Given the importance as an industry standard of Folio Views, the relevance of the new release (Version 4.1) was explored in comparison with the version currently used by UIA (version 3.1, which has several language versions). It turned out that version 3.11a enabled hyperlinks from a CD to external Web sites, and this facility was used for the prototype. Version 4.1 will only have a range of language versions in late 1997-98. A related consideration was the relevance of the compatible Folio webserver (siteDirector).
Extending search query hyperlinks Work accomplished during the Definition Phase demonstrated the feasibility of generating a multiplicity of specific search queries to locate potentially relevant websites. The concern was to provide users with access to a range of current and emergent websites rather than to restrict them to specific URLs that might become bad links. Of particular interest was the possibility of focusing such queries on distinct multimedia material (images and maps, sound, video). The results were very satisfactory in htm test files.
At issue was whether 3-D displays could be generated from UIA databases to produce files readable virtual reality (VRML) environments through standard browser plug-ins (such as Live-3D on Netscape). During the Definition Phase, techniques were developed to convert clusters of hyperlinked entities from the UIA databases into 3-D structural configurations via Web browsers. The networked relationship structures able to be displayed include problem loops and multiple loop interlocks, and clusters of interrelated organizations.
WCMC provided copies of geographic material for use within the CD-based prototype. This material includes maps of tropical forest and coral reefs for a range of countries and the database that supports location and delivery of the correct maps. These materials are also available in WWW formats via WCMC’s website.
The technical feasibility of including various types of graphic and sound in the product was tested by copying appropriate files from various sources. For demonstration purposes, certain of the files were copied onto the CD prototype and the hyperlinks hardcoded. Files of types *.gif, *.tif, *.wav and *.mov are represented.
In parallel with the work on individual data elements in the strategies and problems files (described above), UIA advanced its explorations of feedback loops (both self-reinforcing and self-damping), specifically for this project in the fields of environment and conservation.
The range of UIA database entries on threatened biological species as world problems has been considerably extended to explore possibilities of providing entry points to WCMC data. This involved the generation of over 13,000 new problem entries of the form "Threatened species of [taxon]". Entries have been hierarchically arranged according to the taxonomy of species. The entries opened at species level were for those species on the Red List of Animals (12,062 entries) and Red List of European Plants (1,057 of 40,000 on the List).
The range of UIA database entries concerning actions for sustainable development, strategies for biological conservation, and proposals and initiatives for environmental protection was expanded. This was to explore possibilities for integration with WCMC data. Using the output of work described in 3.1 (above), structural and text improvements were made in areas relating to environmental treaties concerning species and habitat conservation and their links to relevant organizations.
Compilation and integration of WCMC on-line datasets Various datasets support implementation of the strategies and agreements listed above. WCMC has access to these data, and as part of this Definition Phase project has developed improved mechanisms to provide wider access to the data. WCMC has not been able to develop all of the relevant databases and information tools during the Implementation Phase of the project, but has developed sufficient for demonstration purposes, and to test concepts.
Identification of international strategies and agreements
WCMC used its experience of global and regional conservation issues to identify strategies and agreements that are essential instruments in biodiversity conservation, to provide a focus for development of the prototype and demonstration. Not all of the strategies and agreements were included in the databases on the prototype, but these and others would be added during the Implementation Phase.