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UpCase - Users plat-form and development of co-operative applications for the social economy (First phase : January 2002 - December 2003)

Research project I2/AE/108 (Research action I2)


Contract I2/AE/108 :

Duration of the contract :

15/12/2001-31/12/2003

Partners :

  • RES-e-NET (Coordinator of the project)
  • Arafox SA 
  • Université de Liège 
  • Katholieke Universiteit Leuven 

Description :

The project addresses itself to the Belgian sector of the social economy in its entirety (French-speaking and Dutch-speaking, commercial and non-commercial). It is based on the hypothesis that the social economy is progressively arriving at a level of maturity sufficient to initiate a global cooperative approach on an electronic platform project.

The fundamental objectives of the platform are to promote the sector as a whole, to permit the actors to collaborate and launch joint projects, to give each organisation new channels of promotion, distribution or affiliation, and to define a context which is favourable to the creation of new associations oriented towards the sector of new technologies. Moreover, it seeks to prevent technical barriers from blocking the creativity and entrepreneurial sense of the actors, and to furnish a technological framework which the sector is then left to fill in with its own initiatives in a completely autonomous and decentralised manner.

Concretely, the project seeks to implement a website emulation tool incorporating collaborative tools accessible via the Web interface of RES-e-NET and developed in open-source codes under general public license (GPL). The tools must be able to be emulated and administered by an end user without any particular knowledge of programming via simple user interfaces. To illustrate, these tools will cover the following functionalities : exchange of text, image, video or sound files; document and thesaurus management; management of a site's users (creation and delegation of access rights), a shared agenda, a mailing-list, etc.; creation of on-line forms linked to a DB; on-line voting ... The project thus aims to perform work of research & development, compilation and adaptations on prototype tools available in open-source codes. The objective is to bring these tools to maturity, to adapt them to the specificities of the sector, and to be able to make them freely available without licence fees.

The methodology rests on an iterative approach. Prototypes will be developed by an industrial actor on the basis of initial specifications. These will be tried out with test users, some of whom will be selected to directly implement the tools.

Phase 2 will seek to create the conditions of replicability and large-scale distribution. To do this, one envisages relying on the RES-e-NET members´ training networks.

Expected results :
- Information on the potential of the Internet as a work and promotion tool vis-à-vis all the actors included on a list of potential test users.
- Formalisation of around a dozen specifications within the framework of the call for candidates process, making it possible to identify the sector's representative transversal needs.
- Selection of four test beds.
- Formalisation of the sector's transversal needs with regard to collaborative tools and determination of the organisational alignments and training courses required for assimilation.
- Formalisation of the website emulation tool.
- Formalisation and assimilation of at least one collaborative tool per test bed.
- Provision of these tools to the users of the social economy via a portal site not financed by the project.
- Development of a hardware and software platform permitting the hosting and administration of the tools developed.
- Training of networks of trainers who are members of RES-e-NET and other identified relays to use the platform and the tools developed.

PARTNERSHIP

Coordinator RES-e-Net asbl

Partner 1 Arafox sa

Partner 2 Université de Liège (ULg) Laboratoires d’Etudes sur les Nouvelles Technologies de l’Information, la Communication, l’Innovation et le Changement (LENTIC)

Partner 3 Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (KUL) Hoger Instituut voor de Arbeid (HIVA)


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