Announcement: The Retirement of Co-Net and the Trace Resourcebook
March 13, 2000 - Since its inception in 1971, the Trace Research & Development Center has been a pioneer in the dissemination of information on assistive technologies related to augmentative communication and computer access. The Trace Resourcebook and the CoNet CD have long been flagships of these efforts. With the passing of time and the emergence of the web, it is now time to retire these two workhorses in favor of networked information resources.
The Trace Center developed CoNet (the Cooperative Electronic Library, disseminated via CD-ROM) for over a decade, beginning with the initial version of HyperABLEDATA (released in 1989). All of the data contained in CoNet was compiled from other sources (except for TraceBase, which is the data used in the Trace Resourcebook). Only the software used to access the data was developed at the Trace Center. With funding from NIDRR and other sources, CoNet grew from a hypertext interface for ABLEDATA into an integrated collection of information resources on disability which provided an easy way to look up products, services and documents on a wide variety of subjects.
The initial purpose of the CoNet Project was to demonstrate how large bodies of information could be intuitively accessed by consumers and others, with no specialized training. Funding for this project ended in 1995, but the Center continued to produce new CoNet CDs until early 1998. The Trace Center put CoNet 11 on its web site, allowing free access, in 1998. With the explosion in the use of the World Wide Web for dissemination of this type of data, the need for a CD-ROM has greatly diminished. Since this information is now available from other web sites, the Trace Center will provide links to these information web sites instead.
The Trace Resourcebook series began in 1978 as a comprehensive guide to software, hardware, and augmentative communication equipment - an important and unique reference for rehabilitation and information professionals, special educators, consumers, and employers. This book was produced in the past as a key part of the information dissemination program of our former Rehabilitation Engineering Research Centers on Access to Communication, Control and Computers, and was maintained through the RERC on Adaptive Computers and Information Systems which ended in 1998.
Again, due to the growth of the web, sales of the book in recent years have dropped off in favor of web access. Also, since other organizations are now being funded to provide this information on the web, we will be discontinuing production and sales of the Resourcebook series.
The National Institute on Disability Rehabilitation Research has awarded the Georgia Institute of Technology's Center for Rehabilitation Technology (CRT) a three-year grant to fund the development of a national public Internet site on assistive technology (AT). This project, currently in the prototype stage, will be an up-to-date, easy to use Internet site on a wide range of disability-related resources. The Trace Center is working with the CRT project team to ensure that the information previously contained in the Trace Resourcebook series is incorporated and updated as part of their new web-based information resource. We encourage you to utilize this new resource at http://www.assistivetech.net.
The Trace Center will continue to use its extensive web site to provide information relating to disability access and universal design of information technologies and telecommunication systems, with links to others working in related areas. Most of the resources contained on the site can be downloaded and printed free of charge. Alternative formats are, as always, available on request.
Other Assistive Technology Resources:
Assistivetech.net is a prototype online information resource providing up-to-date, thorough information on assistive technologies, adaptive environments and community resources.
ABLEDATA is a federally funded project whose primary mission is to provide information on assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment available from domestic and international sources to consumers, organizations, professionals, and caregivers within the United States.
WebAble maintains a comprehensive cooperative listing of disability resources accessible through the Internet.
Closing the Gap provides information about technology for special educators. This organization also maintains a searchable database and printable resource of assistive technology products.
The Trace Web site is our primary vehicle for dissemination of information about how to make information systems accessible. We invite you to continue to use it as a resource. The Informational Quick Sheets list many disability organizations, assessment and evaluation services, educational resources and manufacturers of assistive technologies.