An Encyclopedia of Software Resources – APossible and Realistic Project?

 

Liciniu-Alexandru Kovács

Faculty of Business, "Babes-Bolyai"University

7 Horea Street, 400174 Cluj-Napoca, Romania

Web: http://www.liciniu.ro; E-Mail: liciniu@yahoo.com

 

Abstract: Personally, I strongly believe that itis very difficult to imagine today’s civilized world without computers andInformation Technology. Within a relative short period of time, computing hasbeen implemented in all the possible domains of activity. Technology hasdeveloped rapidly and the notions of information society and knowledge-basedsociety have become familiar. In my view, there is no doubt that the humanity’sfuture goals cannot be accomplished without a solid understanding of how to usea computer properly and of the art of computer usage. In this sense, all of uswho aim to be well informed and productive need to understand not only alimited number of specific software applications to work with, but also to havethe possibility to access valuable information about software packages of allkinds. Starting from the definition of an encyclopedia as “A book, or set ofbooks, or digital version of such, containing authoritative information about avariety of topics...” [1], in this paper I will try to showthat this Encyclopedia of Software Resources which I envisage will be acollection of information related to all possible software applications, veryuseful for students, for developing specific lessons/courses, for the researchcommunity, the industry, and the general public.

 

Key words: information society, knowledge-basedsociety, open source, computer-based learning (CBT), Web-based tutorials, softwareresources, software classification, software features, software packages,tutorials, multimedia, platform-independent tutorial, comparative approach.

 

NOTE: A few months ago, I sent a paper toIDPT 2006 World Conference on Integrated Design & Process Techno-logy, heldin San Diego, CA, on June 25-30. The paper [2], which presents a Web-basedtutorial as an example of a com-parative approach to word processing, concludesby launching the ideaof an encyclopedia of software resources. Unfortu-nately, I could noteffectively participate in the conference and therefore I did not have thechance to introduce this idea to the audience. That is why I avail myself ofthis opportunity to re-launch, with many more arguments, this project to buildan encyclopedia of software resources. The IDPT 2006 paper [2] is freelydownloadable from my personal website.

 

I. Introduction

 

The Internet and a great number ofdedicated conferences, events, and summits offer a huge amount of papers aboutinformation society and knowledge-based society. I will herein mention just twoaspects:

1. “What do we mean by an “information society”?We mean one in which human capacity is expanded, built up, nourished andliberated, by giving people access to the tools and technologies they need,with the education and training to use them effectively. The hurdle here ismore political than financial. The costs of connectivity, computers and mobiletelephones can be brought down. These assets – bridges to a better life– can be made universally affordable and accessible. We must summon thewill to do it.

 

The information society also depends on networks.The Internet is the result of, and indeed functions as, a unique and grandcollaboration. If its benefits are to spread around the world, we must promotethe same cooperative spirit among governments, the private sector, civilsociety and international organizations.” [2]

 

2. “Citizenship and governance must evolvewith a view to increasing globalization, European integration and Unionenlargement and the emergence of new forms of cultural identity and socialdialogue. Specifically, the Union will support:

 

Thus, from our observation of thedevelopment processes and from our day-to-day activity, the above remarks andthe information found on the Internet, we can come to the conclusion that, inthe near future, we will need a specific interdisciplinary product, based oncollaborative and comparative studies and with accessibility via networksaround the world. This product is to be a large multimedia, hypermedia or evena virtual reality software package. It will be based on quality computerprogramming and will be “consulted” through universal viewers, e.g. browsersunder any operating system. Today’s information technology with all itsingredients makes all this possible. This product’s name might be An Encyclopediaof Software Resources.

 

II. RelatedMaterials

 

If we do research on the Internet, we canfind material that can sustain the idea of an Encyclopedia of SoftwareResources. In the following, I will mention only three of them, but I amabsolutely sure that one can find many other examples in libraries, databasesand on the Internet.

 

The first material is Linux SoftwareEncyclopedia by Steven K.Baum, Texas A&M University[4]. It seems that it was last updated onMarch 8, 2001. Being very close to the idea of an Encyclopedia of SoftwareResources, some pages of this site contain:

 

 

Fig. 1. Software Metasites

A list with available software for specific applicationareas

The second material is the Computer UserHigh-Tech Dictionary (fig.2). Without going into detail, I will mention only that the dictionary islimited to explaining different specific IT&C terminology.

 

 

Fig. 2. The Computer User High-Tech Dictionary

(http://www.computeruser.com/resources/dictionary/)

 

The third material, which may be a futurecompetitor of an Encyclopedia of Software Resources, is Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia. Fig. 3 andfig. 4 present a general description of software and a comparison.

 

 

Fig. 3. Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia

A general description of software

 

III. SoftwareResources

 

The market offers a wide selection of moreand more integrated software packages. A possible classification of well known softwareresources, available around year 2000, with some of their correspondingproducts is as follows [1]:

 

Fig. 4. Wikipedia – The Free Encyclopedia

Software comparison

 

 

I stress that the above list (completed with tablesthat contain comparative data) was “valid” for the year 2000. Since then, therehave been great advances in computer science, with Microsoft still remainingtop of the software market. Thus, Sun Microsystems has spent a lot of energyand millions of dollars on the development of Solaris operating system, Linuxand Linux-related magazines have become easily accessible, OpenOffice.org 2.0,Star Office 8.0 and many more complex software resources are available to theusers.

 

Starting from the possible classification of softwareresources presented in my web-based tutorial written in Romanian for Romanianstudents (published in my website), and taking into consideration the introductionand the related materials, we can conclude as shown in the ensuing section.

 

 

THE IDEA

 

MOTIVATIONS

 

TARGET “MARKET”

 

OBJECTIVES

 

MEANS AND TECHNIQUES

 

NAVIGATIONAL STRUCTURE

Fig. 9. Composite navigational structure

 

RESEARCH

 

 

IV. Conclusions

 

If we start from the title of this paper, "AnEncyclopedia of Software Resources – A Possible and Realistic Project?", the only possible answer is YES!

 

Acknowledgment – I am grateful to Ms. Emilia Plčcintar forrevising this paper.

 

 

References

 

[1]

L.A. Kovács, "Utilizarea computerului, tehnicilor foto si audio-video Ēn ĒnvčtčmČnt," Editura Todesco, Cluj-Napoca, 2001.

[2]

L.A. Kovács, S.E. Plčcintar, G.M. Pop, "A Platform-Independent Web-Based Tutorial Suite With Adaptable Structure", IDPT 2006 World Conference on Integrated Design & Process Technology, June 25-30, Marriott Del Mar, San Diego, CA, 2006. (The paper is freely available online at http://www.geocities.com/liciniu/research.htm).

[3]

C. McCormack, D. Jones, "Building a Web-Based Education System," John Wiley & Sons Inc., USA, 1998.

[4]

T. Vaughan, "Multimedia: Making It Work," Osborne McGraw-Hill, Berkley, California, USA, 1994.

 

IMPORTANT

All specialists who want to contribute tothe development of the above idea are invited to contact the author at liciniu@yahoo.com e-mail address. The structure andother requirements will be soon available on a dedicated website.



[1] http://faculty.valencia.cc.fl.us/jdelisle/lis2004/glossary.htm

[2] Statement by H.E.Mr. Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, World summit on theinformation society, Tunis, 16 November 2005. Source: http://www.itu.int/wsis/tunis/statements/docs/io-un-opening/1.html

[3] Citizens andgovernance in a knowledge-based society.

Source http://ec.europa.eu/research/fp6/index_en.cfm?p=7

[4] http://stommel.tamu.edu/~baum/linuxlist/linuxlist/linuxlist.html

[5] http://stommel.tamu.edu/~baum/programming.html

[6] http://stommel.tamu.edu/~baum/linuxlist/linuxlist/node5.html