New IRC Web site delivers solutions to practitioners
The rapidly increasing popularity of IRC's Web site, http://irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca is demonstrating that the Institute is a prime source of information for construction practitioners in Canada.
April 23, 2004 -- The rapidly increasing popularity of IRC's Web site, http://irc.nrc-cnrc.gc.ca is demonstrating that the Institute is a prime source of information for construction practitioners in Canada.
The Web site receives over 120,000 "hits" each month and most of these visitors are accessing IRC publications.
"Our site is a key part of our technology transfer and communication efforts," says Mike Culhane, IRC's Head of Library and Internet Services. "With so many people coming to the site for publications, we decided to make more of them available and make them easier to find."
The IRC site contains over 2,000 publications, with many geared toward the practitioner. Among the most popular publications are the practice- oriented Construction Technology Updates. The Updates are concise distillations of IRC research results and reviews of building science principles.
Another extremely popular series is the Canadian Building Digests. When IRC decided seven years ago to add its highly regarded collection of 250 Digests to the Web site, it had an immediate impact with practitioners. The Digests represent a veritable history of building science in Canada covering the period 1960 to 1990, and putting them on the Web was an inexpensive way to keep them accessible to users. Their popularity continues unabated.
Culhane and his staff add new publications on a weekly basis and the upcoming events section is updated regularly. In addition, anyone can sign up to receive the list of new publications by e-mail or subscribe to the electronic version of Construction Innovation.
A new feature of the IRC Web site is the A-Z Index, which allows users to find information quickly on IRC's 5,000+ Web pages, if they know what they're after.
"For users who are just browsing, there are also links on each page to IRC's main activities: research, product evaluations, codes and publications," says Mike Culhane. Other links include a "Join us" page detailing career and business opportunities, and a list of related sites.
The site contains comprehensive information on IRC's research activities. Another pivotal part of the site is the section pertaining to building codes. IRC provides national leadership to the codes community in Canada and readers can follow code developments by accessing the IRC site. As well, reports of products evaluated by IRC's national evaluation service (CCMC) can be found here.
As Canada's largest construction research organization, IRC also acts as a gateway for Canadians to access global building technology information. From the IRC site it is possible to simultaneously search the Web sites of members of the CIB (International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction).
Culhane says the goal is to make the IRC site as active, Televant and useful as possible, a one-stop source of information. To this end, there are plans to add a searchable database of frequently asked questions about a host of technical issues, as well as to increase linkages and information sharing with other national and inter- national construction organizations.
Questions or suggestions about further ways to improve the site are welcomed and can be directed to Mike Culhane at (613) 993-3774, fax (613) 952-7671, or e-mail email@example.com.