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Building online Communities of Practice

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Essay title: Building online Communities of Practice

Building Online Communities of Practice


Information and communication technologies are developing at a breath-taking pace. They repre-sent the foundation of the coming Information Society which will establish completely new struc-tures in economy and society. This process is chiefly characterised by the globalisation of com-munication and of all activities linked to it.

National frontiers are losing their significance. We are becoming global players, and services and goods can be produced in any part of the world. At the same time there is no aspect of human life and no group in society which is not affected by the new information networks and their potential for growth, wealth-creation and prosperity.

In order to exploit this potential we urgently need international cooperation at all levels and on all factors which impede the full development of the Information Society.

In view of this challenge the German government has always placed great emphasis on global cooperation. This was reflected in its active role in the Global Information Society initiative taken by the G 7 Heads of State and Government at the summit meeting in Naples in July 1994 and at the subsequent Ministerial meeting in Brussels in 1995 which launched eleven pilot projects for the Global Information Society.

I am delighted to present the final report on this work to the public on the occasion of the Co-logne G 8 summit meeting, which is being held under the German presidency.

The pilot projects are an impressive demonstration of the potential of the Information Society in many areas, such as commerce, culture, education, the environment, health and public administra-tion. They have led to the establishment of new structures of cooperation which will remain effec-tive even after the end of the pilot phase. The involvement of a growing number of Non-G 8 countries, including developing countries, was one of the most encouraging aspects of the pro-jects, as was the participation of representatives from industry and research.

With an enhanced exchange of information and experience the work has raised awareness of po-tential applications and of policy requirements. The projects have also yielded more tangible re-sults like memoranda of understanding and have given an impetus for standardisation and the de-velopment of new goods and services.

This was done without any new institution or new funding: the process relied on the goodwill and the commitment of the participants.

I hope that the global cooperation to which the pilot projects have contributed, can be further developed and extended.

Dr. Werner Mьller

Federal Minister of Economics and Technology


June 1999


Foreword by Dr. Werner Mьller,

Federal Minister of Economics and Technology

page 1

Final report on the G 8 Global Information Society Pilot Projects

page 4

Annex: Project Reports

Global Inventory Project page 12

Global Interoperability for Broadband Networks page 15

Transcultural Education and Training for Language Learning

page 19

Electronic Libraries page 23

Multimedia Access To World Cultural Heritage page 28

Environment and Natural Resources Management page 32

Global Emergency Management Information Network Initiative

page 35

Global Healthcare Applications page 38

Government On-line page 44

Global Marketplace for Small and Medium Enterprises page 48

Maritime Information Society page 51

The G 8 Global Information Society Pilot Projects

Final Report

The information

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