The strong heterogeneity of the institutions involved in TA, the transdisciplinarity of the subject, as well as the different user groups in science, politics and the public represent a major challenge for the establishment of an adequate information and communication infrastructure. The Network Technology Assessment (NTA), which was founded in Berlin in 2004, has been an important step to improve the communication and cooperation opportunities permanently.
Consequently, the ICT Working Group of NTA has developed the idea of building a specialized TA portal and rose funding from DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) for a two year project. The relevant funding scheme is called "Provision of Scientific Literature- and Information Systems" ("Wissenschaftliche Literaturversorgungs- und Informationssysteme"). Design and implementation of the portal will be performed in cooperation with NTA and its some 50 institutional members.
The originality of the project lies in pursuing both a central and a local orientation. This approach has become feasible through the availability of state of the art service-oriented technologies and Web 2.0 applications. On the demand side, the project tries to meet the interest of the TA community, individual TA institutions, and individual scientists. On the production side, it will build on the resources and the cooperation of TA-institutions as well as on individual scientists. On the one hand de-centralized and locally available resources will be enriched and aggregated to become services of the TA Portal. On the other hand the portal services and functionalities will be provided in such a manner that they can be modified by the individual TA institutions in order to integrate them into their own websites according to their needs. Furthermore, the project aims at allowing the users to integrate portal services of interest into their working environment, i.e. on the desktops of their computers. Once integrated, users will not even have to visit the central portal website to use its services. Services that shall be implemented in the project are for example news services, a calendar for TA events, and an Open Access repository for TA publications.