Wednesday, October 26, 2005

A Week in Brussels: A support action

I have been involved in a European project from 2002 till 2004. It was a support action in the field of content-related technologies. As every good European project, the project should be embellished with an acronym. Our project bore the name of ACTeN, meaning Anticipating Content Technology Needs.

The project was a so-called support action, meaning that it had to support the programme of content technology. The project ran for two years and was funded for 100 per cent to the tune of 1 million euro. So with a consortium of 10 companies and institutes we put together a programme with a scholarly conference once a year and round tables with academics and industry on particular content subjects. Of course there was an inevitable newsletter, Content Market Monitor. Later in the project special reports on digital storytelling, paid content, scientific publishing were introduced. All in all, the project had a engine feeding the activities, from newsletter to round table and from the round table to the scholarly conference. And the impact went also the other way down from the conference to the round table and from the round table to the newsletter. The special reports took a long look at content related subjects, while taking the comments of the newsletter, round table and conference into considerations.

The project was a success. The conferences, held in Tampere (Finland) during MindTrek week were rich in subjects and well visited. The round tables delivered quite some surprise in subjects, while they yielded a lot of discussion. The free newsletter had at the end of the project some 1400 subscribers in 92 countries.

The project had some lasting results. The newsletter is still active and is still gaining subscribers without any promotion; itreaches over 1700 subscribers in more than 100 countries. Also one book e-Content: a European outlook (Springer) has been published mainly consisting of the special reports. And another book is under production still. The website is still online and most of the material is accessible.

By next month there will be project proposals for the e-ContentPlus programme. It will be interesting to see what kind of support programmes have been selected.

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