Magazine article Information Today

Texas Innovation Network System

Magazine article Information Today

Texas Innovation Network System

Article excerpt

There is a lot of shifting taking place these days--from a national to a global economy, from large traditional industries to small high tech ones, away from the artificial distinctions between pure and applied research, toward greater productivity in public and private sectors. This great shift to the economy of the 21st century is occurring at full gallop in Texas. Texas is no longer just oil, cattle, and ten gallon hats. The oil boom is over, the cattle are raised overseas, and the hats ... the ten gallon hats are still there, but they are worn by engineers, scientists, and entrepreneurs as well as by cowboys.

Texas has the raw material for the next century's economy. Several of its universities are acclaimed for their strength in science, technology, and engineering. The state is bustling with small, high tech start-up ventures. The trick is to bring all of these resources together in the most productive way.

TINS Enters High Tech Scene

This is where TINS comes in. TINS is the Texas Innovation Network System, an online network whose purpose is to enable the estate's high tech resources to discover and support each other. It is a non-profit organization chartered by the state legislature to support technology transfer and business growth. Since being established last fall, TINS already has several hundred members, including all forty Texas Small Business Development Centers.

In design, TINS is a database system that has no databases of its own; instead, it is a gateway to the vast online resources of the Internet. TINS is in effect a miniature Internet, providing selective access to databases of value of the Texas high tech community. Thus, like the Internet itself, TINS is a collection of unique, valuable databases at the end of a long and often confusing trail of logons, access protocols, and search interfaces.

Texas Technology Online

TINS' most popular databases are a trio of directories covering Texas technology resources. The first, Texas High Tech, lists over 3,000 manufacturing and service companies in the state, with information on products, services, sales volume, size, location, and management. The database is searchable by product, SIC code, location, and othe criteria. Faculty Profiles lists thousands of science and engineering faculty in dozens of Texas universities, including leading research institutions like Rice, Texas A&M, and the University of Texas. The database lists the faculty member's affiliation, publications, and research areas, and can be searched on all fields. The third file, Research Centers, lists 300 university-affiliated and independent research organizations in the state, with information on size, staff, location, facilities, and research specialties.

TINS digs deeply into the Internet for other technology-related files, reaching all the way of Washington, DC for FEDIX, the Federal Information Exchange. FEDIX contains news and program information from several technology-oriented government agencies, including the Department of Energy, NASA, the FAA, the Office of Naval Research, and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research. Each agency has its own corner of FEDIX, where it provides information on its research, educational, and financial aid programs. …

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