanical
reproduction; in 1967, television.
Sam Ricketson referred to this fOlm of development in 1986 in his
well-known book on the Berne Convention: "In essence, 'guided
development' appears to be the present policy of WIPO, whose
activities in promoting study and discussions on problem areas have
been of fundamental importance to international copyright
protection in recent years." See Sam Ricketson: "The Berne
Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works: 18861986," Kluwer, London, 1986, p. 919.
For a description of the relevant WIPO activities, see Mihaly Facsor:
"Towards a Global Solution: The Digital Agenda of the Berne
Protocol and the New Instrument. The Rorschach Test of Digital
Transmissions" in "The Future of Copyright in a Digital
Environment" (P. Bernt Hugenholtz (Ed.»), Kluwer, The Hague,
London, Boston, pp. 112-1 13.
One of the most important reasons for that was the fact that, as a
result of the not sufficiently harmonized responses to the challenges
of new technologies, national laws started including differing
elements not only in respect of some more or less minor details,
which was the case before in Berne member countries due to the
quire comprehensive regulation included in the Berne Convention,
but also in respect of some fundamental aspects of protection
(categories of works, rights and exceptions), and this created some
growing conflicts about the application of national treatment. The
countries which offered more generous higher level protection in the
new fields tried to find and adopt some legal theories and techniques
to avoid what they perceived as an unjustified unilateral burden visa-vis less generous Berne members.
(vi) Particularly, in respect of the protection of computer programs and
databases (Article 10 of the Agreement) and rental (Articles 11 and
14.4 of the Agreement).
(vii) WIPO started dealing with the impact of digital technology on
copyright and neighboring rights more intensively in March 1993,
when it organized the WIPO Worldwide Symposium on that subject
matter at Harvard University. This topic was also the focus of
attention at the WIPO Worldwide Symposium on the Future of
Copyright and Neighboring Rights organized in Paris in June 1994.
Then the WIPO Worldwide Symposium on Copyright in the Global
Information Infrastructure took place in Mexico City, in May 1995.
At
those
meetings,
with
the
participationofoutstandingspeakersgovernmentofficials,representativ
es of the interested non-governmental organizations, university
professors and researchers - legal solutions were worked out to the
challenges of digital technology which then were applied, in many
respects, in the WIPO Copyright Treaty and the WIPO
Performances and Phonograms Treaty. The WIPO World Forum on
the Protection of Intellectual Property in the Inf0ll11ation Society
(Naples, October 1995) in a way offered a summary and an outline
of the most appropriate legal solutions in a decisive period of the
preparatory work. The material of aI1 those meetings is available in
WIPO publications.
(viii) The TRIPS safeguard clause refers not only to the Berne
Convention; it reads as foI1ows: "Nothing in Parts I and IV of this
Agreement shall derogate from existing obligations that Members
may have to each other under the Paris Convention, the Berne
Convention, the Rome Convention and the Treaty on Intellectual
Property, in Respect of Integrated Circuits."
(ix) Actually, there are not too many such obligations; they only extend
to the communication of relevant national laws and official texts
(Article 24(2», payment of contribution to the budget (Article 25(5»
and the availability of measures necessary to apply the Convention
(Article 36).
(x) The discussions during the preparatory consultations and at the
Diplomatic Conference indicated that what those developing
(xi)
(xii)
(xiii)
(xiv)
(xv)
(xvi)
(xvii)
countries (first of all, Brazil) which proposed such a provision
wanted to mainly avoid, was any possible link with the TRIPS
Agreement, and particularly with its dispute settlement mechanism.
The provision, however, seems unnecessary. Neither the WCT nor
the WPPT contains any provisions to establish such a link, and,
without such provisions, there is no legal basis for any interpretation
which would suggest the existence of such a link. At the same time,
Article 1(2) of the WCT and the corresponding provision of the
WPPT (Article I (3» does not exclude the possibility for the TRIPS
Agreement or some other treaty to establish some kind of link in the
future, for example, by including in them, by reference, the
provisions of the WCT and the WPPT.
See the references in Article 3(2) and (3) of the WPPT to such
provisions of the Rome Convention.
See "Records of the Diplomatic Conference on the International
Protection of Performers, Producers of Phonograms and
Broadcasting Organizations," WIPO publication, No. 326(E).
The expression "permitted by law," of course, should not be
interpreted outside the context of the WCT and the WPPT. It
obviously does not suggest that any use may be permitted by a
national law; national laws of contracting Parties may only permit a
use (instead of the owner of right) In those cases where the
provisions of the WCT and WPPT concerning limitations and
exceptions offer such a possibility for them.~
See "Copyright" (monthly review of WIPO), September 1982, pp.
245-246.
For a more detailed description about this, see item 8. JO of Sam
Ricketson's book mentioned in note 3; pp. 373-374.
Paragraph 33 of the report; see note 2 I, p. 242.
The minutes or the Diplomatic Conference will reflect the discussion
about this. It will be published soon. The latter idea, that, in this
field, limitations be obligatory, came from the group of African
countries and it is also ret1ected in the document containing the
report of the consultation meeting of those countries held in
Casablanca in November 1996, made available to the participants in
the Diplomatic Conference. The main argument for the proposal was
that the Internet is a global network, and, therefore, it would create a
problem if national laws differed in respect of the regulation of the
issue of temporary storage throughout the digital transmissions. It
should be seen, however, that such a provision in itself would not
have achieved the desired legal uniformity, and this is not only
because, with that, still many other aspects of digital transmissions _
particularly the issue of whether the right of communication to the
public or the right of distribution be the "partner" of the right of
reproduction _ would not have been settled yet, but also because
national laws differ in a number of other important dimensions: such
as the coverage of protection (for example, due to the differing
leve]s of originality texts), the duration of protection, the original
ownership of rights, the transferability of rights and so on.
(xviii) The result of the vote at the Plenary was the following: in respect of
the statement concerning the WCT, in favor, 51, against 5,
abstentions 30, and, in respect of the WPPT, in favor 47, against 4,
abstentions 3I.
(xix) For example, the "recht vanopenbaarmaking" in Article 12 of the
copyright Act of the Netherlands or the general "access right"
provided for m Article 20(2)(h) of the Spanish Copyright Act.
(xx) For a description of such and similar methods, see "Intellectual
Property and the National Information Infrastructure," the report of
the Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights of the
Information Infrastructure Task Force; Chair: Bruce A. Lehman,
Assistant Secretary of Commerce and Commissioner of Patents and
Trademarks, September 1995, Washington, D.C., pp. 183 to 190.
(xxi) See the report referred to in the preceding note, particularly the draft
bill at the end of the report included in the Appendix.
(xxii) See "Green Paper: Copyright and Related Rights in the Information
Society," document COM(95)382 final of the Commission of the
European Communities, July ] 995, pp. 56 to 59.
(xxiii) See the proposal of the European Community and its Member
States, WIPO document BCP/CENII/l-INR/CENI/l, p. 3.
(xxiv) The minutes of the Diplomatic Conference, will reflect that the
statement was made by the Delegation of the United States of
America.
(xxv) For the role of unopposed declarations by individual countries in the
interpretation of treaties and for the precedents in the history of the
Berne Convention, see item 4.19 of Sam Ricketson's book
mentioned in note 3; pp. 141-142.
(xxvi) For example, in France (Article L.122-1 of the Law on the
Intellectual Property Code) and in the United States of America
(Articles 10 I and ] 06(4) of the Copyright Law).
(xxvii) See Articles I I (l)(i), 14(1)(ii) andI4bis(J).
(xxviii) For example, in Columbia (Articles 12(c) and 76(d) of the
Copyright Law).
(xxix) For example, in Nigeria (Article 39(1) of the Copyright Decree).
(xxx) For the status of cable-oriented programs, see "Annotated Principles
of Protection of Authors, Performers, Producers of Phonograms and
Broadcasting Organizations in Connection with Distribution of
Programs by Cable," "Copyright" (monthly review of WIPO), April
1984, pp. 142 to 149.
(xxxi) For example, in the well-known French system.
(xxxii) Mainly drafting problems were discussed and the fact that the
draft provision was in conflict with Article 3(3) of the Berne
Convention.
(xxxiii) WIPO publication, No. 464(E), pp. 22-23.
(xxxiv) See WIPO document CRNR/DC/34.
* * *
Electronic Information Market in Russia and
CIS - State of Affairs and Tendencies
Prof. Alexander Butrimenko*
Abstract
Since 1990, The Society for Mathematics and Data processing (GMD) 111 Sankt
Augustin, Germany and the International Center for Scientific and Technical
Information (ICSTI) in Moscow, Russia, are monitoring the situation on electronic
information market in East European countries, Commonwealth of Independent
States; CIS and Russia. In cooperation with numerous information centers of the
mentioned region, data on the situation and trends in the development of the
information scene were collected and analyzed. The results of the project are
presented in the form of a directory of 3,000 data banks and 1,500 information
organizations throughout 21 East European countries. This Information is combined
in two volumes of 400 pages each, published by ICSTI in 1996. On the basis of the
collected information, discussions with the professionals in various countries, field
visits and study of the relevant documents, defining national policy in the field of
STI, a comprehensive analytical report was developed with the qualitative and
quantitative evaluation of the situation.
The analytical study - about 600 pages - represents the third volume of the total
book. On the basis of the developed contacts, the monitoring was continued with
particular emphasis on Internet development. The paper represents the major results
of the study and further collected data with the respect to Russia and republics of the
former Soviet Union.
The following genera] tendencies can be seen practically in all countries of the
region:
- Diminishing governmental support for STI
- Cancellation of many databanks on STI
- Significant increase of production business and commercial information
databanks
- Increase in production of English-language databanks
- Creation of private information institutions
- Attempts to integrate into the world information market
* Director, International Center for Scientific and Technical Information, Russia.
Introduction
The changes in the social and political systems in countries of Central Europe and
CIS have an impact on the national R&D systems, and as consequence lead to
changes in the information systems, their priorities and goals.
Different political situation in countries of the region and different speeds of
transition to market economy influence development of information and library
systems of the different countries. In order to assess the changes in the countries of
the region, to help preserving the accumulated knowledge in the form of databases
and to help the countries to integrate into the world information market two
organizations: German National Research Center for Information Technologies
(GMD), located in Sankt Augustin, Germany, and The International Centre for
Scientific and Technical Information (ICSTI), Moscow, Russia conducted a
corresponding study. The study covered 21Central and East European countries and
countries of the former Soviet Union. (1.2)
In spite of all the differences, there are a lot of similarities in problems and
tendencies. These similarities were particularly obvious during the first three-four
years after the disintegration of the Soviet Union and Comecon. Some of the
countries of the region, which started the transformation process earlier, such as
Hungary, Poland and to some extent Czech republic, have already passed a
significant part of the road to the new information and library system. Others,
particularly Causasian and Asian republics of the former Soviet Union, are at the
very beginning of adaptation and restructuring.
1. Organizational Structure of National Information Systems
Since the 1970s, in all East European countries there was a well-established
systematic information sector that was subject to central governmental planning, and
which was organized as a hierarchical complex. These information systems were
funded completely by the government, either directly or indirectly through
specialized allocation of finances for industry and R&D organizations, reserved
exclusively for STI. The information system network of the former Soviet Union
consisted of three levels: national - Source oriented (journals, books, patents, grey
Literature and so on), subject oriented or ministerial level - information centers
belonging to various ministries (metallurgy, construction, chemistry and so on), and
territorial _ regional level. At most of the enterprises, there were specialized
information units. The STI network inc1udes also "scientific-technical" libraries.
National STI-network was supervised by the ministry responsible for science and
development. (The names of these ministries varied from time to time: Committee
for Science and Technology, Ministry of Science, Ministry for Science, Education
and Technological development, etc.).
National libraries and general public libraries were part of the structure of the
Ministry for Culture, University and high school libraries were supervised by the
ministry for Higher Education. Practically there were no private information
enterprises.
Evaluation of the efficiency of the system was very difficult, due to the lack of,
evaluation criteria. The services and products were practically free, and there was no
economic feed-back. Gradually, national information systems became more and
more expensive and less effective.
Political and economical transformation process affected information systems of all
Eastern European and NIS countries.
The transformation of the STI system went particularly far in former Baltic republics
of the Soviet Union - Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia. In these countries, even the
national centers for STI were closed. It can be said that in these countries the notion
of a unified state-supported STI system does not exist any more. Involvement of the
state is limited to support of single specific projects, while the major part of this
sector is left to free market (It should be, however, mentioned that in Latvia there is
a recent development which shows growing attention of the government to the
information sector.)
Significant, but less drastic, changes could be observed in other CIS. It means that
about 30'lr - 70% of the former information organizations and units were closed.
(Ukraine had 140 I information organization and units in 1990. This number was
reduced to 1051 in 1994).
Practically all information organization changed their profile to some extent _adding
to their services training, advertising, and providing partner matching services. The
staff was also significantly reduced, even in those organizations that preserved their
former role. For instance, the staff of the American Scientific Research Institute for
Scientific and Technical Information (ArmNIINTI) - national information centre was reduced from 300 to 100.
The same reduction took place at the Georgian Scientific Research Institute for
Scientific and Technical Information (TECHINFORMI). The total number of the
employees in Kazakhstan information organizations diminished from 3540 in 1990
to 1600 in 1995, and in Ukraine from 15142 to 10600. Thus staff reduction in these
organizations was at the range of 40% to 70%.
The backbone of state STI system in the former Soviet Union consists of a National
information center with its regional subsidiaries, as well as ministerial information
center. In Kazakhstan, it is Kasakhian State Institute for Scientific-technical
Information (KasgosINTI) with 16 regional branches. The name of the national
information center varies from country to country. as well as the legal basis of the
relationship with regional centers. The number of regional centers is also very
different: from very few in Caucasian and Asian countries, up to 69 in Russia.
Another interesting phenomenon can he observed in all of the countries of the
region. Under high pressure of the market, in spite of all attempts, former state.
supported information organizations are as a m]e unable to provide economic and
business information required by private enterprises. Ncw private organizations try
to fill in this gap. with certain relatively limited success.
Most of the private information organizations are extremely small: they employ 2-5
persons and are financially unstable. Most of them, in addition to the information
services and products, are involved in other activities - small scale trade, training,
advertising, etc.
The country where the organizational structure (l underline - organizational
structure) has changed in the least is Russia. It should be taken into consideration,
that all information centers of the former Soviet Union, having national importance:
i.e. source-oriented and branch-oriented. were located in Moscow, capital of Russian
Federation.
In Russia, the logical structure of the national system for scientific and technical
information, as well as the system of libraries, was practically left intact. (This does
not means, however. that the actual change:-; are small.) But the state support of the
information centers was drastically reduced. Before 1991, the major source of
income for information centers of all levels was direct or indirect (through various
programs and guaranteed demand) state funding. Since that time, state support was
reduced basically up to a level needed to cover expenses connected with
preservation and building up of the information stock.
The organizational structure consists of three levels, as it was in the former Soviet
Union. AII former source-oriented. All-Union. Information centers were preserved.
The number of branch-oriented centers (ministerial centers) was reduced with the
number of ministries from 96 (1991) to 78 (1995). There role and administrative
independence was also reduced. Contrary to the branch-oriented Information
Centers, the regional information centers
However. operation of the centers changed significantly. The staff and volume of
screened literature were reduced by about 20% to 50% at the source-oriented centers
and 70%-80% at the branch centers. The average number of employees of a branchoriented center was reduced from 200-300 (1991) to 50 (1995). The regional centers
also lost about a half of their staff. The major part of their income comes from the
services. Governmental support lies at about 10% of their budget. Due to the
financial dependence of the regional centers on local administration, the functions of
the centers were also changed to satisfy the needs of the local authorities.
Practically all information centers (to a lesser extent source-oriented and most of the
regional centers) have to extend their services far beyond the information services in
the narrow sense. They provide various kinds of training, printing and copying of all
kind of materials, apart from their premises and so on.
In parallel to the preserved structure of the information system that existed earlier,
the development of a new private information sector could be observed. Private
information organizations are specialized on the production of databases and
directories on company information. business information, news, personalities, laws
and so on.
World. as well as national, literature was processed ill the former hierarchicallystructured STI system of the Soviet Union, almost exclusively in the source and
partly in the branch-oriented centers. All these centers supplied republican (national)
centers with information, databases, reference journals practically free of charge.
Republican (national) and republican scientific-technical libraries got significant part
of their stock ill the form of free copies. All of those centers having "All-Union"
importance were located in Moscow. After the disintegration of the Soviet Union,
this basically free flow of information to republics (now CIS) was stopped.
Thus all of the 15 former republican (national) information centers had either to buy
this information or develop their own structure for processing the literature. which is
a time and finance-consuming operation. These changes were reflected in the form
of a considerable reduction of the information now from Moscow clue to
organizational, and in the majority of cases. because of financial reasons. The CIS
countries were unable to pay for this information and they did not have a ready
structure for database production. of the world literature. On top of this, the national
currencies of the most of CIS countries (may be with exception of the Baltic
countries) stay weaker against the Russian Rouble.
For example, Armenia has had no patent descriptions from Russia since 1992.
Scientific Technical Library of the Republic of Belarus reduced its acquisition of
Russian literature from 32700 copies in 1991. to 1280? in 1994. The major
Lithuanian Libraries got about 40% of then" literature from Russia in 1991. This
share was reduced to about 3% in 1994. All of the CIS countries were forced to
develop their own services for screening of world literature. In most cases these
services are fray, fragmentary, and of relatively poor quality.
There is an agreement signed by the CIS countries on the creation of the common
"Information Field", that was aimed to re-establish of some kind of co-operation in
the field of scientific-technical information. But the financial problems remained.
Countries have not provided even relatively limited funds for the secretariat of this
agreement, which was located at the Ukranian Institute for Scientific and Technical
Information (UkrINTEI).
Describing the structure of the East European information systems, one common
feature could be observed. There is certain specialization among centers (sources,
branches, territories), but there is practically no specialization on products and
services.
All information organizations try to do everything - develop databases, run hosts,
publish and print directories, provide information service to end-users. There are no
information brokers. This can be illustrated by the database production.
2. Databases
A comparison of data collected in 1993, 1995 and 1997 shows that there is a
significant increase in the number of databases and database producers in the
countries of the region. Collection of the state-registered databases in Russia
doubled in the period of four years from about 5000 to 10000. At the same time,
there is some concentration of services, that is demonstrated by the decrease in the
number of vendors.
But still a major part of databases is produced by small producers. This detriments in
certain cases the quality of produced databases, and does not guarantee of the
continuous production of started databases.
The structure of database producers is very heterogeneous. The group of
database producers consists of publishers, public authorities, companies, internal
information units of organizations, enterprises and universities for which this type of
activity is rather a secondary function. The share of the database producers that are
on public funding or non-profit organizations is decreasing considerably, whereas
the share of producers operating on commercial terms is increasing.
The information market is far from being mature. There are many producers who
produce very limited number of databases.
Table l: Distribution of the Database Producers by the Country
Over the last two years, the situation did not change significantly.
Table 2: Distribution of the Databases by
Database Producers, 1997 (Russia)
As for the number of database vendors, we should consider that only a minor part,
namely 16% of the produced databases, can be accessed on-line via
telecommunication networks. More than 80% of the databases are marketed only at a
local level, or they are available on data storage media, such as floppy diskettes or
magnetic tapes.
Analysis of the database supply by subjects shows the following distribution: In
Russia and CIS, the databases with scientific and technical information content still
predominate (The multidisciplinary databases contain scientific-technical
information too). Multimedia databases( audio and video) which require more
powerful telecommunication facilities, as compared to packet-switched
communication, are still missing in Russia and CIS due to the lack of the technical
prerequisites.
About 40% of the databases are business databases (and their share increases)
among them, 3% are legal information systems. When comparing the production
between 1993 and 1995, we get an insight into an interesting development. The
production of databases containing scientific-technical information decreased,
whereas the production of business databases increased, although many new
business databases are discontinued. This is due to the fact that the production of
many databases is not on a secure financial basis, and many products are not
demand-oriented. Many new databases, for example company directories or brief
company information, contain data which is already available in the market in some
other form. On the other hand, business databases containing solid detailed business
information and company profiles' are missing. The main reason is that much of
financial data on business cannot be recorded and checked.
If we analyze the databases offered by database types, we will see that the share of
the bibliographic databases dropped from 39% (in 1993) to 29.8% (in ] 995). At the
same time, the share of reference and text-numeric databases which mainly contain
business and company information increased from 26.2% to 36.2%. Only 3% of the
total amount are full-text databases.
The situation changed drastically with the development of the INTERNET. Only one
host, VINITI in Moscow, provides more than 30 databases on-line. They are
accessible via the Internet.
3. Internet
There are about 600,000 Internet users in Russia, and their number is doubled every
year. (By the total population of Russia; of about 150,000,000). Around 100,000
Internet users are connected by lP-protocol and there number increases by four every
year. the number of the Web-sites and named information resources exceeds 6000,
and it has increased by a factor of 8.
The analysis of the Internet usage by Russian users shows, however, that interest to
the STI is very limited.
It was natural to expect that Internet usage had started from Moscow and spread into
the big cities. In August of 1996, Moscow users represented about 75% and all big
cities 85% of the total number of users, and it had fallen to 60% for Moscow and to
75% for big cities by January 1997.
Interesting is that about 50% of all requests of Russian users are restricted to Russia
itself, with 30% of request to USA sites and 20% of the rest.
There are about 330 organizations claimed to be Internet service providers, but about
70% of all connections in summer 1996 were fulfilled by the "Big Three": Relcom,
Demos and Russia-on-line.
The number of databases accessed on-line increased from 241 to 429 during 1996,
But their share was reduced to about 50% in six months.
There are interesting developments in the distribution of the databases by language.
Two contradictory tendencies could be observed. The first one - an increasing
number of databases in native languages of the former republics of the Soviet Union,
instead of Russian, and the second - a growing tendency to create databases for
international use, i.e. in English and other West European languages.
4. Libraries
(General) libraries and national scientific-technical libraries are an important part of
the national information system. National libraries, as a rule, are subordinate to the
ministry of culture, while the scientific-technical libraries - to the ministry of
science, education or industry. In some cases, national (republican) scientifictechnical libraries administratively are a part of the national (republican) centers for
scientific and technical information. In other cases they are separate entities. Usually
in those libraries there are also specialized departments on patents and grey
literature. (In Russia these are separate libraries.)
These two types of libraries were less affected as other public (general) and
specialized libraries. They were able as a rule to preserve their staff. In some
countries, however there were significant reductions: The ability of these libraries to
acquire literature, particularly foreign literature, was considerably reduced. Certain
figures showing the increase of budget could be misleading. The fact is that the
budget structure changed very significantly; The costs for rent, heating, water,
electricity went inproportionally high, and in most cases provided financing covers
only operational expenses.
Thus the state support of libraries in Azerbaijan went down from 3 194 000 USD in
1990 to 108 000 USD in 1994. The budget of the Republican Scientific-technical
Library was reduced at the same period from 149 250 USD to I 174 USD. It is
obvious that no acquisition of literature could be carried out. More or less similar
situation is in Armenia, Georgia and Tadzhikistan. A less critical situation is
encountered in other CIS countries. But almost everywhere there is no growth of the
library stocks.
Table 5: Acquisition of Foreign Literature by the Belarus Agricultural Library
Reduction of Russian literature is not compensated by increasing acquisition of
literature from other countries. Before 1991, acquisition of literature from Russia
represented a significant part of the total acquisition, not only in the republics of the
Soviet Union, but it fell down in other countries of the region as well. In addition to
obvious political and economic reasons, one of the reasons is total reduction in
production of literature.
Fig. 1 Book Publishing in Russia
Analysis shows also that in most of the libraries, the stock does not grow over the
last few years. The situation in Baltic republics seems to be less critical with respect
to libraries, but one should take into account that the national information system is
practically reduced to the library system.
Table 6: Data on Estonian Scientific-technical Libraries
In many cases, the budget for libraries was stable or even increased, as for example
for major Latvian libraries.
Table 7: Budget of the largest Libraries in Latvia
The table shows that there is some improvement in the financial situation. But more
detailed analysis indicates that part of the operational expenses is growing faster
than the budget itself.
Table 8: Budget break down of the Latvian Academic Library
That is a pretty typical break down of the budget, showing that available finances do
not allow any development, and are used mostly to keep libraries afl oat.
5. Conclusion
The further development of the information systems in Russia and CIS requires a
suitable information policy, such as the promotion of the dedicated information
centers and scientific libraries, and the production and supply of electronic
information products. The growth of information services in these countries will also
be considerably dependent on the future national and international promotional
programs.
References
1. Courage, Maria-Anna/Butrimenko, Alexander Der elektronische
Fachinformationsmarkt in Osteuropa 1993. rrhe Electronic Information
Market in Eastern Europe 19931
Bd. 1. Datenbankverzeichnis 1 Database directory 1 Darmstadt, Verlag
Hoppenstedt, 1993.642 p.
Bd.2. St11lktur und Entwicklung/Structure and Development!
Darmstadt, Verlag Hoppenstedt, 1993.298 p.
2. Courage, Maria-Anna/Butrimenko, Alexander
Elektronische Informationsdienste in. Osteuropa 1994-95/ Electronic
information services in Eastern Europe 1994-95/
Bd.l Datenbankverzeichnis, RusslandlDatabase directory, Russia! 514
p. Bd.2 Datenbankverzeichnis, Uebrige osteuopaeische Laender und
MitgJiedstaaten der GUS/ /Database directory, other East European
countries and member states of CIS/ 454 p.
Bd.3 Strukturwandel und Perspektiven/ Change of structure and
perspecives/ 590 p.
IZWTI Internationales zentrum fuer Wissenschaftliche und Technische
Information, GMD Forschungszentrum Informationstechnik GmbH,
1996.
* * *
Paving the Road for Egypt's Information Highway
Sherif Hashem, Ph.D. *
Tarek Kamel, Ph.D. **
Abstract
This paper provides an overview of the evolution of the Internet services in Egypt
and highlights efforts towards building Egypt's Information Highway. Issues relating
to developing the infrastructure and the infrastructure (information content) are
outlined.
* Manager, Egypt's Information Highway Project, the Cabinet's Information & Decision Support
Center (IDSC), Egypt.
** Manager, communication Department, The Regional Information Technology & Software
Engineering Center (RITSEC), Egypt.
Internet Services and Internet Infrastructure
The Internet services started in Egypt in October 1993 through a gateway established
by the Egyptian Universities Network. Since 1994, the Egyptian domain has been
divided into three main subdomains: the academic subdomain which is served via
the Egyptian Universities Network; the commercial subdomain and the
governmental subdomain which are served jointly through a partnership between the
Egyptian Cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC) and the
Regional Information Technology and Software Engineering center (RITSEC),
Egyptian Telecom, which exercises a monopoly on basic communication services in
the country, has been focusing mainly on the provision of basic communication
infrastructure.
In an effort to raise awareness of the Internet services in the Egyptian community,
IDSC jointly with RITSEC, provided free Internet access to Egyptian corporations,
private and public sector companies, governmental entities, NGOs, and
professionals. Such free access helped in boosting the rate of growth in Internet
users during the first two years of its introduction in Egypt. Many organizations,
especially small and medium sizeed enterprises, benefited from the service. In
addition, many professionals started utilizing the Internet services in various sectors
including trade, manufacturing, health care, tourism, social services, and other key
sectors. This strategy helped establish a wide base for Internet usage in Egypt. In
1996, the free Internet access policy was replaced by an open access policy, where
Internet services for the commercial domain were privatized, and more than twelve
private Internet Service Providers (IS Ps) started operation for the first time.
The interconnectivity has been drastically improved by the provision of digital
access. A number of digital multiplexers were set up in various exchanges spread
across Greater Cairo as the first digital backbone for data communication in the
country. The fiber connectivity was made available on SEMEWE-2 and thus the
basic obstacles of the Infrastructure limitations have been overcome. In 1996, an
ambitious project for the deployment of VSA T services for Internet connectivity
was launched to provide the rural areas with the necessary data communication
infrastructure. This project complements the terrestrial solutions and helps in
reducing the gap in service between well-connected regions, such as Greater Cairo,
and remote and rural areas in Upper Egypt.
IDSC, jointly with RITSEC, have started an initiative for the development of an
Internet backbone and gateway facility with reasonable prices to be used by the
private sector ISP. Egypt has now over thirty operational ISPs providing their basic
Internet services for the commercial enterprises and individual users. The catalytic
role of the government will continue to support the newly established ISPs to
establish a strong industry for value added information services in the country as a
base for socio-economic development. The Internet community in Egypt has today
around 65,000 users who are equally distributed among the three major sectors, the
academic, the governmental, and the commercial sector.
The Information Content on the Internet
In order to mobilize and empower the development of the Egyptian information
content on the Internet, IDSC and RITSEC have jointly launched Egypt's
Information Highway Project, which is a pilot project that aims at supporting Egypt's
socio-economic growth. The project is an umbrella project within which several subprojects have been initiated to tackle different crucial sectors including culture,
tourism, healthcare, environment, industry, trade, investment, local administrative
divisions (Governorates), and public services. The objectives of the project are:
1. To promote and support electronic dissemination of information over highspeed communication networks (Information Highways).
2. To establish pilot Information Highways in critical areas to energize socioeconomic development.
3. To contribute towards an open and wide access to the National Information
Highway.
4. To encourage and support the development of secure on-line databases.
5. To assist in the human resource development required for establishing the
National Information Highway.
The implementation of the project involved cooperation and coordination with other
national initiatives, as well as establishing partnerships with government and private
sector entities. Since the launching of the project late in 1995, several pilot
information networks have been launched covering culture. tourism, healthcare,
environment, education, public services, and Governorates. Activities include
content creation (on-line databases and homepages), human resource development,
and creating and supporting user groups. Target groups include: investors,
developers, healthcare professionals. environmentalists, government officials, and
the general public.
In order to illustrate the approach adopted in establishing pilot Information
Highways, we present here one of the early networks developed within the project,
namely the Healthcare Information Network (Egypt's HealthNet).
Egypt's HealthNet
Egypt's HealthNet is a pilot information network initiated by IDSC and supported by
the Ministry of Health, RITSEC, and Cairo University Medical School. Egypt's
HealthNet facilitates communication and information exchange among physicians,
healthcare providers, and patients in Egypt. Egypt's HealthNet is a part of Egypt's
Information Highway and currently provides its local users with a gateway to
international communication an information networks via the Internet. A special
focus IS placed on supporting telemedicine and using video-conferencing tools to
facilitate remote collaboration among physicians and increase access to specialized
medical facilities.
Egypt's HealthNet mission is to help achieve a more efficient, effective, and
affordable Healthcare by utilizing state-of-the-art information technology. Its
objectives are:
1. To support the establishment of national medical databases, which support
multimedia (textual, graphics, audio, and video data).
2. To provide remote access to national and international medical databases.
3. To provide secured access to medical records.
4. To support collaboration among physicians (telemedicine).
5. To provide new tools for learning and training.
6. To provide access to information on current medical research and events.
In the first phase of the project, several activities have been carried out. The main
accomplishments to date are:
1. Establishing a web site containing pilot on-line databases on physicians,
drugs, medical and pharmaceutical companies, and hospitals; as well as
homepages of healthcare providers and medical societies Some of these
databases are bilingual (English/Arabic).
2. Connecting more than 60 hospitals to the Internet and providing Internet
access to more than 400 physicians and healthcare providers.
3. Conducting 20 short courses and workshops to train more than 350 physicians
and to raise awareness of the medical community.
4. Establishing an electronic mailing list for physicians and health care
professionals to facilitate their interaction.
5. Supporting the establishment of four National Medical Information Centers.
In order to promote Egypt's HealthNet and to raise awareness among members of the
medical community in Egypt, several workshops, seminars, and training courses
were organized and held in IDSC's premises, as well as in hospitals and within
medical conferences. The project has demonstrated the effectiveness of the Internet
in supporting information exchange and collaboration among healthcare and medical
professionals, as well as in disseminating medical information among physicians and
the general public. The project has also helped in raising awareness of the role of
videoconferencing in supporting telemedicine and in distance education.
Concluding Remarks
In spite of the large growth in the usage of the Internet and the value-added networks
in Egypt, there are still several challenges that the Internet community are currently
facing. These challenges, which are common among many Arab countries, include:
1. Arabization and providing adequate Arabic information content on the
Internet in key sectors including education, business, and trade services. This
will increase the societal Internet penetration drastically.
2. Increasing Internet accessibility to the community at an affordable cost.
3. The legislative issues are also considered as one of the most important
challenges, as the Internet services have been commercially deployed while
the legal framework and model for the government/private sector partnership
have not yet been completely worked out.
4. Internet security and protecting individual privacy.
5. Securing sufficient financial resources both from the government and the
private sector, in order to sustain the on-going developments.
6. Establishing a widely accepted code of ethics for the Internet in Egypt as a
conservative society with special traditions.
7. Providing adequate training and technical assistance to enable users,
especially professionals, to make best use of the Internet technologies intheir
line of work.
To conclude, it is clear for Egypt's newly established Internet society, that there is
still a long way to go with the Internet Infrastructure and Infostructure in the
country. There is also a lot to be gained from cooperation and exchange of
experiences and expertise across borders between the Arab countries, especially with
the existence of regional orgaI1izations that can support such cooperation and cross
fertilization, such as RITSEC and the Regional Arab Information Technology
Network (RAITNET).
* * *
GIS Net - A Foundation For a
National Information Highway
Mr. Qassem M. Al-Ghanim*
Abstract
This papers will show role of GIS Center in State of Qatar in providing services to
all governmental agencies. The main task of this centre is the development,
maintenance and On-line distribution of a high quality Digital Mapping Database.
The Centre for GIS has worked with each agency that has implemented GIS to
provide guidance and advice on how to develop specifications and data dictionaries
suitable for their disciplines. Also this paper will show how GIS net linking all
Qatar's GIS databases to ensure that they will be secure. Furthermore GIS net has
become the vehicle for wide range of GIS applications that take advantage of the
availability of public available GIS data in the country of all agencies.
* Head of the Centre for G IS - State of Qatar.
Introduction
The Centre for GIS, State of Qatar was established in 1990 because of the need for
an independent governmental agency that could impartially serve the GIS
requirements of all governmental agencies and ensure that GIS in Qatar is
implemented in an organized and systematic fashion.
The centre works with a high level National GIS Steering Committee that was
established to set standards and oversee the implementation and development of GIS
in Qatar, Chaired by the undersecretary of the Ministry of Municipal Affairs &
Agriculture, The National GIS steering Committee is comprised of decision makers
of a director level and above, representing the agencies that are implementing GIS in
Qatar. The steering committee reports directly to a Cabinet committee.
One of The Centre's primary tasks is the development, maintenance and on-line
distribution of a high quality Digital Mapping Database which is now in place,
providing a consistent and accurate framework for a wide range of GIS applications.
This comprehensive database comprises: highly accurate, topologically structured,
Topographic Vector Maps; high resolution Orthoimagery; high precision Digital
Elevation Model and 20 m and 100 m resolution satellite spot imagery.
As the official geodetic agency for the Sate of Qatar. The Centre maintains precise
horizontal and vertical geodetic networks, and maintains an active GPS Base
Station, which tracks GPS satellites 24 hours a day. The Centre makes these GPS
signals available on-line to users and computes and broadcasts differential
corrections. Interagency Co-operation
Interagency Co-operation
The Centre for GIS in concert with the National GIS Steering Committee, has
worked with each agency that has implemented GIS, to provide guidance and advice
on how to develop specifications and data dictionaries suitable for their respective
disciplines, in order to ensure they are not only suitable for each agency's
applications, but also compatible with the specifications and standards of all other
agencies. This effort has led to the development of a volume set of National GIS
database specifications and data dictionaries consisting of several volumes, one for
each agency.
All specifications and data dictionaries are approved and administered by the
National GIS Steering Committee, in order to ensure that the compatibility necessary
for data sharing is never jeopardised.
Co-operation, sharing and co-ordination of GIS activities are all encouraged,
particularly when it comes to the development of applications. There is a mutual
agreement to clearly document any tools, utilities and scripts that anyone develops,
so they can be shared by all.
By Enforcing adherence to all GIS standards, The Centre has ensured compatibility
throughout the GIS databases in Qatar. Compatibility itself tends to encourage and
sustain co-operation, because the data is readily transferable and easy to use.
GISnet
The Centre maintains the high speed fibre-optic network called GISnet, linking all of
Qatar's GIS databases and ensures that they be secure and operational at all times.
Considerable effort has gone into the design and layout of the high speed network
which interconnects the many distributed GIS databases throughout Qatar.
The current status of GISnet hardware can be categorized into two parts, the
backbone and various LANs.
The backbone consists of two parts:
1. Fire Optic: CGIS is linked to the governmental agencies via single-modefibre
optic cables al10wing every user, in every agency immediate access to all
publicly available GIS Data in the country. The total length of the backbone
exceeds 60 Kilometers in length.
2. Fibre Distributed Data Interface (FDDI) networking technology: It is provided
by an FDDI switch which is Considered as the heart of GISnet. The FDDI
switch pumps data at a rate of 100 Mbps, with 3 Gbps Backplane, capable of
making 67,000 virtual connections each second.
GIS LANs
Each GIS agency has its own Local Area Network (LAN) which is connected to the
GISnet backbone via an FDDI concentrator.
Within each LAN, Servers and workstations are connected to the GISnet backbone
through multi-mode FDDI, while other devices like PCs, Printers, Plotters and
Digitizers are connected through Cat 5 UTP.
Future Plans for upgrading the GISnet hardware will be Migrating to A TM
(Asynchronous Transfer Mode) networking technology which will provide a hi her
backbone bandwidth (155-622 Mbps), allowing the integration of different services
over the network; like voice data and video. The ability to create what is called
VLANs (Virtual Local Area Networks) providing advanced management and
security capabilities is one of the other important features of ATM.
The Centre for GIS maintains GISnet, ensuring it is secure from breakdown and that
it operates effectively round the clock, transferring data between the different
agencies on the network.
Traffic volume on the network is heavy with over a thousand of PCs, workstations
and a large number of printers and plotters all connected to GISnet via local area
networks (LANs) of individual agencies. Even digital orthoimage files, normally 10
to 50 megabytes in size, can be transferred over GISnet in seconds.
GISnet has become the vehicle for a wide range of GIS applications that take
advantage of the availability of public available GIS data in the country of all
agencies. Data is drawn seamlessly from the respective agency's server according to
the type of information required.
For example: Zones and municipal boundaries, cadastral survey parcels, right of way
corridors and physical development plots, acquired from Land Information Centre's
server, Roads flow lines are acquired from the roads section server, and Treated
Sewage Effluent network, Surface Ground Water network, and Sewer network data
are acquired from Drainage Division's server. The list goes on and on for other
agencies.
An example of these applications in INSTAMAP which produces maps or plans of
any public data, from any agency on GISnet, in seconds. Format, size, and scale are
all predetermined.
Intranet applications are also becoming a very useful and efficient way of providing
GIS data to a wider range of users who are not necessarily GIS professionals but
require GIS-re1ated data, and all it takes for them is to have a PC connected to the
network and an Internet browser. An example of these Intranet applications is the
Mapserver which consists of a Suit of GIS Applications that gives the user access to
Spatial Information about Qatar and enables him to download on-line GPS data and
print out Survey Station Description Sheets. These applications are:
Explore Qatar
Information at the desktop in seconds. Searching for an address across. the web;
Type in an address, a landmark name or a public telephone number and a customised
map showing the desired location will be produced for you instantly. Make Spatial
Queries to locate nearest Schools, Clinics, Banks, etc. to the desired location and go
through the agencies, option to discover their spatial information.
Explore Qatar is also available on our Internet server also.
our Internet URL is: http://www.gisqatar.org.qa
GPS Data-On Line
Specify date, start and end times and an interval and get access to the last 13 days of
On-line GPS data collected at the CGIS Base Station. Zipped information and
navigation files are available at the desktop in minutes.
Survey Stations in Qatar
Query and locate Survey Control Points of Qatar by name, coordinates or sheet
numbers. Acquire printouts of Survey Station Description Sheets with a few clicks
of your mouse.
Finally, technology is advancing at an astonishing rate that has to be matched by an
equivalent rate of accurate, useful, and properly distributed information. The Centre
for GIS is working hard to accomplish this mission by taking advantage of the
technology available to make geographic information available to everybody
through GISnet and to a broader audience through the Internet.
* * *
What Happened to Our
Professional Code of Ethics?
Mr. Maurice Abi-Raad*
Abstract
We all have ideas about our local, national and global professional code of ethics.
But we do not really know for sure how they interact. With the growth of global
business practices, Information Technology (IT) professionals are wandering in a
circle when it comes to ethical dilemmas. Which ethical standards should they
f01l0w? Should they adhere to their local IT professional standards, should they
swear allegiance to their national IT vision, their country and its cultural and
historical influences on professional IT practices, or should they give in to the global
set of ethical behaviors dictated by their global employer when power, profit and
politics impose new codes of ethics across the whole world.
Furthermore, with the new structures of the global organizations, the global market
has a pool of professionals, and each one of them has his/her own interpretation of
their own respective code of ethics. All these issues will certainly leave our young
professional graduates in a state of divided loyalty. Whichever way our IT graduates
choose, they are bound to have conflicts.
The pursuit of good ethical practices is indeed a desirable aim. But anyone waiting
for a standard global solution is in a deep trouble, because there is none. This paper
will propose a framework aimed at providing a contribution towards the
socialization of students' self-regulated multi cultural societies through international
student exchange programs. The aim of the framework is to create a suitable
environment where students can and will develop, assess, review and educate their
own professional code of ethics for the current and future members of their students'
mini-societies. This will eventually prepare them to be active participants in the
bigger debate dealing with the issue of global professional code of ethics.
* RMIT University, Department of Business Computing, Australia.
Introduction
Over the past two decades, the Information Technology (IT) field have gone through
transformation from simple number crunching activities, to centralized repositories
of information, to a distributed and networked cyberspace system. During the same
period, the computer user have evolved from solving pure computational problems
to mission critical systems, from abstraction of work through to virtual reality. With
this technological progress academics, researchers, students as well as practitioners,
would be hard pressed to claim similar progress in ethical awareness and thinking
about IT-related issues. There is a clear ethical vacuum when dealing with local,
national and global issues. The information revolution has become a tidal wave that
threatens to engulf and change professional and human values. Governments,
organizations, and individuals therefore would make a grave mistake if they view
the information revolution as "merely technological". It is mainly social and ethical.
(Baase, 1997).
The application of ethics in IT and business is more difficult than in other disciplines
for several reasons. First, computers and data communications alter relationships
among people. Data communications take place without personal contact, without
visual and aural senses to help convey meaning. Moreover, the paperless society, in
which information is transmitted at electronic speeds, function side by side with the
paper-based society, where information is shared at a snail's pace.
Second, information in electronic, magnetic and optical form is far more fragile than
information on paper. Computers and data communication systems provide for highspeed, low-cost processing, information transfer, copying and printing of intangible
intellectual property. This capability introduces new factors in the professional
decisions on property rights, residual rights, plagiarism, privacy, eavesdropping, as
well as violation of privacy. With the global interconnections between computer
networks, negative events happen so easily, sometimes without the initiators even
considering the consequences, that ethical issues are intensified. Freedom of
expression is greatly leveraged and magnified to the extent that far more good may
be done with the creation and dissemination of information. Yet it follows that the
consequences of unethical local or national acts are equally magnified (Milberg et ai,
1995).
The awareness of IT professionals and the general public of the ethical and social
responsibilities is growing. IT graduates, and even undergraduates, who aim to
become professional in the field, need to develop a better understanding of the basic
cultural, social, legal, and ethical issues inherent in the discipline of IT. They should
understand the different dimensions (local, national and international) of the
industry. They should investigate where the discipline has been, where it is, and
where it is likely to be heading. They should comprehend their individual and
collective contribution in this process, as well as appreciate the responsibilities
deriving from the philosophical questions, technical decisions, and aesthetic values
that play an important part in the development of the discipline. Today's IT
graduates are tomorrow's future professionals. They must be able to assess the
impact of introducing a particular product, implementing a particular solution into a
given environment. What will the impact b~ upon people, groups, organizations, and
countries? When we, as IT professionals, discover that there are several cultures,
instead of just one, and consequently, at the time we acknowledge the end of a sort
of cultural and ethical monopoly, be it illusory or real, we are threatened by our own
discovery. It is this discovery that is puzzling our fresh IT graduates. Suddenly, they
are realizing that it is possible that there are just Others, that they are themselves an
'other' among Others (Charette, 1996).
The Ethical Jungle
Ethical issues in IT are no longer isolated from the national and global scenes. Given
the strong diffusion of technology and the interconnectivity among various systems
in communication networks, even seemingly local decisions about reliability,
standards, access, privacy, and usability, can have global implications. Many
supporters of the Information Highway assume that democracy is a natural
companion of technology. But some countries may be interested in the technology
and its potentials, yet are very weary of the assumptions of power sharing and
participation, which cultures advocated by western cultures (Miller, 1996).
Many professional associations attempted to introduce new and improved versions
of the code of ethics to improve their members' awareness of professional practices,
yet doing all the right things does not guarantee. the right results. With the spotlight
of the code itself, it can be easy to lose sight of the IT professionals who must own
and carry out the proposed new and improved set of ethical standards. Even with the
consultative approach used to develop this new code of ethics, adjusting these
ethical standards to each IT professional's environment poses an enormous challenge
the industry as a whole. Fitting one set of standards to a wide range of professionals
operating in different environments may remain elusive.
IT professionals in responsible positions, whose decisions affect other people in
significant ways, have an obligation to base their decisions on all relevant,
reasonably available and predictable information, and are morally responsible for
foreseeable consequences of their action (John son and Mulvey, 1995). However,
when global teams operate, IT professionals are given only partial authority or
inadequate resources to perform their work and bad consequences may result. They
can not be held responsible for factors outside their control. Integrated global teams
involved in the analysis, design, assessment, and implementation of global
information systems should always consider the human and social consequences, not
in the sense of serving their own local or national social or political interests in
particular cases, but in the sense of developing habits of addressing classes of
common human problems across the spectrum of many countries such as job losses,
retraining, dehumanization of work, physical danger, etc. Human and social ethical
issues require more than compliance with the legal requirements of the contract
(O'Connell, 1997).
Information systems are rarely designed for, or used by, one person alone. Global
systems and communication technologies are usually designed by teams of IT
professionals to connect and enable the interaction between many people. These
people may cut across local groups, organizational boundaries, and even national
boundaries. Common interests may motivate them, although disagreements about
purpose characterize their internal discourse. The concerns of these groups
influence, and often dictate, how information systems are developed, as well as how
they are used. For the purpose of this development and participation process, gender,
race, economic class, reference groups, and religious belief are examples of cultural
diversity (Loch and Conger, 1996). Such groups need to be considered by IT
professionals when developing and implementing global information systems. They
have to remember that different cultures view ethical issues from different
perspectives, and developers of systems likely to be used in multiple cultures must
understand the different approaches taken by each culture.
It is now well-known that unethical behaviors in one country can be accepted as a
normal practice in another. IT practitioners may be undertaking work for an overseas
client that require them to comply with their clients' set of ethical standards which in
turn mayor may not adhere to their own country's standards. At present, there is little
that governments and professional associations can do about this: it cannot be
stopped at the frontier, as stopping printed or recorded material. There is a danger in
instilling, marketing or imposing any national or global code of ethics upon our
graduates. Such attempt would be so blunt that it would prohibit access to genuine
interactive ethical issues that the current ethical debate never attempted before
(Hogan and James, 1997).
In the course of preparing global and national ethical standards, many professional
associations as well as government agencies in several countries supported the idea
of early normative response to potential future problems. However, others, including
those especially affected, asserted that at the current stage of development of global
information systems and IT technologies, the material prerequisites for the detailed
ethical recommendations on relevant issues were, and still are, lacking (Himmel,
1996). At this progressive growing stage of the global market and the conquest and
exploration of IT capabilities, we do not have sufficient bases to affirm that there are
ethical references and information resources that might be used positively on the
global scene. We also do not have sufficient well-founded social, cultural, technical
and economical indications that the usefulness of such resources and their return will
be socially and economically feasible and advisable in the future. Under these
conditions, it is early for governments and professional bodies to reflect such
provisions and ethical standards in striking terms. The danger lies with governments
and professional bodies drafting the kind of laws that would, for many years to
come, remain a fantastic ethical legend. However, one would argue, that the
ineffectiveness of such ethical standards would produce demands for something
better.
Cyberspace ethics education
To write sensibly about the topic of Cyberspace ethics education, is to be confronted
by something of a dilemma. Internet ethics education can be attempted in a variety
of ways, but to be ethical is not to moralize or to. tell students what to do. Ethical
issues rarely arise in the form of choices between absolute right and absolute wrong
(Mason, 1995), (Loudon, 1995). The move to self-regulated students' groups in our
universities will result improved ethical Cyber-terms.
The use of the Information Highway in academia is, indeed, in such a critical
state comparable to the very early days of TV, that the window of opportunity and
invention has been thrown wide open. It is clear that senior academics and lecturers
regard the development of effective educational ethics of university Information
Highway environments as important. The large number of attempts to define and
refine ethical standards for
Information Highway usage in universities bears witness to a strongly perceived
need. However, despite the effort that has been involved in developing these
standards, there have been omissions and inadequacies in the approaches to date.
Regulations and discussion groups are unable to deal with the rate of development of
the technology, and the core usage of the information posted on the Information
Highway often shows inappropriate emphasis on easily assessed technical features
rather than cultural issues of user's behavior (1ohnson, 1997). Many attempts have
failed to provide comprehensive and coherent models of Internet-assisted business
and learning to students; legislation and professional code of ethics consists of ad
hoc relations, which are not defined with specific reference to business/educational
issues.
The diversity within a cyber-society is of value to all participants. In today's business
climate, many organizations are seeking geographic, racial, gender, and ethnic
diversity among their staff population. Academics and Graduates from different
backgrounds bring different experiences and outlooks to the educational and
organizational context (Horvath, 1997). Involving academics and students from
different backgrounds in the global ethical debate enrich the educational and ethical
experiences of all participants, and better equip them to deal later with the
heterogeneous world outside the university walls (refer to appendix A & B). Insofar
as students are collective or cooperative truth seekers, they may lurk in the
background premises of this argument as well as the assumption that truth in any
discipline of inquiry best emerges from the clash of differing opinions and
viewpoints, that all point of view relevant to a discussion should be represented, and
all participants from different backgrounds are more likely to represent all those
viewpoints in global discussion sessions organized under the umbrella of the
proposed cyberspace student societies.
Students, when encouraged, undertake varied ethical discussion, bring wider issues
to their cyber-environment, express enthusiasm for their ability to accommodate
individual identities, and even enable participation between the wide range of
students with various national, educational, cultural, religious as well as ethical
backgrounds (ITiCSE, 1997). Our local students in Australia through learning and
participating with students, in our various overseas programs have actively engaged
in the development and promotion of international/global draft of ethical standards
that may help them promote better understanding of their professional identity.
Through the Information Highway, they were unaware of the cultural, social, and
moral status of these students and vice versa. It was wonderful to watch them
develop agreed ethical guidelines with students with whom they would probably be
very uncomfortable in a classroom (Friedman & Khan, 1994).
The use of Information Highway exchange between students has expanded our
classroom, blown away the traditional physical and logical barriers, filled our
students with a sense of possibility of a new cyber-society, made them less
provincial, and involved each one of them with the real world. They became more
keenly aware of a world outside the classroom, the suburb, the country, a world full
of variety of cultures, traditions, and different up-bringing (Bowers, 1995); a world
where they felt able to reach out and participate and to be part of a new society with
no physical boundaries, no inhibitions and without a vacuum as a context (Huff and
Martin, 1995).
As a lecturer, I no longer spend my time standing in front of my class giving
knowledge and wisdom of ethical standards, preaching what is right and what is
wrong. I have become a facilitator, a stage director, a discussion/debate leader, and
most importantly a catalyst. In students interactions on the Information Highway,
there is no longer a book of rules, the tests of right or wrong answers. They have all
become collaborators making predictions, developing ethical hypotheses, and
analyzing their respective implications. The only risk is that technology now allows
us, academics, to move from monitoring the students' work to monitoring the
students themselves! One should question whether there should be limits to how
lecturers and network administrators examine the movements of their students.
A quiet, but substantial, educational and social transformation is occurnng 111
educational institutions. This transformation raises serious challenges to traditional
control and regulation mechanisms, classroom organizational models, to
conventional curricula contents and morals, and to existing forms of ethical
behavior. The cyber-society approach in universities may have major benefits, but
the potential for slipping is real. One needs to be careful when developing such
cyber-societies. The Influence of majority groups with strict religious and/or cultural
beliefs may dominate the debate. Furthermore, with the wrong evolution, they may
end up moving towards the lowest common denominator.
Our cyber-societies (subject based, discipline oriented, and interest group) include
the groupings that cut across local students groups, institutional, and even national
boundaries. For our purposes, gender, race, economic class, and reference groups
such as hackers and quiet conservative students, are
examples of mixed cultural groups. Such groups need to be considered by academic
institutions when encouraging and implementing cyber-societies. Students also must
remember that different regional cultures view ethical issues from different
perspectives, and with increasing global education, our graduates are likely to be
involved in designing systems that are likely to be used in multiple cultures, and
must understand the different approaches that are taken by each culture.
Understanding genuine cultural differences helps students to develop ethical
foundations that are widely accepted and, perhaps, even safer in a global
environment.
Moreover, teamwork is an integral part of our teaching approach. Because no
individual is assured of always being the most powerful person in the team, cybersociety team members must make decisions about contentious issues in the context
of a group's interactions.
Conclusion
The question of a free or fettered code of ethics is not an easy one: so many variables
come into play, and in many instances we can only have a subjective personal
reaction to the trilogy of local, national and global ethical standards. The
overwhelming majority of IT professional agree on the need to prepare IT graduates
for this debate, but the way to do so, they argue, is to involve businesses users, IT
practitioners as well as academics. If there is one thing that IT professionals and
academics must understand, it is that new global technologies, including the
Information Highway, must be thoroughly studied, and given a chance to flourish,
before being subjected to the strict nature ethical debate. Otherwise, they risk
obstructing something that is valuable. In principle, it is almost impossible to
develop a "one size fits all" code of ethics. Considering the difficulties with
international boundaries, cultural and national differences, ethical standards face
many obvious practical hurdles.
Unfortunately, many professionals have trouble seeing the essence of their code of
ethics. Not everyone is good at abstract and high level thinking. Thinking in terms of
ethical essentials can require setting aside the technical blinders that prevent us, as
professionals, from seeing things in a fresh light which most of the time are
independent from local, national and international barriers. We believe that our new
generation IT graduates as well as business users will determine the evolution and
establishment of the global ethical debate. We see our institutions acting as catalysts
for the global ethical infrastructure debate, and creating cyber-societies that provide
favorable interactive environment.
As academics, we are neither perfect, nor wise, either good experts, or bad technical
wizards; we do the best we know, we build an environment where students design
their own space, introduce their own lifestyles, chopping their own wood and
making their own grade grow. It will be a tribute to their success that they will
become pioneers in the global Cyber-society, and they will not use our ethical
teachings, as they will develop by creating their own. In short, they will become
self-regulated.
References
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Bowers J. (1995), A Course of a Different Col or: Join the Virtual University and
earn a degree via e-mail, Netguide, August, pp. 41-44.
Charette, R.N. (1996), Taking Responsibility for our Risks, Communications of the
ACM, Vol. 39, No. 3, March.
Friedman B., Khan P.H. Jr. (1994), Educating Computer Scientists: Linking the
Social and the Technical, Communications of the ACM, Volume 37, Number],
January, pp. 65-70.
Himmel L. (1996), Morality on the Internet, The EDP Audit Control and Security
Newsletter (EDPACS), Volume 23, Number 10, April.
Hogan J.M., James P.CI. (1997), Australian Approaches to Internet Content
Regulation. The Australian Computer Journal, Volume 29, Number I, February, pp.
16-23.
Horvath, CM. (1997), Macro and Micro: The Emerging Field of Organizational
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ethics/m&m. html.
Huff, C and Martin, C.D. (1995), Computing Consequences: A Framework for
Teaching Ethical Computing, Communication of the ACM, Vol. 38, No. I 2,
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science and information systems curriculum. Johnson, D.G. (1997), Ethics Online,
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pp. 6-1 I.
Information Highway and
Ministry of Education, Kuwait
Dr. Homoud AI-Saadoun*
Prof Asad A. Ismaeel**
Abstract
The Ministry of Education (MOE) has the vital function of providing education to
the students in Kuwait. This function is accomplished through a large number of
public and private schools located in different Educational districts and geographic
areas of Kuwait. Over 300,000 students are currently receiving education in these
schools, provided by over 30,000 teachers from different nationalities. This process
entails continuous interaction, exchange and flow of information between the
educational institutions, MOE, students, parents and the public, yielding enormous
data resources for accomplishing such vital functions as registration, admission,
announcements, transfers, human resources, etc., on which hinges the very basis of
the entire educational delivery and decision-making process. This paper marks a
pioneer attempt to explore how these processes could be dramatically enhanced
through effective utilization of the Internet facility for rendering essential
educational services and expediting vital data exchange, thus paving the road for
putting MOE on the Information Highway. The study identifies the vital application
system's key educational activities that could be transferred on the Internet in the
first stage of operations, besides identifying the technology and human resource
requirements and conceptualization of an interactive Public-Friendly system for
ultimate users' benefit. To achieve this purpose, the study introduces the concept of
MOEONLine and tests the technology's ability in dramatically transforming the
major operations at the MOE, linking database across EAs, providing information
and essential services, and expediting interaction with general public at large, saving
in the process prime time, effort and resources. The study demonstrates the scheme's
effectiveness, advantages and potential for enhanced utilization for a more advanced
phase in optimizing MOE operations and performance standards, and in saving
resources.
Keywords: Ministry of Education, Kuwait, Intonation Highway, Internet, Public
Friendly System, Application Systems, MOEONLine.
* Ministry of Education, Kuwait.
** Faculty of Engineering & Petroleum, Kuwait University.
Introduction
During the past few years, a tremendous change has been observed in the manner the
information is provided to the users from traditional DP Departments. This change
has been primarily effected by the Internet-based round-the-globe system for
information access, more appropriately called the Information Highway (IH). The
presence of IH is felt everywhere, facilitating access to huge amounts of information
from around the world. The impact of this technology cannot be ignored recognizing
its immense potential in facilitating access to various types of information critical for
meeting diverse needs, including information exchange, communication, awareness
and decision-making. In other words, this facility could dramatically transform the
manner in which the MOE performs key operations for users' benefit, providing a
critical reservoir of information on the IH for rapid access, retrieval and utilization
by multi-users, such as detailed/summary data and statistics that could be used by
the students, parents, researchers or all those interested in MOE educational data.
This was the objective basis that led the Information Center at the Ministry of
Education (MOE), Kuwait, to explore the possibility of implementing a series of
application systems on distributed databases located at several sites covering all
educational districts (areas) in each geographic area of Kuwait. Essentially
client/server based, these systems were expected to profoundly alter the way student
and teacher-related activities are being implemented by the Ministry. In explicit
terms, Kuwait has over 300,000 students, studying in Public schools, and over
30,000 teachers of diverse nationalities are involved in providing education to the
children, a function of vital significance to the public.
This paper outlines the broad scope and objective requirements of putting MOE on
the IH, and examines those key issues that could significantly transform the
administrative process at the MOE, enhance interaction, and optimize performance.
Since admission, teacher and examination information is of vital public interest,
these elements were identified for attention, as an essential preliminary step toward
the extensive utilization of the Internet facility for overall public benefit.
Following Application systems were therefore,
implementation in this initial phase:
· Student Information System (SIS)
· Teacher Information System (TIS)
· Examination Information System (EIS)
identified
for
priority
Of these systems, SIS was specifically designed to computerize student information
across 600 Public Schools in Kuwait, including the specialized schools for religious
studies, adult education, home studies and handicapped students, in addition to
holding basic student-data of approximately 100 Private Schools. TIS was meant to
record data on recruitment, transfers and school allocations concerning 30,000
teachers of diverse nationalities, involved in the teaching process at the MOE
schools, While EIS represented a specific module for secondary level examination
data, including scheduling, seating arrangements and announcement of results.
These systems were explicitly designed to address the State's long-term requirements
in general, and particularly the Ministry of Education's specific requirements. The
key elements of the system were, therefore, evolved keeping in mind the Ministry's
organizational set-up comprising the Head Office, five Educational Areas (EA's),
and all schools. Consequently, TIS and EIS were installed at the Head Office and at
each of the five Educational Areas, while SIS was installed at each of the schools
with its own specific databases. The database marked the starting point for data
capture, and also to serve as a base for the school's day-to-day operations. The
purpose was to eventually link all schools within an EA to this database, which in
turn, would be linked to the centralized database at the Head Office.
With the Internet accessibility increasingly becoming more affordable and popular, it
was expected that the intended MOE system would play a powerful and interactive
role on peoples' lives. Recognizing the technology's immense significance and
potential, an attempt was made to focus on those vital information sources and
processes that necessitated transfer on the Internet, so that the public could have
wider access to Ministry's essential programs, activities and periodic announcements
to expedite interaction, minimize time, vitalize educational system and optimize the
existing performance standards at the MOB.
Objectives
This study was primarily aimed at putting MOE on the Information Highway
through extensive utilization of the Internet facility for the transfer of crucial
information concerning the educational process in Kuwait. Consequently, an attempt
was made to identify those prime activities of the MOE that could be transferred on
to the Internet, especially those concerning the Information Systems. In this initial
phase, it was considered premature to predict the exact dimensions of the Ministry's
future requirements concerning the Internet, hence the major focus was on outlining
those activities that merited transfer on the Internet, and on exploring the
technology's potential and prospect, for seeking answers to What? rather than How?
The study professes the concept of Public-Friendly system, keeping in mind the
objective requirements of the intended Applications System for User needs. When
compared with the User-Friendly system, which facilitates faster and comparatively
error-free data entry, the Public-Friendly system, is not only User-Friendly, but has
the additional advantage of making the system accessible to the public, and provides
facilities for sending and receiving electronic mail through a mouse-click. The
interactive session in this system is far simpler that it can be used even by an
untrained user, in comparison to the User-Friendly system, which typically requires
trained users. Hence, while opting for the Public-Friendly System, following factors
were especially taken care of:
Usefulness:
The activity's usefulness for the targeted public, as well as the MOE,
and in reducing prime effort and time in the long run.
Manageability: The manageability of the requisite service by the concerned
Departments of the MOE, keeping in mind the additional resources
that might be needed, but which nevertheless would induce saving.
Security:
An important issue in providing such services. While no attempt was
made to suggest financial activities the security system needed, to be
carefully evolved and tested prior to introducing a service.
Implementation Plan/Methodology
The study unveils the concept of MOEOnLine for the transfer of MOE activities on
the Internet. Essentially, MOEOnLine is envisioned to interact with MOE databases,
and have its own database for areas not covered by the three systems (SIS, TIS &
EIS). The interaction with the MOE databases was either on-line, or batch, but with
its own database it was on-line. The MOEOnLine encompasses the entire
requirements of putting the system on the Internet for web-based application systems
interacting with a database. In this regard, the study identified the following facilities
for access on MOEOnLine:
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Admission Rules and Regulations for students by type of school.
Registration and provisional confirmation concerning acceptance of new
students.
Human Resources' function for Public Schools.
Announcements concerning the beginning of the Academic year.
Announcements concerning the end of the Academic year.
Announcement for the Seating Arrangements for General Examination.
Announcing Examination Results.
Making available Educational Statistics.
Making available Teacher Statistics.
Interaction with patents concerning the student's Social, Psychological and
Health-related matters.
The System was designed to allow access to the above-mentioned facilities, either
immediately, or in stages, and essentially required:
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Web server software.
Web based user-applications.
MOEOnLine database.
Server with clients and networking
Interaction with MOE Databases.
Figure I shows the system's Schematic Diagram
Results
The MOEOnLine System's immediate applications were visualized in the context of
vital data concerning:
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Admission Rules & Regulations.
Registration & Provisional Confirmation Data for New Students.
E-mail feedback.
Information concerning Public/Private schools.
Human Resource Requirements for Public Schools.
Inter-school Transactions/Student Transfers.
Announcements concerning the Academic Year Beginning/Ending.
Annual Examination Seating Arrangements.
Announcing Examination Results.
Educational/Teachers/Staff Statistics.
Interaction with Parents regarding Students Social/Psychological Health
Matters.
Relevant data needs, concerning each of the above 11 elements, are specified below:
1. Admission Rules & Regulations
These are prepared by the MOE Student Affairs Department for both Kuwaiti and
Non-Kuwaiti students. according to the Ministry's guidelines, the approved Illles a"d
regulations are made available to the school and Educational Areas admission incharges, The Department also outlines procedures for submission of Registration
Forms with enclosures,
The existing system necessitates a student's personal visit to be informed about
admission regulations and procedures, and application status "tier the submission of
the duly completed Registration form, The MOEOnLine eases this process hy
making available the admission regulations and procedures 011 the Internet. Any
student, desirous of admission, can now access the relevant information on the
website. or print it out. This information enables him/her to check his/her eligibility
status prior to initiating the admission process in schools.
The requisite regulations and procedures include information on the following
categories facilitating data entry by potential candidates for admission:
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Kuwaiti and Non-Kuwaiti students,
Public Schools providing General education,
Religious schools.
Adult Schools,
Home Study Programs,
Special Schools,
In addition, access to intonation regarding non-standard category students is also
available,
To ensure the system's efficiency, it is essential that the MOE Policy-making
Committee must make available the latest up-to-data information, a function that
could be accomplished by a Web-based publishing program which could be easily
operated by the Committee's Secretary,
2. Registration & Provisional Confirmation Data for New Students
The objective of accepting registration data online is to extend the data entry facility
to patents for student registration, This purpose requires preparing a specific screen
for entering requisite data concerning prospective students. The system also
facilitates the choice of schools for admission, with provision for selecting the type
of school, its location, facilities and contact person. This information is intended to
allow the parents to select a school of their choice which is closer to their location.
The system also ensured such basic checks as age requirement for admission, and
schools for boys or girls, etc. In this, regard what was required was a front-end
module to MOE's SIS on the Internet, facilitating data-entry concerning such
essential student details as:
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Civil ID Number
Name
Date of Birth and Birth Certificate
Nationality and Passport details
Gender: Male/Female
Class to which admission sought
School to which admission sought
Home/Office address
Contact Telephone and Fax Numbers
Governorate and Suburbs of present residence
Parents' details, Nationality, Address, Occupation, etc. ·
Guardians' details, Nationality, Address, Occupation, etc. ·
Details concerning Previous Schooling
Also required was an E-mail facility for requisite feedback, so that the admission
authority could open the system each morning for the list of new registrants, verify
data validity, and provisionally confirm the registration. The feedback on provisional
confirmation could then be e-mailed to the parents communicating the date and time
of appointment for students to present at relevant School/EA, together with the
supporting documents.
The admission authority was required to verify data accuracy and procedural
requirements and either confirm or reject the registration, and advice the parents
accordingly.
The scheme's major advantage was that it:
ƒ Saved data-entry time for MOE staff, as this activity was accomplished by the
parents.
ƒ Allowed MOE staff to concentrate on data verification, rather than data entry,
and
ƒ Confirmed that the system was 'Public-Friendly'
3. Information concerning Public Schools
The MOEOnLine also had the provision for providing relevant information
concerning the Public Schools in Kuwait, and the available facilities on the Internet.
This information included:
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School Name
School Type
Stage
Education Type
Capacity - class-wise
Current status - class-wise · Facilities available
Location details
Full Address
Principal's Name
Admission in-Charge
Telephone Fax Number ·
Special regulations, if any
The information on available facilities included:
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Play rooms and amenities · Play grounds
Laboratory facility
Library
Any other special facility
4. Information concerning Private Schools
Extended information on Private Schools was also made available through
MOEOnLine, and included:
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School Name
School Type
Stage
Education Type
Facilities available
Location details
Full Address
Principal's Name
Admission in-Charge
Telephone Fax Number
Admission cut-off dates
Fee structure
Minimum requirements for admission
Other requirements or announcement, if any.
5. Human Resources for Public Schools
The MOEOnLine also provided access to MOE human resource requirements
concerning teachers and other categories of staff, especially in view of the majority
of expatriate teaching staff. Considering that the current staff recruitment procedure
was lengthy and cumbersome, the following information was made available
through the Internet:
ƒ Requirements for additional staff
ƒ Job specification of the staff required · Qualifications and Experience required
· Posting location
ƒ Salary structure
ƒ Closing date for application
The Recruitment process was made interactive by communicating the results of the
preliminary evaluation to the candidate through E-mail. Also a candidate was
informed about the interview date. This activity was required to be implemented by
the MOE Human Resources Department, and the system interacted with
MOEOnLine and TIS databases.
6. Inter-school transactions and Student Transfers
This area provided ample scope for productive utilization of the Internet. Under the
current procedure, a student who seeks transfer, is required to bring a written
approval from the principal of the school he wishes to transfer to. The transfer
procedure thus starts in his current school only after the approval is received, and
this procedure is carried out by the student or his/her parent. With the Internet
facility this scenario has changed as the intended school can send the approval to the
student's current school directly through the Internet with due endorsement,
expediting the transfer process at both schools.
7. Announcements at the Academic year beginning
Several announcements are issued by the MOE at the beginning of each Academic
Year, which could be made available to the Public on the Internet. Some of these
announcements are meant to inform the students about the:
ƒ Starting date of classes in all stages
ƒ Date for collection of books
ƒ Teacher-parent meeting dates
ƒ List of new schools in current year
In addition, several ongoing announcements could regularly be made on the Internet
throughout the academic year..
8. Announcements concerning Academic Year ending
Similarly, several announcements concerning the Academic Year ending are also
made available by the MOE, which could also be made available to the Public on the
Internet such as:
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Date of publishing results and promotion list
Last date of schooling
Last date of school office working
Date of school opening for the next academic year
9. Seating Arrangements for Secondary School Annual Examinations
Normally a seating arrangement for students is made prior to the start of final
examinations. This arrangement is finalized by the Examination Information System
(EIS) and concerns the allotment of a specific seat number to each examinee. In
addition, the examination schedule is also published. In this regard, the following
information was identified for transfer through the Internet:
ƒ Announcing seating arrangement/seat numbers for final examination of
Secondary Schools, and
ƒ Publishing the Examinations' Schedule
10. Announcing Examination Results
It is increasingly felt that the school should directly make the
examination/evaluation results available to the parents, so that they could review the
performance of their children before talking to them. Similarly, letters could be
issued to the parents of weak students, and the relevant advice rendered. This area
holds tremendous scope for using the Internet facility to make the MOE system
'Public-Friendly'. In this regard, the following information was identified for transfer
on the Internet:
ƒ Publishing the examinations' results and promotion list by school/class.
ƒ List of unsuccessful students who are required to appear for supplementary
examinations.
ƒ List of unsuccessful students who must repeat the current class.
ƒ Letters to parents concerning the weak students.
11. Educational Statistics Availability
Making available statistical update on the Information Highway has become a
customary practice. Sometimes such information is available at a price. By and
large, these statistics are non-sensitive in nature. Some of the MOE information/data
falls in this category which could be released regularly in the form of statistics to
supply latest information to the public and researchers. These statistics could be in
tabular or graphical format, and may include data on:
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Distribution of students and teachers by type of education.
Number of public schools by buildings and educational stages.
Data on students, teachers, schools and classrooms in government schools.
Nationality-wise number of students in public schools by stage and gender.
Distribution of students by Educational Area.
Year-wise movement ratios.
Number of private schools by buildings and educational stages.
Data on schools, classrooms, students and teachers in Private Schools.
Data on teachers, students, centers and classrooms in Adult Education.
Nationality-wise number of students in Adult Schools by stage and gender.
Data on teachers, students, schools, and classrooms by other educational types
Development of number of schools, classrooms by education types.
Development of number of teachers, students by education types.
Development of quantitative indices in government education.
However, it is imperative that while releasing the above information on the Internet
such issues as data sensitivity, its purpose, and target audience, may have to be kept
in mind.
12. Teacher/Staff Statistics Availability
Information concerning the teachers is another area that merits accessibility through
the Internet. Such information largely pertains to statistics concerning:
ƒ Nationality-wise distribution of teachers in government schools.
ƒ Distribution of teachers by subjects and educational stages in government
schools.
13. Interaction with Parents concerning the Student's Social, Psychological and
Health-related matters
This is potentially the strongest point of MOEOnLine, and provides an opportunity
to directly involve the parents in the student's growth process. Summarized or
detailed data on the student's growth could be provided through the Internet, together
with the relevant advice/recommendations. The information could cover several
areas, such as:
a. Making available the student's progress concerning the social and
psychological development, for example:
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Difficulties faced
Eating habits
Entertainment activities
Cooperation attitude
Positive and negative attitudes
Cognitive growth
Growth of subject skills
b. Making available the student's growth concerning physical development,
such as:
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Physical fitness
Growth of muscles
General remarks
Health features
Sight and Hearing development
Natural habits
c. Making available the student's health data and follow-up, including:
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General check-up information
Health aspects
Vaccination information
illness history
Occasional check-up information
Emergency recommendations
Laboratory investigations
Sports check-up and recommendations
Annual check-up and recommendations
d. Making available the above information over the years to monitor a student's
development in specific area:
Since some of the above data is essentially obtained from the parents, relevant
screens were provided for direct data-entry by them. This data was integrated with
earlier data, and screens provided to query a student's developmental history
concerning a specific area.
Discussions
The implementation of the MOEOnline system demonstrated the technology's
potential in advancing MOE's abilities in rapid transfer of information to the public
and its feedback. In addition, the three systems SIS, TIS and EIS have been
commissioned and are yielding enormous amount of vital information and data
online-expediting MOE services, operations and decision-making functions, in
addition to saving prime time, effort and resources through the effective utilization
of the Internet facility.
The system, however, raises certain security concerns for which the entire MOE data
was grouped under the following three categories:
1. general information that could be made available to the entire public
2. Specific information meant for the parents of a particular student, and 3.
Information obtained from the parents of a specific student
For security reasons, the first category of information did not require any special
security. However, the second category required security for maintaining data
confidentiality with regard to the person(s) concerned. For the third category,
special safeguards were required for genuine data entry, and for identifying the user,
for which purpose the student's Civil ID number was used as User ID. This needed a
mechanism generating the password for the first time, which was obtained by the
parent from the school during the registration process, with provision for changing it
later any time. All screens for categories 2 and 3 required the user to enter User ID
(student Civil ID number), along with the corresponding password.
The implementation of MOEOnLine required certain essential resources in terms of
hardware, software and human resources as follows:
ƒ A Web server hardware for processing web calls along with client PCs for
development & maintenance
ƒ Web Server software
ƒ Web site development tools
ƒ Connection to the Internet on long-term basis
ƒ Developpers
The operation of MOEOnLine focused attention on two issues of which the first
concerned the registration with search engines like Infoseek, etc., so that the target
audience were kept informed appropriately, and the second, the most important point
was to keep the data up-to-date. It is this second function that merited constant
attention for ensuring the availability of latest MOE data. Hence, Registration with
Internet Search Engines and Databases
was sought so that the MOEOnLine could be implemented after being registered
with some of the well known search engines, such as:
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Yahoo
Infoseek
Galaxy
WebCrawler
Apollo
Kuwait.net
A request was made to the concerned agency to put a special icon on the Kuwait.net
screen for MOEOnLine to help the users.
By its very nature, information on the Web is expected to be as current as possible.
In the past, the requisite information was prepared and published prior to its
distribution, involving a lengthy process. But on the Web, the information could be
made available as soon as it's ready, and could be distributed to a large audience.
The effectiveness of this process lies in ensuring that the information made available
by MOEOnLine at the Web site is up-to-date.
A log of all additions and changes made to the Website was also maintained, so that
visitors could know when the new information was added, or modified, etc.
While the benefits of putting MOE activities on the Internet are seemingly
enormous, and open a whole new horizon in the operation of educational services,
there appear some perceived limitations, which need to be addressed for enhancing
the technology's potential and ultimate user benefit. Briefly, these limitations are as
follows:
a. Availability of Internet connection to all parents:
The main premise of MOEOnLine is that parents and student will have easy access
to the Internet. This may not be possible due to the non-availability of a PC at the
user homes, and the cost of Internet connection. In this regard falling prices of PCs
provide an optimistic scenario, along with a strong urge by the households to own a
PC for a variety of domestic purposes - much like an electronic gadget. A further
optimism is the tendency to reduce the connection charges by the ISP (Internet
Service provider).
b. Security aspects
As discussed earlier, the security system needs to be well developed and installed.
The study purposes a three-tier security system. Equally important is to ensure a
physical control on allotment of User-ID/Password to the parents. Features like
electronic signature, thumb impression verification, automatic expiry, account
seizure, etc., may have to be used.
c. Need for authentic documents
The present system relies heavily on original documents duly signed by the
concerned authorities. This is done for user satisfaction reasons, as well as from the
legal requirements' point of view, wherever applicable. the computerization
programs have been able to ease the operational part greatly, but have not been able
to replace the authentic documents. In this regard the MOEOnLine seeks to greatly
reduce the paper work, through copies of the authentic and legal documents would
continue to be needed. It is expected that the imaging facility could greatly enhance
the effectiveness of this process.
Conclusion/Recommendations
The study shows the technology's immense potential and scope for putting MOE
activities on the Information Highway. This technology is expected to greatly benefit
the MOE and the parents/public in the short, as-well-as the long run, through the
effective utilization of the MOEOnLine scheme. Visualized as an essential MOE
service-oriented scheme it would comprise three categories of information, viz:
ƒ Providing general information and statistical data to the targeted public
concerning schools, academic session announcements, students and teachers,
etc.
ƒ Services of advisory nature providing information to the patents on student's
psychological and health matters, warning/advisory letters to the
students/parents, etc.
ƒ Services requiring direct participation of parents and students in the
registration/transfer processes, etc.
In this regard he MOEOnLine data will primarily come from the three systems
under commissioning at MOE, viz.:
ƒ Student Information System (SIS)
ƒ Teacher Information System (TIS)
ƒ Examination Information System (EIS)
In addition, MOEOnLine will have an exclusive web-based database to provide
information not covered by the above three systems.
Keeping the data up-to-date on the Internet will be a major challenge for MOE. This
could be achieved by the way of direct interaction between the web master and the
above three databases. The web-based database could primarily be maintained by the
concerned MOE user departments.
The study emphasizes the need for security at the three levels, and recommends that
this aspect be considered carefully, while developing and implementing the
MOEOnLine system. The system would naturally require some basic resources in
terms of hardware, software and human resources.
With the above requirements, it is possible for the MOE to provide 'Public-Friendly'
system on the Information Highway. It is hoped that the implementation of this
system would effectively enhance the educational administration standards,
encourage the participation of parents/students, and optimize MOE staff
performance.
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*
Advanced Data Broadcasting System for
Distance Education
Mr. Nabil Akrout*
Abstract
The technology revolution in education has already begun. Multimedia, World Wide
Web (WWW), video and telecommunication technologies, computer-based
simulations, distance learning are a familiar sight in most schools. The aim of this
paper is to propose an architecture of Advanced Data Broadcasting System (ADBS),
an asymmetrical network system delivering data and interactive services at a high
data rate to a large number of user stations via a direct broadcast satellite using the
DVB/MPEG-2 standards. The core of this architecture is based on Stream Works
from Xing Technology, which is a simple, turnkey solution for real time MPEG
audio and video, which integrates the only streaming multimedia server that supports
delivery to thousands of simultaneous users, regardless of bandwidth requirements.
Keywords: Tele-education; Streaming technology; Satellite technology; Digital
Video Broadcast (DVB); MPEG standard.
* Xing Technologies Corporation, California, U.S.A.
Why Satellite Technology for Tele-education?
Advances in information technology are quickly changing the nature of the world's
economy. Lifelong learning will be essential for participation in the emerging
knowledge economy. It is anticipated that learning and training will become a
dominant sector of the global economy within the next decade. The new knowledgebased economy will require nations to teach and train larger percentages of its
population all the time, with higher quality and less cost.
The following are the reasons for the use of new Information Technology for
education:
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4.
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To use multimedia more effectively for education;
To increase the bandwidth of networks to handle multimedia applications;
To conduct remote classroom teaching via videoconferencing;
To share resources stored on the computer servers;
To improve the Internet connection for students and instructors.
Far from being a revolution - as frequently described by the press multimedia is
opening hard and software to new forms of information display, other than text and
graphics. We witness the utilization of new media: sound, images, video and, in
general, everything that can be digitized as a matter of fact. Multimedia is neither a
new technique nor a specific area of computer sciences. Technical innovation is
connected to the potential to unify production, storage, treatment and transport of all
kinds of information, using the same technological basis represented by
digitalization. Video has become one of the most important applications in
multimedia applications.
In a Tele-Education environment, the concept of virtual classroom is commonly
used. This concept can be split into two different aspects:
Real-Time Virtual Classroom and Deferred-Time Virtual Classroom
The implementation of a virtual classroom could be done using satellite either as
unique option or in combination with ISDN and the Internet.
In the case of the Real-Time Virtual Classroom, the most important part is the
communication from the teacher to the learners. For this reason, we need high speed
channels (around 2 Mpbs) for the teacher, and slower ones (around 64 Kbps) for the
learners. It is clearly an asymmetric communication, with a big information flow in
one direction, and a small one in the return direction. Some possibilities to solve this
kind of communication might be satellite, ISDN (Primary Access), or a cable
network.
Concerning the Deferred-Time Virtual Classroom, apart from several lectures of the
teacher which might be solved as in the Real-time Virtual Classroom, the
communication between the teacher and the learners is "more symmetric, and,
talking properly, the teacher becomes a tutor in this case. The functionality needed
are E-mail, computer conferencing, and maybe tools sharing and videoconferencing.
This can be solved using the Internet and a Basic Access of ISDN.
High-Bandwidth for Internet Access
Web users are seizing on the interactive capabilities that software suppliers have
developed, and are eagerly awaiting the new interactive capabilities now being
demonstrated. In many cases, these new multimedia services would be impractical
for most home computers today.
Cable operators have deployed great efforts in developing cable modems. Telephone
companies have also invested in the implementation of high-bandwidth modems
(ADSL technology) to be used "on the classical twisted-pair telephone lines.
The saturation of the current Internet network indicates that satellite communications
can play a critical role in the context of the Internet today, and multimedia services
in general. Internet access by an ever-growing estimated subscriber base is
developing more quickly than the layout of new fast lines, despite the continued
increase of backbone capacities.
The nature of a large majority of current multimedia services is inherently point-tomultipoint.
Today's explosion of new multimedia household and business applications is mainly
asymmetric: distance learning (Real-Time Virtual Classroom), web browsing,
continuous broadcast streams, financial and sports new 'tickers', and weather
forecasts, near-audio-on-demand, near-video-on-demand, software distribution.
These services require the deployment of high-bandwidth communication channels.
If these new applications are to be successfully implemented, the infrastructure
deployment must be immediate, cost effective and on a large geographical scale. The
terrestrial transmission channels have demonstrated their physical, and above all,
economical limitations for the provision of such services. With respect to the very
reduced deployment of cable and ISDN lines, a satellite-based solution provides the
possibility of deploying in a very short term, and on a very large geographical basis,
these new business-oriented applications. In fact, a satellite-based solution solves the
time and geographical constraints imposed by the emergence of these new
applications, and provides the most efficient way for data broadcasting delivery.
The high-speed home Internet access is moving faster than expected by many. The
three most promising technologies in the near future are cable modems, which are
standard television-style coaxial cables; digital subscriber line technology, which
uses ordinary twisted-pair telephone lines with advanced modems; and wireless
technologies, including satellite systems currently delivering television signals.
a) Cable modem
Cable modems have taken the lead with the consumer so far, with around 60,000
homes subscribing to @Home Network, Time Warner's Road Runner, and Media
One Express. And the cable modem looks to keep its lead into the next millennium,
according to the projections of Jupiter Communications of New York, which sees
cable modem subscriptions targeting to hit 6.7 million by the year 2002.
A cable modem is a device that allows high speed data access via a cable television
(CATV) network. A cable modem with typically have two connections, one to the
cable wall outlet (the same cable that comes into your home that contains the CATV
video signals) and the other to a computer via a set-top cable modem. A typical
modem has a Video F connector from the cable outlet and an Ethernet connector for
the computer. There are several methods for connecting to the PC, but it appears that
Ethernet 10BaseT is emerging as the most predominant method. When, and if, the
cable industry selects a common standard for data transmission, a cheaper and faster
alternative to the set-top cable modem would be an internal card for the PC. Many
cable systems today do not have two-way capability required to send and receive
data over the Internet.
An advantage of cable modems is the ability to use the modem and watch television
at the same time. Also, since the cable connection is always "live", you have instant
access to the Internet, there is no dial-up and logon process. The computer can be
left on the network twenty-four hours a day without using any system resources,
except when data transfers are under way. This means that E-mail on cable can be
similar to today's local area networks (LANs).
The biggest criticism of cable modem networks is the fact that cable networks are
shared. This means that, as user activity increases on the network, the data transfer
rate decreases. It is estimated that for a segment of 100 homes on a cable network,
the 30 Mbps transfer rates would drop to about 500 Kbps for each user, if aH were
on the network at the same time. Another problem that will have to be addressed
with cable networks is the issue of security, which is inherent with any network
system.
b) Digital Subscriber Line
Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) technology was created by Bellcore Labs in 1987,
and was originally designed as the telephone company's solution for delivering
interactive TV, which was never materialized. DSL makes the most of existing
phone lines by using frequencies that are not used by voice transmissions.
DSL is essentially an economizing measure on the part of the te1cos - a way of
delivering broadband access without having to lay new, expensive cables. It uses
specially designed modems to filter out the background noise inherent in copper
wires, making them capable of carrying far higher data speeds, while allowing
simultaneous telephone service over the same line.
There are three main types of DSL:
ƒ Asymmetrical Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), which transmits between I
Mbps and 6 Mbps downstream, and between 64 Kbps and 640 Kbps upstream.
ƒ Rate Adaptive Digital Subscriber Line (RADSL), which is an emerging
technology that promises to deliver between 600 Kbps and 8 Mbps
downstream, and between 128 Kbps and 1 Mbps upstream.
ƒ High Bit Rate Digital Subscriber Line (HDSL), which provides a symmetrical
connection of 768 Kbps on both upstream and downstream.
At this point it still remains to be seen which DSL technology will become the
standard adopted by the telephone companies. RADSL has advantages over the other
DSLs in that it promises even higher downstream and upstream rates than current
ADSL. There are two other advantages to RADSL. First, RADSL is rate adaptive,
which means it can poll the line before transmitting to find the fastest, clearest
practical rate. This, however, means that different users will achieve different
connection rates, depending on distance and the noise inherent in their line. Second,
RADSL allows simultaneous voice and data communications with little or no effect
on data transfer rates.
HDSL provides the fastest combination of downstream and upstream connection
rates. But for Internet access, a lot of upstream bandwidth may be wasted at the
expense of the downstream transfer rates.
ADSL may be the Current front-runner, however, because it's functional today. And
in the race to provide the next commercially accepted standard, ADSL may be used
to preempt other technologies. An ADSL circuit connects an ADSL modem on each
end of a twisted-pair telephone line; creating three information channels, a high
speed downstream channel, a medium speed duplex channel, and a conventional
telephone channel. The high speed downstream channel ranges from 1.5 to 6.1
Mbps, depending on modem speed, wire size, distance, and various other connection
factors, and is capable of providing movies, video, and multimedia Internet access to
homes and small businesses. The medium speed channel provides transmission rates
of 64 to 640 Kbps, which is used for sending data. The conventional telephone
channel is split off from the digital modem by filters, which guarantees
uninterrupted telephone service even if ADSL fails.
The biggest advantage of ADSL technology is that it uses existing twisted-pair
telephone lines that already reach over 680 million residences and businesses worldwide. But in its current state, you must use ADSL modem that is compatible with the
one used by the phone company, or Internet service provider.
One disadvantage of ADSL, is that it can only operate over relatively short
distances. The maximum theoretical distance of ADSL throughput is 15,000 feet on
26-gauge twisted-pair copper wire, or 18,000 feet on 24-gauge wire. At that distance
ADSL can deliver Tl speeds of about 1.544 Mbps downstream and 16 Kbps
upstream.
c) Satellites
Wireless technology is still something of a wild card in this equation. In some ways,
it has more promise than both DSL and cable modems, but with greater risks. Its
advantages are mobile access to remote areas and incredible speeds - such as the
30Mbps satellite conglomerate Teledisc wants to deliver through an Armada of 350
low-orbit satellites.
Satellite Internet access can be provided by a high-speed data service using mini
satellite dishes (18"-24") similar to those that currently bring television
programming to consumers. There are two principal competitors for satellite data
services. The first is DirectPC from Hughes Communications. DirectPC, which is
available today, is a companion service to Hughes-owned DirectTV satellite
television. The second, Teledisc, is a company backed by wireless pioneer Craig
McCaw and Microsoft's CEO; Bill Gates.
Hughes' DirectPC attempts to overlay Internet service on a TV broadcast model.
This means that the data transmission is downstream only, and to send data, you
must use regular phone lines. When a DirectPC user clicks on a hyperlink, the signal
is sent over the phone line at 28.8 Kbps to Hughes' satellite operation center. The
operation center then retrieves the new Web page using a high-speed Internet link
and beams the data up 22,000 miles to a geosynchronous (GEO) satellite. The
satellite then beams the data back down to Earth. Because the data can be received
all over the country, it is addressed with an ID number, so that it's only displayed on
the appropriate PC. DirectPC claims a download speed of 400 Kbps, which is
approximately three times faster than ISDN.
The advantages of DirectPC are that it is available today, and it is reasonably
inexpensive for the speed it provides. One disadvantage is the time lag created by
the 50,000 miles journey that the data signal must travel. However, this may not
pose much of a problem for those who only need the downstream bandwidth.
Another disadvantage with DirectPC is its limited capacity.
The advantages of DirectPC are that it is available today, and it is reasonably
inexpensive for the speed it provides. One disadvantage is the time lag created by
the 50,000 miles journey that the data signal must travel. However, this may not
pose much of a problem for those who only need the downstream bandwidth.
Another disadvantage with DirectPC is its limited capacity. Because the satellites
cover the entire country, every user must share the same frequency band. Unless
additional satellites are launched to divide the country into "cells", the system
probably can't support more than I million simultaneous users.
Teledisc is designed for use with the Internet, rather than the television, in mind.
That means it will provide bi-directional, symmetric bandwidth. Teledisc hopes to
accomplish this by launching 840 Low-Earth-Orbit (LEO) satellites between the
years 2000 and 2002. Start-up costs for this venture have been estimated at $9
billion.
The major advantage Teledisc has over DirectPC is that signal lag is sharply reduced
by using LEO satellites at an altitude of 500 miles, as opposed to the 22,000 miles
for DirectPC's GEO satellites. Also, by using 840 satellites, the globe can be divided
into small enough cells to allow for hundreds of millions of simultaneous Users.
Advanced Data Broadcasting System
a) Description of the system
Advanced Data Broadcast System (ADBS) is an asymmetrical network system
delivering data and interactive services at a high data rate to a large number of user
stations via a direct broadcast satellite using the DVB/MPEG-2 standards.
The ADBS system is based on Interactive Data Broadcasting System (IDBS) which
uses the forward channel of a DVB system. ADBS offers a number of data
applications based on Internet protocols such as TCP/IP, UDP/IP and HTTP. The
ADBS software also provides a set of lower level functions for addressing/routing
and higher level functions for filtering/storing. ADBS supports unicast. multicast
and broadcast applications. The return link is usually a telephone line plus a modem
to access and ISP (Internet service Provider) of the user’s choice.
ADBS supports several levels of conditional access, security and privacy. The basic
mode of operation assumes that an end-user station receives data in a passive mode
from the satellite channel addressed to it. Alliteratively, it may connect (through the
Internet) to the base station via SLIP or PPP link to its preferred ISP. Only
authorized users may connect to the base station through the Internet and operate in
an interactive mode (e.g. an on-line web session). They are served according to the
scheduling strategies implemented by the system manager. Conditional access is
implemented at the DVB transport level by conventional means, using smart cards
or similar technology. In addition, every user station has a unique station
identification (hardware address) which is used at link level for individual
addressing of stations. The current implementation can deliver data at a rate of about
8 Mbps in SCPC (Single Channel Per Carrier) mode and/or at the full data rate of the
transponder up to 40 Mbps in MCPC (Multiple Channel Per Carrier) mode.
b) Description of the components
There are two system components:
1. At the uplink site, the base station which operates as a DVB broadcaster and a
satellite gateway operator.
2. At the downlink site, the end-user PCs which receive the Internet and data
broadcaster services.
I) Base station
The base station consists of a DVB uplink and a satellite router/server which are
directly interconnected through the DVB gateway. It performs basic server tasks and
delivers IP datagrams as a MPEG-2 data structure. The DVB u plink performs all the
necessary multiplexing, coding and modulation tasks for transmitting data over a
direct broadcast satellite. The satellite router/server acts as a proxy using ADBS.
At the system maintenance level, a set of utilities is provided for installation and
configuration of the system, user management, access control, security and
authentication functions, and scheduling policy.
At the application level, ADBS provides support for Internet services. For instance,
ADBS supports a set of multicast and broadcast applications and allows user
interaction in an on-line and an off-line mode. Moreover, the proxy server provides a
local cache for the requested data to increase the transmission efficiency (in terms of
speed and delay).
ii) End-user PC
The user equipment consists of a small-size satellite dish (e.g. 60 cm) and a
DVB PC-board for processing the incoming satellite data.
A standard Web browser such as Netscape Navigator/Communicator or
Microsoft Internet Explorer is used for interaction with the system. The DVB PC
board performs demodulation, decoding and demultiplexing, reconstructs IP
datagrams from the cells and routes internally to the appropriate applications. The
end-user stations can access the base station in a number of ways, the telephone
line/modem connection being the most popular; this connection, called the return
link, is used for transmitting requests and control information only.
c) Description of Internet and data broadcasting services
The system can operate in one of three modes: fully interactive, partly interactive,
and passive.
For fully interactive services, data is requested via the return link and retrieved over
the satellite link (e.g. Tele-education, Internet interactive services, Web site visits).
For request-reply transaction services (e.g. the transmission of a large multimedia
file), the return link is required for the transmission of the requests, but can be
released during the reply phase (e.g. distance learning, near-video-on-demand, and
software distribution).
For passive-receive operations, data is filtered by the multicast or broadcast services
from the local hard disk and no return link is therefore required (e.g. on-line
newspapers/magazines, continuous broadcast streams, financial and sports news
'tickers', and weather forecasts).
d) Economies of scale and economies of scope
The proposed solution is fully based on open standards: DVB/MPEG-2 at
transmission and transport level and TCP/IP (or UDP) for network protocols. This
will allow the widest possible development in telTI1S of manufacturers and
developers being able to provide hardware at transmission and reception levels and
applications software (existing or under development) totally interworkable with
applications for terrestrial applications. Furthermore, the fact that the system is
based on open transmission standards enables the creation of synergies at the
transmission/multiplex level. During prime-time and super-prime time hours, a
larger capacity can be used for video and audio applications, while during working
hours and overnight, a larger capacity can be used for multimedia applications. The
transponder bandwidth can be tailored to changing user requirements for some
applications during specific time periods, by multiplexing audio/video services with
data services.
A very attractive tariff can be offered in spite of the fact that a communications
satellite is a relatively expensive resource. Furthermore, multiplexing of many
interactive users on one channel allows a large number of users to simultaneously
access interactive services at a high data transfer rate.
The core of this architecture is based on Stream Works from Xing Technology,
which is a simple, turnkey solution for real time MPEG audio and video, which has
the only streaming multimedia server that supports delivery to thousands of
simultaneous users regardless of bandwidth requirements.
Streaming Technology via Satellite
Stream Works represents a significantly different multimedia network architecture,
based on the concept of "streaming media". This architecture supports both "ondemand" as well as "live" video and audio delivery (in real-time, without having to
download first the audio or video file to a local disk drive) which does not require
close coupling between the client and server. It easily supports "Multicasting" and
"unicasting" of a live or on-demand content to multiple simultaneous users over
local, as well as Wide Area Networks (WANs).
Stream Works architecture is designed to create, distribute and playback a live or on
demand video and audio content over an IP network. It is made of three components:
ƒ MPEGLive! Encoder to create the content.
ƒ Stream Works Server to distribute the content.
ƒ Stream Works Client to playback the content.
a) MPEGLive! Encoder:
It is a turn-key solution for encoding analog audio and video sources into MPEG
streams. The MPEGLive! Encoder solution brings together universally recognized
standards and protocols for real time MPEG encoding and live network transmission
across any IP network. It is platform- independent.
b) Stream Works Server:
It is a software solution for delivering live and on-demand audio and video over
networks, including the Internet. The Stream Works Server enables the real time
transmission of MPEG audio and video data over any TCP/IP multicast (allowing to
reach unlimited number of simultaneous viewers in a cost-efficient way) or unicastenabled network.
c) Stream Works Player:
It is a software decoding tool that enables audio and video to be played on a
computer as it is being received, with no wait for long file downloads or transfers.
Working as a helper application, the Stream Works Player is compatible with all
popular web browsers.
The Stream Works Player provides the highest quality audio and video available on
the Internet and over any IP network. At high data transfer rates, it is capable of full
screen, full color, full motion video with CD quality, 44 kHz audio. At low data
transfer rates, it is still able to receive video along with high quality audio.
Conclusion
In some ways, satellite technology has more promise than both DSL and cable
modems. Its advantages include mobile access to remote areas and incredible speeds.
Streaming technology via satellite delivers an advanced information system for teleeducation with a capacity to support traffic of voice, video and data, by
interconnecting the LANs of several university centers.
Bibliography
Kopf, David- Anticipating ADSL, America’s Network, August 15, 1997.
Reza Djavanshir, Reza Khorramshahgol, A Review and Evaluation of
Networking Technologies, Telematrics and Informatics, Pergamon, Vol. 1 3, N 1,
1996, pp. 33-49.
Harris Kern, Randy Johnson, Michael Hawkins, Howie Lyke, Mark
Cappel - Networking the New Enterprise: The Proof Not the Hype, Prentice
Hall Professional Technical Reference, I 997, 288p.
Hermann Maurer — Necessary ingredients of integrated networked-based learning
environments ED-MEDIA/ED- TELECOM 97, Calgary, Canada, AACE, Vol. I, pp.
709-7 17
Wilbur Pritchard, Henri Suyderhoud, Robert A. Nelson - Satellite
Communications Systems Engineering. Prentice Hall Professional Technical
Reference, 1 993, 544p.
Guglielmo Trentin—Internet: Does It Really Bring Added Value to
Education? Educational Technology Review, N 6. Autumn 1996, pp. 10-14.
ADSL - Technical Information & Frequently Asked Questions, ADSL Forum
Web Site
AT&T-Center for Excellence in Distance Learning.
http.//’www. att. com/cedl
Cooperative Satellite Learning Project (CSLP) –
http://joy. gsfc. masa.gov/CSLP/progdesc. html
Distance Education and Information Technology WWW Resources.
http://infi.eas.purdue.edu/aes/deit/links. html
High Bandwidth Web Page:
http:/www. specialty. com/hihand/
PC-Based Internet and Data Broadcasting Services via Eutelsat Satellites
http.//www. cute/sat. org/inters at. html
Stream Works (tm) Server Software.
http://www.xingtech.com
TEFCA Distance Education.
http.//tecfa.unige.ch/edu-comp/WWW- Vl/edu-page. html=Distance
Trans-European Tele-Education Network (TEN):
http://www.fi’ndesco.es/ten/
***
Multimedia Super Corridor in Maritime
Education and Public Services
Mr. Saleem Mustafa*
Abstract
With the advent of the Information Highway technology, the world is witnessing a
revolutionary change in methods of education and public services. The global
connection of an increasing number of countries into a worldwide network called the
'Internet' has opened new horizons for further diversification of the application of
information technology. Malaysia is at the forefront of implementing the
information technology agenda for the next millennium. A major step in this
direction is the development of 50 km long and 15 km wide Multimedia Super
Corridor and cybercity to act as a nucleus of Information Superhighways emanating
from the Corridor. Through these developments, the Information Highways will be
used in marine education and public services, including the security of coastal zones
and marine highways from oceanic processes like sea storms and seismic sea waves,
management of marine resources for sustaining their supplies and promoting
awareness about processes like El Nifio, red tides, fish poisonings which adversely
affect the coastal communities.
* Borneo Marine Research Unit, Malaysia.
Introduction
The development of Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) is an instrument of making
full use of Information Highway Technology for the benefit of the human society.
MSC will reform the system of government, making it electronic, transparent and
efficient, and will have a wide variety of applications in education, healthcare,
national security, resources management, etc. This paper focuses on the cybercity
development in the MSC in Malaysiar and the application of Information Highway
Technology in education and public services in the maritime field.
The effectiveness of the multimedia in teaching and information dissemination is
evident from the report of the Computer Technology Research which concluded that
people;
retain:
20% of what they see
30% of what they hear
remember:
50% of what they see & hear
80% of what they see, hear & do simultaneously.
Because of its superb visual impact and interactive quality, the multimedia provokes
mental faculties and produces a deeper impact on the human mind. Multimedia has
four basic components for the effect that it produces:
Computer system - to see, hear & interact Links - to connect the information
Navigational tools - to move into the information web
Means - to procure and process information, and for communicating user's own
ideas
With the links of multimedia, one can traverse the enormous global web of
connected information at the speed of light. The analogy of this system to motorists
driving cars at high speeds on highways to go to different places, has led to use of
the term 'Information Superhighway'. The World Wide Web (WWW) is the
popularly used Information Superhighway service which allows sharing of
information and documents over the Internet.
Multimedia Super Corridor and Cybercity
The MSC is 15 km wide and 50 km long starting from Kuala Lumpur city centre to
the new Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Selangor Darul Ehsan.
Two 'smart cities' are being developed in this Corridor: Putrajaya, which will be the
new federal government's administrative capital, and the nucleus of electronic
government, whereas the Cyberjaya will be the real cybercity and the heart of MSC.
The Cyberjaya will develop in an area of 2,885 hectares in phases. It will be located
in the midst of rainforest-covered hills. The area and surroundings are rich in lakes
and rivers. Some of its salient features will be:
ƒ State-of-the-art telecommunication infrastructure:
ƒ Fiber optic backbone (potential capacity 2.5 - 10 Gigabit / second)
ƒ Direct high capacity fiber links to different parts of the country and to
ASEAN, Japan, USA and Europe.
Flagship zone, the central part of the cybercity, with 4 specialized precincts:
1
2
3
4
Enterprise Precinct - Marketing hub.
Commercial Precinct - Offices and retail areas.
Residential Precinct - Housing complexes (bungalows, semi-detached houses,
condominiums). Smart, compact, environment-friendly, properly landscaped,
with shade and ornamental trees, lawns, and playgrounds.
Recreational Precinct - Parks and other public facilities for leisure. All these
precincts will be linked by walkways, tramways, boulevards and promenades.
ƒ Planned development:
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
Traffic discipline
Zero emission
Clean and green environment
Proper solid waste disposal
Waste-water recycling
Dependable power-supply and back-up
Automated services - petrol pumps, cash dispensing machines, etc.
Several companies have already been given the approval to develop the
infrastructure and systems for electronic (paperless) government, borderless
marketing, multipurpose smart cards, teleconferencing, telemedicine, etc. Research
and development link is a very important part of MSC. Plans are afoot to establish a
Multimedia University with high-tech centers where education and training will be
imparted, and manufacturing skills in software development will be generated. It is
hoped that the cybercity will make Malaysia a centre of IT excellence which will not
only make the country a favorite destination for acquiring knowledge and doing
business, but will also contribute to national economy by export of IT products and
know-how.
Marine education
The interactive and stimulating nature of multimedia makes it far more enjoying to
educate the interested audience about the marine world. One can easily come to
grips with the fascinating marine life and oceanic processes. The multimedia can
open the reservoir of information collected by detailed research investigations, lots
of efforts and expenditure, for which one would have to otherwise go through
intensive reading of books for months and even years. With the available scientific
facts about the sea, it is possible to play a simulated CD-ROM marine adventure and
make people understand a wide variety of topics like depth perception, waves,
currents, tropical storms, cyclones, hurricanes, submarine volcanic eruptions, tidal
waves and the exciting ways of marine creatures. Clicking on a picture of a fish,
turtle, whale, starch fish, sea urchin or lobster presents an interesting video of it.
Databases
Through Information Highways, we have instant access to databases containing
information concerning growth, mortality, breeding, population dynamics, landings,
supply-and-demand scenarios, etc. which is necessary to manage important fisheries.
Some important databases are described here.
FishBase (website: http://www.fishbase.org/infos.htm)
Database of global fish information system developed by the International Centre for
Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM) in collaboration with the Food
and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and other agencies, and
with the financial assistance from the European Commission. As much as 50,000
species are included in the database. The information can be used in taxonomy,
ecology, genetics, conservation, aquaculture, management, policy-making, etc.
Reef Base (http://www. wcmc.org.uk/data/database/reejbase.html)
A global database of coral reef resources released by ICLARM, the ReefBase
summarizes information on ecology, distribution, fisheries and other human uses,
and management of coral reefs. The ReefBase version 1.0 contains selected
information on some 6,000 coral reefs.
Protected Areas Database
(http://www. wcmc.org. uk/data/database/pk-db.html)
The database is maintained by the World Conservation Monitoring Centre which
provides information on about 400 marine protected areas. The information is useful
for sustainable management of marine resources.
Important websites
Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
( http://www.fao. org/waicent/faoinfo/fishery/trends/marinevIc884f htm).
Reviews the state of world marine fishery resources. Very useful information are
available on regional fisheries, principles of fisheries' management, global resources
of tuna, mammals, etc., environmental issues in marine fisheries, etc. together with
catch statistics.
World Resources Institute (WR/): Biodiversity in marine ecosystems ( http://www.
www. org/biodiv/b04- gbs.html#conservation).
Contains topics on dazzling diversity, threats to marine biodiversity, marine
conservation, related links and sources.
IUCN-Red Lists
( http://www.wcmc.org.uk/cgi-bin!arl96.pl
Contains red lists of extinct in the wild, extinct, critically endangered, endangered,
vulnerable, lower risk: near threatened, and lower risk: conservation dependent
fishes around the world. This information is useful in investigating the causes of
extinction and nature of threats to wild fish resources, and can be very important in
conservation efforts.
Public services in the maritime sector
Coastal zone security
People living in coastal zones are strongly influenced by happenings in the sea. It is
crucially important for them to know the latest developments in the oceanic
processes. Factors such as winds and waves can be formidable in their security. The
instruments instal1ed in the earth-orbiting satel1ites collect the data on sea
temperature, wave height, wind velocity, storm surges, etc. on the global ocean.
Computers process the data, store it and manipulate it to provide the information in a
form easily understandable to the general public. Timely information on the
direction and speed of storms, hurricanes or cyclones saves loss of life. In this
connection, I would like to explain the case of the east Malaysian State of Sabah
which is located on the island of Borneo. Sabah is popularly called 'The land below
the wind'. The area is relatively safe, unlike other countries in the South China Sea,
but nature has not grated immunity from disasters originating from the sea. Due to
the equatorial location of Sabah, the warm air rises up and moves vertically, and
therefore, winds are generally weak. The Coriolis force which increases the wind
velocity is zero at the equator. However, the equator is the birth place of tropical
storms whose destinations are in hemispheres. Sabah came in the grip of such a
tropical storm called 'Greg' in the wee hours of 26 December 1996. The strong winds
(70 km/h, lower than what accompany typhoons _ over] 20 km/h), heavy downpour
and severe turbulence in the sea left behind a trail of death and destruction in just a
few hours. Roof tops were blown over, wooden houses were washed away, trees
were flattened, boats and trawlers were capsized, and even heavy ships had to run
for shelter.
The public was caught unprepared, which is evident from the fact that boats and
trawlers were in the open sea, people were sleeping in unsafe and infirm houses,
especially in 'water villages' and cars were left parked under the trees. The incident,
perhaps the first of its kind in this century, served to demonstrate the need to use
Information Highway Technology in the early warning system to enable the public
to take precautionary measures.
Tropical Stroms are natural processes and will continue to occur. In fact with the
global warming and climate change, the world will witness an increase in the
severity and frequency of stroms. Coastal states and smal1 islands will be worst hit.
As a matter of fact, the IT is becoming increasingly important in coastal security.
Security of marine highways
For a safe journey in the sea, the security of marine highways is crucial. The
Information Highway, linked with navigational system, can be used to warn the
vessels and sea farers to keep away on certain periods and from certain sea lanes that
may come in the grip of averse oceanic processes. In addition to storm surges
described above, the seismic waves (tidal waves), also called 'Tsunami' deserve
special mention here. Earthquakes or volcanic eruptions resulting in movement of
the ocean bottom produce powerful waves which move at a speed of up to 800 km /
h or even more. A tsunami warning system headquartered in Hawaii issues warnings
when major earthquakes which can trigger these destructive waves Occur in
sensitive regions. Information Super Highway can carry the warning messages faster
over long distances, thereby giving more time to those in the danger zone in the sea
and coastal areas to immediately move to safer places. In case the tragedy does
strike, the disaster management services and hospitals can be alerted using the IT
and be made ready to deal with the emergencies.
Sustainable management of resources
The multimedia technology can be very useful in demonstrating the threat to living
resources posed by reckless exploitation such as fish poisoning, bombing, capture of
juveniles and spawners, while at the same time disseminating the relevance of
sustainable methods.
The IT can also be utilized in out-reach programs meant for reorientation in the
traditional methods of fishing, farming, feeding and health management of marine
species.
MSC will play a very prominent role in Integrated Coastal Zone Management
(ICZM). This will require production of ICZM Data Dictionary and its sharing by
stakeholders through the medium of intranet, based on ICZM webserver. The
implementation of ICZM will be greatly facilitated by GIS/DBMS. However, before
the information is put into cyberspace, several issues, including copyright,
confidentiality, rules and regulations, payment of services, etc. have to be worked
out. Application of MSC in ICZM is particularly more important because of the
enormous maritime area of Malaysia which has a coastline = 4,809 km and sea area
= 332,673 km2, more than its land area. In fact, the ICZM is assuming significance
as the population pressure in the coastal belt is increasing. More than half of the
global population is presently living in the coastal zone, and according to UNCED
up to three-quarters could be living within the 60 km from the coastline by the year
2020. Increasing population density and diversifying economic activities wil1 result
in cumulative impacts on the marine environment which can undermine the
sustainable supply of marine resources.
MSC will also be used in alerting the public to take measures to face the
consequences of events like El Nino, red tides, and fish poisoning, etc. which are
known to take a heavy toll of fishery resources, and affect the human populations
economically as well as by creating health hazards. There are already some useful
Websites on such phenomena:
El Nino
(http://biz.yahoo.com/finance/971203/environment-kyoto-eJ-1.htm!)
htt://www.cbs2.com/news/stories/news-971 031- 213603 .html
http://www.abqjournal.com/scitech/1sciI0-J7.htm
http://www.sjmercury.com/news/10caJ/e1nino/ninostronger100797.htm
Red tides
http://www.rtide.com/rtidemag/rrtmain.htm
http://www.maritimes.dfo.ca/science/mesd/he/1ists/phycotoxins/ msg00313h.ht ml
http://habserv1.whoi.edu/hab/notedevents. Texas/Texasbreve 10.4.html
http://www .note.org/ -mhenry /rtlinks. phtml
Fish poisoning
http://vm.cfsan.fda.go v/-now /cigua. html
http://www .hawaii.gov /health/press/prciguat.html
http://www.starbulletin.com/96/04/11/news/oceanwatch.html.
The MSC will create awarness about these oceanic developments, and the coastal
communities will be better served with information technology.
* * *
The Educational and Social Effects of
the Internet on Kuwait University Students
Dr. Moosa M. Al-Mazeedi*
Dr. lbrahim A. lsmail*
Abstract
The increasing popularity of the Internet among Kuwait University students has
affected them in many aspects. Of these aspects two are of extreme importance to
society, the educational and the social effects. This paper investigates the positive
and the negative effects the internet has on this vital sector of society, and suggests
an action plan to enforce the positive effects and reduce the negative effects on them.
The educational environment, discipline of study and resources available to the
students play a key role in identifying the specific characteristics of the internet that
have the most influence on this group. This study is based on a survey of 224
students from the different colleges of Kuwait University.
* Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, Kuwait University.
Introduction
The roots of the intern et have been developed by the USA in 1969. Initially, it was
directed to serve the department of defense. However, in 1983, the National Science
Foundation (NSF) laid the backbone for all educational, commercial, and military
networks to be connected in one big network called the Internet. This network
continued to be available only for companies and institutes till 1990 where it was
widely opened for individuals. Now, after a period of 8 years, there are about 60-100
million users around the world with 180 mi Ilion web sites and 8-10 million
computers connected through the backbone of the NSF in more than 140 countries.
Kuwait University is proud to be the first institute in the Arab world to be connected
to the internet in February 1992. There are about 20 thousand students at Kuwait
University distributed in 9 different colleges.
In order to test the effects of the internet on the students from the educational and
social points of view, a questionnaire was designed to meet our objectives and
distributed in the different colleges. A random sample of 224 students participated.
In section H, the results of the survey are mentioned. In section HI, the results are
analyzed. In section IV, an action plan is suggested to. enforce the positive effects
and reduce the negative effects of the Internet on the students, followed by a
conclusion of this study.
Results of the Survey
From 9 colleges at Kuwait Universities, the number of replies received is 224. It is
to be noticed that 63.8% of respondents represent only two colleges, i.e., college of
engineering and college of science. Female students form 66% of respondents.
About 70% of respondents have been at the university for at least 3 years. Their ages
range from 20 to 23 years old.
As for the rate at which the students use the internet, there are (69) out of 224
students who do not use the Internet, and 40% of students who sue the Internet are
using it more than an hour per day. This indicates that the students of Kuwait
University are regular users of the Internet.
As for the places at which the students use the Internet, 57.5% use it on campus and
65.2% of internet connections take place outside homes. It has been noticed that
students of college of engineering and college of science don't go to the Internet
cafes. One reason is due to the presence of computer labs in these two colleges.
Also, it has been noticed that only 11.8% of the students use the Internet along with
their family members.
As for the uses of the Internet, 28.5% of the students use the Internet in obtaining
general information not related to college courses. 42.5% of the students use the
Internet in topics related to E-mail and chatting (IRC). This indicates that students
use the Internet mostly in topics not related to course work. It is mostly used in
communication and getting general information.
As for the sources that students use to gain more knowledge about the Internet,
44.5% of students rely on the sources found through out the Internet itself. This
indicates that the role played by the printed matters such as magazines and
newspapers in gaining knowledge about the internet is declining. It is to be noticed
that about 80% of the students were introduced to the Internet in the first place by
their friends or through training programs. Only 7.8% of them were introduced to
the Internet by their families. This indicates that the families don't set the rules of
standards on how to use the Internet (ethically and academically).
As for the issue of Internet abuse, only 11.3% of the students believe strongly that
the Internet is not being abused socially or ethically, while 73.4% have a clear point
of view that the Internet is being abused by the students. It is to be noticed that
censorship is a very sensitive issued in the Muslim World countries. Chatting with
the opposite sex may be considered as an ethical problem. The survey has
discovered that 51.9% of the students prefer group chatting. However, 31.7% prefer
chatting with the opposite sex; this is considered to be very high in a conservative
society. It is to be noticed here that only 27.7% of the students have made it very
clear that they give true information about themselves when they chat with each
other. Also, 61.1 % of students have a clear point of view that the morals and
behavior of the students have been affected negatively by the Internet while only
22.7% believe strongly that such an effect does not exist.
As for the effect of the Internet on the social behavior of the students, 61 % of the
students have a clear point of view that using the Internet causes family and social
isolation, while only 18.1 % believe strongly that such an effect does not exist.
As for the effect of the Internet on the academic life of the students, 76.2% of them
believe that their grades were not improved through the use of the Internet. This
shows that Kuwait University is not taking advantage of the Internet in improving
the academic level of the students. It is to be noticed that 87.6% of the students
believe to a great extent that the Internet can play a major role in improving their
academic performance.
As for the supervision provided by parents towards the students, about 60% of the
students believe that their parents show no concern towards the use of the Internet
and provide no supervision or encouragement.
Analysis of the Survey
Although Kuwait University is the first institute in the Arab World that was
connected to the Internet by a local Internet Service Provider (ISP), its students are
far behind in the use of the Internet except at two colleges, that are the college of
engineering and college of science. Female students at these two colleges are more
exposed to the Internet than male students. Most of the students use the internet on
campus at rates of one hour per day. The atmosphere at the college of engineering
and college of science is very convenient for student to learn more about the
Internet. This is because computer laboratories are available at several sites in these
two colleges.
Unfortunately, even at these two colleges, most of the students are not using the
Internet in topics related to their course work. However, large portion of students use
the Internet in communication (E-mail and IRC) and in obtaining general
information not related to their course work.
On the other hand, most houses are not connected to the Internet. Most parents are
not aware of the significant role that the Internet may play, they do not even show
any concern or encouragement for the use of the Internet. Families do not set rules of
standards on how to use the Internet. Most students increase their knowledge about
the Internet from resources that exist in the Internet itself. Kuwait University is not
even playing a significant role in this issue. Kuwait University must take action in
setting rules of standards on how to use the Internet to improve the academic level of
the students, also on how to use the Internet to strengthen family bonds and social
links. This issue is significant for a conservative society such as Kuwait. Although,
half of the students use IRC to chat in groups, still one third of them chat with the
opposite sex. This portion is relatively high compared to other similar societies.
Also, one third of students give false 1l1f~rmation about themselves while chatting
with each other, it is another ethical problem to be dealt with. Generally speaking, a
great portion of students believe that the internet has negative effects on the morals
and behavior of the users, it may cause family isolation and social isolation. besides
that, most of the students believe that their grades were not improved through the
use of the Internet, and that the Internet is not utilized to fulfill that goal.
A Suggested Action Plan
Kuwait University, through both college of engineering and college of science,
should take action in setting rules of standards on how to use the Internet by the
students. The following is an action plan suggested by the authors:
1
2
3
4
A committee of 3-4 staff members from college of engineering and college of
science must be formed as an advisory council for Kuwait University on the
topics related to the Internet.
Regular meetings must take place to set rules of standards on how to use the
Internet wisely. Members of these meeting must represent both educational
and commercial sectors.
Educational TV programs must be organized to show the role that must be
played by families towards implementing the positive effects of the Internet
on students.
Students Organizations must show some concern in arranging training
programs on how to use the intern et in obtaining information related to
course work and how to improve their grades accordingly.
Conclusion
In this study a survey on the educational and social effects of the internet on Kuwait
University students was carried out. The survey covered 224 students mostly from
college of engineering and college of science, mostly female students. The study
concluded that students are using the Internet mostly in communication (E-mail and
IRC) and in obtaining information not related to course work. The study suggests an
action plan to be taken by Kuwait University to encourage the use of the Internet in
improving the academic level of students and in setting rules of standards on how to
use the intern et ethically and wisely. The study pointed out the significant role that
must be played by families in building strong family bonds and strong social links.
Finally, a committee at the level of Kuwait University must be formed urgently to
enhance this issue.
Kuwaiti Response to the Expanding Domain
of Information Studies: An Analysis
Sajjad ur Rehman, Ph.D. *
Mehmet Hakan Karaata, Ph.D. **
Abstract
The domain of information studies is rapidly expanding. New disciplines are
emerging in response to the recognition of the vitality of socio-human context and
an ever-changing character of the information market. Four areas of this expanding
domain were identified that have a common socio-human base and are inter-related
in terms of substance, content and applications. These are: social informatics,
information policy, information economics, and information sources and services. A
detailed conceptual framework was laid down that identified the fundamental
premises of each area. Lists of constituent constructs within each area were also
delineated in order to develop an operational framework for evaluation of the
academic content of Kuwait University.
Five academic programs of Kuwait University were identified for an examination of
their academic offerings, related to four areas identified for the study. These were:
computer science, computer engineering, information systems, mass
communication, and library and information science. A microanalysis of the
curricula of these programs indicated that many constructs were being covered in
these programs. However, the treatment was primarily from the parochial viewpoints
of the respective departments. The socio-human fabric underlying many of the
perspectives was not evident in coverage of most of the constructs. After identifying
priorities in these areas, different strategies were proposed for inter-disciplinary
initiatives of curriculum design and conduct of research. Need for co11aboration
with sister agencies in Kuwait for the conduct of research was also highlighted.
Many policy initiatives were also warranted by different public agencies and private
enterprises.
* Professor, College of Graduate Studies, Kuwait University
** Assistant Professor, Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, Kuwait University
Perspective
The domain of information studies is expanding and new disciplines are emerging in
an ever-widening information market. Socio-economic realities, environmental
dynamics, and technological flux are impacting the field. A number of academic
disciplines and professional domains have worked collaboratively to address these
changes using inter-disciplinary perspectives. Social and human imperatives are now
being considered with a fresh outlook in order to shape the development and
application of information technology. Since socio-human considerations emanate
from the peculiarities of a given context, it is vital that relevant frameworks are
intelligently applied by appreciating social realities of any situation. Social
informatics, Information policy, information economics, and information sources
and services are the four areas that serve as foundation for articulating social context
of the information scene of any society or nation.
The four areas are intricately inter-woven in terms of substance, content and
applications. A surge of interest is witnessed in the developed nations in these areas,
resulting in new academic and research initiatives both by academia and also by
general stakeholders of the information market from both the private and public
sectors. Indeed the emerging body of knowledge is inter-disciplinary in nature and a
variety of academic models have been developed using diverse conceptual
frameworks.
The academic treatment of disciplinary developments in the field is discernible from
both the educational programs and research pursuits. Many programs of information
management, information resource management, information resources and services,
information systems, and general information technology applications have been
developed in the Western Universities at both the undergraduate and postgraduate
levels. Certain academic advancements are notable in relation to development of
specializations of social informatics, information policy, and information economics.
While the market forces essentially drive programs in the first category, majority of
the ingredients of the second category is being treated at a different level with some
definite socio-human overtones. The private sector has high stakes in issues related
to information policy and information economics, and it is continually engaged in
intensive deliberations with universities and policy makers in the public sector.
Different public and private sector agencies have sponsored hallmark projects of
research in these areas. It can be premised that:
1
2
Developments in these areas are fundamentally driven by socio-human
factors;
Peculiarities of a given context are the primary consideration in the
application of basic constructs being developed elsewhere;
3
4
5
Both public and private sectors are actively pursuing relevant issues from
their own perspectives, independently and interactively;
Universities have introduced new academic offerings; and
A great deal of resources and effort are being channeled toward research
undertakings in these areas.
Rationale
As was noted, development of these constructs in the West is largely attributable to
the responses of universities, research bodies, and stakeholders in the information
market to the socio-human demands and imperatives. Assuming that other regions
and countries need to interpret and further develop these perspectives in relation to
their own envi~onment~1 milieu, there exists a need to see how other countries are
responding to this call. Such a review should encompass formal or informal
responses of different organizations including universities, research centers, and
other policy making organs in these societies. Indeed, universities serve as. the
primary institutional base in the pursuit of academic. transformation, development of
professional workforce in the emerging fields and specialties, and conduct of
research.
The West has taken distinct initiatives in introducing programs in its universities
which cater for different aspects of information production, information policy,
information management, human-machine interaction, social information, cognitive
aspects of information retrieval, information economics, human-information system
interactions, organizational informatics, information services, and other applied
domains. Each of such programs has its peculiarities in terms of objectives,
treatment, and content. The universities in developing countries have introduced the
academic and professional programs in foundation areas of information technology,
mostly in line with the norms and standards of the Westem Universities. Most
notable offerings are in the areas of computer science, computer engineering,
telecommunication, management information systems, and some cognate areas. It is
understandable that universities in the developing nations may not be considered
among the pioneers for the development and treatment of new disciplines. However,
some of these areas have matured sufficiently, and it may be pertinent to examine if
these universities have incorporate? any of these constructs in their academic
offerings or research agenda. Additionally, it is also prudent to review institutional
infrastructure for making propositions for a variety of initiatives. Such an
examination needs to look beyond the parameters of a university by covering other
policy-making bodies concerned with these areas.
The domain of information studies is so broad that it would require reasonable
justification for inclusion of any specific areas at the expense of others in this review
exercise. The four areas included in this review are social informatics, information
policy, information economics, and information sources and services. The
underlying rationale in the selection of these areas can be summed up as follows:
1. These are embedded in the socio-human foundation of information dynamics.
The humanists, artists, sociologists, linguists, logicians, psychologists, and
many other breeds of scholarly species, are actively deliberating on the social
fabric of information. A variety of issues have been pointed out around these
four areas that deal with information generation, organization, control and
dissemination, and technology. A profile of the ingredients of the four
components is developed in the following section that reveals their interdisciplinary relationship. A collective review provides a holistic perspective
for the use of information technology.
2. It has been increasingly recognized that there exist fundamental differences
among different nations and regions of the 'Global Village' that need to be
understood, appreciated and translated into appropriate policy frameworks.
Here these four areas may provide essential instruments for review and
analysis of peculiarities of the information situation of any particular place.
Otherwise, the vital bodies of information needed in a specific context would
be lost and a spurious mass of information may be thrust on them that might
be irrelevant or unneeded.
3. There exists a logical coherence among and across the four components.
Social analyses lead to articulation of policy issues that are to be addressed
within the economic framework of a situation. The ultimate purpose is the
generation of the needed information resources and their provision and
delivery.
Purpose
The purpose of this paper is to review the response of Kuwait University, as the
primary higher education institution in the country, to the advancements m the four
emerging areas of social informatics, information policy, information economics,
and information sources and services within the domain of information studies.
Discussions related to possibilities and prospects, however, will not be restricted to
Kuwait University. Many other agencies are playing an active part in the conduct of
relevant research and policy formulation. Their possible contributions and mutual
will also be covered in the paper. The intent is to review national scenario, keeping
in view the national situation and needs. Since changes in the information field are
affecting the national scene of manpower supply and needs for the conduct of
pertinent research, this paper may provide an insight to the academic decisionmakers and policy making bodies in the country. The situation of many of Arabian
Gulf nations is not expected to be much different, and the findings of this analysis
would be applicable to other countries in the Arabian Gulf region.
Method
In order to examine the spectrum of academic offerings at Kuwait University in the
four identified areas, a framework needs to be developed against which the review
should be conducted. This should provide a clear view of the content, interdisciplinary connections, and parameters of each of these areas. In addition to
providing review criteria, this part provides a clear delineation of the four
components. Description of each area also contains a checklist of vital constructs.
This definition will be conducted by using an integrated perspective of information
studies.
The next logical step was to examine the curricula of relevant programs of Kuwait
University that may have primary or secondary offerings related to any of these
areas, in order to ascertain the extent of coverage provided for each construct. This
report will reflect the state-of-the-art of academic content in these areas.
Operational Framework
The four areas being highlighted in this paper need to be articulated in a manner so
as to have a clear understanding about their meaning, boundaries, interacting areas,
and constituent ingredients.
1. Social Informatics
Social informatics deal with the role of information technology in reshaping of
society, organization, work, home-life, communication, and industry. The Center for
Social Informatics at Indiana University provided the following definition, "body of
knowledge about information technologies, as influenced by institutional
arrangements, social forces, and organizational practices."
Social informatics is an expression of shift toward a more inter-disciplinary
approach in which the computer scientists, system engineers and social scientists are
collaborating (Bowker et al, 1997). It indicates a departure from the past practice in
which the computer scientists tended to focus on hardware and software.
Information use, users, and the impact of information systems were left to social
scientists. The obvious focus is the creation and development of human-centered
systems in a manner that the knowledge of human users and the social context are
integrated into information technology applications agenda (Huang and Flanigan,
1997). The human side is represented by organizations, groups and communities
engaged is constant communication and interaction using a variety of technological
instruments and utilities. New behaviors and patterns of communication, problem
solving, research and design, and informal and formal communication are emerging
in this world. Socio-psychological considerations are being reexamined in the new
context. Electronic communications have also altered the social processes of personto-person and intra-group interactions drastically (Markus, 1994; Hesse, Sproul,
Kriesler and Walsh, 1993).
The disciplines that have contributed to the development of this area include
sociology and anthropology, communication, education, economics, and psychology
along with the traditional information technology disciplines. an infrastructure is
also emerging with 4-5 titles of scholarly and professional Journals, a few annual
conferences, and education and training programs. four leading universities of North
America have developed graduate courses In their curriculum in the area, mostly
related to organizational informatics. These include The University of Illinois,
Syracuse University, Indiana University, and University of Toronto. Indiana
University has also established the Center" for Social Information. Many other
business and computer science schools In North America and Europe have also
Incorporated segments of a curriculum. Social informatics courses are mostly taught
in undergraduate and graduate programs of computer science, information science
and information studies. Graduate programs of Information studies have independent
courses related to information and society, information environment, organizational
information, and information seeking patterns and behaviors of users. Many of them,
however, lack an integrated approach. Details of these academic programs are
available from the home page of the Center for Social Informatics (http://wwwslis.lib.indiana.edu/CSI). There is a growing realization that computer science
majors need to have some grounding in the basic constructs of social informatics.
A list of the constituent constructs of social informatics may include:
1. Information, society and social change, effect of electronic information on
socio-cultural behaviors
2. Information and organization: changes in work place and communication
behaviors, structural changes
3. Information users in social contexts, users, needs and behaviors, information
environment, cultural changes
4. Interaction of computers and telecommunication with social forces
5. Human-machine interaction, design of information systems
2. Information Policy
Bushk in and Yurrow (1980) defined information policy as a:
"Group of policies concerning the collection, storage, retrieval and
dissemination of information, including the use of information technologies
and the provision of information services, in the furtherance of the collection,
storage, retrieval and dissemination of information".
Information policy can be addressed at different levels: international, regional,
national, and organizational. Much has been written about national information
policy that needs to be conceived in congruence with other policies for education
and culture, science and technology, economics and trade, health and environment,
agriculture, and communication (Rehman, 1996). Information policy may be
reflected in a multitude of micro-policies and pronouncements at different levels
with the features of mutuality and interdependence. General policies may deal with
the areas of information production, information control, information access,
information sharing, information services for specialized groups, information
economics, and technological issues of standardization. Special policies may deal
with official information, trans-border flow, heritage preservation, data security, and
other sectoral policy concerns like trade, S&T, agriculture, health, education,
environment, etc. Need for a continuous interaction with international agencies may
be expressed through legislation or executive orders of competent in different
countries. These may cover the areas of copyright, censorship, press and publication,
classified information, education, libraries, telecommunication, archives, patents and
standards, tariff, postal service, etc. (Rehman, 1996).
There are certain antecedents for the formulation of information policies. Local
needs and situational demands need to be objectively examined and profiled. Sociopolitico-cultural issues receive paramount consideration in the process. These
policies cannot be replicated and have an inherently indigenous character. Simon
(1993) had made it a point that cultural factors are the determining factor for
resolving information policy issues. Attitudes about access to information are largely
based on social values of treating information as a restricted or open commodity.
Information literacy and functioning of global information networks need to be
studied in their social environment.
When the information policy issues are addressed within organizational framework,
information resources needed for strategic planning, innovation and change are
given primary importance. Issue-governing access and confidentiality are also
considered vital for safeguarding institutional interests (Cortez, 1996). Koening
(1995) raised important, but complex, policy . issues that need to be addressed with
rigor and intelligence. He maintained that since information has unique properties of
transferability and distributability, it could not be treated as a commodity. On the
other hand, policies are instrumental in enhancing sharing of resources. These
conflicting properties drive policy makers in opposite directions and the magnitude
of these forces is to a large degree a function of information technology.
Moore (1993) proposed that a range of information policies need to be developed to
address the broad spectrum of national needs. He identified three policy levels:
industrial, organizational, and social. From each level five elements need to be taken
into consideration. These are information technology information markets,
information engineering, human resources, legislation, and regulation. Sillince
(1994) examined the situation of industrial information policy in European nations
and noted new trends for achieving a balance between protection and competition.
She observed that focus had shifted from national champion companies and national
information policies towards favoring European and global companies and EC
information policy. Sillence (1994a) maintained that there were a number of sources
of uncertainty in the European information policy formulation and adjustments. The
paradigm shifts were discernible from: creation of a number of institutions with
different agendas, protectionism, development of national and European "champion"
industrial enterprises, formulation of standards, competition versus liberalization,
stimulation of collaboration, and acceptance of globalization and cohesion.
Information policy content has long been included in the curriculum of graduate
study programs as a cluster of courses, an independent course, or one or more
modules in relevant courses. Rehman (1993) examined the treatment of this
component in information education programs of North American schools, in
addition to some selected developing nations. It was found that about one-third of
the surveyed schools had covered information environment, information use or nonuse, and information policy issues like copyright, censorship, etc. in their core
curriculum. It was further found that the majority of educational programs covered
foundation as well as applied content minimally.
University of Albany (NY) has developed an inter-disciplinary program of doctoral
studies in information science. The program has been tested during the last five
years. It has instituted inter-disciplinary collaboration among a number of academic
fields in the university including information policy. The collaborating departments
include communication, geography and planning, management science and
information systems, computer science, information science and policy, and public
administration and policy. The program reflects the interdisciplinearity of
information policy.
Information policy component may have the following constructs:
a) Information environment: socio-politico-economic factors influencing the
information market and related policy issues.
b) Information needs and demands: use and non-use of information, information
marketing.
c) Information systems: networks and consortia at different levels.
d) Intellectual and access issues: equal and fair access, fair use and copyright,
censorship, privacy, competition, information literacy, official information, etc.
e) Legislation: regulating access, proprietary rights, infrastructure, tariff,
information rights, etc.
f) Standards: computing, telecommunication and system design standards,
instruments of sharing and exchange.
g) Information technology and its Social-cultural aspects.
h) Organizational information: strategic information, classified information, etc.
i) information economics: fee versus free, pricing of information, etc.
j) International dimensions: regulating trans-border flow, access restrictions,
economic considerations, regional systems, etc.
3. Information Economics
Information economics has emerged to be another inter-disciplinary discipline
within the domain of information studies during the last 15-20 years. Many
universities have developed academic curricula in their economics, business,
management, and information study programs. Some research centers have also been
established within universities dealing with the economic aspects of information.
The Information Revolution revolves around the basic proposition that information
is a commodity. That has raised basic policy and ethical issues about access, fair and
equal access, proprietary rights, and production of value-added products and
services. The fact that this commodity has the features of transferability, repacking,
and transmission ~ contrary to other commodities - has also caused economic
perplexities. Another confounding issue is how the public sector could absolve itself
of its academic and cultural obligations in the massive bewilderment of this
electronic jungle. All these issues need to be addressed in a social context, as
situational variations defy generalization of any principles of economics.
Organizations are reconfiguring their information processing systems and
capabilities. That has a direct relationship with their decision-making, with regard to
structural adjustments. The economic connotation of this transformation has a longterm bearing that needs to be appreciated.
Digital environment has introduced a new set of economic confusions in
organizational life. Networking, system interconnectivity, and cost-benefit analysis
of available options need to be understood from the viewpoint of this new
economics of information (Ray, 1996). The information professionals need to be
equipped with new capabilities in the fast changing economic environment (Hank,
1997). Information professionals are advised to develop capabilities for assessing
value of information commodity and they should be able to conduct cost-benefits
analysis (Kingma, 1997).
Internet economics is emerging as a specialty. The Journal of Media Economics has
published an annotated bibliography in its 1997 volume on this subject. Internet's
flat pricing system is the subject of a number of papers. Design of fee-based or
congestion-sensitive system is being widely debated in the literature. Controversies
surrounding phone companies and Internet Service Providers (IS Ps) are gaining
momentum and may have many transitional resolutions (Schrader, 1997).
Economics of trans-border flow is vitally important for developing nations. A
number of issues are yet to be addressed and resolved. As information-rich nations
are inclined to exercise control over S&T or R&D data under the pretext of national
security, access to this information may become formidable. That will go contrary to
the technological potential of absolute access across the globe. These issues need to
be adequately articulated before these are taken up for any policy decisions. Indeed,
stakes for developing nations are pretty high in economic terms.
Key areas of information economics include:
Information environment
Policy issues: fee-based versus free access to information; pricing for transborder flow; differentiated pricing mechanisms
Analysis of production, distribution and use of information Economic
methods for decision-making within organizations Information accounting:
costing, pricing, cost-benefits analysis, etc. Information industry: economic
analysis
Digital economy: infrastructural considerations, control over organizational
information
Economics of networks: Internet economics (congestion-sensitive system of
payment or fee-based system, tension between phone companies and Internet
service providers)
4. Information Sources and Services
This area is comprised of two segments of information sources and services. The
term Information Sources refers to all forms and formats in which information is
generated, organized and presented. It also covers primary, secondary or tertiary
sources, meaning that information may be in its raw form or it might have been
processed, altered and packaged in other forms. The process of information
generation is both intellectual and mechanical. It covers entities resulting from
research, writing, creative and artistic activity, publication and distribution,
broadcasting and telecasting, information processing, database management, and
other related activities.
The term Information Services refers to all activities conducted for the satisfaction
of users by interpreting, sifting, analyzing, and packaging of information sources.
Systems of various types are developed for creation, management, storage, retrieval,
and delivery of information. Technology has been the primary thrust in creating an
environment in which information industry is the most viable market force.
However, processes of generation of information sources and provision of services
are exposed to huge differentials among different segments of the world community.
The New World Order is primarily an information-driven impetus, and the gulf
between information-rich and information-poor countries is widening through
perpetuation of this system.
Development and management of indigenous information sources through adequate
instruments of production, control, organization, and dissemination are perhaps the
most significant challenge, many societies are confronted with in today's world. This
mass of information is largely untapped and uncontrolled, but perhaps most critical
for policy making in these decisions. No body of most sophisticated electronic
information resource could be a substitute for data about primary socio-economic
indicators of any nation. Needs for preservation of national and cultural heritage are
also fundamental in any social context. Information services are also shaped by
expressed demands originating in a specific environment. Sophistication of any
information service may be totally irrelevant unless it has its potential use and
application.
Treatment of information sources and services in the Western universities is found in
the departments of information resource management, information studies,
information marketing, and so on. Each university has a strong component of
offerings in different degree programs at both graduate and undergraduate levels.
The private sector has also been most aggressive in this area and has created
worldwide systems. Marketing dynamics have rendered space and time dimensions
irrelevant in the global scenario. However, the situation is posing some critical
questions in many developing nations. Are they able to control their own body of
information? Are they able to access and retrieve information that is being tagged
with the label of 'classified'? Do they have any clear articulation of priorities they
may have for information sources and services? A number of policy questions are
related to information policy constructs defined in an earlier section. While there is a
need to develop indigenous information sources, there is a strong need of achieving
congruence between information demand and supply. It requires academic and
research efforts, rooted in the local context.
A checklist of significant ingredients of information sources and services may
include:
Information environment. Information use and users.
Information resource development: generation, production, packaging,
publication, distribution, etc.
Information organization and control: database management, indexing and
retrieval.
Information system design: analysis of social context and needs.
Information services.
Information marketing.
Policy issues: fair use, free versus fee, copyright, public sector obligations.
Information services for special groups: handicapped, immigrants,
disadvantaged, etc.
Kuwaiti Response
Content profiles of four areas of information studies were developed in ~he
preceding sections. In order to examine Kuwaiti response to this expanding domain,
examination of the Kuwait University curricula was considered essential as this
university is the only higher education institution responsible for education of
information professionals in the country. This review is attempted at two levels;
macro-analysis and microanalysis.
Macro-analysis
The academic content of Kuwait University needs to be scrutinized to identify
programs that are offering courses for the preparation of information professionals.
The following five departments were thus identified. It IS. worthwhile to provide a
brief description of the academic thrust of each of them so as to develop an overall
picture.
1. Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, College of Engineering and
Petroleum: The Computer Engineering component of the Department offers
bachelor and master degree programs with a clear emphasis on software,
hardware, telecommunications, and applications engineering. Out of a total of
2.
3.
4.
5.
144 credit hour graduation requirement for the bachelor program, students
have to complete 59 credit hours of core compulsory component, and 12
credit hours of electives in the segments of hardware, software, and
applications.
Mathematics and Computer Science Department, College of Sciences: The
Department offers bachelor and master degree programs in computer science.
There is a distinct emphasis on programming, algorithms, software
development and analysis, and database management systems. There is a total
graduation requirement of 126 credit hours for undergraduates; 45-hour
compulsory course in computer science, a 24-hour minor, and electives for 6
credit hours, all related to computer science.
Department of Quantitative Methods and Information Systems, College of
Administrative Sciences: The Department offers a bachelor degree with a
concentration on information systems. It has two required courses and a
number of electives. Electives are related to expert systems, communication
and networking, and human-machine interaction. Needs of business
enterprises are the primary focus in the design of information systems and
database management.
Department of Mass Communication, College of Arts: The Department offers
a bachelor degree in 'mass communication. The purpose is to develop
theoretical knowledge about the nature of mass communication, its impact and
relationship with society, and research and professional applications. It is a
professional program with tracks for print journalism and radio and television.
The program offers one course about computer fundamentals.
Library and information Science Program, College of Graduate Studies: The
program is only offered at graduate level with a 36 credit hour coursework
requirement. A student has to take 24 credit hour compulsory courses and 12
credit hours of electives. It has an elaborate coursework in the areas of
information analysis and organization, information sources and services,
information storage and retrieval, indexing and abstracting, database
management, and other IT applications. The program is characterized by
library-oriented offerings, keeping in view a basic transformation of the
institution into electronic environment.
All the five units have independent organizational entities and enjoy academic
autonomy in regard to decisions about course offerings and their treatment. Each
program has its own mission, objectives, targets for the development of competence
among students and for setting the overall academic orientation.
Micro- Analysis
The checklists of essential ingredients of the four areas have been used as a
framework to examine curricula of the afore-listed five academic programs. The
following observations have been made in this regard:
1. Social Informatics: It was found that certain constructs of social informatics
were being addressed in certain courses. Certain aspects of the first construct,
information, society and social change, effect of electronic information on
socio-cultural behaviors, are covered in software engineering courses of
computer science and computer engineering, but as a prelude to software
development in relation to social and organizational needs. However, the
foundation course of the Master's program in library and information science
treats role of information in social development and social change extensively.
However, the latest trends in the Western universities suggest an extensive
treatment of the topic by introducing a number of courses at both the
undergraduate and graduate levels.
In the Information System curriculum, organizational needs of business
enterprises are the primary focus. However, no treatment is noted about social
changes in the structure of organization and effect of digital environment on
work place and communication behaviors. Again, computer science and
computer engineering programs treat organizational context in software
engineering courses, covering it in the preliminaries of these courses in about
a session, or so as to develop perspectives for software development. Library
and information science program has addressed users and user needs in the
context of library policies, operations and services. Again, it does not have
any advanced courses focusing on information-seeking patterns and
behaviors. The topic needs to be approached from the wider perspective of
societal needs and should be integrated into a number of courses in the wider
spectrum
Computer science, computer engineering and Information Systems programs
have recently introduced an elective course about human-machine interaction.
System analysis and system design course are available in four programs, but
without any treatment from the perspective of social informatics. The Western
universities have already developed clusters of courses around these two
areas. The concentration, however, lies in the conduct of locale-specific
research, based on the theoretical body emerging in this area.
This review may give an impression that the offerings of Kuwait University in
this area are deficient. However, if the curriculum of a large number of
Western schools is examined, we may note striking similarities. The reasons
are: (I) the discipline is still in its infancy; (2) it requires faculty with
specialization from a number of socio-technical disciplines, quite an
impossible proposition in a many institutions; and (3) many constructs require
concerted efforts in research, both within and outside the university.
2. Information Policy: A number of constructs of information policy are being
treated in the five programs, but from a parochial or marginal vantage. For
instance, information environment receives minimal treatment in quite a few
courses of library and information science, but the environmental view is
constrained to the traditional library framework. Copyright, fair use, and
freedom of access and expression have also been treated in library and
information science programs with an applied perspective of the field.
Computing, telecommunication and system design standards are treated in a
number of courses in computer science and computer engineering. They also
address system security, data security, classified information, and authority
levels for accessing systems and data in a number of courses on database
management, system design, etc. Likewise, networking is covered in these
programs from a technological or system's viewpoint. Resource-sharing and
networking are covered in library and information science, but with a
descriptive or instructive approach instead of using the policy overtone.
Information Systems has program that offers a treatment for organizational
information in a number of core and elective courses. Social aspect is largely
missing from the treatment. Policy issues related to information economics
have not found place in any of the programs as yet. Likewise, international
dimensions of information policy are only restricted to international standards.
Other considerations of access, economics, trans-border flow are not treated at
this point.
"The situation depicted in this review should not be surprising. Most of the
constructs of information policy may not be taught at any level. However,
these are too vital for any national information system to be ignored. As was
discussed in detail; information policy cannot be stated in any single
document. It has too many complex issues involving both the public and
"private sectors. The cause may be better served through formulation of a
multitude of policies at different levels, developed by different agencies and
stakeholders, desirably in'~ collaborative manner. This area needs to be
developed primarily outside the instructional area.
We may find little activity on the front of information policy formulation in
Kuwait. Once the agenda priorities are conceived clearly, a number of
agencies may have to take initiatives. The university has its role to play both
in research and academic programs. A more intensive examination would lead
to a clear understanding of the vital areas that need to be incorporated in the
curricula of different programs. One primary observation is that whatever
treatment is currently available, it is fragmented due to the overwhelming
emphasis of one particular discipline. It needs to be enhanced and enriched.
There is little justification for developing any major, minor or cluster of
courses around information policy constructs in any undergraduate program in
Kuwait University. However, it is highly desirable to have some interdisciplinary offerings at the graduate level, concomitant with research
initiatives in those areas.
3. Information Economics: The curriculum of the five programs indicates that
this area has found minimal treatment. Mass communication and library and
information science programs have scant treatment of information
environment, fee-based versus free access, and distribution and marketing
aspects of finished information products. Again, the treatment is naturally
from the disciplinary perspectives. Impact of digital systems, resources and
products on economic life is not covered within the parameters of any of these
programs. Internet economics in itself has emerged as a significant area.
Graduates of many of these programs need to have essential capabilities in
these areas. Economic modeling, cost-benefit analysis, and economic methods
of decision-making need to be integrated into both the undergraduate and
graduate curricula of information studies. This area cannot be left to its
treatment from an alien perspective. Social interactions affect the design of
information systems and provision of services. It is only through indigenous
research at national and regional levels that these aspects can be further
developed. Needless to say that the academic counterparts from economics
have to be engaged in attending to the academic and research needs of this
area.
4. Information Sources and Services: Detailed treatment of many of the
constructs of this component was noted in the five academic programs, again
with a slant toward disciplinary requirements. The Mass Communication
program has a number of courses about collection, organization, editing, and
presentation skills, all in media context as one would have expected. Library
and information science courses treat information in its universal sense when
dealing with information sources and services. The shift toward electronic
sources is also quite evident. There are a number of courses that cater for
specialized needs of user segments. An emphasis is also noted on the
electronic library, treating information as their universe in its digitized form,
accessible through any mode from any point.
Computer science and computer engineering programs also offer extensive
treatment to information processing and organization. Quite expectedly, data
processing, database management, storage and retrieval, networking and other
related areas have strong clusters of courses, quite in line with the state-of-theart offerings in the field.
The constructs that yet deserve attention of policy-making bodies and
academics are related to production, control, and services of indigenous
information. Gaps in information organization and control could be identified
at national and organizational levels. These may not require any coursework
in the university. However, there is an urgent need to identify these areas
through systematic research. National archives, records, public information,
manuscripts, and other media of national heritage, deserve the attention of
policy makers. As was pointed out earlier, social aspects of information
processing also need to be included in the research agenda.
Possibilities and Prospects
This review has attempted to draw an overall picture of the Kuwaiti response to the
academic treatment of the four emerging areas, As defined for this paper, in the
course-work of the five departments of Kuwait University. Content analysis of
curricula was confined to the programs of this institution, being the only university
in the country. As was discussed earlier, national response to the expanding domains
of information studies needs to be wider and more intensive. It also requires
engagement of other agencies. It cannot be restricted to coursework offerings, as
many areas and constructs require research projects, policy initiatives, legislative
exercises, and other developmental activities. This review serves its purpose in
identifying those areas and constructs that deserve the attention of different agencies
in Kuwait. The Kuwait University, in collaboration with sister organizations of KF
AS and KISR, may have to take a leading role in academic programs and research
projects. It may have to introduce appropriate course work changes or additions. The
following points may be relevant in any such consideration:
1. There is an urgent need to add the following components to the coursework:
social context of information, information environment, fundamentals of
information economics, and socio-cultural aspects of information technology.
These need to be added at the undergraduate programs.
2. Courses related to certain constructs of social informatics, information policy,
and development of indigenous information sources and services may be
offered at the graduate level. That may necessitate redefinition of some of the
Master's degree programs with an inter-disciplinary orientation.
3. Since many of the constructs are inter-disciplinary in nature, there is a need to
provide a new organizational framework that might be conducive for such
initiatives. Computer science, information systems, mass communication, and
library and information science have a great deal in common to share,
exchange and undertake.
This review has elicited a number of priority areas for research and policy
development. Kuwait needs a multitude of policy documents. Interactive
engagements are needed between different policy making institutions in both the
public and private sectors. Some areas can be readily identified in which legislative
activity is warranted.
Research priorities need to be identified m the reviewed areas. Inter-disciplinary
research, rooted in the Kuwaiti context, needs to be conducted and a number of
agencies may contribute to the process. Collaborative initiatives may be inhibited by
a number of problems of turf sensitivities, boundary attachments, administrative
bottlenecks, allocation of resources, etc. It is only a visionary and strong leadership
that can steer through this multi-faceted academic and research agenda. There are no
shortcuts toward realization of the benefits of the available Information Highway.
References
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1993,281-285.
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Rehman, Sajjad 1996. Information policies for developing nations: a framework for
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Simon, E.1993. Information policy a cultural policy: cultural, economic and social
aspects. International Information Communication & Education. Vol. 12, No. 2,
242-245 .
* * *
Information and Decision Support:
The Egyptian Experience
Dr. Hisham El Sherif*
Abstract:
This paper outlines The Egyptian Experience regarding information and decision
support, represented by the Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC).
*Regional information Technology and Software Engineering Center, Egypt.
The Cabinet
Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC)
IDSC Objectives
ƒ To develop Information and Decision Support Systems for the Cabinet and
top policy-makers in Egypt.
ƒ To support the establishment of Decision Support Centers in existing
ministries and governorates.
ƒ To encourage, support and initiate informatics projects that will accelerate
management and technological development in Egypt.
ƒ To participate in international cooperation activities and agreements in the
areas of Information and Decision Support.
Challenge:
Debt Management
1. Debt Management Project
Objectives:
ƒ To build a centralized database for Egypt's debt.
ƒ To support the essential management & policy-making needs of the
government.
Participants:
ƒ Central Bank of Egypt & IDSC
ƒ UNCT AD & UNDP
Outcome:
ƒ Implementation of phase 1.
Impact:
ƒ Policy Change
ƒ Formulation of Debt Management Program.
ƒ Rescheduling and negotiating with all creditors.
Monetary Benefit:
ƒ Refinancing of each one billion U.S.$ of Egypt's debt provides saving of 23% annually.
ƒ Egypt's debt has been reduced by more than $10 billion supported by the
DSS team.
Challenge:
Economic Reform
2. Economic Reform & Structural Adjustment
Objectives:
ƒ To develop the required information infrastructure.
ƒ To establish a monitoring and tracking system.
ƒ To build information & decision support systems.
ƒ To provide information for public use.
Participants:
ƒ The Cabinet
ƒ All Ministries
ƒ IDSC
Outcome:
ƒ Database(s)
• State budget
• Prices (Inflation & Liberation)
• Debt
• Balance of payments
• Privatization
• Trade liberalization
• Sectoral (Commodities & Services)
ƒ DSS to support Economic Reform
ƒ Monthly Economic Indicators
Impact:
ƒ Policy reformulation.
ƒ Effective monitoring of economic reform.
Outcome:
ƒ Establishment of a comprehensive database.
Impact:
ƒ Reform strategies
ƒ Privatization program
Challenge:
Public Sector Reform
3. Development of Public Sector Information and DSS Project
Objectives:
ƒ Establishment of comprehensive information base about public sector
companies, performance.
ƒ Providing support for strategy and policy formulation.
Participants:
ƒ PSIC - IDSC
Challenge:
Legislation Reform
4. Legislation Database Project
Objectives:
ƒ To establish a database for Egyptian legislation and decrees.
ƒ To formulate plans for reform of Egyptian legislation.
Participants:
ƒ IDSC - MOJ
Outcome:
ƒ Complete database of 61,277 legislations and decrees (from 1824 to
present day)
Legislation:
Challenge:
Efficient Use of Related Studies
5. SIS Project
Objectives:
ƒ To establish a network for socio-economic studies
ƒ To provide continuous tracking of strategic issues
Participants:
ƒ Ministries of: Planning, Tourism, Electricity, ... etc
ƒ International Organizations (USAID, UN, ... )
Outcome:
ƒ A network in relevant ministries, including a total of 24,068 studies
related to socio-economic priorities
Impact:
Leverage of Cabinet issues
SIS Project:
Challenge:
A DSS for every Minister
6. A DSS for the Ministry of Electricity Project
Objectives:
ƒ To establish a DSS Center in MOE.
ƒ To assist in the formulation of a sectoral plan.
ƒ To link IDSC to MOE.
Participants:
ƒ MOE - IDSC
Outcome:
ƒ A center providing Support in the areas of Production, Consumption/
Tariff, Debt Management, Project Monitoring, Capital Goods, and Studies.
Impact:
ƒ New electricity bill was approved and implemented.
ƒ Increase in revenues by L.E. 160 Million per year.
Challenge:
A DSS for Every Governorate
7. Governorates' DSS Project
Objectives:
ƒ Developing local information and decision support capabilities in the 26
Governorates.
ƒ To assist in identifying new opportunities at the Governorates' Level.
Outcome:
ƒ Full implementation and institutionalization of Information and Decision
Support Systems in all 26 Governorates.
Impact:
ƒ New opportunities and improved decision-making at the Governorate
Level.
Challenge:
Deficit in Balance of Trade
8. TradeNet Project
Objectives:
ƒ
ƒ
To provide daily export and import opportunities.
To link exporters and importers with on-line timely information.
Participants:
ƒ IDSC
ƒ Trade Representatives
ƒ Exporters/Importers
ƒ ITC
Outcome:
ƒ Implementation of the network in 55 countries.
ƒ Completion of phase 1.
Impact:
ƒ Improved trade opportunities.
ƒ Improved efficiency of trade procedures.
Challenge:
Unemployment
9. Human Resources Management
Objectives:
ƒ To create a human resources' profile for the country (Population,
Employment, Unemployment).
ƒ To build an information technology infrastructure (Centers, Systems,
Procedures).
ƒ To develop IS & DSS for Job creation.
Participants:
ƒ IDSC
ƒ Ministry of Manpower
ƒ Ministry of Local Administration
ƒ Ministry of Education
Outcome:
1. Databases
ƒ Population database
ƒ Civil Service Employment database
ƒ Public Sector database
ƒ University & H.S. graduates (1984-1992)
ƒ Unemployed graduates (84-94)
60.2
3.9
1.3
3.2
1.425
Million
Million
Million
Million
Million
2. Unemployment Monitoring Network
Impact:
ƒ Formulation of a Job Creation Program.
ƒ Adaptation of reformed educational policies .
ƒ Plans for the development of Upper Egypt.
Challenge:
Preserving Cultural Heritage
10. Culture ware Project
Objectives:
ƒ To create National Databases for: * Museums
ƒ Manuscripts
ƒ Archeological sites
ƒ To utilize state-of-the-art technology to produce culture ware products:
ƒ CD-RaMs
ƒ Kisks
ƒ Multimedia systems
ƒ To disseminate Egyptian cultural knowledge to the world.
Partici pants:
ƒ RITSEC
ƒ IDSC
ƒ Ministry of Culture
Outcome:
ƒ Implementation of the Egyptian Museum Database (180,000 Records)
ƒ Implementation of "Dar El Kotob" Manuscripts Database (60,000
Records)
ƒ CD-ROM products
ƒ Museum Workstations
Impact:
ƒ To preserve our past & present for future generations.
Future Directions
1. Networking
ƒ Linking Egypt to the World
ƒ Linking Egypt together
2. Information Dissemination shift towards an information-perfect market
ƒ To encourage dissemination of information to the public & business
community.
3. IT Professional Development
ƒ World-Class Training Institutes
ƒ Radically improving university curricula
4. Computers in Education
ƒ Preparing the citizen of the next century * School
ƒ University
5. IT Industry and Business Development
ƒ Government support for creating an inducive climate for the development
of business, management and services society
6 .On-line society
ƒ On-line financing (Cashless society)
ƒ On-line trading (Invoiceless society)
*
*
*
The Role of Satellites in the
Global Information Highway
Eugene H. Kopp, Ph.D. *
Abstract
The rapid growth of cellular telephony has led to the widespread acceptance of
telephony from handheld terminals. However, there are many parts of the world that
terrestrial cellular has not yet penetrated, with local conditions (terrain, environment,
lack of indigenous population) that make cellular penetration unlikely in the
foreseeable future. Satellites offer coverage of such areas, and - in response - several
different satellite systems have been suggested, using various orbital altitudes.
From geosynchronous orbit, the primary challenge is to overcome the spreading
losses that occur between the satellite and a user terminal on earth. Moreover, the
design must take into account that the power transmitted by the user terminal is
limited by considerations of battery life and of health and safety. To meet this need,
Hughes has designed a "Geomobile satellite system" with a satellite that features a
12.25m deployable antenna, and on-board digital signal processing and
beamforming. The system also includes appropriate ground facilities, and utilizes a
Hughes-developed Common Air Interface optimized for this application.
The paper will describe the design of the system, including the satellite, gateway
stations, user terminals, and network control.
Satellite communications offer a natural highway for transporting information by
means of JP multicast. With advances in other related areas, it is now possible to
carry all content - data, video, and audio - in a consistent manner. Furthermore,
products exist on the market to support the reliable delivery of data files, highquality video, and stereo audio in an IP multicast environment.
* Chief Scientist, Hughes Space and Communications Intonations, Inc., D.S.A.
Introduction
The demand for Internet, intranet, and other data services has grown dramatically in
the past several years, particularly in the Middle East. Accordingly, an increasing
number of enterprises employ Internet Protocol (IP) standards to transport their
information. However, the desire to transport common content to numerous sites has
strained the use of traditional terrestrial communication methods. Such traditional
methods repeatedly send to every recipient individually, using large amounts of
bandwidth and negatively impacting the speed at which data is delivered - both of
which are increasingly unacceptable in today's business environment.
Satellite communications - particularly very small aperture terminal (VS AT)
systems - have become a well-accepted solution for overcoming the limitations
terrestrial alternatives pose to enterprises that need to send large amounts of
information, quickly, to geographically dispersed sites. Satellites offer a natural
information broadcast medium, allowing data, audio, and video to be distributed
from one central point to hundreds, even thousands, of locations. Coverage is
achieved when the headquarters site, or "uplink," sends information to the satellite,
which in turn broadcasts that information to Earth. Any VSA T within this satellite
beam may then access the information. Information sent to all locations
simultaneously occupies no more bandwidth than if the content were sent to just one
office. Terrestrial networks, on the other hand, even if they implement the emerging
IP multicast standards, must still replicate such common data over separate network
links, in order to ultimately reach each destination location. This is the case for all
terrestrial networks regardless of the transmission medium: fiber, microwaves,
coaxial cable, etc.
Satellite Communications Fundamentals
A VSA T satellite network (see Figure 1) consists of a hub earth station, which
transmits and receives data between a data center or Web site and the satellite; a
satellite in geosynchronous orbit, primarily in the Ku band (11.7-12.2/14-14.5 GHz);
and a satellite terminal, which may consist of a two-way, transmit/receive small
earth station (as in the case of VSA Ts), or a receive-only earth station (as in the case
of systems such as DirecPCTM).
The information interfaces at both ends of the network — hub-to-enterprise host and
VSAT-to-remote user devices — are industry standard interfaces such as Ethernet
LANs or asynchronous/synchronous serial connections. In the case of two-way
systems, the VSAT terminal consists of an outdoor unit, indoor unit, and a coax
cable connecting the two. The outdoor unit is comprised of a small dish antenna, a
radio, and a mount for the antenna. The dish is pointed at the satellite and remains
stationary. The indoor unit consists of a small, table-top device that contains
multiple LAN or serial interfaces to user equipment. In the Middle East, with little
rainfall, good performance at Ku-band can be achieved with antennas considerably
smaller than one meter in diameter.
In addition to the above user interfaces, most VSAT indoor units contain an interface
that carries the full 500MHz frequency spectrum of the satellite, downconverted
from Ku band to L-band (950-1450 MHz). This interface generally used to provide a
path for non-VSAT carriers on the same satellite to reach other devices such as
video Integrated Receiver Decoders (IRDs) or the Hughes Network Systems (HNS)
DirectPCTM Enterprise Relay (see Figure 2).
For the case of receive-only system, the outdoor unit consists of a small dish antenna
and an inexpensive LNB (low noise block) downconverter. The coaxial cable then
connects directly to devices such as IRDs or the Enterprise Relay.
Content Delivery
Common content over satellite systems has traditionally been delivered in
the following manner:
1. Video — delivered using proprietary compression systems provided by t IRD
manufacturers. Some systems that support digital video can also I
carry data as supplemental content.
2. Data — delivered “in-band” using traditional VSAT outroutes that typically
up to 512 Kbps, or using High speed outroutes at speeds up 24 Mbps (Figure
2).
3. Audio — delivered using proprietary audio compression and techniques.
In the past, all three content types have been delivered using different
techniques to a different set of customer premises’ equipment. Recently, two
technology advances have converged to support a more efficient, consistent, and
high-performance satellite information infra-structure: the advent of satellite
receivers based on the direct broadcast satellite technology developed for
DirecTVTM, and DirecPCTM, which uses hardware designed to receive
multimegabit transmission, and the growing use of IP multicast standards as a way
of transporting a variety of content types.
IP multi cast now offers a uniform way for all content to be delivered using a
common transport. The move away from proprietary to standards-based systems
ensures users have cheaper and more flexible approaches to draw on. Data files can
be sent from a host to a receiver as IP multicast; video can be encoded using
inexpensive MPEG standards-based encoders that encapsulate the MPEG packets in
IP multicast; and real-time audio, just like video, can be encoded using a number of
different compression techniques and also encapsulated in IP multi cast. Thus, a
satellite transport that supports IP as the underlying protocol can be used to deliver
all such content in a standards-based, consistent manner.
These developments now make it possible for VSA Ts to offer the following
technical advances:
1. Encoding video into MPEG I and MPEG2 and transporting the resulting
stream using IP multicast.
2. Mechanisms to guarantee the end-to-end delivery of data to each and every
3.
4.
5.
6.
remote location.
Delivery of Web page updates in a true Web casting environment.
High-speed delivery of any IP-based data: TCP/IP session data, FTP file
transfers, UDP packets.
Delivery of real-time audio including in-store music .
Delivery of video clips at speeds up to 24Nbps, more than 10 times faster than
a terrestrial TI or El line.
Applications
The use of IP Multicast for sending common data to many remote locations using
satellite communications has a number of practical applications, among them:
1. Data file transfers for applications such as Web casting, or the transmission of
Web page changes for Internet sites and corporate Intranets; software updates;
price file changes, often used in the retail industry to update price files in
electronic cash registers; transmission of computer-based training material to
remote offices; and broadcast of financial or news feeds.
2. Compressed video streams for applications such as: corporate
communications to employees in remote locations, and interactive distance
learning - video broadcast of a live instructor, coupled with a return path for
students to query the instructor or to respond to course questions.
3. Examples of audio applications that can take advantage of IP Multicast
include: distribution of in-store music to retail establishments; news feeds;
advertising channels to supermarkets or pharmacies; and applications in the
financial community for audio broadcast of real-time market conditions.
Two approaches exist for an information infrastructure using of IP Multicast over
satellite. In the first approach, an enterprise sets up their own uplink facility,
purchases satellite transponder space, and operates the network themselves - a
dedicated hub. In the second approach, an enterprise may have on-site equipment at
their headquarters for the generation of IP Multicast traffic (e.g., video encoders, file
servers, Web servers). but will backhaul such traffic to a service provider's up link
facility. The service provider will take responsibility for operating the uplink
facility, securing satellite bandwidth, and generally for providing, installing, and
maintaining the remote satellite equipment as well. This is commonly known as a
shared hub.
* * *
Electronic Commerce
Mr. Christopher Slade*
Abstract
Few realise that a mind-boggling US$2.3 trillion go around the world each dayelectronically. Now, imagine the global financial marketplace, minus the network of
computers. Global trade would grind down to a much more lethargic pace, not to
mention the grossly reduced quantum of global trade itself.
The International Telecommunications Union (ITU), estimates that for every $1000
the world earns and spends, $59 is created by the infor-communications sectorwhich was already creating some $1.73 trillion in global revenues as far back as two
yeas ago.
The infor-communications sector, as defined by the ITU, comprises three related
industries-telecommunications, computing and the audio/visual sector. Much has
been said about the coming together of these sectors to create the multimedia
industry.
There have been reports claiming that the revenue generated by the global
multimedia industry or the interactive information industry could reach US$3.5
trillion by the year 2001.
In 1994, several leading economies of the world enlisted the professional services of
several key players in the information technology industry to help build the Global
Information Infrastructure (GII). The GII is today perceived to be a media for three
separate uses, viz. computing, multimedia communications and interactive
television.
The challenge here is for the world to build this vast network that is capable of
carrying exceptionally large volumes of data to global destinations with negligible
flaw. Here is yet another technological marvel taking shape, thanks to the digital
age.
* Vice President of Marketing, Operations for Electronic Commerce - Oracle, London, UK.
The Internet, the World Wide Web and the Intranets, have worked in congruence,
albeit only over the last two years, to have caused the explosive growth of the global
information infrastructure. The birth of this infrastructure signals a new phase of
network computing that requires real business transactions data-driven multimedia
content and interactive information access via self-service Web applications.
It is in line with this that companies like Oracle are positioning themselves as
entities that will lead the pack into the Information Age. The burden that these
companies carry is enormous. The whole world is dependent on technologies that
emerge from these entities.
The Internet is already playing host to an emerging pool of business applications
which are being implemented using various extensions to the core Internet
technology. Such applications are making possible the much awaited domain of
'Electronic Commerce'.
* * *
Connecting the Gulf Fiber
Optic Cable with FLAG
Mr. Saeed AI-Bahar*
Abstract
Etisalat - UAE, Qtel - Qatar, Batelco - Bahrain and MOC - Kuwait have signed an
agreement to establish a Fiber-optic Link linking these countries in July 1995.
Total cost of the project was US$ 78.9 Million for a distance of 1300 KM shared
between the FOG members.
The capacity of the cable is 5 GB at any two steams i.e., it can carry 60,480 digital
circuits of 64 Kbps between any two countries.
The cable lands in Dubai at the UAE end, and in Kuwait City at Kuwait end.
The aim of the cable is to carry voice traffic, Private Leased Lines,
Internet/Multimedia applications, between the member countries, and also to
connect the FOG member countries with other destinations via other cable systems.
The cable will also be extended to Emirates Internet Exchange within UAE to
connect ISPs in the GCC countries to the planned Internet Hub in the UAE.
Fiber optic Link Around the Globe or FLAG is also a fiber optic cable system
extending from Japan to the UK a distance of 28,000 KM cable. The total cost of the
project is US$ 1.2 Billion. FLAG is privately owned by shareholders. Etisalat has
purchased capacity worth US$ 41 M. Mention is a separate paper investment sharing
of the cable (slide). The cable lands in Fujairah UAE along with other major cities of
the financial capitals of the world.
DEA ME WE 3 is also a fiber optic cable system extending from Japan/Australia to
the UK. The total cost of the project is US$ 1.327 Billion. SEA ME WE 3 is owned
by different telecom operators. Etisalat has purchased capacity worth US$ 36 M.
The capacity of the cable is composed of digital circuits operating at 64 Kbps. The
cable lands in Fujairah, UAE, along with other major cities of the financial capitals
of the world.
Etisalat is also negotiating with different cable operators across the Atlantic to
acquire capacity to the United States on ownership basis. The capacity Etisalat is
negotiating is DS3 in the initial stage and will go to STMI or multiples of STMl s.
This capacity is required to offer Etisalat customers a high quality reliable
connection whether voice, data, private leased lines or intern et connection. Also this
is part of the plan to make UAE a regional hub for business and the Internet.
The purpose of this papers is to shed light on the above developments and the impact
these projects have on the Information Highway among GCC member countries.
*3.Manager, Telecommunication Corporation, Abu Dhabi, U.A.E.
Etisalat Back round
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Over 800,000 fixed telephone lines
Over 280,000 mobile telephone lines
Six International Gateways
Seven Earth Stations
IDD with over 230 countries/territories
Over 9,000 International Circuits
Terrestrial interconnection via Fiber-Optic Network
Fog Cable Landing Point
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Dubai
Manama
Simaisma
Kuwait
UAE
Bahrain
Qatar
Kuwait
Fog Route Fog Technology
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5.0 Gbps Optical line Rate
Upgradeable to 10 Ghps System
System life: 25 Years (1998-2023)
Fog Landing Point in UAE
FOG will land in Dubai which is 150 Km. away from Fujairah, where
connection is made to Iran Cable, FLAG and SEA-ME-WE 3
Kuwait BU1 BU2 UAE
Fibre Optic Link Around The Globe
(FLAG)
Flag Key Facts
ƒ FLAG is the longest Fiber Optic link in the world
ƒ Total investment in this project is US$ 1.6 billion
ƒ Etisalat investment in this cable system is over US$ 40 million
ƒ Connecting three continents and twelve countries, it will provide up to
600,000 simultaneous conversation per segment
Flag Coverage
ƒ Provides communication link to approximately 75% of the world's
population.
ƒ Linking centers of commerce in Europe, Middle East and Asia.
ƒ Vital link of developing countries to the global marketplace.
Flag Technology
ƒ Using 2 fiber pairs, each operating at 5 Gbps, FLAG will provide fiber
optic capacity for 120,000 circuits, operating at 64 Kbps.
ƒ Synchronous Digital Hierarchy (SDH) compatibility.
ƒ 28,000 Km. of cable.
Flag Cable Landing Points
ƒ UK
ƒ Spain
ƒ Italy
ƒ Egypt
ƒ UAE
ƒ India
ƒ Malaysia
ƒ Hong Kong
ƒ China
ƒ Korea
ƒ Japan
ƒ Thailand
Factors Responsible For Increase in Demand For Bandwidth
ƒ Unprecedented boom in telecommunications traffic.
ƒ Internet.
ƒ Globalization of business.
ƒ Immense improvement in computer technology.
ƒ Increase in privatization and Liberalization.
Commitment of Etisalat to Flag
ƒ ETISALAT signed agreement to acquire joint capacity with 33
administrations.
ƒ UAE has been selected by FLAG as the Network Operations Centre.
ƒ Total investment of Etisalat is over US$ 40 million.
Countries to be Linked Via Flag
Across The Atlantic
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ETSALAT has also purchased capacity on TAT 12/13.
ETISALAT is also acquiring a bigger bandwidth across the Atlantic:
ƒ Gemini
ƒ ACI
ƒ CANTAT-CANUS
Backhaul Facilities
ƒ UAE national links are designed with latest SDH technology with ring
configuration.
ƒ Etisalat offers the lowest charges for these interconnection.
* * *
Gulf Internet Exchange Point
Mr. Abdulaziz H. Al-Zoman*
Abstract
An Internet exchange point (IXP) is an interconnection or access point that allows
Internet Service Providers (IS Ps) to exchange local traffic in a given geographic
area. In most cases, local Internet traffic within a country or a city may have to be
routed through network backbone located in another country, most probably the
USA. An IXP is a very important concept on the Internet after the NSFNET
Backbone faded away. Therefore, setting up IXP is for the routing of local traffic
surely can benefit all parties involved.
The situation in the Gulf may not be unique. There is a local ISP in every country,
each has its own satellite links to overseas, mainly the United States. Traffic among
users in the Gulf states must be routed through the United States because there are
no local connections among Gulf ISPs.
This paper proposes the idea of 10caIly interconnecting all ISPs in the Gulf through
an Internet exchange point, called Gulf internet exchange (GIX) , mainly for the
routing of intra-Gulf traffic. The establishment of GIX will facilitate faster and less
expensive access to local sites.
It is expected that all of the GIX participants will benefit, because all can save
significant amounts of precious bandwidth of their international links. In addition,
all can exchange data much faster. It is hoped that GIX will help the Gulf Internet
community to grow faster and more healthily.
* National Communications Network, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology, Riyadh,
Saudi Arabia
1. Introduction
Internet Service Providers (ISP) in most countries are connected to the Internet via
leasing circuits to the United States. In which case it makes the United States carry
most of the intercontinental traffic. This leads to the impression that the United
States is the backbone of the Internet. Consequently, local traffic within a country or
a region may have to be routed through the United States if there are no local
connections among local ISPs. This is extremely inadvisable because the longdistance links are very expensive and are often of a relatively slow speed. Therefore,
setting up Internet exchange points (IXPs) for the routing of local traffic surely can
benefit all parties involved. In fact, IXPs became very important concepts on the
Internet after the NSFNET Backbone faded away, because ISPs have to be
interconnected to maintain full connectivity to the whole Internet.
IXPs are implemented at deferent levels. Some are considered core exchange points,
referred to as Network Access Points (NAPs), in which parties exchange full routing
tables, while others are meeting points between ISPs within a country or a region for
intra-regional connectivity. In this paper focus is placed on any exchange point that
interconnects multiple ISPs or backbone operators.
This paper proposes the idea of locally interconnecting all Internet Service Providers
in the Gulf region through an Internet exchange point called the Gulf internet
exchange (GIX). The establishment of GIX will facilitate faster and less expensive
access to local sites. Therefore, GIX should be initiated with this point in mind, and
could be the starting point for a future regional information backbone or NAP.
This paper is organized as follows: Section 2 highlights the motivation behind the
proposed GIX. Followed by the Internet backbone revolution in Section 3. A short
summary of Internet development in the Gulf is outlined in Section 4. GIX structure
and implementation are given in Section 5. Finally, Section 6 draws some
concluding remarks.
2. Motivation
As stated before, Internet Service Providers in most countries are connected to the
Internet via leasing circuits to the USA. Consequently, local traffic within a country
or a region may have to be routed through the United States, if there are no local
connections among local ISPs.
The situation in the Gulf may not be unique. There is a local ISP in every country,
each has its own satellite links to overseas, mainly to the United States. Traffic
among users in the Gulf states must be routed through the United States because
there are no local connections among Gulf ISPs. Why should an E-mail message traveling, for example, from one user in Kuwait University to another user in King
Saud University has to transit through USA just because ISPs in Kuwait and Saudi
Arabia are connected to some backbone in USA?
In view of this, the Gulf ISPs are advised to set up a neutral interconnection point
called Gulf internet exchange (GIX), mainly for the routing of intra-Gulf traffic.
GIX wi1l be the facility which wi1l keep local Internet traffic in the Gulf. GIX will
allow existing local ISPs to easily exchange traffic within the Gulf, and improve
connectivity and service for their customers. As well as avoiding traffic solely
between Gulf Internet users having to go outside the GCC states. GIX wi1l improve
connectivity between the Gulf states and the rest of the world. Section 5 wi1l give
more detailed information about GIX and its implementation.
3. Internet Backbone Revolution
The Internet started in 1969 as a packet switching project, known as the Advanced
Research Project Agency's ARPANET. In the 1970s, the use of ARPANET widened
to include numerous organizations in the United States, particularly from the
department of defense and governmental agencies. Universities and research
institutions started joining the network in large numbers as well.
By 1985, ARPANET was highly used and remarkably congested, the United States
National Science Foundation (NSF) funded five national supercomputer centers and
built a national backbone using 56 Kbps links, known as NSFNET, which connected
these centers and other several university-based regional networks. This was the
birth of the Internet. Many universities did link to the NSFNET to gain access to the
supercomputers. In addition to research, the network was helpful for other things,
such as electronic mail, file transfer, and newsgroups.
The traffic load on the backbone increased exponentially, which lead to the upgrade
of the NSFNET backbone to 1.544 Mbps (T!) in 1988, linking thirteen regional
networks to the supercomputer centers. The task of the NSFNET backbone became
to link and interconnect the growing "regional" networks setup by various university
systems.
The traffic load increased rapidly, which lead again to the upgrade of the NSFNET
backbone to 45 Mbps (T3) in 1991. A new independent non-profit organization
known ad Advanced Network and Services, Inc. (ANS) was created to operate this
NSFNET backbone. The T3 backbone connected some 3,500 networks. Thereupon,
the Internet was largely defined as having connectivity to the NSFNET national
backbone. Figure 1 illustrates the old Internet infrastructure that was based on
NSFNET backbone. Throughout the history of NSFNET, traffic and number of
networks connected by the system have grown exponentially.
Figure 1: Past Internet Infrastructure
A- Early Developments of Internet Exchange Points
By 1992, most of the educational and research organizations in the United States
were connected to the NSFNET. However, the traffic load and number of
organizations using the NSFNET were still increasing. Networks owned by the US
government agencies were interconnected at Federal Internet Exchange (FIX) points
on the east and west coasts of USA (FIX-East at the University of Maryland,
Maryland, and FIX-West at the NASA Ames Research Center, California). These
FIXs largely exist to interconnect MILNET, NASA Science Net and some other
federal government networks. A number of commercial backbone operators joined
to establish a separate interconnection point on the west coast of the USA, called the
Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX).
In 1995, as a movement that thoroughly altered the architecture of the Internet, the
single dominant NSFNET backbone was essentially shut down and replaced by a
series of commercial providers that owned and operated coast-to-coast national
backbones. Under these conditions, the backbones had to have some means of
interconnectivity and exchanging data. Four Network Access Points were designated
and funded by the NSF, where private commercial backbone operators would
interconnect. Thus, the NAPs act as a gateway to interconnect multiple backbone
providers as a replacement for the NSFNET service. As a result, backbone operators
have developed their national backbones for connecting regional networks, sold
connectivity to them, and used NAPs as physical points where they interconnected
and exchanged traffic with all the other service providers. NAPs are based on a highspeed switch or LAN technology, without any content or usage restrictions on
traffic. Figure 2 illustrates the new Internet architecture which consists of multiple
backbones that are interconnected through exchange points.
Figure 2: Current Internet Infrastructure
Recently, the four NSF-funded Network Access Points in San Francisco, Chicago,
Washington DC, and Pennsauken represent the core of the Internet. There is no
peering regulation but its up to the participants to decide who they will peer with,
e.g., anyone at a NAP can choose to interconnect with anyone else there or decline
to. Peering is the exchange of routing announcements between two service providers
for the purpose of ensuring that traffic from the first can reach all customers of the
second, and vis-versa. One cannot, however, plug into a NAP and assume that those
there will automatically grant peering. Practically most of the backbone operators
will only peer with other operators that likewise have a presence at all of the NAPs
and they are becoming increasingly selective.
B- World-wide Development of Internet Exchange Points
Due to the explosive growth of the Internet, additional unsponsored NAPs,
commercial Internet exchange and private exchange points have appeared.
Internet Service Providers in other continents have developed substantial
infrastructures and connectivity. However, most of them are connected to backbones
in the USA. Regional and local traffic may have to be routed via the USA backbones
in case there’s no intra-regional connectivity among ISPs. Of course, the main
reason for this may be because of the high cost of intra-regional leased circuits and
the low volume of local traffic.
Therefore, a number of IXPs and NAPs have been created around the world. Table I
summaries the number of IXPs around the world. Some are developed solely to
exchange intra-regional traffic, while others are developed as full exchange points,
e.g., NAPs.
Table 1: Number of IXPs around the world
Some regions have developed regional backbones to interconnect local ISPs, Then
the backbone is connected to the Internet via one or more gateways. For example,
fourteen Asia Pacific countries have joined a regional backbone, called A-Bone,
which links the participating countries together.
1 There is some talk about the development of a NAP in Egypt.
The bandwidth capacities of links composing A-Bone are ranging from 1.544 to 3
Mbps, which will be upgraded to 45 Mbps. A-Bone is connected to the Internet via a
135 Mbps link to the USA from Japan. The capacity of this link will be upgraded to
245 Mbps.
4. Internet in the Gulf2
This section briefly summaries Internet developments in the Gulf countries:
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Kuwait: The Internet has been in the Gulf region since 1992 when Kuwait,
as one of the earliest Arab countries to join the Internet, was connected to
the Internet in 1992 with 2 link to the USA with bandwidth capacity of 128
and 256 Kbps .
United Arab Emirates was connected to the Internet in the middle of 1995,
with two links to the USA, each with bandwidth capacity of256 Kbps.
Bahrain was connected to the Internet on the beginning of 1996. There
were two links to the USA, each with bandwidth capacity of 128 Kbps .
Qatar: Internet services started in Qatar in the middle of 1996. It is
provided through a link to the USA.
Oman: Internet services started in Oman in the beginning of 1997. It is
provided through a link to the USA.
Saudi Arabia: Internet was in Saudi Arabia since the beginning of 1994,
but for limited sites. Recently, KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science
and Technology, Riyadh) has been assigned the responsibility to introduce
the Internet fully to the whole user community in Saudi Arabia. It is
expected that KACST will start the service in 1998.
5. Gulf Internet Exchange (GIX)
There is a local ISP in every Gulf country, each has its own satellite links to
overseas, mainly the United States. Traffic among users in the Gulf states must be
routed through the United States, because there are no local connections among Gulf
ISPs. Therefore, there is a need to establish connectivity among the Gulf ISPs. They
have to interconnect locally in order to have faster and less expensive access to local
sites. This can be achieved through setting up a neutral interconnection point, called
the Gulf internet exchange (GIX), mainly for the routing of intra-Gulf traffic. Thus,
the goal of GIX is to interconnect ISPs in the Gulf region so that intra-Gulf traffic
can be exchanged locally without routing through the USA.
2.Information provided in this section is based on site visit by the author to some ISPs in the
region in 1995.
GIX is the facility which keeps local Internet traffic in the Gulf. It allows existing
ISPs to easily exchange traffic within the Gulf, and improve connectivity and
services for their customers, as well as avoiding traffic solely between local users
having to go outside the Gulf states. As can be foreseen, all of the GIX participants
can be benefited, because all can save significant amount of precious bandwidth of
their international links. Also, it will encourage the development and exchange of
local information contents, and it is hoped that GIX will help the Gulf Internet
community to grow faster and more healthily. The establishment of GIX would
encourage participating ISPs to have more cooperation through GIX, e.g., news
exchange and Domain Name System (DNS) backups.
Future expansion of GIX could include connecting established Internet Service
Providers in any other Arab countries with their own international capacity.
A) Implementation of GIX
GIX can take the form of a neutrally-owned physical exchange point, managed and
supervised by non-profit semi-governmental organization such as GCC or any other
similar organization. Alternatively, GIX can be a cooperative project initiated,
coordinated and operated by participating ISPs in the region.
Figure 3: A Simple Implementation of GIX
GIX implementations can be started simple, just with one router interconnecting
participating ISPs, see Figure 3. Each participant leases a dedicated circuit to the
GIX location. There could be a minimum speed of the leased circuit to the GIX
location, such as 256 Kbps or higher. Accordingly, as the traffic increases among
GIX members, this minimum speed can be raised to TI (1.544 Mbps).
An upgrade to the simple implementation is depicted in Figure 4. Here GIX provides
a high-speed switched LAN (using fast Ethernet or ATM switch) and a routing
server. Each participant leases a dedicated circuit to the GIX location and places a
router there.
GIX can be the initial implementation of a full NAP in this region. Routing among
participating ISPs are based on BGP4 protocol. It is desirable to have mandatory
multilateral peering agreement to ensure greatest possible benefits to all, a router
server is used to provide a single view of routing for all participants. Each router on
GIX belongs to the same autonomous system (AS) as the corresponding ISP. It must
peer with the route server using BGP4 via the GIX LAN, and announce all routes of
the internal networks and downstreams. It must also accept all routes distributed by
the route server.
Figure 4: A Full Implementation of GIX
6. Conclusion
Current traffic among Gulf users has to go over USA-based backbones, as there is
no local inter connectivity between Gulf ISPs. This, of course, will slow the
response time and will decrease the amount of access to local sites, i.e., local
information exchange will be weak. Additionally, using the international links to
carry local traffic is a waste of valuable resources (the expensive international
bandwidth).
Therefore, it is recommended to have some local connectivity among Gulf ISPs.
GIX will play this role. Implementation of GIX can be either a cooperative effort
among the participating ISPs, or by non-profit semi-governmental organization.
GIX can take the form of a neutrally-owned physical exchange point, managed and
supervised by non-profit semi-governmental organization such as GCC or any other
similar organization. Alternatively, GIX can be a cooperative project initiated,
coordinated and operated by participating ISPs in the region.
It is hoped that GIX will help the Gulf Internet community to grow faster and more
healthily. In addition, it will encourage content provision by local sites especially in
the field of Arabic language and local-culture oriented contents.
References
1. CERFnet,
"Nationwide
Backbone
www.cerf.net/cerfnet/about/. 1997.
Infrastructure",
URL:
http://
2. Jack Richard, "Internet Architecture", Boardwatch Magazine, URL:
http://www.boardwatch.com. 1996.
3. Pacific Bell, "San Francisco Network Access Point", URL: http://
www.pacbell.com/Products/NAP/.
4. Ameritech Advanced Data Services and Bellcorp "Chicago Network Access
Point", http://www.ameritech.com/products/datalnap/ .
5. Ameritech,
"Chicago
NAP Overview",
www.ameritech.com/The_Chicago_NAP.html. 1997.
URL: http://
6. SprintLink, "New
www.sprintlink.net.
URL:
York
Network
Access
Point",
http://
7. MFS,
"Metropolitan
Area
ext2.mfsdatanet.com/MAE/.
Ethernets
(MAE)",
URL:
http://
8. "CIX-Commercial Internet Exchange", URL: http://www.cix.org.
9. "FIX-Federal Internet Exchange", URL: http://www.arc.nasa.gov.
10. Bill Manning, "Internet Exchange Points", URL: http://www.isi.edu/ div7/ra.
11. Che-Hoo Cheng, "Internet exchange for Local Traffic: Hong Kong's
experience", Internet Society Conference ;96 (INET'96), Montreal, Canada,
15-28 June, 1996.
12. "Asia Internet Backbone", URL: http://www.amsterdam.park.org:8888/ J
apan/TokyoNet/aip/HOT /INET /Wide.html.
*
*
*
Copyright and the Information Highway
in the Middle East Region
Mr. Michael N. Schlesinger*
Abstract
In order to connect themselves to a rapidly evolving global electronic marketplace,
countries of the Middle East Region need to take some fundamental first steps.
Physical infrastructure alone is not enough. The value of the information highway to
residents of the Middle East Region will depend on the quality and quantity of
content it carries. To encourage and protect that content, Middle East Region nations
need to develop a strong and stable legal regime that provides predictability in legal
outcomes to those who will do business in those countries. Such a strong legal
structure will both make doing business in those countries highly attractive to
foreign companies, as well as foster the development of high quality domestic hightech and entertainment industries. Such a legal regime, including effective
enforcement, is not only the prerequisite for complying with international standards,
such as those set forth in treaties such as the Berne Convention and the new digital
treaties agreed upon in Geneva in 1996 under the auspices of the World Inte11ectual
Property Organization (WIPO), but also is a prerequisite to accession to the World
Trade Organization (WTO).
Five specific aspects of the necessary legal regime wi11 be discussed:
1. Ensuring that copyright laws and regulations which protect domestic and
foreign works with at least WTO/TRIPS-Ievel protection are in place or put
into place.
2. Ratifying and implementing the two "digital" copyright treaties agreed upon at
the WIPO conference in 1996.
3. Providing improved enforcement, including civil, and administrative
remedies, as well as criminal penalties, that permit effective action against any
act of copyright infringement, as we11 as constitute a deterrent to further
infringements; enforcement provisions on copyright, c~']me, customs, tax and
communications must be effective in reducing high levels of commercial
copyright piracy, both domestically and at the borders of Middle East Region
nations.
4. Providing non-discriminatory market access for information and
entertainment products and services, including sunset of commercial agency
rules and other barriers preventing commercial establishment.
5. Providing more transparency in their legal regime, particularly in the area of
enforcement, and in other business regulations (including customs censorship,
tariffs, licensing).
* Counsel, International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA).
I. Introduction
In order to connect themselves to a rapidly evolving global electronic marketplace,
countries in the Midd1e East region need to take some fundamental first steps.
Physical infrastructure alone is not enough. The value of the Information Highway
to residents of the Middle East region will depend on the quality and quantity of
content it carries. To encourage and protect that content, Middle East nations need to
develop a strong and stable legal regime that provides predictability in legal
outcomes to those who will do business in copyright-based industries in those
countries. Such a strong legal structure for the protection of copyright will both
make doing business in those countries highly attractive to foreign companies, as
well as foster the development of high quality domestic high-tech and entertainment
industries. Such a legal regime, including effective enforcement, is not only the
prerequisite for complying with international copyright standards; such as those set
forth in treaties such as the Berne Convention and the new digital treaties agreed
upon in Geneva in 1996 under the auspices of the World Intel1ectual Property
Organization (WIPO), but is also a prerequisite to accession to the World Trade
Organization (WTO).
In the following paper, five fundamental steps which Middle East countries need to
take to provide adequate copyright protection to fully participate in global electronic
commerce will be discussed. First, Middle East countries must ensure that copyright
laws and regulations which protect domestic and foreign works with at least
WTO/TRIPS-Ieve1 protection are in place or put into place. Second, Middle East
countries must swiftly implement the two "digital" copyright treaties agreed upon at
the WIPO conference in 1996, the WIPO Copyright Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO
Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). Third, countries must provide
improved enforcement, including civil and administrative remedies, as well as
criminal penalties, that permit effective action against any act of copyright
infringement (including acts of copyright infringement that occur in the on line
environment), as well as constitute a deterrent to further infringements; enforcement
provisions on copyright, crime, customs, tax and communications must effectively
reduce high levels of commercial copyright piracy, including piracy occurring on the
Information Highway, both domestically and across the borders (both physical and
intangible) of Middle East nations. Fourth, Middle East countries must provide nondiscriminatory market access for information and entertainment products and
services, including the phasing out ("sunset") of commercial agency rules and other
barriers preventing commercial establishment. Fifth, Middle East countries must
provide more transparency in their legal regimes, particularly in the area of
enforcement, and in other business regulations (including customs, censorship,
tariffs and licensing).
11. WTO/TRIPS-Level Copyright Protection in the Middle
East region
Countries of the Middle East region must, if they have not already, provide that
copyright laws and regulations which protect domestic and foreign works with at
least WTO/TRIPS-level protection are in place or put into place.1
On January I, 1995, the World Trade Organization (WTO)2 replaced the General
Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).3 One of the major achievements of the
WTO Uruguay Round was the adoption of the Uruguay Round Agreement on TradeRelated Aspects of Intellectual Property, Including Trade in Counterfeit Goods
(TRIPS), which established minimum harmonizing standards in international
intellectual property rights protection.4 The copyright provisions of the TRIPS
Agreement established, at the time, certain minimum standards of copyright
protection, including the following:
Protecting computer programs "as literary works under the Berne Convention
(1971 )." Protecting compilations of data which constitute original creations
(by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents).
Providing right holders with a rental right in computer programs and sound
recordings. Providing protection to performers and producers of sound
recordings, including: the right to prevent the unauthorized fixation of their
unfixed performances and the reproduction of such fixations; the right of
performers to prevent the broadcasting by wireless means and the
communication to the public of their live performances (protection against the
so-called 'bootleg' recordings).
Providing protection consistent with Article 1-21 of the Berne Convention for
the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1971), including protection of
all works which have not yet fallen into the public domain (are still protected)
in the country of origin at the time of entry into force of the country's
adherence to Berne or TRIPS (this is the so-called 'retroactivity' principle of
Article 18 of the Berne Convention).
1. The current status of many of the countries of the region is set forth in Appendix A below.
2. Final Act Embodying the Results of the Uruguay Round of Multilateral Negotiations,
Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, art. l, available in Uruguay Round of
Multilateral Trade Negotiations. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, GATT, Doe.
MTN/FA 11 (1993).
3. General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, Oct. 30, J947, 6J Stat. A3, 55 U.N.T.S. 187.
4. Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, Inducing Trade in
Counterfeit Goods, GATT Doe. MTN/FA II-AIC (1993) (TRIPS). TRIPS covers the protection
of trademarks, patents, copyrights, trade secrets, databases and integrated circuits.
The TRIPS Agreement was adopted at the Uruguay Round negotiations in large part
because harmonization of copyright protection throughout the world was seen as a
way to fight the scourge of global copyright piracy that was hindering the
development of content-based, as well as high-tech industries. The substantive
standards are important (the current status of substantive laws in many Middle East
countries is set forth in Appendix A below). At the same time, it is important to
recognize that reducing copyright piracy will not depend solely on whether
substantive copyright law amendments are made, although such amendments are
fundamental first steps (which in many instances are needed in the Middle East
region), but on whether the TRIPS standards are enforced. The enforcement
provisions of the TRIPS Agreement text (Articles 41-61 of TRIPS) provide the basis
under the WTO regime for determining whether individual countries are adequately
able to fight piracy within and beyond their borders. (The TRIPS enforcement text is
briefly touched on below, and the Current status of enforcement in many Middle
East countries is set forth in Appendix B below).
The TRIPS Agreement was negotiated and concluded in a context where world
attention was focused on the problem of piracy, as it impacts on the production and
distribution of "traditional" types of works and "traditional" means of exploiting
them. However, by incorporating the substantive text of the Berne Convention
(1971), by adding, as TRIPS subject matter, computer programs and databases, and
by extending exclusive rights to commercial rental of computer programs and sound
recordings, the TRIPS Agreement has been of great relevance in establishing
standards of protection appropriate to the digital reproduction and transmission of
works, performances and sound recordings on advanced digital networks. As
discussed below, the new "digital" treaties of the World Intellectual Property
Organization (WIPO) bring the international standards of copyright protection more
fully into the digital age.
Ill. Implementation of The "Digital" WIPO Treaties
Countries of the Middle East region must swiftly ratify and implement the "digital"
WIPO treaties.
In December 1996, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)
Diplomatic Conference in Geneva adopted two new treaties, the WIPO Copyright
Treaty (WCT) and the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty (WPPT). The
WCT and WPPT provide the basic framework for initial legal tasks of countries
wishing to engage seriously in the new world of electronic commerce. Effective
implementation of the WCT and the WPPT by Middle East countries will give a big
boost to efforts to raise minimum standards of copyright protection in the Middle
East, particularly with respect to network-based delivery of copyrighted materials.
A. Basic Aspects of the WIPO Treaties
Fundamentally, the Internet transforms copyright piracy from a mostly local
phenomenon to a global plague. It makes it cheaper and easier than ever for thieves
to distribute unauthorized copies of copyrighted materials around the globe. The
WIPO treaties respond to this fundamental change by requiring each signatory
country to specify that creators have the basic property right to control digital copies
of their creations. Specifically, the WIPO treaties require the following:
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The WCT confirms that copyright protection fully extends to computer
programs "whatever may be the mode or form of expression," and to
original databases.
The WCT reaffirms that temporary reproductions, such as those that take
place in a computer's random-access-:memory (RAM) or "cache" are
subject tot the exclusive reproduction right to be provided under copyright.
The WCT reaffirms that right holders have and exclusive right to authorize
the distribution of copies of their works, including by digital copies.
The WCT requires countries to provide right holders with a broad
"communication to the public" right, including the "making available" of
works by any means, including by interactive digital networks. The WIPO
treaties clarify that copyright law applies in cyberspace, and therefore, only
the creator of a song, sound recording, audio-visual product, software
program or video game can, and should, be able to authorize it to be copied
(or 'uploaded') onto a World Wide Web site, transmitted across the
network, or performed or downloaded by a computer or other device half a
world away.
The WIPO treaties obligate signatory countries to effectively outlaw
circumvention of technologies that right holders use to prevent theft of their
creations (so-called "anti-circumvention" protection).
The WIPO treaties call for measures against tampering with tags and codes,
associated with copies of protected works and phonograms (so-called
"rights management information"), that are used to facilitate legitimate
distribution and licensing.
The WIPO treaties require countries to implement enforcement procedures
that permit "effective action" against infringement; including "expeditious
remedies" to prevent and deter piracy.
The minimum standards set by existing international agreements (the Berne
Convention, the TRIPS Agreement, the Geneva Phonograms Convention, etc.)
assure copyright owners most of the legal rights they need to continue producing and
disseminating their works in the digital environment. As noted above, all of the
Middle East region countries need to upgrade their statutes to provide these
minimum levels of protection. When amending their laws to satisfy the minimum
requirements of the 13erne and TRIPS Conventions, Middle East countries are
highly encouraged to upgrade their statutes to implement the WIPO treaties.
B. Anti-circumvention
Technological protections to prevent unauthorized access to, or use of, copyrighted
material, or illicit dissemination of protected works, are key enabling technologies
for the global electronic marketplace. These protections could take many forms and
serve many related purposes. Some of these protections are familiar, like the
"scrambling" of cable television premium service signals in order to limit access to
paid subscribers. Other protective technologies are more complex, like encryption of
text or software transmitted over the Internet. Technology can be used to encapsulate
copyrighted materials in a tamper-resistant electronic envelope. It can be designed to
allow for time-limited access, so that a customer can "test-drive" a software program
before acquiring it, or buy the right to watch a hit movie on a one-time basis. And
technology can inscribe an electronic watermark on digital materials, so that the
source of an unauthorized copy of any portion of the work can be reliably traced, or
unauthorized copying prevented.
No matter how sophisticated the technological protections employed, none are
invulnerable, and we can be sure that pirates will increasingly make it their business
to hack through encryption, decipher digital locks, steam open electronic envelopes,
or obliterate digital watermarks, so that valuable intellectual property can be stolen
and electronic commerce disrupted. In recognition of this fact, requirements to
outlaw the circumvention of these technologies are a central feature of both WIPO
treaties, and must be principal focus of efforts to update national laws for the
electronic commerce environment.
The two WIPO treaties contain virtually identical provisions that require signatory
countries to "provide adequate legal protection and effective legal remedies against
the circumvention of effective technological measures" that copyright owners use to
"restrict acts, in respect of their works, which are not authorized by the authors
concerned or permitted by law. "In implementing this obligation, national
legislatures should be guided by the following principles:
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To be "adequate and effective," anti-circumvention prohibitions must not be
confined to the act of circumvention itself, but must extend to the business
of providing circumvention tools.
Technologies that control access to copyrighted materials, as well as
exercise of exclusive rights, must be protected. The technological measures
that treaty signatories must protect include all those "that restrict acts in
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respect of" copyrighted materials.
Direct or indirect proof of a circumvention purpose must be recognized.
Components, as well as complete devices, must be covered .
Meaningful sanctions, including criminal penalties, must be available.
C. Rights Management Information (RMI)
Technological advances offer the prospect that copyright owners will increasingly
use technology, not only to prevent unauthorized access to our use of copyrighted
materials, but to provide opportunities for licensed accesses and uses through rights
management information (RMI) systems. Both treaties require adequate and
effective laws to prohibit improper tampering with electronic identification
information that may accompany or be linked to copyrighted materials, as part of
RMI systems. While implementation of these treaty requirements should be
reasonably straightforward, Middle East legislatures should take care to ensure that
employment of RMI systems always remains a voluntary decision of right holders.
IV. Enforcement to "Permit Effective Action Against" Copyright Infringement
and to Constitute a "Deterrent to Further Infringements"
Countries of the Middle East region must provide improved enforcement, including
civil and administrative remedies, as well as criminal penalties, that permit effective
action against any act of copyright infringement (including acts of copyright
infringement that occur in the online environment), as well as constitute a deterrent
to further infringements; enforcement provisions on copyright, crime, customs, tax
and communications must effectively reduce high levels of commercial copyright
piracy, both domestically and at the borders of countries in the Middle East region.
Copyright piracy, both traditional and over the Information Highway, is a trade
barrier which can be lowered significantly in a relatively short period of time, in
most cases, by a clear commitment from the responsible political officials and
enforcement authorities to take immediate action against large-scale commercial
pirates (including online pirates), and to impose deterrent penalties on such
infringers. The enforcement obligations in the TRIPS Agreement provide a
comprehensive foundation for the development of civil, administrative and criminal
procedures and remedies necessary for effective enforcement against traditional
forms of copyright piracy, as well as the kinds of piracy that will appear in the on
line environment. Specific TRIPS obligations include critical enforcement tools like
ex parte searches, injunctive relief, damages, effective border enforcement measures
and deterrent criminal penalties. It is up to each government to arrange and
coordinate efforts with its police, prosecutors, judges, customs officers, tax
authorities, administrative agencies (such as copyright bureaus and the relevant
government ministries) and other authorities to ensure that its enforcement system
complies with TRIPS.
software - piracy in which very few legitimate copies of a work are purchased by a
company or government ministry, which then proceeds. t? breach its license by
disseminating multiple copies among employees. Civil remedies against corporate
end-users of unauthorized copies of business software will be important in many
countries. Implementation issues which will bear watching are: (a) the availability of
civil ex parte searches under Article 50; (b) measure of civil damages issues in civil
law countries, and ensuring that full compensation is received from infringers
(Articles 41 and 45); (c) recovery of costs and expenses (Article 45); and (d)
ensuring against unduly protracted proceedings, either in seeking provisional
remedies or in proceedings on the merits (Article 41). These enforcement standards
require a regime that provides:
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Effective action against infringements, including expeditious remedies to
prevent infringements, and remedies which constitute a deterrent to further
infringements (Article 41.1).
Procedures that are fair and equitable, are not unnecessarily complicated or
costly, and do not entail any unreasonable time limits or unwarranted delays
(Article 41.2).
Transparency in the form of written decisions on the merits, made available to
the parties to a proceeding without undue delay (Article 41.3).
Adequate civil and administrative procedure and remedies, including the
availability of civil injunctions (Article 44); the disposal or destruction of pirate
goods (Article 46); the disposal or destruction of materials and implements the
predominant use of which has been in the creation of the infringing goods
(Article 46).
Provisional measures, including the availability of ex parte civil search orders
(Article 50).
Adequate border measures, such as applications to "suspend" the release of
infringing goods at the border (Articles 51 and 52); ex (officio actions 'to
suspend the release of infringing goods (Article 58); and the disposal or
destruction of suspended goods (Article 59).
Adequate criminal procedures, including deterrent penalties (Article 61); the
availability of seizure/forfeiture/destruction of infringing goods (Article 61);
and seizure/forfeiture/destruction of materials and implements the predominant
use of which has been in the commission of the offense (Article 61).
The "digital" WIPO treaties require enforcement provisions that parallel the general
enforcement obligations laid out in Article 41.1 of TRIPS. Article 14(2) of the WCT
(Article 23(2) of the WPPT) provide that Contracting Parties shall ensure that
enforcement procedures are available under their law, so as to permit effective action
against any act of infringement of rights covered by [the WCT and WPPT],
including expeditious remedies to prevent infringement and remedies which
constitute a deterrent to further infringements."
Appendix B provides a brief status report on copyright enforcement in many
countries in the Middle East region.
v. Improved Market Access for Information and Entertainment Products and
Services
Middle East countries must provide non-discriminatory market access for
information and entertainment products and services, including the phasing out
("sunset") of commercial agency rules and other barriers preventing commercial
establishment.
Governments of the Middle East region should provide non-discriminatory access
for information and entertainment services to all markets, through the reduction of
tariff and non-tariff barriers, and other measures which affect the free circulation of
information, education and entertainment-based goods and services.
In addition, Middle East region countries should consider joining the Information
Technology Agreement (ITA), which was adopted at the close of the first WTO
Ministerial Conference in December 1996 in Singapore, to reduce tariffs on
information technology products. The ITA provides for participants to eliminate
customs duties and other duties and charges on computers, communications
equipment, semiconductors, semiconductor manufacturing devices, computer
software, etc. by 25 percent at a time in four steps from July 1997 and to completely
abolish them by the year 2000, on a Most-Favored-Nation (MFN) basis (applied to
all WTO members). They also established a Committee on the Expansion of Trade
in Information Technology Products, which has monitored the implementation of the
ITA, and will discuss and approve expansion of product coverage and approve
requests from other countries to participate. I Countries of the Middle East are
conspicuously absent from the long list of countries which have joined the
Information Technology Agreement (ITA). Work toward preparing an ITA-II has
already begun.
I The current 43 participants to the ITA account for 93 per cent of world trade in IT products. They
are: Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, The Czech Republic, EC 15, El Salvador, Estonia, Hong Kong
(China), Iceland, Israel, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Liechtenstein, Macau, Malaysia, New
Zealand, Norway, The Philippines, Poland, Romania, Singapore, The Slovak Republic,
Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Turkey and the United States. Estonia and Chinese Taipei
are in the process of acceding to the WTO.
Finally, customs valuation methods should be reformed to match international
trends. For those copyrighted products on which tariffs continue to be imposed, it is
important for governments to ensure that customs valuation is based on the physical
medium embodying the copyrighted work, and not the value of the copyrighted
work itself. The overwhelming international trend is toward assessing duties only
over the value of the physical media.
VI. Transparency in the Legal Regimes, Particularly in the Area of
Enforcement
Middle East countries must provide more transparency in their legal regimes,
particularly in the area of enforcement, and in other business regulations (including
customs, censorship, tariffs and licensing).
Transparency concerns not only the notification to trading partners of laws and
regulations, but, equally as important, procedures for the enforcement of rights that
are easy to understand and use. TRIPS once again provides certain minimum
standards for transparency, providing that member countries publish or make
publicly available laws, regulations and final judicial decisions and administrative
rulings (Article 63.1). In addition, all bilateral agreements between WTO members
must be published (Article 63.1). Also, in order to achieve "effective" remedies that
are "fair and equitable" under the general TRIPS enforcement text (Article 41), it is
vital that countries provide enforcement mechanisms that enable governments and
right holders to become acquainted with the methods and procedures of obtaining
enforcement, in addition to those in charge of, or responsible for, bringing
enforcement efforts about.
Appendix B addresses in part certain transparency concerns in the Middle East
region, including: the lack of transparency in disclosing the occurrence of ex parte
raids; the lack of procedures for notifying interested parties of enforcement actions;
the failure on the part of government authorities to, and the inability of right holders
to get official permission to, publicize enforcement actions; the lack of transparency
and predictability of enforcement procedures; the general lack of clarity in the law
regarding how enforcement actions are initiated and prosecuted; and the lack of
official procedures regarding the disposal, destruction, etc. of confiscated equipment.
VII. Conclusion: Responsibility and Creativity in Electronic Commerce in the
Middle East Region
Technological developments and market changes have brought people in the Middle
East region, indeed, and all over the world, to the threshold of an exciting future, one
in which their access to entertainment, information, education and productivity tools
will be more extensive, less expensive, and more convenient than ever before. While
a digital marketplace in creative works offers great promise, it also presents
formidable challenges. Unless all participants in this new marketplace shoulder the
responsibility of promoting the values of honesty, fairness, and respect for the
property of others, electronic commerce cannot possibly succeed.
The theft of intellectual property threatens to blight the potential of the digital
marketplace, The very same technology that facilitates the legitimate distribution of
an unparalleled diversity of creative products around the world also makes possible
the greatest threat to the success of electronic commerce. Countless ingenious
individuals around the world, including in the Middle East region, are working
together to create the cornucoepia that global digital networks can deliver to our
homes, offices, and schools. Unfortunately, this bounty is vulnerable to thievery in
electronic commerce. A regional strategy for the Middle East that promotes
responsibility and respect for the creative work of others can yield enormous
benefits for the public.
Of all the policy issues raised by the advent of global electronic commerce, none
may be more critical to its success than the protection of intellectual property. The
value of the Internet to its users turns directly upon the content that moves across it,
and the software tools that enable users to reap its benefits. Intellectual property
protection is the most effective incentive for the creation and widespread distribution
of valuable content, and for the development and dissemination of useful software
tools. To the extent that those incentives are weakened or undercut, the spectrum of
information and entertainment products and services made available over digital
networks, and the functionality of the networks themselves to end-users, will shrink
to the lower end of the value chain, or perhaps disappear altogether.
Copyright gives creators the basic property rights that enable them to authorize and
control the copying, distribution, performance and display of the works they create.
Exercising these exclusive rights themselves, or licensing someone else to exercise
them, is the main way that creators earn a living and generate revenue. That revenue
is needed to underwrite the skyrocketing costs of producing and distributing motion
pictures; developing, testing and maintaining computer software; scouting,
recording, and promoting musical talent; and all the other activities that are
indispensable to bringing creative works to the public. Copyright also makes
possible the paychecks for the millions of jobs the creative industries generate
worldwide.
It is no exaggeration to say that without these basic property rights, there would be
no creative industries. People who make it their business to steal that property, by
using works without permission and without compensation and credit to the creators,
are destroying the economic basis for new entertainment titles, better software, and
more up-to-date and comprehensive educational and research products. That sealing
thwarts the development of new technologies and the growth of economic activity
on the Internet. Combatting copyright theft in order to foster the growth of electronic
commerce requires a multi-faceted strategy. Adequate TRIPS-compatible laws are
only a beginning. Public education about copyright, especially targeted to network
users, is an important part of the equation. As part of providing a base for strong
legal protections, the new "digital" WIPO treaties must be implemented. More
importantly, once these laws are in place, they must be vigorously enforced within
and without the borders of countries of the Middle East region, if sufficient
intellectual property incentives are to be preserved. Markets must be opened to the
new technologies and to content transmitted over digital networks, but only in an
environment that respects the property rights of the creators of that content. Finally,
the market cannot develop fully if right holders are unaware of the practices and
procedures put into place for the protection of intellectual property. Transparency of
the enforcement and legal systems in the Middle East region must be a top priority.
Decisions made by the governments of the Middle East region in the months ahead
could determine whether electronic commerce will achieve its exciting potential in
the Middle East. A legal framework that gives incentives to creativity, encourages
responsibility, and rewards respect for property rights is indispensable to the healthy
development of the digital marketplace.
APPENDIX A:
Substantive Law Issues in the Middle East Region
The following is a brief status report on substantive copyright law developments in
many Middle Eastern countries.
1. Bahrain
The Copyright Law of Bahrain came into effect in 1993. Bahrain joined the WTO as
a charter member, and deposited its instrument of accession to the Berne Convention
in 1996. Bahrain considers itself to be (for the purposes of the TRIPS Agreement) a
developing country, and claims entitlement to the TRIPS transition period of four
years to bring its copyright law and enforcement regime into compliance with the
obligations of TRIPS (other than national treatment and MFN, which apply to all
WTO members, regardless of their claims to developing country status).1 Bahrain IS
immediately subject to the national treatment and MFN requirements of Articles 3
and 4 of TRIPS, and should take steps now to bring its law into compliance with
TRIPS in other respects.
Bahrain officially became a member of the Berne Convention on March 2, 1997.
Thus, in theory, works of foreign Berne members are now protected in Bahrain.
Bahrain continues to negotiate a bilateral copyright agreement with the V.S. It is
uncertain whether the Berne Convention is self-executing under Bahrain's legal
system, but even if it is, it is not a good enough substitute for amendments to the
domestic copyright law to bring it into full compliance with Berne and TRIPS. Thus,
while the Bahraini government should be commended for acceding to the Berne
Convention, leading the way for other countries in the Middle East region to do the
same, Bahrain's copyright law (1993), falls short of compatibility with Berne and
TRIPS standards in several important respects. Problems include:
A) There is no clear point-of-attachment provision for international treaties; such a
provision should be added to the law to give effect to Bahrain's Berne and
TRIPS accessions. (Article 43 of the law provides protection only if a work is
first published in Bahrain.)
B) Second recordings are not specifically mentioned in the law; when the law is
amended, these should be covered expressly. Bahrain should also join the
Geneva Phonograms Convention to ensure a firm legal
I However, it is not clear that Bahrain should be entitled to such self-designation, as Bahrain's per
capita GDP for ]995, as estimated in the 1996 World Factbook, was $12,000, higher than that of a
clearly developed country such as Greece ($9,500 GDP).
foundation for the protection of foreign sound recordings as well, even though
foreign sound recordings will be protected under TRIPS.
C) Bahrain appears to require copyright registration and deposit as a condition of
protection. As to foreign works originating in any Berne country, such as the
D.S., this requirement is inconsistent with Berne and should be eliminated.
D) Importantly, works and sound recordings whose terms of protection have not
expired in the country of origin should be fully protected for the remainder of
their TRIPS-compatible terms. The law appears to provide retroactive
protection for Bahraini works, and Bahrain is obliged under TRIPS, as well as
under Berne itself, to provide similar protection to other WTO members (or
Berne members, as the case may be).
E) Computer programs must be expressly protected as literary works, as required
by Berne and TRIPS; they are now protected as a separate category of work.
The law should also be amended to clearly encompass protection for
compilations of unprotected data (databases) .
F) A definition of audiovisual works should be added to cover all cinematographic
works, regardless of the medium of fixation. Performers should be protected as
specified in TRIPS Article l4.
G)
Article 6 of the Copyright Law should be amended to allow the copyright
owner to control the commercial rental of its sound recordings and computer
programs, as required by TRIPS.
H) Article 7 of the Copyright Law should be clarified to prohibit unauthorized
translations, dubbing or subtitling of works.
I) Several of the exceptions to protection are overly broad and must be narrowed
to be Berne- and TRIPS-compatible.
J) The term of protection for computer programs is incompatible with Berne and
TRIPS and must be 50 years form first publication. In addition, sound
recordings must be protected for 50 years as required by TRIPS.
K) Penalties for infringement (1000 Dinars, or about DS$2,660, and a one-year jail
term) are insufficient to deter piracy and are below the penalties available in the
majority of countries. Such penalties do not satisfy TRIPS enforcement
obligations and should be increased.
L) Various remedies provided in TRIPS, such as ex parte searches, are clearly
provided.
Other possible amendments to the law which the Bahraini government should
consider include defining the meaning of "public" in the public communication
right. In addition, the Copyright law of Bahrain does not provide an exclusive
importation right, which would allow copyright owners to stop unauthorized parallel
imports into Bahrain.
2. Egypt
With the passage of amendments in 1994 to the 1954 Copyright act, the Egyptian
copyright law is, except as noted, Berne and TRIPS compatible. However, some
questions have been raised whether the Egyptian courts will protect foreign works
published before 1954. Egypt has always maintained that the Berne Convention is
self-executing in Egypt and, if Egypt follows the rule of Article 18 of the Berne
Convention, works should be protected back to 1948. With respect to sound
recordings, Egypt became a member of the Geneva Phonograms Convention in
1978. Since this Convention does not expressly require protection for pre-existing
sound recordings, there is potentially a retroactivity problem here - at least until
Egypt remedies the problem or until it obligates itself under the TRIPS agreement.
3. Jordan
Jordan adopted a new copyright law in 1992, but it falls short of internationallyaccepted copyright norms. While proposed amendments to the copyright law would
greatly improve certain· of the inadequacies, the Jordanian Parliament failed to pass
the amendments prior to its dissolution in March 1997; in October 1997, the
Jordanian government reported merely that the long-awaited amended copyright law
was "in the Parliament," but made no commitments on a time-frame for passage of
the bill. Because Jordan is not a member of any international copyright convention,
and has not yet joined the World Trade Organization (WTO), there is no point of
attachment which would protect WTO member works and sound recordings; only
Jordanian works (or works first published in Jordan) benefit from the law's minimal
protections. Nor will Jordan be able to join the Berne or Geneva Conventions
without an overhaul of its copyright system. Jordanian officials' repeated expressions
of interest in implementing and enforcing the copyright law amendments should be
matched by a swifter pace in the Parliament to bring about the necessary changes to
the copyright law to satisfy intentional standards.
Major inadequacies in the 1992 law include the following: sound recordings are not
protected; there are unusually short terms of protection (30 years for
cinematographic works, 15 years for computer software’s years with respect to
translations); the compulsory licenses (many in favor of the government, for
government radio and television broadcasts, or for government-mandated
translations) fail to meet international standards; ,there are onerous mandatory
registration and deposit requirements; and criminal penalties for copyright
infringement are too low to deter piracy (three months in jail and/or a fine not
exceeding 1,000 Dinars (US$ I ,400).
While the Jordanian government has made no commitments on a time for passage of
the bill, the Jordanian government has agreed to create an informal working group
on intellectual property rights. The latest draft amendments, if enacted, would
accomplish the following: extend the terms of protection (but still fail to provide a
50-year term for computer software); add protection for performers; and increase
penalties to include imprisonment of from three months to three years, and/or a fine
of from 1,000 to 25,000 Dinars (US$1,400 to US$35,300). Unfortunately, onerous
deposit requirements for foreign works remain (which, while not affecting copyright
protection, are nevertheless mandatory and apply expressly to foreign works). There
is also a potentially overly broad exception to protection a]]owing the full public
exhibition or display of films, music, etc. in educational, cultural or social
establishments, as long as no "pecuniary benefit" is derived. There are also a number
of technical deficiencies relating to points of attachment, and the failure to amend
the 1992 law to protect computer programs as "literary works" instead of as a
separate category of work. Clarification is still necessary regarding the bill's
provisions on rental rights and retroactivity. Final1y, the proposed translation and
reproduction licenses still do not meet the standards of the Berne Convention
Appendix.
4. Kuwait
Kuwait does not yet have a copyright law. The Kuwaiti Parliament has unfortunately
not yet passed a copyright law that satisfies its international obligations, leaving
foreign works, sound recordings, and performances unprotected. The Parliament has
been working on preparation of a draft copyright law since 1989, with the most
recent draft being introduced in October 1997. Kuwait should pass this law swiftly
with changes necessary to bring it into compliance with Berne Convention and
TRIPS obligations.
Kuwait is not a member [1998] of any international copyright convention.
Therefore, as Kuwait is a WTO member, TRIPS remains the only link by which
other WTO member countries can demand copyright protection in Kuwait. Even
through Kuwait is obliged to afford WTO members national treatment because of its
TRIPS obligations, the lack of any national law means that WTO members' works,
sound recordings and performances are not protected under copyright in Kuwait.
Also, Kuwait has claimed that it is a "developing country", which would entitle it to
a four-year transition period to bring its copyright regime into compliance with the
substantive obligations of TRIPS (other than national treatment and MFN which
apply to al1 WTO members, regardless of their claims to developing country
status).] Kuwait's claim to be able to take advantage of transition could be
chal1enged, however, given its stage of development. Kuwait's per capita GNP for
1994, as measured by the World Bank, was $19,420, exceeding that of clearly
developed countries like: Italy ($19,300), Australia ($18,000) and Greece ($9,500).
Regardless of Kuwait's status as a developed or developing nation as it pertains to
the TRIPS Agreement, in order to fulfill its obligations under TRIPS by January 1,
2000 (including the enforcement obligations), Kuwait should begin implementing
legislation which meets its TRIPS obligation now.
It is hoped that the Kuwaiti Parliament will be able to pass the draft copyright law
with changes necessary to bring the law into compliance with TRIPS standards by
the end of the current Parliamentary term (the current session runs until June 1998).
Among the shortcomings to the 1997 draft copyright law, for which revisions were
required were: the apparent lack of protection for sound recordings, notwithstanding
the Ministry of Information's assurances that sound recordings can be protected
under a provision protecting "audiovisual broadcast works"; the combining of
software and databases in the same provision, with a worrisome "uniqueness"
requirement; and the lack of a clear rental right for sound recordings and computer
programs past the first sale.
A) The draft as first circulated provided unclear protection of sound recordings.
Article 3(f) of the bill protects "audiovisual broadcast works," which the
Kuwaiti Ministry of Information has stated includes sound recordings. The
Ministry of Information has reportedly fixed this problem, by adding to the end
of the provision the words, "and sound recordings." Failure to fix this problem
would leave Kuwait in non-compliance with its TRIPS obligations.
B) The combining of software and databases in the same provision may give rise to
confusion. Particularly problematic is the bill's apparent requirement that
computer software and databases involve” innovation, novelty and uniqueness"
in order to be protected. If the translations of these terms are correct, the
requirements they impose upon copyright owners go beyond the requirements
for protection under TRIPS and Berne, which merely require that a work be an
"intellectual creation," or original. Failure to fix this provision would similarly
leave Kuwait in non-compliance with its TRIPS obligations. The catch-all right
of "dissemination to the public" in Article 8 of the bill may not include a
"rental" right for computer programs or sound recordings, as required by
TRIPS. The Kuwaiti government has reportedly agreed to solve this problem as
well, by adding a rental right to the distribution right.
Among the improvements of the 1997 bill over previous drafts are the following: the
term of protection would be TRIPS-compatible, and protection would be fully
retroactive; foreign works would be protected on the basis of reciprocity (Kuwait is
already a WTO member and is reportedly planning to join the Berne Convention);
pirate copies of works, equipment used for making such copies and documentation
would become subject to seizure; the deposit requirement for copyright protection,
appearing in earlier versions of the draft law, has been removed; and finally,
criminal penalties would include a maximum fine of KD 1,000 (U.S$3,300) and
imprisonment of up to one year for a first offense (fines for second offenses would
be doubled and a video outlet's license could be revoked upon a second conviction).
5. Lebanon
Unlike some of its Middle East neighbors, Lebanon has a copyright law, which was
enacted in 1924. Unfortunately, it is outmoded, questionable in its coverage, and
lacks adequate penalties needed to satisfy TRIPS. For instance, the legal basis for
asserting protection for sound recordings and computer programs in Lebanon is
Article 138 of the governing decree, which protects works manifesting "human
intelligence," in formats including "rolls, discs and perforated cardboard, etc. for
talking machines." Point of attachment for protection of foreign works is also a
concern, especially for sound recordings: while Lebanon adheres to the 1928 Rome
text of the Berne Convention (as of September 30, 1947), it is neither a member of
the Geneva Phonograms Convention nor the World Trade Organization (Lebanon is
not even an "observer government," meaning that it is unclear when or if Lebanon
will begin negotiating accession to the WTO). Lebanon's copyright law framework
does not satisfy TRIPS standards, and a thoroughly revised new law is overdue.
Lebanon took the first step toward adopting a new copyright law in November 1997,
when the Lebanese Joint Parliamentary Commission approved the first 20 Articles
of the new law. However, debate on the remainder of the law was stalled, as some
members of the Commission opposed Article 21 of the draft law (an exception to the
exclusive reproduction right to make a back-up copy of a computer program), urging
that a "compulsory license" to force foreign software companies to sell software to
students at low prices, prices that would be set by the government. Any such
compulsory license for computer software would be both a Berne Convention and
TRIPS violation. Many on the Commission understood the compulsory license
provision for software as a violation of the Berne Convention and TRIPS (any
provision that permits copying of a computer program without authorization of the
copyright owner in a license agreement would violate TRIPS and the Berne
Convention). Passage of the copyright law with any compulsory license for
computer software would have an overwhelmingly adverse impact on Lebanon
meeting its present and future international obligations. 1 (Adapted from foreign
laws regarding back-up copies).
1 The following changes are proposed as absolutely necessary to make the law satisfactory with
respect to computer program protection. Assuming that the law will retain the treatment of a
computer program as a separate category of work, rather than being protected as a "written" work,
a separate provision stating that a computer program is considred a literary work is needed. Also,
the appropriate technical term is "computer program" and not "computer software" (as we
understand the translation of the Lebanese draft refers to).
If computer programs are to be protected under a separate chapter, the chapter should come at the
end of "works" provisions, and before the neighboring rights section.
The following language could be adopted by the Commission for the protection of computer
programs:
"Chapter [XX]
Scope of, and Exceptions to, Protection for Computer Programs
Article [XX]: For purposes of this law, computer programs are literary works and shall be
protected as such. ]n determining whether a computer program is protected under this law, no
criteria other than whether the program is an original creation of the author shall be applied,
including any test as to its qualitative or aesthetic merit. Computer programs shall be protected
regardless of the medium of its fixation.
(Adapted from the EC Software Directive and the Berne Convention and TRIPS agreement).
Article [XX]: Where a computer program is created by an employee in the course of employment
or by a person or persons pursuant to a contract or commission, the economic rights shall initially
vest in the employer or the person or legal entity that has contracted for or commissioned the
computer program.
Article [XX]: Notwithstanding the provisions of Article 17 [or whatever final article covers the
exclusive economic rights], it is permissible for the lawful owner of a copy of computer program
to reproduce a single copy only for the following purposes:
1. use the computer program with a computer for the purpose and extent intended by the
copyright owner of the computer program;
2. for archival purposes and for replacement of that copy of the computer program in the event
that such copy is lost, destroyed or becomes unusable.
No copy of a computer program shall be used for any purpose other than those specified above,
and an~ such copy shall be destroyed in the event that continued possession of the copy of the
computer program ceases to be lawful."
Approval of the first 20 Articles of the draft copyright law was a positive initial step,
and now Lebanon should follow through in providing adequate protection to all right
holders, including right holders of computer programs.
6. Oman
A Sultani Decree in June 1996 gave Oman its first copyright law, but it has some
major flaws, has not been implemented yet, and does not at present provide
protection for U.S. works through the Copyright Law. Oman needs to fix its law and
implement it as quickly as possible.
Oman's first copyright law was established upon the issuance of a decree by Sultan
Qaboos Bin Said in June 1996. Among the positive features of the law, the
maximum penalties under the Copyright Law include imprisonment of up to two
years and a fine of RO 2,000 (US$5,200) (doubled for second offenses), which
appear sufficient to deter piracy. The Copyright Law also makes exporting
unauthorized copies of works a crime and provides for the confiscation of materials
and equipment used in pirate production. However, long-promised implementing
regulations for the Copyright Law have still not been issued (despite statements by a
high ranking Omani government official in October 1997 that the implementing
regulations would be released by December 1997, with a three-to six-month "selloff' period). Even if released in 1998, it is unclear whether the implementing
regulations will clear up ambiguities in the Copyright Law such as whether sound
recordings are protected as "audio works" under Article 2(f). It is also unclear
whether the implementing regulations will clear up other flaws of the Omani
copyright law that render it useless in certain respects for foreign right holders:
inadequate terms of protection, and inadequate points of attachment for protection of
foreign works.
Under the Omani Copyright Law, many works - including audio-visual works,
posthumous works,] and (apparently) all works owned by corporate entities - are
protected for only 25 years from publication, rather than the minimum of 50 years
that Berne and TRIPS standards would require. Furthermore, foreign works are only
protected if they first published in Oman, or on the basis of reciprocity (that is, if
Omani works are protected in the foreign country). Oman joined WIPO on February
19, ] 997, and apparently, the Omani government decided in July ] 997 to join the
Berne Convention, although its application has not been submitted as of yet. If
Oman does join the Berne Convention, then Berne member works would be
protected in Oman (and assuming arguendo that "audio" works encompass sound
recordings, Berne member sound recordings would likewise be protected). However,
as Oman has not yet taken this step, Berne member works are not at present
protected in Oman under its copyright law. In addition, Oman has applied for
membership to the World Trade Organization (WTO), but is still in the process of
negotiating accession (Oman participated in its first WTO Working Party meeting
on April 30, ] 997, and is considered one of 32 "Observer Governments" (as of
October 22, 1997». If Oman joins the WTO, it will be bound to protect U.S. works
in Oman under the TRIPS Agreement.
I Works not published at the time of the author's death are also subject to a Berne incompatible
compulsory license that would allow others to publish the works if the heirs do not do so within six
months of a request.
7. Qatar
Qatar's copyright law was adopted in July 1995, and finally came into force in
October 1996. While the enactment of a copyright law is a welcome development,
and while the Qatari copyright law contains many positive aspects, several major
deficiencies remain, which must be rectified by Qatar as soon as possible. For
example, the law makes no provision for the protection of foreign works except on
the basis of reciprocity. Qatar is a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO)
(as of January 13, 1996), which obligates it to protect works from other WTO
members. While it is clear that WTO member works must be protected in Qatar on
the basis of reciprocity, Qatar should revise or interpret its law to clarify that works
of foreign countries which belong to international agreements adhered to by Qatar
are expressly protected.
Qatar entered the WTO, self-designating itself (for the purposes of the TRIPS
Agreement) as a developing country. By so doing, Qatar claims entitlement to the
TRIPS transition period of 4 years to bring its copyright regime (presumably
including its enforcement regime) into compliance with the substantive obligations
in TRIPS (other than national treatment and MFN, which apply to all WTO
members, regardless of their claims to developing country status). However, Qatar's
claim to be able to take advantage of transition could be challenged given its stage of
development. Qatar's per capita GDP for 1994, according to a ]996 World Fact book
estimate, was $20,820, more than twice the figure for some inarguably developed
countries such as Portugal and Greece (Greece's per capita GDP in 1995 was
$9,500). In any event, Qatar is immediately subject to the national treatment and
MFN requirements of Articles 3 and 4 of TRIPS, and should take steps now to bring
its law into TRIPS compliance in other respects.
In addition to the problem regarding the uncertainty of protection for foreign works
(described above), other problems with Qatar's copyright law remain, and should be
amended or fixed through implementing regulations for Qatar to satisfy
WTO/TRIPS standards. These include the following:
A)
B)
C)
D)
E)
F)
G)
H)
It is unclear whether the Qatari copyright law imposes an "innovativeness"
requirement (as opposed to originality) for protection of works. while this may
in part be a translation problem, an amendment to the copyright law should
clarify the standard for protection of a work as "original," not innovative.
Protection for sound recordings is not explicitly clear in the Qatari copyright
law. Qatar's law protects "radio works and creative audiovisual works," a
category that does not on its face necessitate coverage of sound recordings.
When the law is amended, sound recordings should be expressly covered. Qatar
should also join the Geneva Phonograms Convention to ensure a firm legal
foundation for the protection of foreign sound recordings, even though foreign
sound recordings must be protected via TRIPS.
The Qatari copyright law appears to include onerous certification and licensing
requirements (Article 7). Any amendment should clarify at least that the
certification and licensing requirements do not apply to foreign works.
Preferably, this certification and licensing provision should be made a
voluntary system for right holders to help Qatari authorities verify legitimate
titles.
The Qatari copyright law also appears to require copyright registration and
deposit as a pre-condition to protection. Such a requirement would be
inconsistent with the Berne Convention, which requires that works be protected
without formalities. Any decree or amendment to the Qatari copyright law
should clarify that, at least as to foreign works, no registration or deposit is
necessary to qualify for protection.
Computer programs must be expressly protected as literary works, as required
by TRIPS; they are now protected as a separate category of work. The law
should also be amended to clearly encompass protection for original
compilations of unprotected data (databases).
A definition of audiovisual works should be added to cover all cinematographic
works, regardless of the medium of fixation. Performers should be protected as
specified in TRIPS Article 14.
The Qatari copyright law does not expressly allow a right holder to control the
commercial rental of its sound recordings and computer programs, as required
by TRIPS. The general right to "utilize" a work may be interpreted to include a
broad rental right for sound recordings and computer programs, but it would be
preferable for Qatar to amend its law to expressly include such a right.
The Qatari copyright law does not provide an exclusive importation right,
which would allow copyright owners to stop unauthorized parallel imports into
I)
J)
K)
Qatar. Again, it is possible that the general right to "utilize" a work could be
interpreted to include an exclusive importation right, which would allow
copyright owners to stop unauthorized parallel imports into Qatar, but it would
be preferable for Qatar to amend its law to expressly include such a right.
Several of the exceptions to protection, particularly the "personal use"
exception in Article 17 to the Qatari Copyright Law, are overly broad and must
be narrowed to be Berne- and TRIPS-compatible.
Various remedies provided in TRIPS, such as ex parte searches, are not clearly
provided for in the Qatari copyright law.
Whether pre-existing works are covered by the law is unclear. The
WTO/TRIPS standard requires full protection for pre-existing works and sound
recordings back a full 50 years. An amendment should make clear that works
are protected retroactively in line with the terms of protection provided in the
Qatari copyright law.
8. Saudi Arabia
While the Saudi copyright law entered into effect on January 12, 1990, it was not
until July 1, 1994, when its Universal Copyright Convention (UCC) membership
became effective, that foreign works (of UCC signatories) were first protected in the
Kingdom. The Saudi government has also stated that its law extends protection to
sound recordings from UCC member countries as well.
The Saudi government has stated its intention to join the World Trade organization
(WTO), having participated in its first WTO Working Party (accession) meeting in
May 1996. In order to meet the standards of protection and enforcement embodied in
the WTO/TRIPS Agreement, however, certain amendments would have to be made
to the existing copyright law. As Saudi Arabia would not be entitled to a transition
period to come into compliance with these obligations, these amendments are
necessary to the successful continuation of WTO accession talks. The Saudi
government has been so informed by the other WTO members at its recent accession
talks.
Amendments needed to bring the Saudi copyright law into compliance with
Berne/TRIPS include:
A) Protection for foreign works needs to be clarified. The Saudi law does not contain
a provision permitting treaties to act as a point of attachment for foreign works.
While the government has claimed that the UCC is "self-executing" in the
Kingdom, as amendment expressl including eligibility by treaty would remove all
legal doubts. Whil~ some scholars have questioned whether the UCC extends to
the protection of sound recordings, the Saudi authorities have stated
unequivocally that they will protect sound recordings as "works" under the UCc.
To clarify any ambiguity, Saudi Arabia should join the Geneva Phonograms
Convention; if it then joins the WTO, that agreement itself expressly requires
protection for sound recordings.
B) Computer programs should be protected expressly as "literary works," as required
by the Berne Convention and TRIPS.
C) The law should be amended to clarify that compilations of unprotected facts and
data are protected.
D) Audiovisual works, while mentioned in the law, should be protected expressly as
"works". While the law applies to all pre-existing works as of the effective date of
its implementation (January 12, 1990), the Saudi authorities, upon amending the
law to bring it into compliance with international standards in the TRIPS
agreement, should clarify that these provisions extend to all foreign works and
sound recordings under the principle of national treatment. Further, they should
ensure, pursuant to the provisions of Article 18 of the Berne Convention and
Articles 9 and 14(6) of TRIPS, that sound recordings and audiovisual works
relegated to the public domain in Saudi Arabia as a result of the short term of
protection afforded under the current law (only 25 years) are recaptured into
copyright for the remainder of the 50-year term required by TRIPS. The Ministry
of Information has informed industry that it is applying the law now so as to
provide, in effect, a full 50 years of protection for pre-existing works and sound
recordings.
E) The law should be amended to expressly include all the Berne Article 11 bis
rights (broadcasting, rebroadcasting, retransmission by cable, communication of
the work to the public) and all types of broadcasting via satellite.
F) The short 25-year term of protection for sound recordings and audiovisual works
must be extended to 50 years to be both Berne- and TRIPS-compatible.
G) The very broad personal use exemption must be replaced by a Berne and
TRIPS-compatible provision. Any personal use exception should not apply to
computer programs or to other works in digital format.
H) The Berne-incompatible compulsory license permitting the publication and
reproduction of any work for educational, school, cultural or scientific purposes
within a period of three years of the date of first publication under certain
circumstances should be deleted.
1) Deposit requirements should be clarified, so as not to apply to foreign works.
J) Criminal penalties must be increased. Jail terms are not included in the
copyright law and should be added. In addition, the levels of fines (a maximum
of about US$2,600) are far too low to deter piracy, and must be substantially
increased if Saudi Arabia is to comply with the enforcement provisions of the
TRIPS Agreement.
These amendments
noncontroversial.
recommended
are
straightforward
and
should
be
9. United Arab Emirates
A recent court decision has caused great concern about the ability to protect foreign
works in the U.A.E. On October 25, 1997, the Dubai Court of Cassation ruled in the
Shama/Delux case that non-U.A.E. works had to be registered in the U.A.E. before
criminal enforcement would be allowed. However, Section 3 of the D.A.E.
Copyright Law provides protection to 1) works of U.A.E. nationals published inside
or outside the country; 2) works of non-nationals published for the first time in the
U.A.E.: and, 3) works of nationals of any country which provides reciprocal
protection to works of U.A.E. nationals. Since the U.A.E. and the United States (the
nationality of the plaintiff in the Shama/Delux case) are both WTO members (the
U.A.E. joined the WTO as of April 10, 1996), requiring each to provide national
treatment to works of the other's nationals, the last criteria of Section 3 should
provide protection for WTO member works (including U.S. works). The Court's
failure to recognize that U.S. works are protected, while apparently erroneous,
arguably puts the U.A.E. in violation of its TRIPS obligations to provide national
treatment, and causes serious concerns about the protection of WTO member works
in the D.A.E. To solve the problem, the Ministry of Information should issue a
written decree immediately, clarifying that foreign works are protected in the U.A.E.
on the basis of national treatment, without any formalities, such as a registration or
deposit requirement.
The 1992 U.A.E. Copyright Law (effective April 12, 1993) does not meet Berne or
TRIPS standards. In June 1996, the Ministry of Information and Culture (MOIC)
Undersecretary announced that the Ministry was conducting in comprehensive
review of the copyright law. I In October 1997, MOIC officials stated that draft
amendments to the copyright law, intended to bring the U.A.E.'s copyright law into
compliance with TRIPS and the Berne Convention, would be sent to the Ministry of
Justice for review soon. MOIC reportedly consulted with WIPO in the drafting but
has not yet released a copy of the draft for comment. The major issues for
amendment which must be addressed include:
A) The 1992 copyright law does not contain a clear point of attachment for foreign
works. As discussed above, due to the recent Court of Cassation decision, this
problem is in urgent need of a fix, preferably by a swiftly issued decree, then in
the amendments to the copyright law being circulated. In the amendments to
the copyright law, a clear provision in the law regarding protection for foreign
works, sound recordings, and performances should be added.
B) The current law does not expressly and unambiguously cover sound recordings.
Although D.A.E. officials have assured the recording industry that sound
recordings are protected by the law, a provision in the law should expressly
state this.
C) Computer programs are not protected as "literary works," as is required under
Berne and TRIPS, and protection for compilations of unprotected facts and data
is unclear. The refusal to deal with pirated videogames shows the practical
impact of this failure to meet the TRIPS standards.
D) The law recognizes a broad exclusive "right to use." It should be made clear
that this right encompasses each of the TRIPS-exclusive rights, including rental
for software and sound recordings. The right of translation is limited to three
years, and must be amended. A right to control both piratical and parallel
importation should be expressly provided.
E) Exceptions to protection are overly broad and not in compliance with TRIPS
standards.
F) The terms of protection of life plus 25 years, and 25 years for films and works
of legal entities (which would presumably include sound recordings), are too
short to comply with international standards, and must be extended to life plus
50 years and, at a minimum, 50 years from publication for audiovisual works
and sound recordings. 1 "Copyright law undergoing comprehensive revision," Gulf
News, June 26, 1996.
G) The law does not provide for civil remedies and the criminal remedies are
incomplete. A fine of a minimum 50,000 Dirhams ($13,610) is a significant
deterrent, but it is unclear what fines can be imposed over the minimum.
Imprisonment of three months to one year also is called for, but no sentencing
guidelines are provided for specific infringements. Nor do these penalties cover
all areas of commercial piracy. Clearly defined, substantial fines and prison
sentences sufficient to deter piracy are required.
H) Whether pre-existing works are covered by the law is unclear. TRIPS requires
full protection for pre-existing works and sound recordings back a full 50 years.
For instance, the term of protection is only 25 years and foreign works are not
expressly protected. The D.A.E. is not a member of the Berne Convention, or
does it have a bilateral copyright agreement with the United States.
Nonetheless, the U.A.E. government should protect WTO member works under
its law since the U.A.E. is a WTO member.
APPENDIXB:
Enforcement Issues in the Middle East Region
The following is a brief status report on enforcement Issues III many countries of the
Middle East region.
1. Bahrain
The Bahraini government has recently signaled that it intends to increase
enforcement efforts against copyright piracy. Recent reports indicate that the
government has begun concerted education and enforcement efforts under a new
acting Director of the "Directorate of Publications" in the Ministry of Cabinet
Affairs and Information (MOI). An enforcement campaign, giving dealers until
February 28, 1998 to learn and obey the copyright laws, was announced on January
1, 1998 by the MOL Sporadic actions against pirate shops began in June 1996 and
have resulted in the closure of at least 15 shops, including major operations like AINawras, for periods of two weeks to three months, for violation of the censorship
laws.
Recent reports also indicate that the MOl has begun implementing a nine-step plan
to combat piracy in Bahrain. Among the measures reportedly included in this plan is
a general informational campaign under which the Ministry visits video shops to
inform them of their legal obligations to respect copyright. The MOl has also
initiated systematic inspections of video shops, during which it seizes a small
amount of pirate product and issues cease-and-desist letters with three-month
deadlines for elimination of .Piracy from the inspected shop. As of November, 1997,
the MOI reportedly has conducted over 120 of these inspections (seizing
approximately 2,700 cassettes), closed two stores for two months each and arrested
several people for 3 to 14 days. A number of these actions were coordinated With
Raids by the Ministry of Interior against private residences being used for illicit
duplication.
Issues. that remain in the Bahraini market with respect to enforcement of
copyright Include the following:
A) The Bahraini market is still filled with piracy, including widespread video and
audio piracy.
B) Penalties for infringement are often insufficient to deter piracy and are below
the penalties available in the vast majority of countries; in addition, various
remedies Provided in TRIPS such as ex parte searches, are not clearly provided
for.
C) Notwithstanding the positive signs noted above, enforcement efforts remain
sporadic and non-deterrent, including some surprise inspections, temporary
closures, and warnings (without effective punitive actions, such as fines or
imprisonment).
D) Unauthorized photocopying, and the availability of India-only reprints and
pirate books from the Middle East and Far East, remain problems for the book
industry in Bahrain.
E) Mal maintains an onerous, expensive, and needlessly complicated copyright
registration system that appears incompatible with Bahrain's obligations under
WTO/TRIPS. In the absence of effective protection through the Copyright Law,
some right holders have sought anti-piracy protection through the censorship
approval process. A right holder can provide the Censorship Department
'authorized distributor certificates' which verify the right holder's distribution
arrangements in Bahrain; these certificates raise a presumption of copyright
ownership and distribution authorization for right holders and require others
attempting to obtain censorship approval for those titles to provide proof of their
rights. However, this system is only partly effective in Bahrain. High fees
(BD25 (US$66.3l) or more per title) and unnecessarily complicated registration
requirements have created uncertainty about the system and have discouraged
some right holders from registering their titles. The Ministry also may not be
checking for copyright authorization when it registers titles. Final1y, the rights
to registered titles may become complicated when a company changes its
distributor.
F) It has been reported that the Bahraini Ministry of Information (Mal) has
recently begun issuing two certificates on a title-by-title basis one certificate of
distribution and another "registration" certificate to qualify for copyright
protection under Bahraini law. These certificates may serve in lieu of the
current system or the Censorship Department certificate system. Unfortunately,
the reported fee structure for the release of the title is BD25 (US$66.3 I) for
copyright registration, and BD25 (US$66.3 I) for "protection." Given the high
piracy rate and small size of the Bahraini market, these charges are
prohibitively high. In addition, this registration system, if indeed a prerequisite
to copyright protection, may be a violation of Bahrain's obligations under the
Berne Convention (Article 5(2), which prohibits formality requirements for
copyright protection) and should be discontinued. The Bahraini government
must clarify these new requirements to eliminate undue administrative,
financial or other barriers to trade, and to ensure that its "registration" system
does not violate the Berne Convention.
2. Egypt
Enforcement activities in Egypt have been erratic over the years. Significant
progress, however, has occurred in the last six months, with greater numbers of
Anti-Piracy Police officers (increased by 70, to over 85 countrywide), and a
significant number of raids in 1997 (although software end-user piracy raids have
not been conducted).
The following are the main enforcement issues in Egypt:
a) Fines imposed in piracy cases continue to be below the statutory standards, and
are too low to provide a deterrent to further infringements. Penalties for first
infringements are fines not less than LE5,000 and not more than LE 10,000
(US$I ,666-$3,333); for second offenses, the fine is not less than LE 10,000 and
not more than LE 50,000 ($3,333-$16,667) and imprisonment.
b) There continues to be a lack of transparency in raids in Egypt. The exact nature
of evidence seized in raids is unclear to right holders pending formal charging
documents which do not appear in the public file for at least six months after the
raids.
c) Execution of judgements remains problematic in Egypt. Appeals can be made in
cases involving first instance sentences even when the defendant did not appear
before the court in the first instance. Col1ection of any final judgement, should
one issue after the appeals period, is nearly non-existent.
d) The biggest software piracy problem in Egypt is end-user piracy involving large,
medium and small companies, schools, and even government ministries. On
August 27,1997, the Ministry of Trade and Supply publicly announced the
resumption of enforcement actions, and there were initial private indications that
the government would take enforcement actions against end-user piracy.
However, it has recently become clear that the Egyptian government will not
take actions against end-user piracy within either the private or public sector.
CD-ROM compilations are beginning to show up in Egypt though the evidence
so far is that they are not factory-manufactured, but "gold" disks made on CDrecording machines.
e) Illegal photocopying around Egyptian universities of textbooks continues to be a
problem in Egypt. Commercial book prices is also present. Legitimate books
sent for sale at vastly discounted piracy to meet the Egyptian market's need are
pirated on a commercial basis, leaving the legitimate stock unsold. The recent
cancellation of the British low-priced ELBS (English Language Book Scheme)
program has increased the demand for very inexpensive books, and thus piracy is
one the rise.
f) Back-to-back pirate video copying for rental copy in video shops remains a
significant piracy problem in Egypt.
g) Unauthorized agreements, which allegedly provide four Egyptian companies
with the rights to the repertoires of several international sound recording
companies, have in error been recognized by the Ministry of Culture as
authentic. The Ministry of Culture's action in this matter has resulted in major
international record companies being unable to enter into the appropriate
agreements in Egypt to cover the sale and distribution of recordings owned by
them.
h) Censorship restrictions on foreign music repertoire continue to be strict.
3. Jordan
The following are the main enforcement issues in Jordan:
A) The home video market is almost entirely pirated in Jordan. Most pirate videos
are available for rental prior to their theatrical release and are low quality, third
and fourth generation back-to-back copies made from imported pirate masters.
The widespread video piracy also hurts Jordanian theaters. Unauthorized public
performance of videos in hotels also is commonplace. The "Audiovisual Law of
1997" (discussed below), which was passed by the Jordanian Parliament on
February 22, 1997, has had absolutely no effect on enforcement against video
piracy in Jordan. This law should, among other things, provide some means for
licensees and distributors of foreign-fi1me.d entertainment to use the
censorship process to protect some of their products.
B) Jordan's law still does not provide protection for computer programs, so there is
no enforcement against software piracy. End-users of computer software
regularly receive mailings advertising pirated software at competitive prices.
C) Jordan's law still does not provide any protection for sound recordings, so there
is little legitimate market for international repertoire.
D) The book market in Jordan is deteriorating as piracy worsens., Although there
are new private universities with increased numbers of students, sales of
imported books have dropped.
4. Kuwait
Because there is no copyright law in Kuwait, U.S. works, sound recordings and
performances are not protected there (see discussion below). There .i~ some antipiracy protection for certain works available. under Kuwaiti decrees. Such protection
is not equivalent to copyright protection as required by TRIPS. Further, after initial
encouraging anti-piracy efforts taken by ~he Kuwaiti authorities in 1995 and most of
1996, the anti-piracy campaign deteriorated in 1997.
a) Large "under the counter" market for both audiovisual works and business
software remains in Kuwait.
b) There is currently no enforcement against software, sound recording or book
piracy (and insufficient enforcement against video piracy).
5. Lebanon
The fight against copyright piracy in Lebanon continues to inch forward, with
implementation of the 1994 Broadcast Law raising hopes for real progress in
stopping widespread TV piracy. Lebanon's 1994 Broadcast Law was finally
implemented in late 1996. Under this legislation, most of the dozens of unregulated
TV stations throughout the country were supposed to be shut down, leaving only six
licensed broadcasters (four of them private) nationwide. To the extent that this
system imposes some order on the broadcasting jungle that has flourished in
Lebanon since the civil war, it offers great potential for uprooting the TV piracy that
has thrived in the country for some years.
The following are the main enforcement issues in Lebanon:
A) The courts are blacklogged and inefficient, posing a major impediment to
effective enforcement of copyright across the board. Postponements, even of
urgent matters, are the norm, and criminal cases can take years to reach
judgment. Also, private criminal complaints must be filed to obtain copyright
enforcement in Lebanon. In order to facilitate enforcement, piracy should be
made an ex-officio crime, able to be prosecuted by public authorities.
B) Even if software is protected under current law in Lebanon, which is
questionable, there is no enforcement of the law. End-user piracy is pervasive
among the largest banks and virtually all government ministries in Lebanon.
While Lebanon has hosted many seminars on copyright issues in recent years,
these have resulted in no positive developments.
C) Video piracy is now the main piracy problem in Lebanon. The home video
market is estimated to be 80% pirate, with higher quality product now being
copied from imported laser discs. TV piracy remains a vexing problem, which
undermines the market for legitimate theatrical releases, and makes entry into
the home video market extremely difficult.
D) Enforcement against audio piracy is virtually non-existent.
E) The college textbook market shows a disturbing pattern of declining legitimate
sales and growing anecdotal reports of printing and export of pirate editions on
a commercial scale.
6. Oman
Oman's market continues to be dominated by piracy, and it is a haven for pirates
fleeing neighboring states. A Sultani Decree in June 1996 gave Oman its first
copyright law, but it has some major flaws, has not been implemented yet, and does
not at present provide protection for foreign works through the Copyright Law.
Enforcement issues in Oman include the following:
A) The Burami Oasis, on the border of Oman and the U.A.E., already has become
a major conduit for pirate product from Oman to enter the U.A.E.
B) The unauthorized exhibition of videos is widespread in Omani hotels.
C) Legitimate distributors still have no legal basis to protect their products and the
market remains almost completely in the hands of pirates.
D) Alternative enforcement methods used to obtain limited de facto copyright
protection in other countries are not available in Oman.
E) There is no means to use authorized distributor certificates (for censorship of
videos) in the Omani system. Pirates routinely obtain censorship approval for
titles for which they have no rights.
F) Pirate cassettes are produced locally and quantities of these are exported to
other markets in the region. Pirate CDs are imported from Southeast Asia.
G) The business software market is almost totally dominated by unauthorized
products in Oman. Pirates serve not only the local market, but also in
neighboring U.A.E., where resellers arrange for their customers to pick up
pirate product in Oman. Shops in the Omani capital of Muscat openly sell pirate
copies alongside original versions of business software, with shop owners
asking customers whether they want the original or the pirated copy.
H) Losses due to book piracy arise from the unauthorized importation of editions
intended for India, as well as from commercial photocopying of U.S. books.
7. Qatar
Following enactment of the Copyright Law (which went into force in October 1996),
and the issuance of a Ministerial circular warning that copyright enforcement would
begin shortly, the Qatari market appears to be marking transition. For example,
inspections in October 1996 indicated that most video shops had stopped openly
displaying illegal products. Similarly, video distributors report· that shops now buy
more legitimate product. In addition, some enforcement is now being taken against
audio piracy.
The enforcement issues in Qatar include the following:
A) No judicial enforcement has occurred so far. No enforcement whatever has
been undertaken with regard to laser discs, even though the new copyright law
appears to ban the unauthorized sale of parallel imported material.
B) Pirate versions of new software titles are available in Qatar "under the counter"
almost as soon as they are released anywhere in the world.
C) Back-to-back copying and "under the counter" sales continue.
D) Parallel imported laser discs are also available and are used as masters for local
production of pirate videos.
E) Many hotels show foreign videos in public without authorization.
F) A troublesome development in Qatar has been the recent dissolution of the
Ministry of Information and Culture (MOIC). Both the Censorship Department
and the Copyright Bureau, which were part of MOIC, continue to exit, and the
Copyright Bureau has now become part of the
Ministry of Finance and Trade. Prior to this recent development, the state of flux of
the Copyright Bureau made it impossible for the Copyright Bureau to enforce the
Copyright Law and, as that situation became public, overt piracy reemerged. It is
hoped that the move of the Copyright Burau into the Ministry of Finance and Trade
will resolve this concern.
8. Saudi Arabia
Copyright enforcement efforts by the Saudi government have improved over the past
year. There had been concern in late 1996 that enforcement efforts had stalled, a
discouraging sign after enforcement led by the Saudi Ministry of Information (MOI)
had improved in late 1995 and early 1996. Fortunately, the MOI began cooperating
more closely with industry and increased its enforcement efforts again in 1997.
Further work needs to be done to improve Saudi enforcement procedures, ranging
from improved consistency and transparency to the imposition of strong deterrent
penalties.1 The principal problems in Saudi Arabia's copyright enforcement regime
include the fo11owing:
a) Enforcement efforts in Saudi Arabia continue to be inconsistent and sporadic.
b) Saudi Arabian authorities continue to fail to impose deterrent penalties.
c) Targets of infringement investigations are being pre-notified prior to raids being
carried out, providing the establishments to be raided with the opportunity to
discard infringing product prior to the raids.
d) There continues to be a lack of transparency in disclosing the occurrence of ex
parte software raids. First of a11, the results of raids are notified to interested
parties only in general terms, and only after the fact of the raid, making it
impossible to determine from government reports the fines or penalties imposed
in software cases. In addition, there is no established procedure for notifying
interested parties.
e) Fina11y, official permission to publicize raids (including names of the raided
shops), fines and penalties is not being given to right holders, reducing greatly
the deterrent effect of enforcement actions.
I Toward achieving this end, IIPA and its members, in conjuction with the Riyadh Chamber of
Commerce and Industry, held a three-day enforcement training seminar in Riyadh in October
1997, to train police and other enforcement officials in copyright enforcement matters.
f) There continues to be a lack of transparency and predictability of enforcement
procedures (fundamental points of procedure in copyright infringement cases are
left unclear by Saudi authorities; there is a general lack of clarity in the law
regarding how enforcement actions are initiated and prosecuted; there are no
official procedures regarding the disposal, destruction, etc. of confiscated
equipment).
g) Saudi Arabia lacks an enforcement infrastructure, or the personnel needed to
effectively tackle its piracy problems.
h) Saudi Arabian authorities have failed to take enforcement actions and impose
deterrent penalties against the unauthorized public performance of pirate (and
legitimate) videos, unauthorized retransmission of European sate11ite signals in
hotels, and have failed to end the unauthorized transmission of copyrighted
television programs by ARABSAT in violation of its terrestrial-only licenses.
i) Penalties are not adequate to deter piracy. For example, the fines imposed on 58
software rese11ers during the last two reporting periods averaged between $266
and $5,333, with the average fine being about $ 1,500. By order of the Minister,
fines should be no less that 5,000 Riyals (about US$ 1,300). The Copyright
Regulation provides for fines of up to 10,000 Riyals (US$2,600) and closure for
up to. 15 days for first offenses and up to 20,000 Riyals (US$5,200) for repeat
offenses. MOI has stated that the Ministry order that second-time offenders be
subject to these higher fines as we11 as shop closures for 20 to 90 days. So far,
only two fines have been obtained for software piracy to date: $800 in one case
for a first offender, and $1,300 in a case involving a repeat offender.
j) There is no established rule regarding the measure of damages. Injunctive relief
is an extraordinary remedy, and is rarely granted and is of doubtful
enforceability. Expenses are typically not awarded by Saudi courts and
administrative bodies.
k) MOI lacks a sufficiently large and we11-trained contingent of inspectors. Staff is
unable to provide reliable, comprehensive statistics
on enforcement actions.
L) The main targets of book piracy - both commercial piracy and photocopying are English language and teaching materials (ESL). Some photocopying is
occurring at universities, encouraged by university departments when the books
ordered do not arrive on time. Students also copy books chapter-by-chapter in
order to avoid purchasing the book. Pirated texts have been imported from
Lebanon. However, a more significant problem are parallel imports of Indiaonly reprints which continue to enter the Saudi market.
9. United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) authorities have stepped up enforcement efforts
in recent years, resulting in reduced piracy rates for nearly all the copyright
industries.
Enforcement issues remaining in the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) include:
a) Inconsistent enforcement efforts from Emirate to Emirate.
b) The market in the U.A.E. for entertainment software, including CD-ROM and
cartridge-based videogames, is almost entirely pirate. Pirate cartridge-based
videogames manufactured in China find their way into the U.A.E. via Hong
Kong. Right holders have been unable to seize pirated videogames in Dubai,
because of the U.A.E. authorities' refusal to recognize that videogames are
protected under copyright. The U.A.E. has reportedly refused to accept copyright
c)
d)
e)
f)
registrations for videogames, and as a result, these works were totally
unprotected against piracy.
High "under the counter" video piracy level (pirate copies of the newest releases
and home delivery are provided to preferred customers).
Inadequate border controls in Burami Oasis, the town straddling the U.A.EOman border (which is literally divided by a single street). Piracy is widespread
on the Omani side and pirate product is simply carried into U.A.E.
Inability of foreign sound recording owners to register their recordings directly
with the Ministry of Information and Culture, rather than having to go through
local distributors.
Most losses to the book publishing industry in the U.A.E. are due to
photocopying and the import and sale of "India-only" reprints and pirate books
from elsewhere in the Middle East and from Asia. In 1997, mass market
paperbacks in Indian-licensed editions have started appearing in this market. The
government cracks down on piracy produced locally, but does not appear to pay
much attention to illegal imports.
*
3.
*
*
Security Aspects of the Internet-based
Electronic Commerce
Mr. Mohssen Alabbadi*
Abstract
The Internet is becoming the major facilitator to conduct business-to-consumer
electronic commerce. Furthermore, the business-to-business electronic commerce,
which has been well established using private networks or value-added networks
(VANs), is now either changing to, or integrating with the Internet. However, using
the Internet for e1ectromc commerce raises questions about the security, reliability,
and delivery of the transaction. In this paper, the security aspects of electronic
commerce are investigated. The security requirements to conduct electronic
commerce in the Internet are identified; they are: confidentiality, integrity,
authentication, authorization, non-repudiation, assurance, and privacy. The technical
solutions for these requirements described (assurance and privacy) .however, have
no complete technical solutions. Finally, the present solution initiatives are outlined.
Keywords: Cryptography; Electronic Commerce; Internet Security; Security
Standards.
* King Abdulaziz City for Science & Technology (KACST) Computers and Electronics Research
Institute (CERI), Saudi Arabia.
Introduction
The Internet has “almost” worldwide connectivity at a relatively very low cost; the
number of sites on the Internet is growing at an exponential ratet11. Internet services
such as electronic mail (E-mail) and World wide web (WWW or simply the Web)
and its support for interactive functions, make the Internet an attractive and potential
facilitator for electronic commerce (or cybercommerce[2]*), particularly for
business-to-consumer transactions. This type of electronic commerce has established
its roots in the Internet, and we now see “Shopping Malls” over the Internet offering
“almost’ all consumer goods.
On the other hand, the “traditional” electronic commerce, which is more dominated
by the business-to-business transactions, is based on private networks or valueadded networks (VANs). These networks offer security, reliability, and receipt
confirmation, but they suffer from its limited connectivity and low interactive
functions (these networks are mainly based on store-and-forward mechanisms).
However, some of the business-to-business transactions are recently being
conducted on the Internet. It seems that the business-to-business electronic
commerce is either migrating to, or integrating with, the Internet.
The downside of the Internet is the absence of a central authority to manage the
Internet, reliability is low (although improving) and most importantly its insecurity
(unless additional provisions are applied). The insecurity of the Internet is due to
flaws in its infrastructure; the Internet was originally designed for academic
activities and research. Security breaches of the Internet can come indifferent forms.
The following are examples of such attacks:
a) Attackers were able to penetrate sites that were believed to be very secure; the
home page of the US Air Force was replaced with obscenities and antigovernment phrases31, and the home page of the Central Intelligence Agency
(CIA) had been vandalized three months before the incident on the Air Force’s
home page, where the CIA’s name was replaced by “Central Stupidity
Agency”41.
b) Credit card numbers were stolen; In March 1995, the U.S. Secret Service and
others closed down a scam involving 50,000 credit card numbers stolen
from MCI’s computer, resulting in $50 million fraudulent charges[5].
* The word “Cyher” is derived from the Greek word kyber which means a steersman or a high
level navigator. Wiener used the term “Cybernetics” to define the science of communications and
control within a system and how the system interacts with (or navigate through) its environment.
Gibson used the term “Cyberspace” in science fiction to refer to the dimension-less world or
computer data that a user must navigate through [2. p. 38].
Despite the headlines of the public media about its vulnerability, the Internet-based
electronic commerce is a reality, and it will continue to grow. This is because the
newly developed "practical" solutions that can provide a "secure" electronic
commerce over the Internet. Another reason for this growth is that it is a kind of
business where it is expected that profits will out-weight the losses. A market
research firm predicted the revenues from the Internet-based electronic commerce to
reach $46.2 bi11ion by the end of the year 2000[5]. Another firm projected a total of
$230 bi11ion in sales generated through electronic marketing (including CD-ROM
catalogs, online storefronts and Internet "maIls") by the year 2000[5].
This paper examines the security aspects of the Internet-based electronic commerce.
The outline of the paper is as follows’; Section 2 describes the notion of electronic
commerce, while the threats on the Internet are briefly explained in section 3. The
security requirements to conduct commerce in the "real world" are given in section
4. Section 5 deals with cryptography and the cryptographic techniques for the
provision of the security requirements, whereas Section 6 outlines some of the
initiatives. Finally, concluding remarks are drawn in section 7.
Electronic Commerce
Electronic commerce can be generally defined as "Any type of business transaction
where the involved parties interact electronically rather than by physical exchange or
direct physical contact." With this definition, the use of the telegraph system, which
was introduced in the nineteenth century, for "wire transfer" of funds between
branches of a bank or between different banks can be considered the first incident of
electronic commerce [6, p.3].Furthermore, correspondents by fax and the like are
another form of electronic commerce.
The above definition, although accurate, neither encompasses the potential power of
electronic commerce, nor utilizes the full dynamic scope. of electronic commerce.
The spirit of electronic commerce relies on keeping the data of the transaction in one
from, i.e., digital, during the business cycle.
Electronic commerce is a technology for change, not an "add-on." It is thus the
synergy of computerized business processes and computer networks[7] as shown in
Fig. 1.
The situation where a supplier provides goods or services to a customer in return of
payment is commonly known as electronic trading. A special case of electronic
trading is electronic retailing, where the client is an ordinary customer rather than
another business.
With respect to the organizations involved in electronic commerce, transactions can
be divided, as shown in Fig. 2, into four distinct categories[8]:
a) business-to-business;
b) business-to-consumer;
c) business-to-government;
d) consumer-to-government.
The business-to-business category has been well established, particularly using
electronic data interchange* (EDT)191, or electronic funds transfer** (EFT) over
private networks or value-added networks (VANs). Recently, the Internet is being
considered to facilitate transactions in this category. the OpenEDI21 specifications
allow EDI transactions to be conducted over the Internet.
The business-to-consumer category is increasingly growing using the Internet. We
now see shopping malls over the Internet offering almost all consumer goods.
* Electronic data interchange allows companies to conduct transactions in a standardized form.
** Electronic fund transfer is a system designed to allow secure and reliable transmission of
electronic payments.
The third and fourth categories are in their infancy. However, the growth of the first
two categories will be reflected on these two categories, making the government
extend its electronic interactions to business, as well as to consumers.
Threats on the Internet
Attacks can be launched at many points on the Internet, including the user’s
computer, the service. provider’s computer, or at any point between the user and the
service provider. In this paper, we only consider the security of the messages
exchanged between computers.
In general, computer networks, including the Internet, suffer from the following
threats[10]:
• Unauthorized release of information;
• Unauthorized modification of information;
• Unauthorized denial of resource use.
The term “unauthorized” implies that those attacks take place contrary to some
security policy. The first attack is usually referred to as eavesdropping (or passive
wiretapping), while the others are called tampering (or active wiretapping).
Eavesdropping attacks can result in either the theft of sensitive information (such as
credit card numbers, customer account numbers, etc.) or the theft of services that are
limited to subscribers (for example, password-sniffing programs are used to capture
passwords). Furthermore, even if the data is not intelligible to the attacker, observing
the control portion of the transmitted packets may release information about the
involved entities in the transaction; this is known as traffic analysis.
Data modification attacks can be used to modify the contents of a transaction (e.g.,
changing the order, the amount, or the payee of a transaction). In addition, an entity
may masquerade as another entity; this is known as spoofing attacks (An attacker
may set up a storefront and collect thousands of credit card numbers).
Denial of resource use can be launched in several ways. For example, the attacker
may discard the passing packets or delay the packets going in at least one direction.
Security Requirements for Electronic Commerce
Common security requirements for conducting commerce in the “real word” should
provide the minimum requirements for electronic commerce. The requirements are
[7,11,12]:
a) Confidentiality: Transaction data is restricted to the involved legitimate parties.
For example, when one gives a credit card number to a travel agent; it is
expected that this number will be disclosed to those with legitimate need to
know it, such as the airlines and the bank.
b) Integrity: Transaction data (either stored or transmitted) should not be modified.
c) Authentication: Each party is assured of the other party involved in the
transaction. When dealing in the real word, authentication of business to the
customer is implicit due to the place of business and the like, authentication of
the customer may be based on the driver’s license, etc.
d) Non-repudiation: Neither party is able to deny the involvement in the
transaction.
e) Assurance: It assures the requester that the service provider is competent and
worthy of trust (e.g., business license and the like).
f) Privacy: The transaction details should not be released. For example, an
organization conducting research might purchase some products but does
not want competitors to learn about the nature of the products.
In the “real world,” we rely a great deal on physical security, while in electronic
commerce we must place additional reliance on electronic means for protecting the
transactions.
All the requirements, other than the last two, can be technically solved using
cryptographic techniques as explained in the next section. The assurance and privacy
requirements do not have complete technical solutions, and legal or contractual
obligation may be imposed for their provision.
Cryptographic Techniques
There are three cryptographic techniques that play major role in electronic
commerce. They are:
• Cryptosy stems;
• Digital signature scheme;
• Message-digest functions.
For more details about cryptography, the reader is advised to consult [23].
a) Cryptosystems
A cryptosystem consists mainly of an encrypion algorithm and its inverse (i.e., the
decryption algorithm). Each algorithm is controlled by its own key:
an encryption key and a decryption key. The encryption algorithm trails- forms the
original message, called plaintext or cleartext, in such a way that the intended
receiver is the only one capable of “easily” recovering the original message from the
transformed one, called ciphertxt, using the descryption algorithm and its associated
key.
With respect to keys, cryptosystems are classified as private-key and pith/ic- key
cryptosystems1131. In a private-key cryptosystem (or symmetric system), such as
the Data Encryption Standard (DES)’41, the two keys are easily distinguished from
each other; both keys should thus be kept secret. In a public-key cryptosystem (or
asymmetric system), the two keys are related in a such a way that it is
“computationally” hard to extract the decryption key from the encryption key; this
allows the publication of the encryption key, by placing it in a public file, so that it
can be used by others to encrypt messages intended for the owner of the key. The
RSA’5 is a public-key cryptosystem which bases its security on the difficulty of the
factorization problem.
b) Digital Signature Schemes
A digital signature scheme consists of a signature generation algorithm, controlled
by the signer’s private-key, and a signature verification algorithm, controlled by the
signer’s public-key. The two keys are related in exactly the same way as the keys in
the public-key cryptosystems, as explained in the previous subsection.
A digital signature of a message, to be appended to, or an integral part of the
message, is a quantity produced by the signature generation algorithm. It is a
function of the message, the private-key of the signer, and possibly some public
information known to all users. The signature verification algorithm allows other
users to validate the digital signature of a message using the public-key of the signer,
and possibly some public information. Examples of digital signature schemes are the
RSA [15], El Gamal's scheme [19], and the Digital Signature Standard (DSS) [20].
A digital signature is thus analogous to the ordinary hand-written signature with the
added feature that it offers more protection against fraud than its counterpart [16],
because it is message-dependent. Therefore, it may be used to resolve disputes in a
court of low [17,18].
c) Message-digest Functions
A hash function takes a variable-size input and returns a fixed-size string, which is
called the hash value. A message-digest function is a hash function that is a one-way
function (i.e., hard to invert). The message-digest thus represents the longer message
or document. We can think of a message-digest as a "fingerprint" of the longer
message or document. Examples of message-digest functions are MD5 (MD stands
for message-digest) [21] and the Secure Hash Standard (SHS) [22].
Security Solutions
The use of public keys, for public-key cryptosystems or digital signature schemes,
necessitates the use of certificates. A certificate is a digital document allowing the
verification of the claim that a given public key does in fact belong to a given entity
or individual. The content of user's A certificate is shown in Fig. 3. A certificate is
issued and signed by a certifying authority.
Confidentiality can be established using cryptosystems. Data integrity can be
provided through cryptosystems, message-digest functions, and digital signature
schemes. Digital signature schemes can provide non-repudiation.
Recently, several protocols have been proposed to provide the security",
requirements of electronic commerce. They are all similar in the cryptographic
techniques they use, thus providing similar services. They mainly differ in the
manner they provide services, and in their locations in the Transmission Control
Protocol/Internet protocol (TCP/IP) stack.
Conclusion
In this paper, the threats of using the Internet is discussed. Then the security
requirements to conduct electronic commerce over the Internet are identified. The
requirement are: confidentiality, integrity, authentication, authorization, nonrepudiation, assurance, and privacy. The technical solutions for these requirements
are described. These solutions are based on the following cryptographic techniques:
cryptosystems, digital signature schemes, and message-digest functions. The
assurance and privacy requirements, however, have no complete technical solutions;
their provision may require legal and/or contractual obligations.
References
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IDG Books Worldwide, Inc., 1997.
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14. National Bureau of Standards, "Data Encryption standard," Federal
Information Processing Standard (PIPS) Publication 46, January 1977, US
Department of Commerce, Washington, DC, USA.
15. R. Rivest, A. Shamir, and L. Adleman, "A method for obtaining digital
signatures and public-key cryptosystem," Communications of the ACM, Vol.
12, No. 2, pp. 120-126, February 1978.
16. S.G. Akl, "Digital signature: A tutorial survey," Computer, pp. 15-24,
February] 983 (IEEE Computer Magazine).
17. S.M. Lipton and S.M. Matyas, "Making digital signatures legal and
safeguarded," Data Communications, pp. 41-52, February 1978.
18. P.W. Brown, "Digital signature: Are they legal Jar electronic commerce,"
IEEE Communications Magazine, Vo!. 32,' No. 9, pp. 7680, September 1994.
19. T. El Gamal, "A public-key cyrptosystem and digital signature based on
discrete lorathms," IEEE Transactions on Information Theory, Vo1. IT3] , pp.
469-572, 1985.
20. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), "Public at XX:
Announcement and specification for a Digital Signature Stand.(DSS),"
Washington, DC, USA, August 19, 1992.
21. R.L. Rivest, "The MD5 message-digest algorithm," RFC 1321, AI 1992.
22. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), "Secure H Function
(SHS)," Federal Information Processing standard (FIJ Publication 180, May
11, 1993, Washington, DC, USA, August 1992.
23. B. Schneier, "Applied Cryptography," John Wiley & Sons, Inc., N York,
USA, 1996.
* * *
The Technical and Institutional Privacy
Protection Plan For The Joint Application of
Personal Information Based on the
Information Highway
Ms. Boyoung Lee and Mr. Dongho Won*
Abstract
The Project of Electronic resident registration card is progressing in Korea at
present. This Project plays many different roles such as, driver's license, resident
card, the national pensions card, the medical insurance card and the certificate of the
cardholder's seal of impression on a smart card and it is based on the Information
Highway. Information Highway will be constructed till the year 2010. It has the
significance that the government offers people a 'one-stop' administration service.
Therefore, the administrative organ constructs an on-line system that is related to
personal information action. This action, which makes a joint use of personal
information to each public institution, is expected to increase convenience to the
people and to strengthen the nation's competitive power, but it also brings about
some side-effects.
In this paper, we propose the scheme for the activation of joint application on
personal information.
* Dept. of Information Engineering, Sung-Kyun-Kwan University, Korea.
I. Introduction
The resident registration cards are issued to every Korean older than 17 years of age,
as the certificate of their registration as residents. They are issued by the chiefs of
Dong, Myon, Eup and Township and City Mayors after verifying their registration
with the family register and the military service register. At the macro level, the
cards have been used by the government as an effective instrument for the national
human resources management. The Resident Registration Law cal1s for every
citizen to carry the card at all times. Although the card could have played several
roles, it has been used mainly for verifying the identity of the holder. Because of this
reason, many people felt that the card system should be changed, so as to be used for
many purposes in this era of information.
The resident registration cards currently in use were issued in 1983 to replace the
older ones. They contain only basic identity information of the holder such as the
name, the resident registration number and the address. Furthermore, many of the
cards have been worn out due to long use. Because of the above-cited reason, the
development of a new resident card is quite urgently required. The card will play
many more and completely different roles such as driver's license, resident card, the
national pensions card, the medical insurance card, and the certificate of the card
holder's seal of impression. When the electronic card is issued, there wil1 be no need
for people to frequently visit the government administration offices. Its issuance will
also lessen the work load on the government field offices. The new card will be a
multi-functioning IC card (like the smart card or the IC card).
This project is based on the Information Highway. Government invests an enormous
amount of money in the Information Highway to strengthen the national competitive
power in the 21 st. century. The Information Highway will be under construction
until 2010. So, with this project, there will be a rise of an advanced welfare society
and it will prepare for a small and efficient government. With the progress of the
project, in the process of computerizing national organizations, the joint application
of personal information arises as an important problem for the government to solve.
Because we need to jointly use the information which each public organ possess
individual1y, efficiently.
In this paper, we describe the way of publishing lawful and institutional rules and
technical countermeasures about securing privacy of personal information and
applying them, so that the joint application system of personal information is used
fully to the advantage of natural functions. In addition to that authorities help the
application of joint application of personal information for protecting people's rights
and profits, the application of this paper by authorities' computer systems is
essential.
11. Status of joint Application of personal information in Korea
A. Definition of joint application
In the process of computerizing national organizations, the joint application of
personal information arises as an important problem for the government to solve.
Because we need to jointly use the information which each public organ possesses
individually, efficiently. Joint application of information is defined as the action or
state that the subject of information possession offers its information and receive
each other's information under the fixed structure. General1y, joint application of
information is defined as the joint usage of administrative information which each
national organization possesses, like the management of business - between organ
and organ, or between organ and individual, or organ and enterprise. That is, it
means that each organ can offer various services, as constructing an on-line system
centering around connection center, interchange information possessed by national
organs.
Joint application of information is divided, according to the subjects, to joint
application of physical information and joint application of personal information.
Joint application of physical information is the joint usage of material resources of
government administration not related to individuals, and joint application of
personal information is the joint usage of individual information related to people.
In this paper, we handle the joint application of personal information (lAPI).
JAPI includes the following:
1. Related to resident registration: name, address, family, seal of impression, etc.
2. Related to medical insurance: blood type, disease name, etc.
3. Related to driver's license: license number, license transfer date, license
article, aptitude test date, etc.
B. Promotion Motive of joint application
Now-a-days, Environmental change of Korea is proceeding as follows:
1. Change of needs and concepts with civil appeals, due to the change of
political structure.
2. Increase of needs to the services which the government offers , due to
improvements in the level of people's consciousness.
3. Constructing a basis which is the international information communication.
For this reason, the government will offer administrative affairs through the
administrative network which will construct the "electronic government".
C. Necessity of joint application
The necessity of joint application is classified into five categories
I) For the embodiment of small and efficient electronic government.
2) To avoid redundant investment of similar databases.
3) To offer 'one-stop' or 'non-stop' service in administrative affairs.
4) The application with 'decision support system'.
5) To overcome organ-egoism through cooperation between organs
.
D. Present status of information joint application in national institutions and
the information available for joint application
Now, between the organs that accomplished joint application databases, the total is
22 organs and 79 information databases. Among these, the most basic information is
related to resident registration matters. This information is not only basic and useful
database towards to decision of main policy, but there are also many organs
expected to joint. About joint application business and the information related to
joint application, the organs which use it currently are described below, table 2-1.
E. Expected effects of joint application
The final effect of joint application is divided into the following categories:
1. Organizational simplification in related agencies: optimization in the
organization of data processing, storage, and the management of joint
application-related information and services.
2. Prompt, expanded, accurate and equal provision of services: productivity and
quality of service can be improved without increase in procedures. Also
service time required can be reduced.
3. More prompt and timely development of social welfare policies: availability
of effective policy references for national social welfare. That is, various
statistics and references for specific areas can be provided.
4. Nationwide real time service regardless of distance: more dynamic services
can be through real-time service regardless of distance.
5. Provide a basis and condition for an information society: manpower
development, advertisement and education for information culture,
standardization of information technology, concensus on guidelines for
policies.
F. Problems in joint application
Covering the whole field of social, progress of computer and communication brings
on changes like convenience, promptness, and correctness as well as causing many
side effects. We will examine these side effects, which may include the following.
1. Difficulty of information offering scope decision due to balancing deficiency
of infol111ation offering.
2. Problem of adapting on-line systems between organs.
3. When problems occur, avoid his responsibility.
4. Violating a person's privacy due to outflow of personal infol111ation, etc.
Among the above-mentioned problems, to violate a person's privacy is the most
important problem. Because administration network is basically that construct of
integrated system, it may record all information of personnel. So, there is concern
about outflow of personal infol111ation. Data based on personal infol111ation
become huge, and since the administrator can read-this information whenever they
want, privacy can be violated more easily. There are many examples. At first, they
can access and invade joint application system in order to read or destroy specific
personal infol111ation. Also they can change data in the system to find a fault with a
person to criticize him, cause financial loss or delete his own error.
There are two countermeasures to maintain personal information securely against
these kinds of problems: legal and institutional countel111easures and technical
countermeasures.
G. Application of joint application
The object of Joint application is classified into three categories:
1. Realization of an advanced welfare society.
2. Stimulation of national competitive power.
3. Preparation for the future information society.
Joint application's fields of application are diverse. Especially 111 administration,
their application is notable. We will examine this from two sides:
a) Services
- Support for the national policies: support for various basis economic policy
indicators, support for the promotion of effective social welfare.
- Social services: plan for compulsory education, medical insurance, livelihood
protection service, ID card issuing service.
- Provision of policy references specific to respective resident related
ministries.
- Provision of tax-related dates.
b) Related government agencies
- Agencies in charge of economic policy-making: Economic Planning Board,
Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labor.
- Agencies and service organizations related to social welfare: Ministry of
Home Affairs, Ministry of Health & Social Affairs, Office of National Tax
Administration, Ministry of Justice.
- Agencies requiring resident-related data: Ministry of General Affairs, Office
of Military Manpower, Ministry of Communications.
III. Institutional protection plan for the JAPI
When information management system for joint application is constructed
vigorously, many changes in multi-parts are anticipated. By operating a separate
team for improving a law system under a powerful leadership, national institutions
can modify a law system and magnify the modified law system toward total
organization, to maintain the consistency and unification of administration, before
the JAPI is utilized.
A. Present status and Problems of JAPI law
1. Present status
There are several Laws related to the Joint application and privacy protection in
Korea. But, law and institution of JAPI is currently at an insufficient level.
Information laws relevant to joint application or personal protection are as follows:
1. Law of information security and secure management.
2. Law of the network spread, extension and the use of promotion.
3. Law of individual information protection against public institutions'
utilization.
4. Law of communication security protection.
5. Law of computer program protection.
6. Law of copyright, etc.
7. Laws about personal information protection.
Korea has established and enforced the 'Law of individual information protection
against public institutions' utilization'. And this point has an important meaning as
the first law for personal information protection in Korea. This law determined
keynotes which personal information possessed by public institutions related to
computer processing. So that, it realized both harmonious management of business
in administration, and the protection of the individual from unjust use of private
information and reveal due to computerization. We will omit the detailed contents of
the law due to limited space.
2. Problems
There are several problems in laws related to personal information protection, which
are outlined below:
1. Discordance of punishment: in existing laws, punishment to the action of
unlawfulness violation is defined differently for each and every law.
2. Disordance of legal terms: in existing laws, information technology terms
which are used in information communication are defined differently.
3. When identical crimes occur, how to punish? aggravating the penalty of
identical crimes is not defined in existing laws.
4. Absence of a principle that is applicable to information collection.
5. Absence of a principle that is applicable to the information user.
6. Absence of a principle that is applicable to the information management.
7. Absence of A principle that is applicable to information distribution.
8. Insufficiency of individual's profit and privacy protection.
B. Proposing the fittest JAPI law through reform measure
1. Principle for individual information protection
i) Information collection:
- Individual information collection is processed by lawful and fair
procedures, and notify information owners of the fact of data collection or
obtain their approval, as much as possible.
- If the information is not related to government business/service,
government organs may not collect that information.
- Notifying people of the collecting purpose for the information which are
collected directly from the individual.
- Notifying people of the object, character, system operation and system
contents.
- Taking the necessary action to manage the accuracy, updating and
completeness of information.
ii) Information handling:
- Clarifying information using the correct terms.
- Each joint application system manager must handle the information as his
responsibility.
- All records must be in safe-keeping.
iii) Information usage and opening:
- Individual information must fit the usage purpose.
- If the usage purpose is clear, that information must be offered for other
purposes.
- Installation and application of information processing devices must be
open to the public.
- Clarifying people's right to use this information.
- iv) Information distribution:
- Emphasizing that individual information are processed securely.
2. Necessary conditions for individual information protection
- Seek people's convenience: Joint application system must be used by
means that the government deliver service to people. That is, the
information must not be used for supervising people.
- Notification.
- Approval.
- Transparency/Opening.
3. The reform measures of individual information protection
The reform measures are shown in the following table 3.1.
Table 3-1
IV. Technical protection plan for the JAPI
The most effective method to process joint application is using the computer system.
Therefore, government puts computer system construction for joint application first
of all priorities. In this section, we will analyze the problems, means and protection
plan for system construction of JAPI.
A. Technical protection through practical application examples
1. Configuration of entire connection system of JAPI
Figure 4.1 illustrates the entire connection system. It is composed of the following:
i) Ministry of Home Affairs:
- Offering resident registration information
- Administrating network operation and DB maintenance.
:
ii) Information connection center.
- System and application program operation for connector service.
- Network construction and management.
- Security and authentication management: Firewall, login control, etc.
iii) Using organ (for example, Ministry of Labor):
- Related materials send/receive.
- Application software operation for internal business.
- It is divided into a main organ and branches.
2. Expected problems and criminals in JAPI system
Criminals and problems which are related to JAPI system mainly occurred on
communication network. We will analyze this problem in two points. One is the
business procedure point, the other is business section point.
i) Criminal type in business section is illustrated in table 4-I
ii) Criminal type in business procedure:
- Creation of personal information: data forgery, data deletion, data
replacement, illegal data entry, etc.
- Storing of personal information: intention of internal staff, information
outflow by hacking, etc.
- Processing of personal information: intention of internal staff.
- Transmission of personal information: information outflow by hacking,
evaesdropping, illegal modification of programs, data damage by
viruses, etc.
3. Safety measures against criminal type
-
Password use and management.
Transmission using encryption.
Documentation of business.
Control security of operation.
Internal control in managerial: management of main staff, education and
training.
Control security of program development.
Control security of system processing.
Control of modification program and data.
Network management: NMS (Network Management System) installation
and operation, using firewall, using TCP/IP wrapper.
Backup and recovery of data.
B. Security technologies for protection measures
In this section, we will discuss the security of computer networks, then we
will explain the processes of authentication and access control.
1. Network security
Computer network is the principal component when system of JAPI is constructed.
According to this fact, government is faced with protection against criminal access
to the network. So, government must be very aggressive in pursuing the policy of
network security. In this section, we will consider network security service,
authentication, access control and joint application network using the fire wall.
i) Network security service
This aims to maintain confidentiality, maintain integrity, user authentication, access
control, etc. in network security service. Among the rest, confidentiality is the most
important and basic field.
ii) Identification and authentication
User identification and certification is used in computer networks, to identify any
user. This method is a technical measure which is the first defense line for system
protection, in most computer networks. So this method does not only identify illegal
user through administrative network, but also restrict information operator’s
authority, hence it offers a base for access control.
- Fundamental principles:
- Facts which only a certain person knows: password, personal identification
number (in Korea, resident registration number).
- Things which only a certain person possess: cash card or smart card.
- Voice pattern, specimen of handwriting and biometrics authentication.
iii) Access control
In a signal computing system, the number of authorized users may be limited
because of the physical characteristics of the system. Often all users are within the
same room of a building, or they are affiliated with the same organization. However,
when a computing system is part of a network, it is unclear whether other users may
be connected to the same network. Thus, in a network environment, access control
must protect each single system of the network and also avoid allowing unauthorized
users to pass through one system of a network to access other systems. Two aspects
of network access control that we will consider now are protecting access points and
authenticating network nodes.
- Port Protection:
A Serious vulnerability to a network system is dial-in port access. User
authentication is difficult enough in a single computing system, but it becomes far
more difficult when users can dial in from a telephone, literally from anywhere in
the world. Port protection is accomplished through several administrative and
hardware techniques.
- Automatic Call-Back:
With an automatic call-back system, an authorized user dials a computer system.
After the user identifies him- or herself, the computer breaks the communication
line, effectively hanging up on the user. The computer then consults an internal table
of telephone numbers and calls the user back at a predetermined number.
iv) Fire-wall
When Administrative or information using organs connect to the internet to offer
administrative service to people, there is a risk of personal information being
disclosed. To prevent this risk, we use fire- wall systems. Fire-wall system gives
organs a way to create a middle ground between networks that are completely
isolated from external networks, such as the internet, and those that are completely
connected. Placed between an organ's internal network and the external network, the
fire-wall provides a simple way to control the illegal intrusion that will pass between
the two. Figure 4.2 shows lAPI system with fire-wall.
2. Security using encryption
Encryption ensures the best use of personal information protection and is widely
used in securing personal information protection. Also, it is a technique for the
assurance of confidentiality, security and anonymity of personal information. In this
section, we will examine the type of encryption which is applicable to lAPI system.
i) Basic encryption method
- Private key cryptography:
This method uses the same key to encrypt and decrypt the message. This type is also
known as symmetric key cryptography. Private key cryptography is most commonly
used for protecting information stored on a computer's hard disk, or for encrypting
information carried by a communications link between two different machines.
- Public key cryptography:
This method uses a public key to encrypt the message and a private key to decrypt it.
The name public key comes from the fact that you can make the encryption key
public without compromising the secrecy of the message or the decryption key.
Public key systems are also known as asymmetric key cryptography. Public key
cryptography is most commonly used for creating digital signatures on data, such as
electronic mail, to certify the data's origin and integrity.
ii) Common cryptographic algorithms
The following table 4-2 summarizes the private and public key systems in common
use today.
V. Conclusion
The main aim of this paper is to show the way of publishing lawful and institutional
rules and technical countermeasures about securing privacy of personal information
and applying it, so that joint application system of personal information gives full
play to natural functions. In addition to that authorities help practice joint application
of personal information, for protecting people’s rights and profits, the study of
technical and institutional protecting privacy countermeasures about joint
application of personal information practiced by authorities’ computers is essential.
In this paper. the followings are mainly treated:
a) Definitions and conditions of joint application of personal information.
b) Analyzing expected effects and problems of joint application of personal
information.
c) Lawful and institutional analysis related to joint application of personal
information.
d) Law and institution analysis to secure privacy of joint application of personal
information.
e) To show problems and countermeasures of law and institution about security of
privacy.
f) Technical protection countermeasures for joint application of personal
information.
The result of this study can systematize security management about countermeasures
of lawful and institutional privacy protection in joint application of personal
information and can be used as a reference for the enforcement of government’s
joint application and publishing policy. It can be used particularly in electronic
resident registration ID card and help to solve serious problems of protecting
privacy, in Korea.
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*
*
*
The Virtual Library: Serving Society
During The Coming Millennium
Cavan M. McCarthy, Ph.D. *
Abstract
The creation of the Information Highway presents libraries and Information services
with a critical challenge as the world enters the new millennium. The dream of the
librarian, to offer information on all subjects, to all people, has suddenly come time,
on an infinite scale. Although Internet is still basically free for users, a Virtual
Library is relatively expensive to create and maintain. The Internet offers an infinity
of information sources, many of which are attractively packaged and easy to use.
Any person with access to Internet has the same possibility of finding information as
any other; considerations of age, education or location are no longer relevant. The
dream of the publisher, to be able to publish without boundaries, has also become a
reality. Anybody can have a site on the Internet and publish more or less whatever
they want to readers worldwide. And, as if this super-democracy was not enough,
the Internet can still be used largely free and users are strongly against tariffs. There
is not even an initial consensus as to the best way to impose charges, let alone how
to divide up the proceeds.
The Internet clearly constitutes a major social revolution, certainly of equal impact
to the invention of newspapers or television, quite possibly on the level of printing
and the industrial revolution. It has come upon us very suddenly; World Wide Web
protocols were only established in 1992, the first graphical browsers appeared the
year after. Within this brief time-span professionals have been forced to absorb a
new vocabulary: URLs, homepages, search engines and gateways.
* Associate Professor, Library and Information Science Program, College of Graduate Studies~
University, Kuwait.
Defining a New Field
Amongst the vocabulary of greatest interest to professionals in the library and
information science field are terms such as "Digital Library", "Electronic Library"
and "Virtual Library", which provide a starting point to this discussion paper
(Birdsall, 1994, Chepesiuk, 1997, Saunders, 1996). These are all relatively new and
cover a variety of activities, but they basically denote services which offer electronic
access to texts. A library which offered traditional hardcopy books and periodicals
could not be described in these terms, even if it had an automated catalog or even an
automated union catalog. There is a certain difficulty in distinguishing between the
three terms, "Digital/Electronic / Virtual Library", which often seem to be used
interchangeably (Lyman, 1996; Saffady, 1995). It is often suggested that a digital
library should contain traditional documents which have been digitalized for
electronic use, whereas an electronic library contains documents which were created
directly in electronic form. This distinction may sound attractive at first sight, but is
clearly difficult to maintain in practice. One is reminded of the knots into which
catalogers tied themselves, trying to distinguish between original, microfilm and
xerographic copies of the same text. It seems fairly clear that "Digital Library" is the
preferred term in the United States and Canada, whereas "Electronic Library" is
more generally used in Britain. (Rowley, 1996). It is sad that local usage of this
nature should arise so rapidly in relation to services which can be accessed worldwide. One might have hoped that the Internet would promote a standardization of
terminology, bringing people together, rather than creating additional divisions
between them. It is also not clear which term should be preferred in Kuwait, a
former British colony which owes its independent existence to decisive US military
intervention. The most sensible thing would be to avoid this type of problem
altogether by adopting the term "Virtual Library", which would presumably include
documents of both types, generated in areas of different linguistic influence.
Again, terminological problems arise, as there are various shades of meaning to the
term "Virtual Library". Some libraries have created special rooms from which
patrons are able to use the Internet; access to the library's CD-ROM collection is
usually also offered (Commings, 1997). Theses "rooms are often cal1ed "Virtual
Libraries", but it would clearly be more precise to use the term "Internet Access
Room" for services of this type.
At the other extreme, some internauts consider the World Wide Web itself a huge
Virtual Library. They check its catalog at gateways such as Yahoo! or Infoseek, then
go on to use its indexes at search engines such as Altavista or Lycos. A variation on
this is to consider Yahoo! a Virtual Library, because it organizes and selects its sites.
There is a definite logic in this usage, because libraries, Internet and Yahoo! can all
be broadly categorized as large-scale public information access systems. Librarians
wi11 be flattered that a segment of the public might want to make such a strong
parallel between the most modern large-scale public information access systems;
Internet or Yahoo!, and the most established, the library. However attractive this
usage might be, it does raise a specific problem. If the Internet as a whole is
considered a "Virtual Library", what name should be given to an Internet site which
offers access to materials and services of a type similar to those found in traditional
libraries? If a site offers electronic versions of books, periodicals and other materials
traditionally offered by libraries, as well as reference and information services, it
would clearly be best to term it a "Virtual Library". As the Internet as a whole has its
own, highly distinctive and fully established name, so distinctive that it is normally
written with a capital letter, it would be better to use "Internet' for the entire system
and reserve "Virtual Library" for library-style services within the Internet. The same
applies to Yahoo!, for which distinctive terms, gateway or directory, already exist.
This also solves any possible problems which might arise in distinguishing between
Virtual Libraries and Virtual Archives. Up to now, documents originally produced in
multiple copies, by printing, were stored in libraries, while documents produced in
one copy, manuscript, went to an archive. But electronic systems function in a
totally different manner; one electronic copy is produced, placed on a server and a
copy is sent to a clients' machine whenever the text is requested. Distinctions
between numbers of copies which were valid between printed and manuscript works
are clearly irrelevant to the Internet. But it is both valid and useful to reserve the
name "Virtual Library" for a site which offers electronic versions of documents
traditionally found in libraries, and "Virtual Archive" for sites which offer electronic
access to the type of document traditionally found in archives.
It is therefore valid to recommend the term "Virtual Library" from the range of
alternatives available. It is also clear that a Virtual Library must maintain the
principal characteristics which have enabled traditional libraries to contribute so
much to society over the course of several centuries. A good library should be easy
to access and free of direct usage charges; it should offer documents which have
been professionally selected and organized for ease of use. These basic principles
clearly apply both to traditional and virtual libraries; the traditional library should be
in a fixed physical location, whereas the virtual library should be accessed via the
Information Highway. The materials for which libraries are already acknowledged
sources, will for some time doubtlessly continue to be the principal components of
virtual libraries. Traditional libraries contain a wide variety of materials, including
books, periodicals, theses, patents, multimedia, CD-ROMs etc., and offer access to
data bases and information services. Patrons will expect a similar range of services
from sites which proclaim themselves as Virtual Libraries (Hurt, 1997; Norbie,
1994; Riggs, 1995).
It is now possible to present a full definition: a Virtual Library offers, via the
Information Highway, easy access, without direct charges, to professionally
selected, organized and processed electronic texts, emphasizing those documents
traditionally found in libraries, such as books, periodicals and similar materials,
together with quality information services.
The Scope of Virtual Libraries
The presentation of a list of documents, originally produced in paper formats, which
could possibly be included in virtual libraries, such as books, periodicals, theses,
patents etc., immediately raises the question as to whether all these items are equally
suitable for electronic presentation. If some types of document are more suitable
than others, what criteria can be used to rank their suitability for an electronic
environment? Here it is necessary to examine some general concepts. Any person,
anywhere in the world, would ideally be able to access materials made available in a
Virtual Library, but specific institutions incur significant expense in setting up these
services and maintaining them on the information highway. It would clearly be more
efficient in those circumstances to give a certain priority to documents for which
there is a definite, wide interest. These documents would probably be more modem
documents, as there is generally more interest in recent books and periodicals, rather
than older materials.
The mention of the cost of maintaining virtual libraries brings us to another
consideration; costs of converting documents to electronic form and maintaining
them on a server are proportional to the length of the document, so there is some
advantage in placing briefer documents onto the Information Highway. Computer
users do not in general like to read lengthy documents on computer screens. One of
the most striking features of the World Wide Web is that the majority of documents
available on Internet are quite brief and many users report that their attention-span
has fallen, as they click from site to site. In these terms it would be sensible to
concentrate on brief documents, such as periodical articles and reports, rather than
lengthy books and theses.
In order to place a document into a Virtual Library, it must be available in electronic
form. In the case of documents currently available on paper supports, this means
submitting the document to a lengthy process of scanning (or even keyboarding),
verification, and indexing. The format of the document has to be altered in many
cases; traditional documents were not presented with links or jumps in mind, and
must be reorganized to take full advantage of the potential of hypertext media. There
is therefore a significant advantage in putting modern documents, which already
exist in electronic form, into Virtual Libraries. Certain categories of documents are
already routinely available in this form: academic documents, scientific and
technical periodicals, press agency reports, newspapers and magazines are all
electronically generated today. By now the great majority of newly published books
in developed countries will also be produced by electronic publishing programs of
one type or another.
The considerations presented up to now have all been inherent in the document, but
there are other considerations which are imposed by society, of which the most
strongly formalized is copyright. Copyright has been applied to texts for several
hundred years, and the fact that the Information Highway is new does not mean that
existing texts can be made available through it without regard to the interests of
existing copyright owners. In fact, these are both organized and vociferous in the
defense of their rights, which they hope to see further consolidated within an
electronic environment. All indications are that copyright restrictions within an
electronic environment will be at least as strict as those in the world of paper-based
books and magazines. Rights normally only terminate fifty or seventy years after the
death of the author, therefore the majority of books written in this century are still
covered by copyright restrictions. To place them into a Virtual Library, it is
necessary to locate the copyright owner, normally the publisher, and negotiate a fee.
There is as yet no standard licensing fee or charge for these rights, but publishers are
businessmen who show no tendency to dispose of their rights at reduced prices.
The publishing industry has for the past five hundred years, beginning with the
Gutenberg Bible, been based firmly on the production of physical objects for
posterior sale. Publishers have a highly developed sense of commercial awareness
and are not going to abandon a tradition of half a millennium because of a system
which has less than a decade of existence. At the moment, there is no real
mechanism for charging users of electronic documents or of the Internet in general;
in fact, many Internet users are firmly against such charges. If charges were
instituted, it is not certain how they would be divided and what proportion would
accrue to the holder of the copyright. Until questions such as this are settled, it is
safe to assume that those who currently gain significant sums of money from selling
paper documents will maintain only a token presence on the Information Highway.
Virtual Libraries will be used by people who are familiar with traditional libraries;
therefore, they will natural1y want to give preference to materials normally found in
existing libraries. In practical terms, books, periodicals and similar documents would
be prime candidates for Virtual Libraries. Resumes and course notes would be best
located on the home pages of specific individuals; virtual libraries could offer links
to these materials, but should not be fully responsible for them. Product manuals are
important documents, excel1ent candidates for hypertext presentation and electronic
access, but their primary location would be on the sites of the companies responsible
for the products.
Summing up, we can say that the perfect document for a virtual library should be of
great interest to a wide range of people, relatively brief and already available in
electronic form. It should also be free of copyright restrictions; the person
responsible for the document should perceive that a definite advantage will be
gained from placing it onto the Internet, and it should be the type of document which
a user would normally expect to find in an environment termed a library. Clearly,
only a small number of documents can fulfill al1 those requirements, but all must be
considered in those terms.
Specific Materials in Virtual Libraries
Books are the most traditional library materials and can be examined first in terms of
these criteria. Clearly, they are by definition lengthy, rather than brief documents,
which is a negative factor. Older books are free of copyright restrictions, but readers
generally are more interested in modern books, where copyright is normally held by
a publisher, who will be unwilling to permit an electronic version without guarantee
of receiving adequate payment. Older books have to be scanned or otherwise
converted to electronic form, whereas modem books are often already available in
electronic form, due to the penetration of modern printing methods.
Therefore, modem books would be more appropriate for electronic access, but in
fact these are exactly the books whose rights are controlled by publishers. There is a
clear danger that publishers will develop their own methods of distributing
electronic versions of books and gaining a financial return from those who access
them, while virtual libraries will be left with texts which are older or which offer no
prospect of commercial gain.
These arguments apply to commercial publishing in· general, but various other
subsets can be identified within the world of books. Although the Internet could be
considered more adequate for works of a wider interest, it would be economically
viable to transfer much non-commercial publishing to electronic form. Books
currently published by university presses and government institutions would be
prime candidates, as these could be placed on institutional servers. Texts which have
significant cultural, national or religious content come into the same category. Under
these conditions the "publisher" would rarely have to pay the full cost of the
computational element. Poetry represents a similar special area: for centuries pets
have paid to publish thin volumes of their own verse. Many could arrange sufficient
space on the Information Highway to make electronic publication possible,
guaranteeing wider distribution for their work.
After books, the library material most familiar to readers is periodicals. They are
briefer than books, therefore would appear more suitable for Internet access;
considerations of age, interest and copyright are roughly similar. Electronic versions
of scientific and professional journals are already becoming common. But, in fact,
an unusual situation arises with these materials, because they are basically controlled
by a small group of specialized publishers which have for many years been able to
increase prices in excess of inflation and, presumably, receive steady profits.
Scientific journals maintain an unusual relationship with the academic world: they
are written, refereed and edited by professors and researchers, who normally
undertake all these activities without payment. The contents are in effect donated to
a smal1 group of publishers, who then earn significant profits by selling the printed
journals back, for substantial subscriptions, to the libraries of the institutions where
these same professors and researchers work. Worse, there is no reason to believe that
electronic journals will be very much cheaper than the print versions that preceded
them. The publishers claim that overhead costs are high and link electronic and print
versions together in restrictive licensing agreements.
Now that the Information Highway has the capacity to place all scientific papers
produced in the world a few keystrokes from the computer of any professor or
researcher, this system has become anachronistic; its only advantage is to provide
easy benchmarks for the promotion of university staff. Numerous other procedures
could be adopted to grade university and research production: university sites could
publish the papers of their professors and researchers directly. Major teaching or
research institutions, as well as scientific or professional associations, could then set
up review sites and establish commented links to worthwhile papers. Quality of
work would be measured by the number and quality of review sites which establish
links to the papers of a researcher.
It is also easy to imagine formats which would use electronic media to even greater
effect; for example an electronic conference or Electronic Topic Node, where an
institution invites contributions on a specific theme, continuously placing those of
value on a server. Comments which are judged suitable could also be added, linked
by hypertext to the relevant points of the principal texts. Interested persons would be
informed automatically every time a new contribution or note was added to the
conference site, which would rapidly become an important and reliable source for its
subject. It would of course need an adequate electronic infrastructure, notably an
index and links to other relevant sites. Systems of this type would be much more
appropriate to the electronic age than periodical formats, burdened by concepts
relevant only to printed documents, such as issue number and frequency. The whole
process of production and dissemination of scientific information would then center
around researchers and their computers. The same computer will be used to obtain,
analyze and comment upon information, and also to produce new informational
documents, then post them directly on the Information Highway. This will result in
an information supernova which will exponentially overshadow the current
information explosion.
Although scientific and professional publications are of vital importance to
professors and researchers, they are only a smal1 subset of periodical publications in
general. Bulletins and newsletters of professional associations are already moribund
and will be replaced by electronic discussion lists. Modern newspapers are brief, of
wide general interest and are available in electronic form. But it is probable that
newspaper owners will prefer to keep them under their control, on the site of the
newspaper which produced them, rather than within virtual libraries. Older
newspapers may be made available to virtual libraries, but these are normally of very
limited interest. Weekly publications, on the lines of Time and Newsweek, and
popular periodicals, will probably also be offered by their publishers, rather than
through virtual library sites. But virtual libraries win doubtless become popular
locations for what were previously small-circulation printed or mimeographed
literary periodicals, publishing poetry and creative writing.
Theses are documents traditionally found in academic libraries; in their case,
however, the prospects for transfer to electronic media are poor. They are usually
relatively lengthy documents, and are of limited interest. Also authors may show
little interest in placing their theses in a virtual library. They will probably be more
interested in attempting formal publication via a traditional publisher, which would
preclude prior electronic publication. On the positive side, most modern theses are
available in electronic form, and virtual libraries in university contexts would be
adequate locations for materials of this type.
Patents and Standards are brief documents which are now generated in electronic
form and would be of great interest to a large number of people. From that point of
view they should be prime candidates for electronic libraries. But specialized
agencies earn large sums of money from the sale of these documents, so it is difficult
to imagine that they will be placed free of charge on the web in the near future.
Reports are also brief and generated in electronic form; they are of more limited
interest than patents and standards, but the information they contain has less
commercial value and those responsible for their production could well have greater
interest in placing them into virtual libraries. The distinctive codes traditionally
placed on reports would make them easy to locate via search engines.
The above covers most current document access activities in virtual libraries. CDROMs can be offered in secure networks, but those produced commercial1y win not
be licensed for use in open access virtual libraries. Reference services will doubtless
maintain commented links to relevant sites, which will require constant updating and
attention from the library staff (Mitchell, 1996). FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
files are already familiar tools in the electronic environment and constitute excellent
resources for virtual libraries. Search interface selection tools, which help users
choose an appropriate search engine and formulate questions correctly, should also
be offered. Traditional libraries offer reference desk services, which could easily be
mimicked by E-mail services. This would work well within an institution, such as a
university or a company, but would be difficult to operate on a wider level.
Reference services are labor intensive, require highly qualified staff and are
normally offered only to a specific community. Public library reference services are
theoretically open to all, but in fact most users come personally to the library or call
from a nearby location. Few people go to the expense of phoning long-distance to
use a public library reference service in a different city. Public libraries are
supported by local taxes and it is natural that their reference services should be
basically used by local people. But an E-mail could come from the same city, from
the other side of the country or even from overseas; the library would rarely be able
to verify its origin. If a virtual public library was to obtain a reputation for handling
reference questions correctly, it would attract a large number of requests, which
would place a strain on its resources. One solution would be for reference services to
place their answered questions on an FAQ file.
Electronic media offer facilities unknown in traditional libraries, notably
multimedia, interactivity and documents which can be constantly modified, by the
producer or by the Internet user. It is difficult to evaluate the possible impact of
these media on virtual libraries, because they extrapolate the previous experience of
librarians. Multimedia may be valuable in virtual libraries, but much of the
collection will consist of electronic versions of relatively traditional documents. A
multimedia infrastructure would not seem to offer significant advantages under these
circumstances. Interactive services are given less attention than they deserve, but
will doubtless become very important on the Internet. At the moment, they help
people plan routes, select pets and layout gardens. But these are specialized services,
best offered by specialized agencies. The main demand for interactive systems in
virtual libraries would be to aid in information retrieval activities. Texts which can
be constantly modified are totally outside the experience of librarians, who are
accustomed to deal only with fixed-content documents and carefully distinguish
between the different editions of the books in their collections. It is difficult to
forecast library penetration in these areas, but it is possible that it will be weak.
Comparisons can be drawn with CD-ROMs; they offer multimedia and interactive
possibilities, but are normally' produced by specialized agencies. Librarians are
normally only responsible for CD-ROMs when these contain products with a strong
information retrieval or library element, such as databases, cataloging manuals, etc.
Creating and Maintaining Virtual Libraries
Although the Internet is still basically free, or at low cost, for users, Virtual Libraries
are relatively expensive to create and maintain (Logan, 1997). First, texts have to be
selected, and this requires careful consideration and bibliographic research. There is
generally little point in offering access to an old edition, when a new edition is
available; nor should a poor quality text be offered when better alternatives exist.
Selection is a professional task, which will probably be undertaken by a committee
of professionals, and they will require appropriate payment, directly or indirectly.
Once a text has been selected, the person or institution responsible for it has to be
identified and contacted. In many cases, this will be very difficult; it can take a long
time to determine who owns rights to an old text, from a publisher which went out of
business twenty years ago, by an author who has since retired. Even when contacted,
authors or publishers will not always want to have their texts placed on the
Information Highway. They may consider the text inappropriate for republication, or
they may not wish to prejudice current sales of paper copies. Many publishers will
be wary of placing their backlists on the Information Highway at this time. They
may consider that mechanisms whereby publishers can offer their own electronic
texts and receive adequate financial returns, will be perfected in the next few years.
It is economically sensible to hold on to the electronic publication rights to their
backlists until that time. The solution may not be purely virtual but could be hybrid.
Banks already have ATMs - Automatic Teller Machines, where the user engages in a
brief dialog with the machine, swipes a card and receives money. It is possible to
envisage an Automatic Book Machine - ABM, where the reader selects from an
electronic catalog, reading reviews and a sample of the text, then passes a credit card
to order a hard copy, which is printed immediately at the machine. The technology
for this is available, but at the moment it is took bulky and unreliable for routine use.
But machinery to develop photographs, for instance, has recently become much
smaller and more efficient. An Automatic Book Machine system would offer
publishers the advantage of being able to continue to do what they have been doing
for the last half millennium, selling hard copies of books. The electronic version of
the text would be transmitted over a safe channel, i.e. the publisher would retain
control over it. The reader would have ~ hard copy book. It is interesting that people
still prefer to read lengthy texts In hard copy,. which can be done in any place, under
any conditions. There IS a fascinating paradox at the moment, that if a group of
educated people are asked whether the book will cease to exist, most will
immediately answer yes. If the same group is queried to identify people who have
actually read a lengthy text on a computer screen, almost nobody comes forward. A
hybrid system might provide an adequate solution to this situation.
When the person or institution responsible for the text are willing to permit it to be
placed in a virtual library, it is still necessary to negotiate the exact terms of the
license. This is a lengthy process, because of lack of established rules for this field.
Should the virtual library have exclusive rights, so that the text could not later be
placed on the Information Highway by any other source or means? Should the rights
holder cede electronic publication rights in perpetuity? Of immediate significance,
how much should the library pay for the rights? Publishers have been known to ask
up to US$25 per page for electronic rights; they may also charge heavily for using
specific illustrations. From what source could a virtual library draw significant
resources for these expenses?
When the text has been selected and the rights obtained, an electronic version has to
be produced. Some documents are already available in electronic form, but most of
the books and periodicals published up to now exist only in paper and will have to
be converted. Even in the short history of virtual libraries, there are at least three
different presentations in common use. The simplest and the original format is the
text file, or ASCII file, which has the advantage that it can be read on any computer
and occupies minimal computer space. The original and still the best-known site for
materials of this type is Project Gutenberg, http://promo.net/pg/. The disadvantages
of this presentation include, loss of illustrations, original page formatting and
different type sizes; differential spacing, e.g. in poetic texts, may also suffer. The
system is clearly biased towards Roman alphabet materials, especially English
language texts which have few diacritical marks. The final result is usually a plain
DOS-style text, unattractive to those who have grown accustomed to Windows-style
systems. Originally texts were keyboarded to obtain the ASCII version; this is a
laborious task, which requires careful verification. Scanning has now replaced
keyboarding as the standard entry method for virtual library texts. The basic input
process is much quicker and easier, but it still requires a good clean copy of the
original, a careful human operator and final verification. The success rate is,
naturally, higher" with languages with few diacritical marks.
The next step up from plain ASCII text is a hypertext document. The basic text can
be generated by a scanner and an Optical Character Reader, but specific procedures
will have to be followed to convert it into hypertext mode. The University of
Virginia Electronic Text Center is a good example of a site of this type; it can be
consulted at http://etext.lib.virginia.edu. Hypertext documents are usually fairly
short; books, for instance, will be presented a chapter at a time. A contents list must
be established and links created to the various chapters, also from each chapter to the
following chapter, back to the contents list, etc. Special coding must be inserted to
mark paragraphs, passages in bold, italic, larger type sizes, etc. Headings and lists
require special treatment. Illustrations must be treated separately and inserted in the
text at the appropriate point. Hypertxt documents which include numerous large
illustrations are slow to load; such texts should be organized in short sections, or the
illustrations stored separately and accessed via a specific link. Hypertext documents
are somewhat larger than ASCII texts, but are still quite compact. The hypertext
version is generally pleasant to read, but is a version, rather than a perfect image, of
the original.
To be true to the original, the virtual library should offer an image of the original
document (Lamolinara, 1996). A growing number of sites now offer images; one of
the most interesting is Project Muse, offering quality images of scholarly journals
from
Johns
Hopkins
University:
http://muse.jhu.edu/muse.htmI.Scanningwillgenerate.animage relatively easily, but
this will occupy much more space than an ASCII or hypertext file. An ASCII file
has one byte for each character in the original. A hypertext version of the same text
will have a certain overhead, often 20% more will be necessary for hypertext
markup, links etc.; a 50% overhead would be unusual for a hypertext document
without illustrations. A page of printed text would rarely occupy more than about a
thousand characters, a Kilobyte (Kb). An image, however, occupies a much larger
computer file, typically around 40 Kb. per page. An average book may have three
hundred pages, which would occupy perhaps 12 megabytes. To merit the title
library, a significant number of books must be offered; virtual libraries, like
traditional libraries, will only attract readers when their collections attain a certain
critical mass. So to use imaging technology, significant computer storage must be
available. There is an additional problem here that a variety of software is currently
available in this area, known by complex acronyms such as pdf, gif, pict, tga, etc.
Full compatibility between these systems, or even between different versions of
specific imaging software, has not been achieved, which creates another area of
difficulty. The use of compression will reduce computer storage needs, but adopting
a low ratio for an item with high resolution images, for example, could reduce the
value of that item to potential users (Besser,!995).
Support Tools in Virtual Libraries
So far, this discussion has been in terms of texts, but a virtual library does not simply
place plain text onto the Information Highway. It is also necessary to offer support
tools. The first of these is the index; printed books frequently have indexes on the
final pages, but in an electronic environment it would be much more sensible to
produce a complete computerized index to all words in the text. This should permit
Boolean and nearly all proximity searches. But this index will only be effective if
the text has been correctly converted, as a spelling error in the electronic version will
create a false index entry. ASCII and hypertext versions of printed documents
require careful verification, to ensure that they have been correctly converted.
Modern texts will normally be run through a computerized spelling checker. For an
image-based system, verification and spelling checks are not necessary at the image
stage, but will be necessary for the generation of an index. A scanner and Optical
Character Reader, using clean English-language text, should attain around 99.95%
of accuracy; this will mean an error, e.g. mistaking "clean" for "dean" or "modern"
for "modem", every 2,000 characters, or every four pages or so. Only highly
educated and attentive human intervention will not and correct mistakes of this type.
An alternative with image-based systems would be to produce a "gray", unverified
index and advise the user to verify the results against the image of the text. Whatever
the methodology, the index will have to be mounted on the computer, together with
a search box and appropriate links. Index preparation not only represents additional,
high-level work for the organizers of the virtual library, but the index has to be
stored electronically. This represents another overhead, perhaps between twenty and
forty percent of the size of the ASCII text, depending on the nature of the text, depth
of indexing, number of stopwords etc. Note that in the case of image-based systems,
the normal procedure would be to make an image of the text, produce an ASCII of
the file from the image; generate the index from the ASCII file, then mount the
image and the index on the Information Highway, while discarding the ASCII file of
the text. A virtual library can combine its indexes to the words in specific texts into a
combined index of all the significant words in al1 the texts it offers; this is now
available at several sites, e.g. at the University of Virginia Electronic Text Cent~;
cited earlier (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu).This feature, if offered in conjunction with
adequate proximity searching, would offer a powerful tool, undreamed of in a
traditional library . Its major drawback is that it would share the faults of current
Internet search engines. That is, except when used for very specific searches, it
might throw up much more information than a reader could usefully absorb.
A further essential tool is the bibliographic citation. In an electronic library, the
reader cannot simply flip back to the title page of the book to check the author and
title, then go to the end of the text to verify the number of pages, or look quickly at
the wrapper to see whether the book is published in a series. A full and correct
citation must be prepared by a professional librarian and made available where it can
be consulted easily, e.g. via a prominently-displayed link.
It is clear that an electronic version must reproduce the basic text of the original
faithfully, but that certain supporting materials, notably the original contents list and
index, wil1 be totally irrelevant in many electronic presentations. Some information
in other contexts, such as the verso of the title page or the wrapper will also no
longer be completely accurate. Principles have to be established here; all relevant
parts of the original must be transmitted in a way that will fully support any future
use or study.
A library has a front door and an entrance hall; a virtual library will also have to
have an opening page, a general explanation, a basic guide to content and
philosophy, list of persons involved, etc. The site has to be attractive and organized
so that users can go rapidly to the information they require. Just like its traditional
counterpart, a virtual library will require feedback from its readers to enable it to
improve its services. In an electronic environment this involves making a electronic
message form available, then replying to, analyzing and acting upon user comments.
So a Virtual Library will be based upon a significant quantity of complex, interlinked files, containing data of different types. These will have to be placed on a
server, a powerful, reliable microcomputer which will probably need the support of a
separate, high-capacity disc drive. These need to be linked, over adequate
bandwidth, to the Information Highway, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Specialized software wil1 be necessary, as well as a maintenance contract for the
equipment. The site must be supported by computer personnel familiar with the
Internet. These are still relatively few in number and require significant salaries. Just
like its traditional counterpart, a Virtual Library needs to be dynamic, constantly
adding new materials. so the institution which attempts to set up a Virtual Library
must plan for significant expense and be able to place professional, technical and
clerical staff at the disposition of the new service.
Some further factors need to be briefly discussed. A traditional book does not
require equipment to permit reading; an old book can usually be read as easily as a
new book. Old computer files are not, however, in the same category. Modern
computer users have gone through various file conversions; e.g. from Word 4 (a
DOS level system) to Word for Windows under Windows 2.0, then to Word 6 under
Windows 95 and probably by now to Word 7 for Office 97. A similar situation has
arisen with microforms; opaque microforms, notably of UN documents, are now of
little use because the equipment to read them is no longer available to obtain. It is
too early to say what impact processes of this type will have on the virtual library
field, but already there is a reduced interest in documents in plain ASCII text. It is
entirely possible, that as technology develops, those responsible for Virtual Libraries
will have to regularly transfer electronic texts and images from one system to
another, a process known as migration. There is a new danger here, that at one stage
in the chain, a technician may lose all or part of an image. The text will then have to
be regenerated from an original, but for this, to be done the Virtual Library will have
to be able to guarantee continuing access to the original document. This will also be
useful should it be necessary in the future to verify whether all aspects of the
original have been successfully transferred to electronic format in the correct order
and properly indexed. Some systems may lose electronic documents as a result of
fires, natural disasters, electrical surges or the action of hackers or vandals. One
interesting possibility in this context is to microfilm the document and scan the
microfilm. As microfilm equipment is cheaper and better developed than scanners,
this can be easier and cheaper than direct scanning, and the microfilm can be kept in
a safe location as a backup.
Some type of superstructure for Virtual Libraries needs to be developed, notably to
enable potential readers to identify and locate virtual texts. Libraries were quick to
enter the automated age, with automated catalogs and databases. Because their
catalogs were automated, major university libraries, especially in the United States,
were able to make them accessible via Telnet, becoming major players at that
technological level. But, in part because they are already available via Telnet,
catalogs are taking longer to transfer to the World Wide Web. A striking feature is
the lack of coordination between library catalogs and Internet search engines.
Anyone with Internet access can within seconds locate homepages which deal with a
specific author; a simple additional search will reveal news group messages which
mention that person. But locating libraries which hold copies of books by that author
is a complex task, requiring specialized software or lengthy searches. Large scale,
public access, union catalogs of library materials are still embryonic. But in the
virtual world, multi-level catalogs will be necessary, informing not only where the
hard-copy can be found, but also where virtual texts can be accessed. In order to be
effective, Virtual Libraries will require the support of professionally produced union
catalogs. At the moment, a text can be available in three hardcopy presentations:
original, Xerox copy or microfilm; there are also three electronic systems: ASCII,
hypertext and image. Note that there are various formats for microfilm, also various
systems for computer imaging, with varying compression ratios. Electronic texts can
be supported by carefully verified word-by-word indexing or by less complete
indexing systems. Future catalogs will be very complex and require a high level of
professional skill. Remember that there is no mechanism for charging for catalogs,
which have always been available for free access.
Conclusions
Libraries are vital instruments for cultural transmission because they simultaneously
preserve and disseminate with minimal restrictions and modifications the most
significant aspects of the culture of specific societies. In this role, libraries are
naturally heavily influenced by the societies in which they are located. The
Information Highway is international, but computers are located in countries with
different laws, scripts, languages, customs, and attitudes towards free expression of
ideas and circulation of information. It is necessary, therefore, to consider to what
extent these elements may influence virtual libraries. Legislation covering the World
Wide Web is still in its infancy. It is not even certain who can be held responsible if
illegal or objectionable material or just antigovernment comment is placed on the
Internet. For instance: is a university legally responsible for everything that appears
on the home pages of its professors? What is the responsibility of the University in
relation to student homepages? Can an Information Service Provider be sued for
material its subscribers place on their homepages? What if an underage person
places objectionable material on a homepage set up under a parents' subscription
rights? If objectionable material is placed on the web, do the authorities have the
right to impound the computer of the Internet Service Provider, effectively closing
the ISP? Can a computer used to make an objectionable homepage be held as
evidence? Some countries permit anti-government statements and propaganda,
others do not; few permit support for the violent overthrow of the government and
none openly condone terrorism. In the book and newspaper world, some lines have
already been drawn; in Western Europe and North America minors are permitted to
enter libraries and bookshops, even if they contain some items unsuitable for them.
Newspapers are considered to have wide rights to criticize governments, although
radio and especially TV are often more restricted. Societies where persons and
organizations are considered to have a relatively wide right to disseminate
information should be more receptive to the circulation of ideas and to the
establishment of virtual libraries. Many countries consider that religion, morality or
community traditions are more important than a vague general right to information.
Many other countries have additional technical problems when establishing virtual
libraries, because the principle software, OCR, indexing systems, etc. are intended
for use with Roman alphabet texts. Where professionals can set up virtual libraries
with more confidence and easily include a wider range of materials, they will be able
to appeal to a wider group of users and make their systems more viable.
It is common today to encounter people who look down upon library services as
being outdated and irrelevant to modern society. But it is necessary to remember that
for centuries libraries have been the major public source of reliable, recorded,
organized information that could be freely cited and used as a basis for the creation
of other documents. They, therefore, hold a pivotal position in the process of the
expansion of knowledge. In the future information and education-based society,
services of this type will be even more essential; the major difference will be that the
community will expect to receive these services via electronic means. The chief task
of the next generation of librarians will be to build up a network of virtual libraries,
as strong and as reputable as the existing complex of traditional libraries. There are
in existence tens of millions of books and other printed texts, of which only a minute
proportion have so far been converted to electronic form. The major task facing our
profession today is to ensure that the finest traditions of library and information
sciences professionals are successfully transferred to the Information Highway, so
that Virtual Libraries can serve through the next millennium.
Bibliography
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* * *
Planning The Electronic Library
Dr. M. Saleh Ashoor*
Abstract
Academic and research libraries are facing financial and administrative crises as a
result of the shrinking budgets, an increase in the amount of information resources
available, combined with rising prices to acquire this information, increasing staff
costs to manage library co11ections and services, and decreasing space to house
these ever-growing materials.
Under the circumstances, the ability of academic and research libraries to satisfy the
needs of the scholarly community is becoming almost impossible. In the meantime
advances in information technologies are allowing increasing numbers of academic
computing services to provide a campus network infrastructure with communication
links to an array of networked services. The technology exists today for libraries to
provide reasonably easy access to a variety of electronic products and services.
Educational institutions in the Arabian Gulf Region should take advantage of the
available information technology by planning the transformation of their traditional
libraries into electronic libraries. Basically, this requires the provision of four
elements.
1. Establishing the infrastructure of computing and networking facilities to
integrate networked information into library services.
2. Changing the organization structure, facilities, and services.
3. Providing extensive staff training on computers, networks, and networked
information resources and services.
4. Providing user instruction programs with a focus on computer literacy, as well
as information literacy.
I plan to address each of the above four elements in some detail. In preparing this
paper, I wi11 be using some of the data which I have co11ected during my visit last
summer to some U.S. libraries. These libraries have been successfu11y transformed
to the electronic library environment. I hope that my study will encourage Gulf
institutions to start planning their electronic libraries in light of the computer and
networking facilities that are available today, as well as taking advantage of the
experience of some of the successful electronic libraries in the U.S.
* King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, Saudi Arabia.
Introduction
Until recently, the records of scholarship and the collections of academic libraries
have consisted mainly of physical materials in print-based formats. Today, however,
the publication, distribution, and use of scholarly works are being transformed by the
application of computer networking and information technologies. Garrison states
that "Advances in computing technology have made it possible for digital formats to
subsume nearly all previous formats of publication. Text, still and moving images,
sounds, music, computer programs, and statistical data - all can be published in a
digital format and stored on a computer magnetic disk. Wide-reaching computer
networks make it possible to distribute those digitally formatted materials to
thousands of people within a few minutes".(I) This transformation from printed to
electronic information is so profound that we can now consider ourselves to be in the
middle of a paradigm shift, in which the very nature of libraries and librarianship is
being challenged. This pressure on libraries has forced library managers to start
restructuring their operations and to re-engineer their processes. Libraries have
realized that they must retool their processes and operations in order to
accommodate the electronic environment.
Over the last two decades, many academic libraries in the Arabian Gulf region have
introduced electronic resources into their library operations. However, the degree of
their progress in transforming from a traditional library environment into an
electronic library environment has varied according to the level of education and
awareness of library managers, the direction and support of the mother institutions,
and demands for electronic information sources made by their clientele. Some
libraries have introduced only CD-ROM and online literature searching. Others are
in the process of planning the implementation of automated systems, and the
integration of electronic information sources into their services. Only a few
academic libraries have been able to obtain full access to the Internet. Having full
access to the Internet will enable libraries to access all sorts of information, search
remotely the online catalogs of other libraries, share information sources with other
organizations, communicate with book jobbers and vendors, and access a variety of
international databases.
To take advantage of the computer and network technologies available to them, and
to build an efficient electronic library, academic libraries in the Gulf region must
restructure their operations and re-engineer their services. This means carrying out
library functions in a new way, encompassing new types of information resources,
new approaches to acquisition, new approaches to cataloging, new modes of
interaction with patrons on electronic systems and electronic information sources,
and dramatic changes in intellectual, organizational, and economic practices. Library
managers should play an effective role in implementing these approaches. This
requires library managers to change their style of management. It means that library
managers should prepare and implement plans for innovative staff training, user
instruction, and the development and management of effective information sources.
Literature Review
Financial pressures on academic libraries with the availability at the same time of
wide-area computer networks have encouraged librarians to look for alternative
solutions to their economic problems. "Budget cutbacks and the escalating cost of
materials, especially scholarly journals, have caused librarians to examine more
carefully the collection needs of their users. The concept of access to remote
resources which supplement or substitute for items owned locally, has become more
acceptable due to the availability of world-wide telecommunication networks,
appropriate hardware, and machine-readable databases.,,(2)
Under the networking environment, librarians today are not talking so much about
library automation. Rather, they are more concerned about establishing vi1iual
libraries, electronic libraries, or digital libraries. Saunders states that "The virtual
library is the phenomenon of the international system of electronic networks which
enables a user at a computer terminal to search bibliographic citations, databases,
electronic publications, and other types of information in digital format. Synonyms
for the virtual library include electronic library or library without walls.,,(3)
In highlighting the importance of the electronic library and its superiority to the
automated library, Zimin Wu states that "The concept of electronic libraries extends
that of automated libraries in two significant aspects: First, the printed book
collection is replaced by multimedia databases (Paperless). Secondly, the use of
library resources is no longer restricted to the physical locations of Libraries,
because of networking technologies (without walls).,,(4)
As a result of the availability of the Information Superhighway, many academic
libraries in the D.S. are offering electronic services to their users. In a recent survey
of electronic services conducted by the American Library Association, it was
revealed that the majority of academic libraries in the D.S. are offering a variety of
electronic services including electronic public catalogs, electronic reference
databases, electronic journals in full text, electronic lists of reserved materials,
access to the Internet, text-only CD-ROM and Multimedia CD-ROM services, in
addition to electronic document delivery services. (5)
The progress of the electronic library was very much enhanced by the Internet,
which was created by the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency (DARP A) in
1973, and became commercial in 1991. With the creation of the Internet, various
Internet-searching software including W AIS, Gopher, and the World Wide Web
were also created during the period 1991-1996. As a result of this progress in
information technology, it became possible to store, browse, and retrieve millions of
records via the Internet. Further enhancements to the electronic library in the U.S.
came about through the creation of the National Research and Education Network
(NREN) in 1991, and the creation of the National Information Infrastructure (NIl) in
1992. The Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) was created in 1990 to
coordinate the activities of networked information research. The National Digital
Library Federation (NDLF) was created in 1996 to support the digitization of
materials that are of historical and cultural value to the American society. In 1994, in
support of digital libraries, six digital library projects were funded by the National
Science Foundation (NSF). The amount of $24.4 million was provided for these
projects. "The projects were to dramatically advance the means to collect, store, and
organize information in digital forms, and make it available for searching, retrieval,
and processing via communication networks in user-friendly ways.,,(6)
The application of information technology and the creation of networked
information infrastructure, however, is not restricted to the developed world. Many
developing countries are taking advantage of the computer and communication
technologies, and have already invested in building their information infrastructure.
One good example is Malaysia, where the government is investing in information
technology and particularly in multimedia. The Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) is
a 15 by 50 kilometer zone extending south of the capital to its airport. (7) The
country's twelve college and university libraries are already connected to the Internet
and have implemented integrated library systems. All these libraries are part of
campus networks, which either use the latest A TM technology or. fast Ethernet with
a fiber optics backbone. At least five of them are already using the Z39.50 protocol
and Web interface. Almost all of them have already embarked on a number of digital
projects, including the digitization of Masters theses and Ph.D. dissertations,
electronic current contents, and electronic delivery. (8)
Currently, many American university libraries are pooling their manpower resources
in information technology to build up their networked information infrastructure.
Some university libraries are entering into partnership with publishers to carry out
major digital library projects. Others are collaborating with private organizations to
establish their electronic libraries. "In 1993, the University of Michigan established a
partnership between the Information Technology Division (ITD), the University
Library, and the School of Information Studies to develop a campus environment for
networked information resources.,,(9) The University of Illinois Library announced
its partnership program with publishers to augment the research and development
work going on in the Digital Library Initiative (DU) project. (10) "In 1988, Carnegie
Mellon University and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) formed Project
Mercury to build a prototype of an electronic library."(l1) On the other hand, the
Mann Library of the College of Agriculture at Cornell University created its own
Information Technology Center (ITC), independent of the University's ITC, and held
it responsible for the management, operation and maintenance of the electronic
library.
Like their counterparts in the U.S.A., academic institutions in the Arabian Gulf
region should take advantage of the advanced computing and networking
technologies available today, by planning the transformation of their traditional
libraries into electronic libraries. In the meantime, they should benefit from the
experience of successful library electronic projects such as Project Mercury at
Carnegie Mellon University, and the electronic library project of the Mann Library
at Cornell University.
Purpose of the study:
The purpose of this study is to set the guidelines for building the electronic library in
the Arabian Gulf region. An academic institution in the Gulf region planning to
transform its traditional library into an electronic library must restructure its library
operations to accommodate the new electronic environment. The following
guidelines which will be discussed in detail in this research project should help
academic libraries in the Gulf region to plan the transformation of their libraries into
the electronic environment:
1. Establishing the infrastructure of computing and networking facilities to
integrate networked information into library services.
2. Changing the organization structure, facilities, and services of the library to
accommodate the new electronic environment.
3. Providing extensive staff training on computers and network applications as
well as the use of networked information resources and services.
4. Providing a user-instruction program with a focus on computer and
information literacy skills.
Research Methodology and Data Collection:
The research method used for this study is the descriptive research method. Data
collection is based on a review of the literature, in addition to the information that I
gathered during my visits to selected electronic libraries in the U.S.A. during the
Summer of 1997.
Planning The Electronic Library
The electronic library refers to the library system, which enables a user from a single
workstation to perform a variety of activities as follows:
1. Perform a literature search using the major periodical index databases.
2. Identify, retrieve, and read the full text of journal articles, book chapters, etc.
3. Send results to electronic mailboxes and personal databases as desired.
4. Use scholarly software residing on the workstation, or provide a gateway to a
remote computing facility (such as a supercomputer), for data analysis or
preparation, and
5. Capture and display the results of the work using the multimedia capabilities
of the workstation to prepare presentation materials for the classroom or
publication.(12)
Such an dectronic library has been nicely illustrated by Micho and Cole in Figure I.
Planning the electronic library means taking the necessary steps to transform the
library into a system of networked information resources and services. To cany out
this transformation and establish a successful electronic library, the library
administration should address several key issues. These issues include:
1. Technological requirements for connecting the various electronic information
resources;
2. Facilities for storing and accessing electronic information resources;
3. Facilities for archiving digital information;
4. Priorities for building the networked information resources;
5. Changes needed in organization and services;
6. Responsibility of the Information Technology Center (ITe);
7. Staff training; and
8. User instruction (Developing information as well as computer literacy skills).
Technological Requirements
(The LAN and the Client-Server Architecture):
In building the electronic library, the first step is to establish the infrastructure of
computing and networking. A Local Area Network (LAN) should be established to
connect the various networked information resources. The LAN includes the
following components:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
The Physical LAN,
The Operating System,
The Servers,
The Workstations,
The Application Software,
Miscellaneous.
The Physical LAN includes the cabling and connectors. The LAN's physical design
is determined by the designer's choice of topology or wiring Usually Ethemet or
IBM Token Ring when large LANS are being implemented. A LAN Operating
System is required such as (Windows NT or Novell Netware are the most widely
used) to operate the LAN. A Network-Server to support the LAN operating system
and application software is needed. In this regard, any type of computer-server can
function as a network server e.g., Pentium-based PC, a super micro, a mini, or a
mainframe.(l3). Most LANs include also high speed printers and high capacity disk
drives.
For remote access services that are above and beyond the capability of the LAN, the
library will need to connect to the Internet. Most Internet users connect to the
Internet through an Internet Service Provider (ISP). An ISP typically leases a high
speed communication link to the Internet network, and provides on demand access
via a bank of modems or ISDN lines (if available ).
Since the electronic library provides access to a variety of information resources that
are located in various databases such as bibliographic, full-text, multimedia
databases, etc. there will be a need for the library to dedicate a mainframe, or
perhaps several server computers, to support the various applications. Many libraries
nowadays are using the client-server architecture in planning their electronic library.
Client-server is a computing architecture which divides function into client
(requester) and server (provider) subsystems, and uses standard communication
protocols such as TCP/IP and Z 39.50 to facilitate the sharing of information
between clients and servers. There are several advantages of the client-server
architecture; however, the two major advantages are that the system divides the
workload between the client and the server, and that different user interfaces for
different clients are made possible under the client server architecture.(14)
For physical storage of the digitally formatted materials, the computer-server must
be equipped with hard disks of several gigabytes' capacity. It should also be pointed
out that the size of the network server wil1 depend on the number of users that the
electronic library will be serving. The computer will also need specialized software
that can efficiently regulate the accessibility of networked information and provide a
user interface through which patrons can interact with the networked information.(l5)
Facilities for Storage and Access:
The virtual electronic library means remote access to the contents and services of
libraries and other information resources in both printed and electronic formats, to
the external worldwide library, and to communication information and knowledge
resources.(16) Accordingly, the print, and non-print collections consisting of
networked information do not need to be stored and kept in the library. Furthermore,
the virtual nature of the networked information makes it unnecessary for the
microcomputer workstations that are providing access to the electronic library to be
housed near the col1ection. From the user's point of view, it makes no difference
where the networked information resources are located, or from where they are
accessed and retrieved, as long as he (or she) is able to access the information easily
and efficiently.
However, to provide a fast service, and to ensure continuity and stability in
providing electronic information sources to faculty and students, many academic and
research libraries are establishing their own networking system rather than
subjecting themselves to the availability of networked public-access computers in
the library, or to being dependent on stored information that is located in remote
locations in other institutions. Two good examples of such electronic libraries are
those of the Albert Mann Library at Cornell University and the Carnegie Mellon
University Library in the USA. The Albert Mann Library at Cornel1 University,
serving a very active academic and research population of approximately 4000
students and faculty, is a model of a progressive electronic library. The library has a
collection of 850,000 volumes of printed materials, and contains several electronic
information sources which are comprised of bibliographic, statistical and textual
databases, and a table of contents' service.(l7) At present, the majority of the
collection of networked information is stored 10cal1y on computers at the library.(l8)
The Library primarily supports instruction, research, and extension services in the
Col1ege of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the College of Human Ecology, the
Division of Biological Sciences, and the Division of Nutritional sciences.(l9)
In building the electronic library, the Mann library adopted the opinion that the
availability of sufficient hardware is critical for the success of the project. Therefore,
to support the locally stored networked information resources, the Mann Library
installed four UNIX-based multi-user server computers. One server computer is
allocated to support the Gateway system and serves as the main point for patrons to
access the collection of the electronic library. A second computer is used as a server
for three numeric databases. Meanwhile, Informix/SQL and the University of
Minnesota's Gopher software are used as the access software. The other two
computers are dedicated to support four bibliographic databases in Agriculture and
Biological Sciences. The BRS/Search software for searching and retrieval of fulltext documents is used as the access software. Each of the library's four server
computers have several gigabytes of hard disk storage and is connected through an
Ethernet Local Area Network in the library to the Cornell campus network and
subsequently, to the global Internet.(20)
Another example of a successful electronic library is that of Carnegie Mellon
University (CMU). CMU's library information system, referred to as LIS II, is based
on the concept of a distributed architecture of clients and servers. The clients are the
machines located on people's desktops, e.g. UNIX workstations, Apple Macintoshes,
IBM PC compatibles, and terminals. The servers are workstations where the
database and retrieval software reside. LIS II divides the workload between the
clients and servers. For example, the client machines construct queries, send them to
the servers, and provide interactive displays of information; the server machines
provide security, search and retrieval, and bulk manipulation of data such as
sorting.(21) Another advantage of the client-server environment at CMU is that it
provides different user interfaces for the different clients. Database building, the type
of protocols, and the authentication system used for the CMU's Electronic Library is
reported by Denise Troll as follows:
"Databases are built on a V AX 6410, then moved to retrieval servers, which are
DEC station 5000s (Figure 2). The protocols that enable clients and servers to
communicate with one another are Z39.50 layered on TCP/IP. The database building
and retrieval software is Newton, developed by the Online Computer Library Center
(OCLC). The authentication system is based on
Kerberos, which was developed at MIT. The name service is implemented currently
using the Andrew File System (AFS), but will be converted to Open Software
Foundation (OSF) name service in the future. The system incorporates existing or
proposed standards, and is designed to be machine independent. It can deliver
information in a variety of formats.,,(22)
In the Gulf region, the King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM)
Library has been for many years a model of a virtual electronic library. The library
has a fully integrated automated system. Library materials can be accessed through
its on line catalog. Online searching of bibliographic databases is provided through
the Dialog and Orbit systems. The Library also provides CD-ROM data base
searching as well as Full-Text database searching in the fields of science,
engineering, and business. However, the two problems facing the KFUPM Library
today are that its automated system is not a UNIX-based system, and that full access
to the Internet is not yet available.
Facilities for Archiving Digital Information:
The necessary facilities for preserving and archiving digitally formatted material
should be established in the library. Given the complexity and cost of the computer
equipment needed to store networked information resources, these facilities will
need to be located in a secure and environmentally controlled area of the library. A
library's archive of electronic materials will need physical facilities that are designed
specifically to support the operating requirements of the requisite computing
technologies. A computer room with the proper power supply, temperature, and
humidity control system is recommended for housing the servers and related storage
devices. The room should also restrict public access.
An archiving policy should be established which should indicate the type of
materials that need to be archived, and the frequency of scanning that should be
made for preserving library materials. Ordinarily, libraries would like to archive and
preserve (through scanning) a special collection of deteriorating library materials
that have a historical, cultural, or research value.
Priorities For Building the Networked Information Resources:
Before a library starts its networked information system and build its electronic
library, there are certain priorities that need to be addressed including the conversion
of its card catalog into an online system, and building online access to primary
materials.
The first priority for any beginning electronic library is to complete the conversion
of its card catalog and keep its online catalog constantly updated. This is an absolute
requirement in a networked environment in which the public access catalog is the
major access tool for the co11ection. Another important priority to address at the
start of the electronic library project is building online access to certain primary
materials that are 10cal1y held. This requires the library administration to set up
priorities for the types of materials that need to be available online. Such materials
could include special col1ections, deteriorating materials for which electronic
scanning is an appropriate preservation alternative, and newly published materials
that already exist in electronic format. (23)
Necessary Changes in Organization and Services:
Moving from a print-based information system to an electronic environment is a
challenging task which requires dramatic changes in staff behavior and attitudes in
performing their jobs and in interacting with users. To adapt to this new
environment, there should be a change in the organizational structure of the library
to enable the staff to acquire the necessary skil1s and build up confidence in dealing
with the new information technology. The organizational structure, therefore, should
be kept flat to assure direct communication between staff and administration. The
library administration should encourage many channels of communication to
stimulate cross fertilization of ideas, group decision-making, and to prevent staff
isolation. (24)
Unlike the traditional library environment, in the electronic library environment
different kinds of facilities and services are required. An Information Technology
Center (ITC) equipped with micro-computer facilities should be established to take'
care of the management, operation, and maintenance of the electronic library, as well
as the training of library staff. The ITC should provide a comprehensive information
literacy program, as we11 as public access to information technologies. Services
such as training in the use of word processing, spreadsheet and database
management software should be introduced.
The microcomputer workstations under the supervision of the ITC should be
connected to the campus network and the Internet. Faculty, staff, ~nd students
should be able to access a variety of networked information resources and services
from the microcomputer workstations. Such services could include Electronic Mail,
the World Wide Web (WWW), File Transfer Protocol (FTP), the use of databases
through the Internet, and the use of local information resources such as the library's
on line catalog.
The Role of the Information Technology Center (ITC):
The low cost of computer hardware, in addition to the availability of network
software and disk storage devices, have encouraged many institutions to downsize
their computer systems by al10wing the distribution of computing facilities among
their various col1eges and departments. Some col1ege libraries in the U.S.A have
established their own Information Technology Centers (ITCs), independent of the
university's main computer center. The ITC takes care of the installation,
management, and maintenance of the electronic library, as we11 as the training of
library staff. Having an ITC within the library will help both the patrons and the
library staff to acquire skil1s in various software applications, and to adapt to the
new networked information environment. (Of course, we might be faced with the
difficulty of finding the appropriate skilled manpower if we were to establish local
ITCs in the various colleges in the Gulf region.) The ITC will represent the library's
technical requirements to the co11ege administration, and will be in a good position
to publicize its programs and services. One good example of an effective ITC
performance is that of the Mann's Library at Corne11 University. A summary of the
activities of the Information Technology Section (ITS), as it is called, of the Albert
Mann Library at Cornell University is provided below:
1. It provides maintenance and support for all computer and network hardware
and software
2. It interprets the information needs, as expressed by patrons and staff, to create
useful software application programs for their use.
3. It provides staff training to effectively use these applications.
4. It provides staff with the technical background that enables them to translate
the cha11enges of information access into meaningful suggestions.
5. It exploits its technical expertise to effectively communicate the library's
technical requirements to the campus technical support department.
6. It represents the library's needs and offerings, and participates in the strategic
planning carried out by academic departments for the incorporation of the
electronic technologies into instruction, research, and extension. (25)
The ITS team at Corn ell University consists of seven staff members working full
time for the Section. Four of them work as programmer-analysts and are responsible
for the design and implementation of the computer systems used within Mann. Two
are technicians who are responsible for the daily maintenance of the microcomputers
and networks within the library. The head of ITS sites on the library's administrative
council, the decision-making body in the Mann Library.
Staff Training and the Development of Staff Skills:
Maintaining and supporting the library collection of digitally formatted materials, as
well as networked information resources, will have a tremendous impact on the
public services staff. The new networking environment will make it necessary for
reference librarians, information assistants, and the technical support staff to acquire
more skills and technical knowledge regarding communication software in a variety
of microcomputer environments. A knowledge of local campus networking and the
Internet will also be necessary to assist patrons in troubleshooting problems in
connecting to the library's networked computer.(26)
Technical training for the library staff to support the collection of the electronic
library should be handled by the Information Technology Center (ITC). The training
of library staff can be carried out through a series of workshops. These workshops
could cover such topics as the campus network and the Internet, introduction to the
Internet, tools for searching the Internet, how to access and locate networked
information, etc.
In addition to developing the skills of the existing staff, the library might need to
hire additional staff with experience in interface design, network management, largescale software development, and the administration of a UNIX-based computer
system. Additional staff might also be needed in the public services and technical
services departments such as cataloging librarians for networked information
sources, and for numeric files, etc. Under the networking environment, many
libraries are creating the position of "Metadata Specialist" to deal with the cataloging
of digital materials. Metadata is broadly defined as data used to describe and provide
access to information objects, including electronic journals, spatial imagery, and
economic data sets. (27)
At King Fahad University of Petroleum and Minerals (KFUPM) Library, the training
of library staff is treated as part of the continuing education program in the Library.
The program includes short courses, workshops, local seminars, professional visits
and various other staff development activities. The short courses and workshops
focus on important topics in information technologies, such as library automation,
micro-computer applications; building in-house databases, application of CD-ROM
technology in libraries, Word Processing with Professional Write, Words tar,
Internet applications in libraries, etc.
User Instruction
Developing a strong user instruction program is a key element in promoting the use
of the electronic library in the academic community. Both information literacy and
computer literacy programs must be established for faculty and students. In the
electronic library environment, the faculty can improve their teaching by making use
of the power of digital technologies. They also need students whose information
literacy skills will enable them to make the best use of the new learning tools .
In order to build a strong user instruction program, the library must first make sure
that they have the technical staff who have the latest knowledge and expertise in
information technologies. Identifying the level of the technical staff in the library
can best be handled by the Information Technology Center (if the library has one).
The second thing a library should do is to identify the skills that enable librarians
working in the public service areas to provide the necessary instructional technology
support to the teaching faculty and their students. These skills include:
1. The capability to assess and develop information literacy skills.
2. An in-depth knowledge of the information seeking behavior of the user and at
the same time an ability to organize rnaterials according to this knowledge.
3. An experience with and deep concern for the reliable and equitable delivery of
information.
4. An understanding of modern information technologies.
5. A long and successful history of collaboration with faculty and other user
populations. (28)
Developing Information Literacy Skills:
Developing information literacy skills should be the main goal of the library's
instructional program. Information literacy is defined as understanding the tools
necessary to conceptualize, retrieve, evaluate, and manage information.
The need to develop information literacy skills in the teaching faculty involves
enabling them to develop alternative methods of teaching. Students also are in need
of information literacy skills in order to conceptualize, retrieve, evaluate, and
manage the information delivered by their instructors.
To support its instructional mission, the library should offer workshops, seminars,
and short courses. A variety of workshops could be presented on the following
topics:
1. "Conceptualizing Information" which provides an understanding of how
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
information is stored and organized.
"Introduction to Literature Searching".
"The Basics of Internet".
"Surfing the Internet on the World Wide Web" which provides information
for beginners on how to use the world Wide Web.
"Advanced Web Searching".
"Searching and Retrieving" which deal with downloading, printing, and
E.mailing. Hands-on skills should be focused on these classes.
"How to Evaluate Information". This is a theme that should be covered in all
searching workshops.(29)
Final1y, there are Software Application classes that provide the tools to manage
information effectively. Such classes could include: End Note, a bibliographic
database management program, Excel, a popular business spreadsheet program, and
Word, a Word Processing program. (30)
Most of the workshops should be supplemented by Web-based tutorials to teach
users how to navigate through the various electronic databases on the Internet.
The instructional program consisting mainly of workshops could be divided into
three areas as fol1ows:
1. Course-related workshop.
2. Open workshop.
3. Faculty workshops.
Developing Computer Literacy Skills :
To apply educational technology in their teaching, faculty need the support of people
who can help them examine issues such as web page creation, digital image
manipulation, database design, and multimedia authoring. The Information
Technology Center (ITC) must ensure that faculty have access to the hardware and
software they need to take advantage of the computer as an effective instructional
tool. The ITC should be equipped with a computer lab which has the relevant
technologies to serve faculty and student needs.
In addition to the ITC which takes care of the training of librarians in ,the public
services areas (who in turn provide instructional support to faculty and students),
some libraries have also created a Technologies for Learning Center (TLC). The
TLC consists of a small computing facility, a consulting program and collaboration
with the library's instruction program and faculty workshops on instructional
technology. This facility is usually located within the library's Information
Technology Center (ITC).
It should be stated that the size of the Information Technology Center (ITC) depends
on the research and teaching activities of the faculty, as well as the backgrounds and
needs of the students. As stated earlier, at the Mann Library at Cornell University the
ITC consists of seven full-time staff members including programmers, programmeranalysts, and technicians.
The TLC which is part of the ITC should also be equipped with an instructional
design lab consisting of development machines (e.g. a Power Mac 8500 with 48
Megabytes of RAM, a 16x or 24x CD-ROM drive and a 2-Gigabyte hard disk, and
server machines.)
Conclusion
As a result of advances in computing and networking technology and the availability
of the Information Superhighway, libraries in the developed world are abandoning
traditional information resources in favor of electronic information resources. The
reason for this shift is that in the electronic library environment, in addition to the
printed collection, multimedia databases are made accessible to users. Moreover, the
use of library resources is no longer restricted to the physical locations of libraries. It
is high time for the Arabian Gulf libraries to take advantage of the available
information technology and plan the shift from a traditional library environment into
an electronic library environment. This requires the committment of financial
resources to provide the needed computer and network hardware and software,
changes in the library organization infrastructure, support of an effective information
technology center and, finally, staff and user training programs.
References
1. Garrison, William V., "Integrating Networked Information into Library
Services: Philosophy, Strategy, and Implementation at Mann Library". In
Emerging Communities: Integrating Networked b1!ormation Into Library
Services. Ann Bishop, editor. (Graduate School of Library Information
science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), pp. 223-240.
2. Saunders, Laverna M. (ed.). The Evolving Virtual Library: Visions and Case
Studies. (Medford, N.J.), 1996. P.V.
3. Saunders, P.V.
4. Zimin Wu and Others. “From Automated Library to Electronic Library:
Challenges for Information Retrieval”. In information Retrieval: New
Systems and Current Research, Proceeding of the 15th Research
Colloquim of the British Computer Society information Retrieval
Specialist Group, Glasgow, 1996. P. 24-38.
5. Electronic Services in U.S. Academic Libraries - A Survey Report. Chicago:
The American Library Association (ALA), 1996.
6. Jeapes, Ben. “Digital Library Projects: Where they are now - Part one”. The
Electronic Library, 13:6 (1995). Pp. 39-53.
7. Al-Hajery, Eyas S. and Al-Musa, Abulla. “A National Information
Infrastructure for Saudi Arabia”. In 15th National Computer Conference,
17-19 November, 1997. Pp. 207-218.
8. Pasha, Abdulla Kadir. “Digital Libraries Within Malaysia Multimedia
Super corridor: With Specific Reference to the IIUM”. In AGC / SLA
Con/’rence on Electronic Access to Infrrmation: Prospects and
Challenges For The Arabian Gulf Region. Dubai, UAE, 10-12
September 1997. Pp. 1-16.
9. Gosling, William. and et al. “Cooperative Efforts in New Methods of
Information Delivery: The Michigan Experience”. Advances in
Librarianship., Vol. 19, 1995. Pp. 23-42.
10. Digital Library initiative. UJUC DLI Partners Workshop. May 2-3.
1996. Pp. 1-77.
11. Richards, Barbara. “Project Mercury: The Virtual Library Infrastructure at
Carnegie Mellon University”. In The Evolving Virtual Library, Visions and
Case Studies. (Medford, N.J., Information Today, Inc.) 1996. Pp. 67-87.
12. Mischo, W.H., and Cole, T.W. (1992). The Illinois Extended OPAC
Information Workstation design and development. In M. Ra (Ed.);
Library Advances in Online Public Access Catalogs (Vol. 1, pp. 38-57).
New York: Meckler.
13. Boss Richard W. “Facilities Planning For Technology”. Library Technology
Reports. July-August 1995. Vol. 31, Number 4, P.444.
14. Boss, P.419.
15. Garrison, William. “Integrating Networked Information”. From Emerging
Communities; Integrating network information Into Library Services.
Ann P. Bishop, editor. (Graduate School of Library and Information
Science. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign), 1993. P. 226.
16. Saunders, Laverna M., “The Evolving Virtual Library: An Overview” From
The Evolving Virtual Library Visions And Case Studies. (Medford,
N.J. Information Today Inc.,), 1996, P. 3.
17. Interview with Susan Barnes (Head of Public Services), Albert Mann Library
at Cornell University, June 1997.
18. Garrison, P. 233.
19. Lynch, Tim, “The Many Roles of An Information Technology Section”.
Library High Tech. Issue 47-12:3, 1994, P. 39.
20. Garrison, P. 234.
21. Troll, Denise A. Library Information System II - Progress And Plans. Mercury
Technical
Report
Series.
Number
5.
(Carnegie
Mellon
University), 1992. p. 47.
22. Troll. P. 47.
23. Larsen, Ronald L. “The Role of Networks in Achieving Academic Library
Goals”.
From
Emerying
Communities;
Integrating
Networked
Information Into Library Services. P. 217.
24. Olsen, Jan “An Introduction to Cornell University’s’ Albert Mann
Library: A Prototype For Today’s Electronic Library”. Library High Tech,
Vol. 12, No. 3. 1994. P. 37.
25. Lynch, P. 38.
26. Garrison, P. 234.
27. McCue, Janet “Why should a Cataloging Department Hire a Metadata
specialist?”. Library High Tech. 1996. P. 1.
28. Koltay Zsuzsaet et al. “Technologies For Learning: Instructional Support at
Cornell’s’ Albert R. Mann Library”. Library High Tech. 1996. P2.
29. Ibid P. 3.
30. Ibid.
*
*
*
Improving The Utilization of Indigenous and
Locally Available Information Resources in a
Special Library in Kuwait
Mr. FarooqA. Khalid*
Abstract
There is today an abundance of secondary sources of information available via the
Internet, online services and CD-ROM databases, but timely access to essential
primary, research materials is still elusive, particularly in areas that are
geographically distant from the major publishers and information providers. The
National Scientific and Technical Information Center (NSTIC) of the Kuwait
Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) has attempted to solve this problem by
improving access to local collections and indigenous materials. This article discusses
three projects that enhance the accessibility to materials housed in NSTIC and
thereby satisfying information requests in a timely and efficient manner. The first
project, a joint venture between NSTIC and UNCOVER where MARC records of
journal articles are made available via VTLS (An integrated library management
system), the second project pertains to the development of a Union Catalog of
Journals, A joint project between KISR, Kuwait University and the Public Authority
for Applied Education and Training (PAAET) while the third project addresses the
utilization of multimedia capability of VTLS to provide access to full text of KISR’s
Technical reports. Coupled with the access to NSTIC’s collection via the Internet, it
is hoped that the utilization of NSTIC’s collection will witness marked
improvement.
* Special Assignments Specialist, KISR, Kuwait.
Introduction
The National Scientific and Technical Information Center (NSTIC) of the Kuwait
Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) was established to serve as the:
major network for information centers and special libraries in Kuwait, frr the purposes of
collecting, organizing, identifying (hid utilizing information resources in science and
technology in providing bibliographic and information services and in the irons fr and
exchange of documents and information on a national level, so that the center would
become regional for the Gulf area.1
Prior to the Iraqi Invasion of Kuwait, NSTIC had an automated system that included
a bilingual (Arabic/English) OPAC, a circulation module and an acquisitions module
that was designed in-house, based on IBM’s STAIRS/CMS system.2
NSTIC lost its entire collection and its system at the hands of the Iraqi’s and was
faced with a challenge of rebuilding its collection and re-establishing itself. It was
decided that NSTIC should acquire an integrated library system and jointly with
Kuwait University, after considerable market study and systems evaluation, it was
decided to purchase VTLS (Virginia Tech Library System) an integrated bilingual
(English/Arabic) library management system from the USA.3
Defining The Need
After the Iraqi invasion, the lack of funds was one of the major challenges faced by
NSTIC. The circumstances forced NSTIC into looking at ways and means of
exploiting the use of existing resources, before embarking on further acquisitions of
materials. The most used part of a collection in a research environment are the
journals, NSTIC’s management was concerned whether the journals were being
fully utilized.
The concept of library networks, Interlibrary loan, document delivery systems,
shared resources, etc. are all terms that convey the message that no one library or
information center can be self-sufficient, and it has to plan for networking. the
development of a Union Catalog of Journals was one such step taken to usher library
networking amongst the information centers and libraries in Kuwait in an effort to
use locally available material while reducing the dependence on foreign
organizations.
Addressing the problem at another plane, it was realized that for many problems, the
most sought after materials pertain to locally-published materials and whereas one
can access tremendous amounts of “data” and in some cases, “information” on the
internet and international databases the locally published materials remain elusive to
the researchers, and there was a pressing need to bridge this gap. This is being
accomplished by imaging a special group of materials, KISR Technical reports and
accessing them via the OPAC.
NSTIC has undertaken the projects listed below to improve the utilization of
materials available locally, and these are:
-
Journal Indexing/serials holdings/current contents
Union Catalog of Journals
Implementing Multimedia for Full-text storage and retrieval
Availability on the Internet via WWW Gateway
Journal Indexing/serials holdings/current contents
VTLS has a Journal Indexing Subsystem (JIS) which allows the cataloging of the
contents of library items. The contents may be articles in journals, chapters of books,
or abstracts. Using standard VTLS commands for author, subject, title, keyword, and
Boolean searches, one can search the journal indexing subsystem database.4
Listed below are some special features of JIS:
- The records in an Articles Database are linked via the ISSN in the 773
tag to the holdings record in the home library catalog.
- You can search on the author, keyword, title of the article or on the title
of the journal.
- You can display articles in different issues of a single journal in either
alphabetical title order or in reverse chronological order by year.
- It supports all the features of VTLS authority control.
- It supports all the features of VTLS cataloging.
The following pages provide an example of how the JIS works using
NSTIC’s database:
UNCOVER subset in MARC
The capabilities of VTLS’s Journal Indexing Subsystem were seen by NSTIC as an
excellent means by which to provide the user with comprehensive access to its
journal collection and thereby increase its utilization, but entering the data and
keeping it up-to-date appeared as an impossible task.
The market was surveyed to determine a supplier of machine-readable data for
journal articles of NSTIC’s collection. Since VTLS works with MARC
bibliographic format, the data had to be available in MARC communication format
with the mandatory fixed field 008 and the tag 773 had to have the title in sub-field
\t, the publication date, volume, number and the page number in \g, while the ISSN
in sub-field \x as given below:
The market survey revealed that while there were organizations that prepare
machine-readable data for journal articles, none actually provide these in MARC
communication format as required by VTLS. NSTIC established contact with
UNCOVER which is a subsidiary of CARL Corporation and B.H. Blackwells. It has
a database of over eight million articles from over 17,000 periodicals.5
A three-way communication was initiated between NSTIC, UNCOVER and VTLS.
NSTIC outlined its objectives of using VTLS-JIS module for which the data was to
be supplied by UNCOVER in MARC communication format as acceptable by the
VTLS-JIS module. Several files were tried and tested and finally a format that
satisfied the requirements was agreed upon after which a contract was signed
between UNCOVER and NSTIC. The process of receiving UNCOVER files for the
backlog of journal articles via FTP began, followed by the creation and the loading
of the JIS database.
Under VTLS, the ISSN serves as the link between the JIS database and the Journals
holdings information. The journal holdings are maintained in the networked
database (where the MARC bibliographic record of the journal exists) using MARC
serials holdings format.6 The JIS database, while relieving NSTIC staff from
photocopying the table of contents and routing these to the researchers, will provide
the researchers at their desktops instant access to the table of contents and holdings
information of journals of their interest. Online access to journals articles via
keywords, author/s, title, edition. etc. in an integrated system should result in a
marked improvement in the utilization of its journal collection.
Union Catalog of Journals
In order to improve the utilization of journals of major local libraries and
information centers, a union catalog of journals database has been developed in
NSTIC. This database is available via the Internet and provides the user with brief
holdings information of the journal available at member libraries. Presently, all the
faculty libraries of Kuwait University and the Public Authority for Applied
Education Training and NSTIC are members of this project and it is hoped that more
organizations will join this project. NSTIC’s involvement with the development of
Union Catalogs of journals for the major libraries in Kuwait and the Arabian Gulf
region dates back to l976.7
A search of a title (In the example below “Harvard Business Review” via the
Internet, using VTLS Virtua World Wide Web Gateway, would show the holdings
information in the card catalog as below:
With improved document delivery system, the members of the network will start to
witness improved utilization of their collection, while reducing their expenses,
turnaround, and reliance on foreign organizations.
Implementing Multimedia for Full-text storage and retrieval
All research-related activities conducted at the Kuwait Institute for Scientific
Research (KISR) are documented in technical reports from the pre-proposal stage
right through to the final report and are all cataloged and managed by NSTIC. While
the reports are in secured cabinets with limited access to authorized users, the
bibliographic data is prepared according to MARC bibliographic format and is
available via NSTIC’s OPAC under VTLS.
It was decided that utilizing the multimedia handling capability of VTLS, NSTIC
should scan the final KISR reports, and append these to the bibliographic records, so
that users could access the full reports without handling the original documents.
Following the guidelines for the use of field 856 as prepared by the network
Development and MARC standards Office of the Library of Congress.8
NSTIC has successfully tested the multimedia capability of VTLS on both the
internet and the local area network (LAN). Given below is an example of how an
image of a KISR report as accessed via the internet after searching the bibliographic
database in NSTIC. The user should have an image viewer on his system to be able
to see the attached image.
1. A Title search is conducted on NSTIC’s database
Availability on the Internet via WWW Gateway
NSTIC acquired VTLS Virtua-Web Gateway which enables any Internet user who
has a World Wide Web browser to access its online public access catalog. Users can
search by author, subject, title, call number and keyword.
The examples in the previous pages also show the dynamic link of bibliographic
records in the database to full text images or other multimedia files that are available
at another WWW URL (Uniform Resource Locator), on the local area network, or
on the local PC. The software also offers context-sensitive help from every screen.
The URL to access NSTIC’s OPAC is http://rs6000.kisr.edu.kw. It is worth
mentioning here that presently there are other organizations in Kuwait that prepare
their records following international standards and offer their OPAC via the Internet
and two of these are Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development for which the
URL is http://206.] 02.94247 while the URL for the OPAC at the Arab Planning
Institute is http://www .kuwait.net/’—api/lib .html.
Given below is a sample search conducted on NSTIC-OPAC via the Internet:
Future Plans
There are enhancements that are being considered by NSTIC in the near future that
will further improve the accessibility of its databases and thereby increase the
utilization of its materials. They are discussed briefly under the following headings:
-
Loading LC Subject Authority file.
Developing Standard Tools/Utilities for Arabic Materials.
Indexing local journal articles
Library Networking
ƒ Shared Acquisitions.
ƒ Shared Cataloging.
ƒ Interlibrary Loan.
ƒ Document Delivery.
Loading LC Subject Authority file
VTLS fully supports US MARC format authority records for authors, subjects,
uniform and series titles. The authority control is seamlessly integrated with
cataloging and OPAC functions. The use of the authority control online with
NSTIC’s OPAC will enrich the searching mechanism as the See and See Also,
Broader and Narrower references provide the user with results including variant
forms of the searched item/s in an automated manner.
The system provides automatic edit checking of the authority records before they are
added to the database, and also ensures that blind authority headings are masked,
preventing blind authorities from appearing in the OPAC while still allowing staff to
view all headings. NSTIC plans to download MARC authority files from the Library
of Congress. A sample (‘Economic development”) MARC subject authority record
from NSTIC’s database is provided below along with the results of the search
provided by the system with the See, See Also, Used for terms and Narrow terms
etc.9
A sample MARC record of the subject “Economic development” from
NSTIC’s Authority file is given below:
A search on the term “Economic Growth”, a currently not used term in cross
referenced to a used for term which results in:
The benefits resulting from the use of authority file cannot be overemphasized when
considering how the search is enriched by the related terms (Broad, Narrow, Used
for, etc.) and thereby increasing the hit rate considerably.
Developing Standard Tools/Utilities for Arabic Materials
The collection of many libraries in Kuwait and the Gulf are predominantly in the
Arabic language. NSTIC has a sizeable Arabic collection and the use of VTLS to
catalog and access the bibliographic data of the Arabic collection has been
successfully implemented. There has been some effort in developing Arabic
cataloging tools, but more effort has to be made in this area involving as many
institutions as possible.10
There is also a need to develop a pool of machine-readable bibliographic records in
standard MARC communication format which would then serve as a utility (much
like OCLC) from which members could copy catalog and thereby reduce the
consuming effort of original cataloging.
There is also a need to develop standard tools such as machine-readable Subject and
Author headings in Arabic much like their English equivalents available via the
Library of Congress. So far, the efforts made in this respect have been manual (e.g.
E-Khazindar11 and Swaydan’2) and incomplete or not kept up-to-date.
Indexing local journals articles
If the publishers and/or information providers believe in making their publications
available to as large an audience as possible, then the bonus of providing access to
indigenous materials lies with them. Much like the project UNCOVER undertaken
by CARL, there ought to be some organization in the Arab world that could provide
journal indexing for the Arab materials and make these available online to interested
party. Online access to timely information to local information will assist the
decision- making process in both public and private sectors in a dramatic manner.
Library Networking
By conforming to standards, Information centers benefit in both receiving and
providing information. The process of resources sharing through library networking
makes it possible for libraries and information centers to provide some order to
otherwise a chaotic situation caused by “information explosion”, “information glut”
and the like. The protocols provided by the Internet provide the information centers
with an excellent framework on which to build library networks. The access to the
online catalogs via the internet provides accessibility on a scale hitherto unknown.
Many of the libraries iii Kuwait, the Arabian Gulf region and the Arab world have
acquired, or are in the process of acquiring, sophisticated library systems and most
have internet facilities in place, now the need of the moment is that these
organizations co-ordinate their efforts so that instead of duplicating efforts, working
independently they benefit the community as a whole by networking. This will be
possible only if the decision-makers recognize this and implement policies and lay
the appropriate framework on which networking can function.
Conclusion
Major information centers and libraries in Kuwait and the region have over the years
allocated precious resources towards developing their collections. It is regrettable
that not enough effort has been exerted towards developing the means to fully
exploit these resources. The efforts outlined in this article are some practical
applications in a real-world environment to improve the utilization of existing
resources.
Effective decision-making is based on the availability of uniform and timely
information. It is incumbent upon the information providers to optimize on the
mechanics of delivering timely information on which hinges the progress of the
society.
References
1. Report of the Kuwait delegation to the CASTARAB conference, by the
General Secretary. Council of Ministers, November 28, 1976.
2. F.A. Khalid, “Automation in a Special Library in Kuwait,” infirmation
Technology and Libraries, 2, no. 4:351 (Dec. 1983).
3. Vinod Chachra and Gail Gulbenkian, “VTLS Inc.: The Company, the
Products, the Services, the Vision” Library Hi Tech, Issue 42 - 11, No. 2:7
(1993).
4. VTLS Release 1994: VTLS Articles Databases. May 1996: 5.
5. CARL and UNCOVER Release New Web Server. Library Hi Tech July/Aug
1996: 23.
6. Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress, USMARC Format for
Holdings Data: Including Guidelines for Content Designation (Washington
D.C.: Library of Congress, Dec. 1989).
7. F.A. Khalid, “At the Threshold of a Library Network,” Information
Technology and Libraries 15, No. 4: 244-245.
8. Network Development and MARC Standards Office, Library of Congress,
Guidelines for the Use of Field 856 (Washington D.C.:
Library
of
Congress,
March
1995).
Cataloging Distribution Service, Library of Congress, Library of Congress
Subject Headings (Washington D.C.: Library of Congress, 1992).
9. Jordan Library Association, Anglo-American Cataloging Rules: First Arabic
Edition (Amman, Jordan: Jordan Library Association, 1983).
10. Ibrahim A. E-Khazindar, List of Arabic Subject Headings (Kuwait:
Kuwait University, 1983).
11. Nasser M. Swaydan, Arabic Subject Headings (Riyadh: King Saud University
Libraries, 1985).
* * *
Conference
Recommendations
and
Suggestions
Conference Recommendations and Suggestions
The following recommendations were achieved through objective discussions and
scientific arguments of the agenda of papers submitted to the conference:
In view of the Arab region facing serious challenges on the local, regional, and
international levels, whether politically, economically, culturally, scientifically, or
technologically, and with the acknowledgment that in the light of the information
and communication revolution and the rapid future technological progress, we can
no longer think of our future from a narrow local perspective. Also, in view of our
belief that we should not leave our future for others to make on our behalf, we must
strive to mold it according to our collective will and our future aspirations as
necessitated by our circumstances and the nature of our life.
Based on the fact that the reality of the era at the onset of the twenty first century
makes it imperative for us to integrate our efforts in the field of information
technology and communication in order for it to have an effective role in
development and change and to exceed the reality, both intellectually and
practically. Due to our belief that information systems, networks, and rules are the
backbone of national security, economic prosperity, scientific progress, social
advancement, and educational development, we make the following
recommendations through the conference sessions which were held, the discussions
and commentaries which took place, and the positive interpositions of the
participants:
First - General Recommendations and Suggestions
1. To appeal to the higher political leadership to grant basic structure
development programs for primary information systems in the national
progress plans, in order to advance them in various technical and qualitative
aspects, and to achieve integration and coordination among its systems at
various authorities on the national level.
2. To call upon various international and Arab organizations to undertake joint
projects in the field of communication and information technology in order to
promote networks and super networks according to the latest universal
developments.
3. To call upon all Arab names to face the problem of computer illiteracy among
users by supporting the training efforts associated with the application of
progressive techniques in the field of information and communication.
4. To call upon all Arab governments to build up human resources of applied
and technical expertise in the field of information and communication, also to
apply and operate them while ensuring that they keep abreast of future
developments.
5. To increase awareness of the nature of challenges facing the Arab world in the
application of the latest information and communication techniques, in the
recent scientific and technical revolution, the universal and regional economic
entities, the political pressures with the new global system, and the
comprehensive progress with its human and material needs.
6. To embrace futuristic notions and vision that are concerned with the
following: technological progress, stimulation of Arab potential and
constituency, recruitment of available potential and resources. advancement of
the information structure as part of the social and economic structure,
encouraging the private system to invest in the field of information systems
and their techniques and programs, viewing information simultaneously as a
service and an investment, becoming interested in strong policies and
strategies for the development and modernization of the information system
and its services and techniques.
7. To introduce national mechanisms for facing the challenges which hinder the
development of information techniques in the fields of production and
services by setting up policies and strategies for the development and
modernization of information systems and their techniques and services on
both national and regional levels.
8. The Necessity to hold a joint meeting of the Arab Ministers of Education and
the leadership working in the field of information and communication
techniques in order to set up an Arab strategy for using such techniques in the
domain of public and higher education.
9. To continue holding such specialized conferences in the field of information
and communication techniques on a periodical basis in order to shed some
light on the developments in this field and to discuss the issues pertaining to
applications on the regional level.
10. To increase the interest in promoting the Arab existence on the internet and
other universal networks by calling upon official and unofficial scientific
authorities to display pertinent information that are representative of the
civilization aspect of the Arab nations in various fields.
11. Arab and Islamic organizations must establish regional information networks
as part of the universal international networks and must
develop the Arab web sites in such networks.
12. To encourage the private sector to invest in the field of information industry
and techniques, also to set up the necessary incentive for this
sector to contribute effectively to its development.
13. To strive to follow the international standards and techniques which use
comprehensive quality criteria in the management of networks of information
systems and equipment, thus enabling them to face the challenges of cultural
invasion and to provide protection for our Arab values and traditions.
14. To encourage governments to privatize the communication sector and to open
local markets to free competition in the field of information
industry.
15. To establish a miniature national committee in every Arab nation for
assuming the task of eradicating the illiteracy of techniques used in the fields
of information, communication, and computers through specialized training
centers and awareness, provided that this committee sets up strategies. plans,
and programs for implementation, follow-up, and assessment.
Second - Execution Recommendations and Suggestions
1. To consider the integration between information and various fields, whether in
scientific or practical application aspects, as a main issue with a top priority in
planning, setting up strategies, and in decision-making on the national level.
2. To support the efforts of institutions, universities, and research and
development centers in following up the modern techniques in information
and communication networks and in researching their development and
application.
3. To provide the tools of legalized display on the level of the Arab world in
order to unify the key words necessary for information saving and retrieval
operations in compiling general and specialized thesaurusi while benefiting
from the efforts of Arab organizations in this domain.
4. To set up standards, criteria, and specifications for use of the Arabic language
and its codes which represent the Arabic letters on the Internet, this in order to
enrich the process of publishing Arabic texts, documents, and the information
circulated on this network, thus becoming the basis for information saving,
transfer, and exchange operations.
5. To subdue the characteristics of the Arabic language in order to accommodate
the
information
transmission
and
exchange
mechanism
through the internet and other information networks.
6. To assign the task of Arabizing computer programs and languages to
specialized Arab organizations comprising various expertise in program
engineering, Arabic language, and computer science and its applications in the
field of information and communication.
7. To establish unified standards and criteria for the application of information
and communication techniques from which Arab information systems at
governmental and non-governmental organizations can benefit.
8. To encourage the transfer and creation of techniques for information and
communication networks and to embrace unified standards and
criteria in their application in various fields.
9. To issue legislations protecting the rights of users of information networks,
also legislations protecting the intellectual property rights of
information producers and the rights entailed upon their privacy.
10. To create an academic entity specialized in the field of information and its
techniques in order to prepare the human cadres necessary for
research and development. This entity may follow two approaches:
- Academic preparation programs for human resources specialized at the level
of
graduate
studies.
- Continuous education and training programs aiming to develop and advance
personnel working in the field of information services and
modern technological applications.
11. To develop educational systems which accommodate advanced information
and communication techniques in theory and in application in the domains of
curricula, teacher preparation, educational environment, and school
administration.
12. To expand in the field of on-line education by using modern techniques in the
field of information and communication within the extent of what
is called Open Universities and Continuous Education.
13. To set up execution plans for building and developing specialized and
integrated information systems at the workplace, and to link them to
information networks in order to facilitate to users the on-line search and
information retrieval operations.
14. To provide security and protection systems for the economic and financial
information rules and systems at banks and investment establishments, in line
with the interest in establishing and developing such systems at governmental
and private sectors.
15. To provide protection and control systems for the display of undesired
information through networks in order to protect the youths and others from
the negative effects of the openness to international cultures which does not
conform with our society’s customs and traditions.
16. To strive to develop the information sector and its techniques as a basic and
important part of the national comprehensive progress plans and to set up
advancement programs for the information sector within main development
and services programs, while providing the funding resources for these
projects through governmental and private funding.
17. To establish legislations in connection with the production and circulation of
information through networks for protecting the rights of the producers and
consumers of the information being circulated, while necessarily benefiting
from the efforts of the Universal Organization for Intellectual Property in
reserving the rights of the parties participating in the provision and
programming of the information.
* * *