System Use Guidelines

PhD Thesis Notes, Pedro Ferraz de Abreu, 1996

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Target audience for providing content; Content and timing guidelines; Required infrastructure

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1. Target audience for providing content:

The primary condition for the success of this pilot experience, is the contribution of people with several experiences and responsibilities for the content of the information to present. From political and administrative managers, to technical staff and scientists, either from the Central or Local Administration, either from Universities or other similar institutions, it is essentially the contribution of persons and institutions that give life to this system.

In order to simplify this contribution, it was adopted the above mentioned format of standard-questions (FAQ). These answers can be given on either a personal, private basis or on a formal and official basis (for which is formally requested the cooperation of the several entities, already agreed on in almost a 100%).

2. Content and timing guidelines:

In harmony with recommendations from the DGA and of the Review Commission, it was considered important to adopt a set of norms for transparency of the process, safeguarding the principles of impartiality and non interference in the functions of the Review Commission, and of clear distinction between what is the 'official' Public Administration information, and what are opinions from citizens or other entities, however divergent, that the system might include.

Therefore, it was suggested (and approved) the utilization of this system in two distinct circles:

• Public Circuit (open): Up to the beginning of the public consultation period, it presented only answers to standard-questions, opinions or information that did not contain any evaluations concerning the EIA in question; after the beginning of the public consultation period, it could contain any opinions from anyone, which should be clearly identified as such;

• "Review Commission -- R.C." Circuit (closed): Could be used by the R.C., for the identification (or modification) of answers to any standard-questions, for private use and / or supporting the of the R.C.. For instance, to use some standard-questions as an analysis check-list; to support the internal debate and identification of questions to be clarified; to help on the preparation of meetings, elaboration of reports, etc.. The access to this Circuit, installed on only some Macintosh computers, was limited to those persons to whom the R.C., and only the R.C., gave the access codes.

More specifically, I suggested the adoption of the following guidelines for the Public Circuit:

1) All standard-questions directly concerning the EIA in question, would be (or already were) presented to Valorsul ;

2) All standard-questions regarding processual and normative information would be (or already were) presented to the Review Commission and to the respective Entities/Departments, as well to interested Municipalities, so that they appoint one or more persons who might answer;

3) All standard-questions that refer exclusively to matters outside the scope of the present study, nor implying any right/wrong assessments on the EIA being evaluated ( for instance, description of the current situation; explanation of concepts, models, methodologies), could be answered by departments of the public administration, central and local, as usually happens in the day-to-day management of the department in response to similar demands ( for instance, students' papers, journalists' articles);

4) All answers given on a personal basis, although identified as such, were included in the system only after the beginning of the public consultation, so that there was no possible ambiguity on whether they were officially condoned or not.

3. Required infrastructure:

The system requirements are:

Internet (electronic mail and world wide web): Any 486 computer or better (windows), or Quadra or PowerPC (Macintosh), with modem (minimum 9600 bps, preferably. 28.8 bps), and direct phone connection. It is necessary to have a connection to an Internet server, either by dedicada line or by dial-up connection (PPP or SLIP, preferably PPP). Recommended software : Eudora (1.5.3 or more recent) and Netscape (2.01 or more recent).

Prototype (IMS software): Quadra or PowerPC (Macintosh), minimum 8 Mb (preferably 16 Mb or plus), system 7.5 or more recent; available disk space, minimum 30 Mb, preferably 300 Mb. Highly desirable: CD-ROM drive (the prototype will be distributed on CD, with 650 Mb of data). Ideal (but not indispensable): modem for Internet connection. Required software: Hypercard (2.3 or more recent).

In the scope of this project, whoever requested it, had at their disposition the following software: Hypercard 2.3 (Mac), Eudora (Mac or Windows), Netscape (Mac). There was also the possibility, under certain circumstances to be subject of case-to-case analysis, to facilitate Internet PPP access when needed.