UNOJUST Minimum Standards

Revised, as of February 25, 1997

Note: This document is placed here for discussion purposes only. It is changing as more UNOJUST sites comment on it, in order to find a consensus. Should UNOJUST be a membership-based "virtual community" or a loose matrix-type network of almost unrelated Web sites? How can one say whether a particular Web site is compliant with UNOJUST mission and benefits the entire Programme Network, or it serves exclusively its own local needs? And, from the donors' stand point, how can one say whether the money received as technical assistance is being spend by the recipients on UNOJUST program or unrelated activites?

As those are real life questions, we are proposing to set minimum guidelines or standards which would serve as criteria of an organization's compliance with UNOJUST mission and policies. Hopefully, we will discuss and test the validity of the ideas contained in this draft in May '97, at the upcoming UNOJUST Workshop in Vienna, Austria. We are looking forward to receiving your comments!

[first name]
[last name], on behalf of my organization,
[name of the organization],
[mailing address]
[web site]

hereby state that I am familiar and willing to comply with the UNOJUSTMinimum Statndards set forth by the current Members fo the UNOJUST Network, in order to enjoy all the benefits of such membership and offer same or higher quality of service to my constituency.

1. Information Policy

Members will take every effort to make their information resources available to each other (as well as other qualified users) in electronic form and keep that information timely updated and accurate. Related reference services will be provided via electronic mail and other interactive means.

Regardless of their titles or graphical design as appear on the Member's Web site, at least the following structural components of the online content will be made visible up front:

  1. section providing access to Member's documents, publications, articles, papers and other full text materials (digital library);
  2. section providing access to databases containing statistical information, bibliographical records, reference materials, directory listings, etc. (databank);
  3. section providing program descriptions, planning and policy documents and other administrative materials (programs);
  4. section providing access to electronic conferencing and communication tools, to accommodate regular information exchange among Members (exchange);
  5. section providing information on major events the Member plans to organize or participate in (calendar);
  6. section describing services the Member offers to qualified users free of charge or on cost-recovery basis (services).

Members will keep each other informed about any major updates they make to their publicly available information resources.

2. Common User Interface

In order to form an "Intranet" (a membership-based information network), UNOJUST Members will adopt a Common User Interface. The interfaces used by an individual Member may vary, but they should be fully compatible, use similar structure for the content and provide the same (or better) navigational tools. That does not prevent Members from using a separate, totally unique Web interface (or interfaces) for non-membership activities for which the minimum standards below does not apply.

1. Identity Issues.

Every Member will carry the UNOJUST logo on the home page, provide links to other Members via UNOJUST Image Map and textual listing, and make the fact of UNOJUST Membership clear in the welcome message. Individual Members can not make any changes to the identity graphics, unless previously agreed upon by all the Members. It is encouraged (but not required), that Members would also carry, as a courtesy to their host country, a photograph or other image featuring most representative and recognizable object associated with that country.

2. Design Issues.

In order to ensure compatibility and easy navigation across the UNOJUST Network (Intranet), Members' template-based or custom-made Web sites will adhere to the minimum standards below.

Each Member's home page (primary or front page), will have at least the following elements:

  • section providing basic introductory information about the Member;
  • section where all the latest information updates could be found;
  • section leading to other Members and explaining how to become a Member;
  • section featuring a Guestbook or other interactive utility allowing to collect feedback from the visitors;
  • section with the Member's contact information;
  • section pointing to technical support resources (e.g., Webmaster's e-mail address, list of frequently asked questions, downloadable software, etc.)
  • section featuring user statistics (optional).

Secondary pages will apply the same style as the home page and contain three major elements: a) navigational links (text or graphics-based); b) brief introduction to the resources featured on that page; and c) actual information content, including texts, graphics, reference links, interactive services, etc.. Navigational links will, at a minimum, offer the following utilities:

  • return to the Member's home page;
  • access to a search engine;
  • access to a foreign language translation engine;
  • access to an Internet chat channel dedicated for Members;
  • access to Members' mailing list;
  • access to technical help.

Member's home page layout will be designed for users with different technical capabilities and, preferrably, fit into one screen shot on the 14" monitor in VGA mode. All navigational elements presented in graphics will be duplicated in textual mode, to accommodate users with text-only browsers.

The layout will have a business look, be aesthetically appealing, but, at the same time, will avoid using excessively large graphics and other multimedia elements when there is no functional justification, and those elements are used for entertainment purposes only.

Web pages will be constructed for consuming as little bandwidth as possible (e.g., small or/and low-resolution graphics, caution in using long text files, multimedia, JavaScript, etc.). Advanced Web applications should only be used, if all the Members have technical capabilities of handling them.

3. Technical Policy

In order to promote new technologies, Members will make every effort to use UNOJUST Network as a preferred vehicle for their information exchange and will be giving it the first consideration, before using any other information services or telecommunication tools.

Members agree that as they learn from experience, they will try to make the UNOJUST Network their common collaborative environment for working on joint research and training projects, holding conferences, publishing and disseminating documents, or searching for information. Where it seems feasible, the issue of the division of labor among Members will be explored, in order to share strengths and overcome weaknesses of each individual Member.

4. Language

Members agree that the common language for information exchange via UNOJUST will be English. It should not, however, prevent individual Members from maintaining a mirror UNOJUST Web site in their native or any other language.

In exchange for compliance with the UNOJUST Minimum Standards, Members will be entitled to the following benefits:
  1. Easy access to online information resources of all the Members and ability to use free or low cost telecommunication services;
  2. More collaborative and fundraising opportunities;
  3. Free or low cost technical services offered by UNOJUST technical support group, including but not limited to Internet consulting and training, user interface development and upgrades, digitizing of paper documents, remote document printing and delivery, free evaluation copies of Internet software;
  4. Technical support for professional activities, such as the development of new online databases and building Internet connectivity for existing databases, global information search and retrieval, multilingual communications, electronic professional conference series, distance learning initiatives, online statistical surveys, etc.
  5. Access to the Internet promotional opportunities for the purposes of increasing public awareness of the Members' programs and accomplishments, more effective fundraising and marketing of the Members' information products and services, cost-effective dissemination vehicles, constituency building and mailing list management, etc.

Non-compliance with the UNOJUST Minimum Standards may result in expulsion, as decided by the Members or their reprentatives.

[I Accept] [I Do Not Accept]


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