Director's Corner


19 January 2006

Barry Barish

InDiCo – Integrated Digital Conferencing
One of the biggest challenges for our dispersed GDE effort is communications! This was apparent from the beginning and, as a result, I have continually emphasized the need for us to employ the most advanced electronic communications and web tools. I created a committee to study Electronic Document Management Systems (or alternately, Engineering Design Management Systems) called EDMS systems and to recommend what tools the GDE should adopted to support our design, documentation and archiving needs. The EDMS committee consists of Tom Markiewicz (SLAC) chair, John Ferguson (CERN), Lars Hagge (DESY), Rich Stanek (Fermilab), Nobu Toge (KEK) and Harry Weerts (Argonne).


The committee has recently made its first recommendations, which is for us to adopt the CERN InDiCo system for organizing our meetings, calendars and related materials. This recommendation was made to the GDE at the Frascati meeting in December and then was presented last week to the GDE Executive Committee. The Executive Committee accepted this recommendation and we will now begin the process of working with CERN and organizing our own efforts to implement InDiCo, hopefully in time to be used for the Bangalore meeting. The remaining questions of what to adopt for the GDE EDMS system are still being investigated by the committee.

The CERN Document Server (CDS) team, using the framework of the EU Integrated Digital Conferencing (InDiCo) project, has developed a new Web application for organizing conferences. This Web application has tools that allow users to schedule conferences, from single talks to complex meetings that have multiple sessions and contributions. The original InDiCo project was supported by the European Commission to respond to the challenges posed by the management of electronic documents, including the handling of multimedia content for the scientific meetings. The partnership for this project consisted of SISSA (Trieste, Italy), Udine University (Udine, Italy), TNO (Netherlands), University of Amsterdam (Netherlands) and CERN.

InDiCo is distributed under the GNU General Public License and is fully open source. Technically, it runs on an Apache web application server using the Python module and uses the Zope Object Database to store conference metadata. It is designed to manage all components of a meeting or conference including the program, attendance, material submission, electronic proceedings and archiving.

InDiCo uses a hierarchical tree structure of categories and we will need to carefully develop a tree structure for ILC / GDE that will give us the maximum flexibility and access to the information we require. We will begin to develop this structure immediately and expect to have a skeleton structure soon that we will be able to support the Bangalore meeting, as well as begin to provide us with a unified calendar of events and information that we all need so badly.