This paper describes the UNITE system which provides browsing and search of taxonomically indexed resources in a wide range of media types (text, images, hypercard stacks, etc.). The server provides remote access to Science and Mathematics curricular materials by teachers and students in K-12, however it can be easily adapted to work with any taxonomically structured domain. The server software supports mirroring, which helps distribute the client load, and enables the client to try alternative servers if its first choice is unavailable.
The server can interoperate with standard WWW browsers (Mosaic, Netscape) but, in addition, we have developed our own client software. Since most of our users connect to the Internet via modems, the UNITE client has features which reduce network load, and thus improve performance on low bandwidth networks. It also provides a more tailored user interface to the system resources than is available from standard browsers. Finally, users are active participants in the project. Through a review mechanism, they can contribute new resources to the database.
This research and development was supported through funding from the U.S. Department of Education OERI office (R203A20020) that was administered by the Great Lakes Telecommunications Collaborative.
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