8.1. Conversion from prototype to full system
The conversion of the prototype into a fully functioning system would take
between one to two years of intensive development (the `completion stage'), and
from then it would operate as a more settled `production system' but one still
requiring substantial regular inputs both in terms of content and updating of
software and hardware (the `production system' stage). A `prototype maintenance
stage' until any follow-on RETA commences must also be considered.
If the Bank decides to develop a full system, this does not mean that the host
facilities for the prototype, or any of the software used for the prototype,
will be used. Functional equivalents could be implemented with different
software on another host site. That is a matter for the Bank. Both alternatives
are considered in the options below.
The main components of the completion stage, if it was developed from the
approach taken in the existing prototype, would be:
The time within which this
`framework' for DIAL should be completed is in the range of one to two years,
assuming sufficient funding is provided. While it should be possible to
complete the bulk of the work within a year, the main unpredictable factor is
the difficulty of obtaining and retaining sufficiently skilled staff to work on
both the technical and content aspects of the project. This can cause
considerable delays, and so a period of at least two years should be allowed.
If funds are provided on a one year basis, then provision should be made for
the funds to be `rolled over' into the second year to allow for this contingency.
In addition, if a new host and new equivalent software is required, these tasks
must be added:
- Negotiation of ongoing relationship with host facility.
- Purchase, installation and testing of any new hardware required for DIAL.
- Completion of software used to develop prototype (web indexing, web
spider, search engine and communications interface), both by addition of
necessary features not included in the prototype and by conversion of some
software from the robustness sufficient for a prototype to that required by a
- Completion of the `content framework' for DIAL including:
- Expansion of the small number of Development Law Subjects in the prototype
to the full list envisaged. Addition of standard content to all such subject
pages, and expanded content according to determination of priority subjects and
as resources allow.
- Development of indexing thesaurii which take account of terminology of
different legal systems, and additional use of such terms for embedded
searches. Licensing of thesaurii if necessary.
- Full development of DIAL Search Library structure.
- Development of cooperative arrangements with other major contributors to
the index, particularly in relation to indexing in languages other than
English, but also in relation to involvement of regional and subject indexing
- Development of systematic approaches to finding significant new content
relevant to DIAL which has come onto the Internet, and incorporation of such
content into the DIAL facilities.
- Expansion of the DIALogue Panels and Authorised Users, and maintenance of
mailing facilities (assuming continuation of DIALogue elements as part of the
- Obtaining a separate domain name for DIAL, if desired (so as to present an
identity for DIAL somewhat distinct from the host facility).
- Development of User Manuals for DIAL Users, in print and hypertext forms.
- Negotiations with potential funding bodies to obtain funds for the
continuance of DIAL beyond the completion stage.
would be prudent to allow at least an additional year for completion if this
approach is taken, although if all went well it could take less time than that.
The cost of conducting courses on DIAL use, either via Internet or face to face
(as discussed in Chapter 3), is dealt with separately later in this Chapter.
After the completion stage, the requirements of the system, if it was developed
from the existing prototype, would be:
- Location of a new existing host facility (or creation of a new host
facility) and negotiation of conditions under which the facility will operate.
- Purchase, installation and testing of any new hardware required for the
- Identification of most appropriate alternative software to provide
functional equivalents to the prototype where desired. This is likely to
involve commissioning modifications of software, or writing of new software for
purposes of systems integration. Licensing of software. Testing of software.
- Replication of existing prototype data capture (porting of data from the
prototype is unlikely, but would have to be investigated).
- Organising `hand-over' from prototype facility to new facility.
It will take some year to assemble a sufficient group of
`stakeholders' to pay all of the ongoing production system costs for the DIAL
facilities. While this stakeholder model is being developed, some level of
funding from the Bank will be needed to complement stakeholder funding.
- Maintenance of ongoing administrative relationship of DIAL with host
- Upgrades to hardware required for DIAL.
- Maintenance, modification and further development of software (web
indexing, web spider, search engine and communications interface), both to
maintain existing services and to take advantage of new capacities and
standards of the Internet as they develop.
- Continuing addition of content within a developed framework, by use of
systematic approaches to finding significant new content relevant to DIAL
which has come onto the Internet, and incorporation of such content into the
- Modifications to the `content framework' for DIAL including:
- Addition of new Development Law Subjects, and addition of core content to
these new pages.
- Modification of and additions to indexing thesaurii.
- Maintenance of cooperative arrangements with other major contributors to
the index, particularly in relation to indexing in languages other than English.
- Addition of new people to the DIALogue Panels and Authorised Users, and
maintenance of mailing facilities (including changes to e-mail addresses,
answering enquiries etc).
- Modification and updating of User Manuals for DIAL users, in print and
- Annual negotiations with existing funding bodies (`stakeholders') to
obtain funds for the continuance of DIAL, and negotiations with potential new
funding bodies. Consultations with `stakeholders' about the further development
As noted above, the delivery of user training courses is considered separately.
From the completion of the feasibility study until the Bank makes a decision
about a completion stage (and, if favourable, work on the completion stage
commences), there is an intermediate `prototype maintenance stage' which will
last for some months. Assuming that the prototype is to be kept operational so
as not to lose the goodwill of existing users, some level of maintenance is
needed, at least to the level of ensuring that software is continuing to
operate correctly, answers to enquiries, and some continuing addition of
content to prevent the facility appearing to be dormant, and to respond to
suggestions by users concerning links to be added. Some resources will be
needed for this prototype maintenance stage, depending on its duration and the
level of maintenance desired. This should require work averaging no more than a
day per week. A separate cost estimate has been provided to the Bank in
relation to this stage.
- The Bank should allow, in any follow-on RETA, for a completion stage of
one year for the DIAL facilities, with allowance for funds to be rolled over
into a second year in the event of delays.
- The Bank should allow up to an additional year and additional funds for
the completion stage if a new host and new equivalent software is required.
- The Bank should allow for some level of funding for the production system
stage of the project until full `stakeholder' funding is obtained. Bank funding
should be provided for some years at a diminishing rate while stakeholder
funding is phased in.
- The Bank should give consideration to providing a small amount of funding
for the maintenance of the existing prototype system until a decision is made
by the Bank concerning a follow-on RETA, and the RETA commences.