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8.2. Possible locations for a permanent facility - options

8.2.1. Geographical and technical considerations

The host facility needs to be located in a Member country or DMC of the Bank. It must also be in a country with high quality and diverse international Internet connectivity, and little likelihood of government interference in Internet traffic. These factors suggest the most suitable location will be in the Asia-Pacific region, such as in North America, Australasia, Hong Kong, Singapore or the Philippines. The facility could also be located in a European Member Country of the Bank, but the lack of direct international Internet links between Europe and many Asian countries make this less desirable.

The host must also be situated on a high bandwidth link to Internet backbones within the country in which it is located. The main demand on the system is likely to be the activity of the web spider. To support this, bandwidth of at least T1 standard (1.5 Mbps) is desirable.

Depending upon the amount of use that DIAL receives when in full production, it may be worth considering providing mirror sites in North America and possibly other locations, so as to increase access speeds for users closer to those locations. This is standard web practice for heavily-used sites and those drawing substantial use from many locations in the world. The organisations hosting the mirror facilities are often academic institutions which do so at no cost.


8.2.2. Academic institution / `public legal information institute'

The most likely type of host institution for Project DIAL is an organisation that already has a commitment to the provision of free Internet access to legal information. Examples of such `public legal information institutes' are LexUM at the University of Montreal in Canada, Cornell's Legal Information Institute in the USA, AustLII at UTS/UNSW in Australia, and LawData in Norway (a non-profit company which grew out of the Law Faculty of the University of Oslo)[145].

Some government bodies also play a role in providing Internet access to legal information from multiple sources, such as the SCALE system in Australia, but this is unusual. Apart from academic institutions, other types of non-government organisations such as bar associations or philanthropic organisations do not seem to play a major role in the provision of legal information via Internet.

Public legal information institutes based at academic institutions provide some advantages in the hosting of a facility such as DIAL:

There can also be disadvantages:

8.2.3. Commercial legal publisher or other commercial web site

It would be possible to create the DIAL facilities as part of a commercial entity's web site, most likely that of a conventional legal publisher, an `Internet only' legal publisher, or a general Internet catalogue site. A commercial entity would probably only be likely to be interested if it could make a profit from the operation of the DIAL service, because merely to operate it in order to attract customers to other aspects of a commercial site is unlikely to be attractive, particularly as those customers will not be of any one predominant geographical location. It is not the practice of Internet users to pay subscriptions for access to catalogues of links, or the use of search engines over other sites, and there is no reason to expect that DIAL could be operated successfully on a subscription basis. As discussed later in this Chapter, a profit-making version of DIAL would have to be funded by advertising, and there are problems with this option. Also, it is difficult to see a commercial publisher wishing to operate the DIALogue facility, as the commercial opportunities in operating a closed access e-mail system for DMC official are negligible.

8.2.4. Recommendation

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