The Firetrench Information Retrieval Environment (FIRE) Project 

The FIRE Project began in July 1995 as a community service project staffed by volunteers. The objective was to experiment with new methods to turn information into knowledge as a long-term development project. In April 2000, the pilot platform was opened to public access as Broadly Boats, serving the commercial and maritime communities, rapidly becoming a popular source of maritime information. In 2005, the various FIRE Project test and pilot systems were replaced by the next generation of architecture developed by the Project Team. Data was moved from the initial platforms into a new Central Information Resource. The CIR is a colony of databases, download folders and related applications. This data is accessed through portals which are based on Content Management System software. Each portal serves a specific community with a selection of related topics and directly contains a news column and a selection of information unique to that portal. As the Project develops, new portals are being added, covering new topics and extending the scope and functionality of the on-line information resource. As each new element of the CIR and each new portal completes testing, and review by the Project Team, it opens to public access. Much of the information managed by the FIRE Project is provided by readers, and the Project continues to be staffed by volunteers. To provide the maximum choice of access and information use, new interfaces continue to be added to the system and this Word Press blog provides a further point of access and contains information unique to its blog structure.

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