Launch of the New ISRM Website|
At its meeting in Sandton, South Africa, in September 2003, the ISRM Board approved the following motions regarding the use of information technologies:
The main method of future communication between the ISRM and its members will be electronic, including:
i) development of an interactive website;
ii) distribution of the News Journal;
iii) availability of abstracts of all ISRM sponsored conferences, commission and interest group reports.
The Secretariat is instructed to find an appropriate IT service provider within easy access, but preferably within Lisbon, Portugal, for the creation and maintenance of the new ISRM website.
The first phase of the work consisted of preparing the terms of reference for a consultation with several IT service providers, selecting one company and preparing a first proposal for the development of an Internet-based, information and communication system for the ISRM. This proposal generated comprehensive discussions in the ISRM Board and a final document was approved.
The following main objectives for the new system were defined by the ISRM:
To promote the ISRM: To make available to the technical community, through a new website, detailed information on the activity of ISRM, with the aim to be useful to rock mechanics practitioners and researchers, to increase the interest in rock mechanics and to attract new individual and corporate members to the ISRM.
To serve the ISRM members: To make available to ISRM members, through a password protected area of the ISRM website, specific information, which should justify being a member, such as newsletters and other publications, directory of members and a virtual library.
To support the ISRM activity: To improve ISRM efficiency by using specific IT tools for communication between Board members, Secretariat, National Groups, Commissions and Interest Groups, so as to stimulate electronic communication and to allow a better allocation of resources.
The autonomy of ISRM as regards introduction of new contents and maintenance of the system was considered as one of the priorities.
With the launch of the new ISRM website, the rock mechanics practitioners have a new tool where they can find all sorts of information about the Society, its organisation and history, conferences and meetings, commissions and interest groups, awards, corporate members, suggested methods and other publications. In a restricted area, ISRM members will find materials of their interest, such as the News Journal and a virtual library, or may wish to participate in discussion forums. Board members will have access to working areas and new services that will facilitate their routine work.
It is hoped that this new system will be positively received by the rock mechanics community. Launching of the system will be followed by continuous improvements that will prove necessary. Feed back from the users is essential, so that the system may become a useful working tool for all those involved in rock mechanics or in the activities of the ISRM.