REBUILDING THE ISCO WEBSITE – NEW FEATURES BEING INTRODUCED
After about eight years the software programme used in the ISCO website is creaking at the seams and in desperate need of overhaul. Work on rebuilding the site has begun and is progressing “behind the scenes”. The new website won’t be “switched on” for about two weeks and, even after the switchover, some work will be continuing. Enhanced functionality will make many improvements possible. Some details may be subject to change as the task progresses, but I can give you a preview of some of the new features.
New Country Pages
By logging in and using a “drop-down” menu, all members will be able to access the new country pages. Thus, for example, members in Brazil will be able to click on “Brazil” to view the country page for Brazil – and members in all countries can find their own country pages in a similar way or select and view pages for other countries. Each country page will provide details and contact information for members in the selected country. This information, which will be password protected, will help members to network, facilitating the organisation of in-country meetings, seminars and other events. Members of ISCO Council (or their nominated deputies) will be enabled with editing rights for their own country pages. Country pages will also contain up-to-date information on in-country resources for pollution response. It is planned that information on available equipment, materials and, most importantly, individuals with relevant knowledge and experience, will be presented in a way that is harmonised with the international Response Resource Inventory (RRI) initiative being worked on by the IMO OPRC-HNS Technical Group. This feature will be an invaluable source of information for improving rapid and effective response to larger Tier 2 / Tier 3 pollution events. It is anticipated that the enhanced functionality of the site will also make it possible to enable members to update their own information. Thus, for example, members will be able to correct changed telephone numbers or addresses, or update information on available spill combat resources. This development will be extremely useful for governments and other authorities that have responsibilities for maintenance of contingency plans. It is also proposed that each country page will have a “Notice Board” where news of in-country meetings, seminars, and other matters of mutual interest can be posted.
ISCO Website Calendar of Scheduled Training Courses
In order to reduce the workload of the ISCO Secretariat, leading providers of Training Courses are going to be enabled to directly post information on their upcoming training courses. Two of the world’s largest training organisations, Oil Spill Response Ltd. and Texas A&M University have already indicated their interest in using this facility to disseminate information on their training courses for oil and chemical spill response.
Opportunities for Expert Volunteers to participate in enhancing the value of the website
Moves to accept offers of help from interested members in maintaining some parts of the website have up to now been stymied by an inability to enable third party editing access. With enhanced functionality this is now possible. Due to Secretariat work overload, some pages – for example, “Useful Downloads”, “New Technology”, “Technical and Reference”, “Links”, etc. have not been as regularly updated and continuously improved as we would wish. It will now be possible to assign editing rights to suitably qualified members who are willing to accept responsibility for particular pages.
Being a member of an organisation like ISCO isn’t just a matter of what you can get out of it – it’s also about the contribution you can make. Together, we can make a difference and help move forward in realising ISCO’s objectives.