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12 If a document is not available electronically, they are offered portal will draw upon multiple information repositories and a menu for delivery: interlibrary loan (because of the Trans- improve discovery and access to existing disseminated infor- portation Libraries Catalog or First Search, the location of mation. It will allow TKN member organizations to sub- the closest borrowing institution is known); electronic doc- scribe to information feeds or receive e-mail notifications ument delivery (from where and how much); purchase of when information changes. The boxes at the top of Figure 1 paper copies (from where, how much, and how fast); or are features that will be provided on the portal, allowing whatever the correct terminology is for the suite of options. users to browse or search the information resources. In this vision, they will not have to pay $800 for a full docu- A network of transportation information providers and ment if they want only a paragraph from it. practitioners (represented by the shaded boxes in the mid- When the site includes data references, they can easily dle of Figure 1) who share their information resources and understand the data platform and relevant uses. participate in shaping the content and services provided by The results are provided to them in good English without the portal. cryptic abbreviations. An evolving set of distributed information resources and tools Ideally, the system is somewhat fun or at least easy to use, for accessing these resources. Information resources will and they understand the sources they are searching, how far include GIS data sets, training materials, image files, and those sources will take them, and when they will need to seek documents. Tools will include search engines and query additional information. capabilities. Knowledge services and protocols for acquiring, cataloging, digitizing, archiving, and sharing information resources. Product and Service Components Standards that facilitate information sharing, including a Building on the framework established in TRB Special thesaurus or taxonomy of terms, glossaries, metadata stan- Report 284, the study team developed an expanded vision of the dards, data exchange standards, and crosswalks that allow components of a transportation information infrastructure. for translation across different formats. This vision is illustrated below in Figure 1. Key elements (reading Figure 1 from top to bottom) are TKN Product and Service the following: Descriptions The Transportation Information Portal A portal serving as a national focal point for transportation information, providing access to the core information A mock-up of the home page of the Transportation Infor- resources. These resources will be physically distributed. The mation Portal is shown in Figure 2. Transportation Information Portal (provided by national TKN coordination function components available for incorporation into other web pages) Research Find Ask a Event Find a Transportation Submit a Communities News in Information Question Calendar Person Topics Resource of Practice Progress Information Resources & Tools (Responsibility for coordination, contributions and maintenance shared across TKNs/Information Providers) US DOT TRB Library RITA, Modal Admins (TRIS, RiP, Needs) MPOs Universities State DOTs Resources Other Federal Local Industry, OCLC, TLCat, First AASHTO Agencies Jurisdictions Non-Profits Search Standards & Images & GIS Data Tabular Datasets Manuals Directories Guidelines Video Lessons Performance Commercial Tutorials Legislation Events Learned Data Databases Knowledge Services & Protocols (Resource archiving, digitization, cataloging, bulk purchasing, interlibrary loan) Standards & Crosswalks (metadata, thesaurus, taxonomy) Figure 1. Transportation information infrastructure vision.

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13 Figure 2. Transportation information portal mock-up. Key features of the portal include the following: Research and literature review services will be offered via discussion forum, e-mail, phone, or messaging. Tremendous Find Information--A page that allows users to identify benefits can be realized by offering services of skilled, special- information resources relevant to their questions. This page will ized transportation information professionals for conducting provide access to different information sources, including literature reviews, building annotated bibliographies on partic- agency survey results, library catalogs, data sets, and legislation. ular topic areas, or simply tracking down answers to specific It will include a search capability showing different sources of information requests. Wide availability of these services to the transportation information, illustrating access to the resources transportation community will save time and provide better shown in published literature, data sets, legislation, lessons information for both research and practice. Individual requests learned, etc. It will also include an option to request a literature could be distributed to specific designated specialists (among review on a particular topic area. the TKN membership) by subtopic. Over time, additional effi- The portal, as planned, makes use of federated search tech- ciencies will be realized as multiple requests on the same topic nology in order to connect users to authoritative information are received. sites and to simultaneously search live content based on speci- Ask a Question--Page where users submit a question to fied criteria. Federated search technology provides better qual- be answered by the network of transportation information ity results than a general search engine because it targets professionals within the TKNs. The user may choose to chat specific sites (that may not be linked to other Web content) and online with the scheduled information professional or to sub- performs translations from search criteria provided by the user mit a question by e-mail. If appropriate, the user may then be to those required by the target site(s). Examples of Web sites connected with appropriate communities of practice, which using federated search include,, are part of the TKN.,, and The Virginia DOT Research Library has implemented a pilot of this technol- Event Calendar--Consolidated calendar of events rele- ogy called OneSearch (3). vant to transportation professionals. The TKN-NCB and

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14 each TKN maintain a contact with professional organizations they are stored. However, in order to meet the demand for and arrange for sharing of events calendars. additional digital resources, part of the TKN effort will involve expanding and enhancing the NTL's existing digital repository. Find a Person--Directory (or set of distributed directories) To minimize duplication and provide opportunities for wider of transportation professionals organized by function. The sharing of information resources across organizations, seed intent of this page is to answer questions such as "Who is the funding to support transportation libraries to catalog collec- traffic engineer for city x," or "Who can I talk to in state Y tions into OCLC will also be provided. about experience with public-private partnerships?" Contact Part of the value added by the TKN initiative is to gather information is updated annually by regional TKNs that iden- information from member organizations based on common tify individuals in key roles within their member organizations. standards. Simple examples include building a consolidated The TKN-NCB coordinates the establishment of which stan- event calendar or creating a contacts database based on a com- dard roles are to be included and sets the structure for the con- mon set of functions across agencies (as opposed to agency job tact information. titles). Other examples are assembly of strategic highway safety plans from all of the states and display of location-based infor- News--Page with links to current news stories and clip- mation from multiple states (e.g., infrastructure condition, ping files of relevance to transportation professionals. This traffic, crashes). TKNs have already begun such activities albeit page draws upon subscriptions to news services such as Lexis- at a limited scale by contributing state climate change informa- Nexis, ProQuest, and Dow Jones Factiva. tion to augment the national climate change information avail- able through Transportation Topics--Page provides quick access to a fil- Collaborative approaches will also be explored for improv- tered set of information resources organized by topical areas ing member organization access to fee-based information within transportation (e.g., highway safety, asset management, resources, such as professional journals, scientific literature, congestion pricing). National topic leaders will be identified to and standards documents. Negotiation of group subscrip- provide content. tion rates at a national level will reduce access costs to these Submit a Resource--Page provides an easy way to submit resources for individual TKN members. Where licensing for an electronic document or data set for inclusion in one or more direct access to such resources for employees of multiple designated information repositories. Core databases include organizations cannot be negotiated, a subsidized interlibrary TRIS Online, the NTL's Digital Catalog, TKN identified repos- loan service can be explored, using the "Loansome Doc" itories, and TRB's Research in Progress. Each TKN member service of the National Library of Medicine as a possible submits resources, following the indexing guidelines estab- model. lished by the TKN-NCB and TKNs. Outreach and training will be provided to enable and encourage transportation organiza- Services, Standards, and Protocols tions not able to build their own repositories (or that have lim- for Information Sharing ited capacity) to contribute resources. Information-sharing services, standards, and protocols are Research in Progress--Access to the TRB Research in critical elements of the TKN initiative. These include imple- Progress site; links to other sites with updates on active mentation of technologies that enable data sharing, develop- transportation-related research. ment of model programmatic initiatives such as interlibrary loan or data-sharing agreements, collection management Communities of Practice--List of active communities of strategies to avoid unnecessary duplication, and supporting practice that incorporates the current FHWA set in addition to services for digitizing, indexing, and cataloging information a broader set for other TKN market segments. Designated TKN resources so they can be shared. topic leaders maintain the list of communities of practice. Ideally, one outcome of the network will be that information producers begin to build in standard ways of providing and disseminating their information. For example, a research proj- Information Resources and Tools ect to perform a multi-state synthesis of current practice could The portal will draw upon a pool of information resources be scoped to produce as one of its deliverables a set of tagged including those that currently exist (such as TRIS, TLCat, results in a format that could be easily integrated into the por- OCLC, and the TRB Research in Progress), as well as additional tal. This approach dramatically increases the value provided resources that are gathered over time to fill priority gaps through these research programs by making the information in practitioner needs. A distributed model will be used, with produced more easily accessible and integrated with related emphasis on helping people find needed resources wherever resources.