The client primarily requires a platform that will make interdisciplinary research easier. At the moment, university researchers in different departments are creating information in their fields and sharing this information with other researchers (in other departments) by email. An intermediary person is assigned to facilitate this process whereby she receives, for example, a research paper from a professor in Law and she emails it to the relevant person in Ethics. When the professor in Ethics is done reading and commenting on the Law professors' paper, it is sent back to the intermediary person who then sends it back to the Law processor.
As you can imagine, this is a very slow and obviously lengthy process of doing something very simple. At the moment, the same intermediary also designs and details a newsletter which is sent out to all the researchers in PDF format.
The aim of the proposed Knowledge Management System is to deliver a web-based application which will allow approximately 20 researchers spread across different countries and universities to share their research and to generate knowledge from the pooling of their research. That is, the web application will make the task of sharing the research easier so that new knowledge is generated online when the researchers study and comment on each others' papers.
Details of requirements: The task can be seen as the design and development of THREE components.
2) Secure Intranet
3) Email Newsletter
The INTERNET will be the traditional web component whereby the general public and the press is informed about the client. The SECURE INTRANET will be the Knowledge Management System discussed before.
Please note that the KMS will also be accessible to personnel besides the researchers. This means that the KMS users logging into the secure Intranet will need different "access privileges", with full read/write capability for the researchers and limited capability for non-profit organizations and corporations interested in viewing the ongoing research.
The three parts above can be further detailed as follows:
a. Static and non-static component (Text, videos, Flash etc.)
b. To be designed in a format that will allow easy expansion of the web content in the future. For example, CMS could be used, but the specifics are flexible as long as the aim of achieving flexibility/expansion of content and design is met
2) Secure Intranet
a. Static and non-static content will be displayed, however, this will primary be the management/sharing/manipulation of text in PDF, .DOC, .DOCX, HTML and other standard text formats.
b. There is a possibility here of enabling access to online journal databases so that information can easily be accessed by the researchers by cutting down the number of external (from the KMS) websites that they have to access. This aspect is tentative as the logistics of this have not been fully worked out yet.
c. Information has to be posted (upload/download features), has to be manipulated (partial content of articles published online can be copied and stored in the KMS' own temporary clipboard of working space for new ongoing research), and information has to be categorized (new research, ongoing research, archived research, general comments on research etc.)
d. A document version control might also be needed. More details later.
3) Email Newsletter
The email will not contain the content of the newsletter, it will only point to a link on the Internet side of the project that will contain the newsletter content. It is possible that the email will contain "snippets" of information about the newsletter content that will be followed by "read more…" links that will link to individual articles and/or the newsletter itself.
Target audience details:
The target audience is varied. It will be aimed primary at youth, the ages of 16 and above but it is not limited to this demographic. It is safer to expect that the target is those between the ages of 16-65 with more focus towards the younger demographic.