Ortelius caught in the Net

May 31, 1996

The limitations of the Italian telecommunications system are frustrating efforts to make a sophisticated database of higher education in Europe speedily available worldwide.

Ortelius, named after the 16th-century Flemish cartographer, is based at the University of Florence. Accessible through the World Wide Web, it is in its testing phase before becoming commercially available in 1997. Supported by the European Union, it offers the possibility of rapid access to details of universities and courses at universities in all 15 member states.

It is aimed at students considering studying in another part of Europe and academics searching for others engaged in relevant research.

The service also gives details of national higher education systems, European programmes such as Socrates and Leonardo, inter-university community programmes, EU legislation and a bibliography. More than 100,000 pieces of information are already available.

But Carlo Vallini, vice chairman of the Ortelius consortium and vice rector of the University of Florence, admitted at its launch conference this week there had been problems with the network.

"The greatest problem we have had is to face up to our network's limitations," he said.

Connections are sometimes too slow, especially for private users on a modem link. Although there is no plan physically to move the database out of Italy, a new server will probably be located in Britain to offer a new, fast, connection to the US, where there is considerable interest from many universities. Ortelius regards the US market as highly lucrative.

The European Commission has made available Ecu8 million (Pounds 6.7 million) for three years - after which Ortelius has to become self-financing.

Ortelius can be found at http://ortelius.unifi.it:8080

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Most Commented

James Fryer illustration (27 July 2017)

It is not Luddism to be cautious about destroying an academic publishing industry that has served us well, says Marilyn Deegan

Jeffrey Beall, associate professor and librarian at the University of Colorado Denver

Creator of controversial predatory journals blacklist says some peers are failing to warn of dangers of disreputable publishers

Hand squeezing stress ball
Working 55 hours per week, the loss of research periods, slashed pensions, increased bureaucracy, tiny budgets and declining standards have finally forced Michael Edwards out
Kayaker and jet skiiers

Nazima Kadir’s social circle reveals a range of alternative careers for would-be scholars, and often with better rewards than academia

hole in ground

‘Drastic action’ required to fix multibillion-pound shortfall in Universities Superannuation Scheme, expert warns