Across an increasing number of initiatives and programmes, there is a growing recognition of the need for common 'architectures' within which truly useful applications and services may be constructed.
Partly, these architectures form a philosophical basis within which developments may be undertaken. Further, though, such architectures in their broadest sense may include the specification of a common technical basis for working (such as the New Opportunities Fund's Technical Guidelines), consideration of shared middleware services (such as the ATHENS service which controls access to a range of resources within further and higher education), as well as often detailed technical specifications.
It remains important that such architectures not be driven forward solely in a technological context, but that their design, implementation and evolution continually be informed by institutional and user requirements and aspirations.
This one day colloquium, organised by UKOLN's Interoperability Focus and hosted by the Office of the e-Envoy, sought to encourage an open discussion of the issues related to a number of emerging architectures, with a view to informing those at an earlier stage in their deliberations, encouraging an information flow between more established infrastructures, and hopefully serving to reduce the potential for duplication of effort and the adoption of unnecessarily different solutions to essentially similar problems.
The proceedings were introduced by three presentations on quite different approaches; the DNER Architecture being developed for the UK's Further and Higher Education sector, the e-Government Interoperability Framework (e-GIF) mandated across the UK Public Sector, and DCMS' vision for Culture Online.
The remaining time was spent in discussion, and invitees included members of Interoperability Focus' Advisory Committee, as well as representatives of programmes such as the e-Science Research Grid, the New Opportunities Fund's content digitisation programme, the World Wide Web Consortium's Semantic Web activity, and others.