Participation with the Research Inventory has for
he Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory is
an Internet-based, searchable database that collects
the  most  part  always  been  voluntary;  however
and disseminates information on research programs
some granting organizations have begun to require
relevant to the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement.  It
participation  with  the  Research  Inventory  as  a
enables managers to examine the impact of research, the
interrelationships between research disciplines, the ad-
condition of the grant.  This tie to funding provides
equacy of research related to government agreements and to
a strong incentive to participate and is seen as a
link research to policy questions.  It also allows Great Lakes
researchers and policy makers to identify similar studies,
very  positive  step  forward.    The  Council  also
network and share experiences.  This allows users to
recognizes  that  researcher’s  time  is  at  a  high
increase efficiency and benefit from current research or
experience gained from outside traditional networks.
premium, that most organizations have in-house
databases that require periodic data input and that
The objectives of the research inventory are to:
provide an effective tool for both professionals and the
researchers would appreciate only being required
public to learn about contemporary research projects
to enter project data once.
related to the Great Lakes ecosystem
help locate researchers working on projects related to
the Great Lakes region.
provide managers with key data concerning resources
with change.  Earlier attempts to automate the database and
dedicated to research in the Great Lakes - St. Lawrence
to take advantage of the power of the internet did not allow
users to directly interface with the database and were not
provide a central source through which people can
capable of the types of searches that most internet users
access both traditional and nontraditional sources of
commonly find on the web today.
information about the Great Lakes ecosystem.
reduce the delay between the production of informa-
All of these problems were addressed during the 2001 –
tion and its dissemination to a wide audience.
2003 priority cycle by totally redesigning the inventory as a
facilitate communication between professionals
web-based, interactive database.  A survey of users was
working in related fields, enhance coordination and
conducted to identify needs, comments submitted in
reduce duplication of effort.
response to previous inventories were considered and
Council members volunteered to conduct prototype
testing.  Processes were programmed into the new system
Redesign and Development
to provide secure access to project data, ensure data
integrity and to reduce duplication of efforts.  The new
During the past two years the Research Inventory has
database was activated  in June 2002 and since that time
dramatically improved.  Previous versions of the database
has been further improved through the addition of refined
relied on fax, mail or e-mail submissions of research project
search features and a help function added in March of
data forms, which were then manually entered into the
database by the IJC’s Great Lakes Regional Office.  Each
inventory, whether on paper or computer database versions,
Today’s version of the Research Inventory allows projects
represented a “recount” of all projects that could be
to be continuously entered, updated, searched and sorted
identified in the region.  Short term, rapidly changing
directly from the Internet, and is fully capable of providing
projects and ongoing, long term projects that had not
up-to-date information on research projects relevant to the
changed in years were counted each year.  This system was
Great Lakes region.  Maintenance and down time have also
highly inefficient and as soon as an inventory was released,
been greatly reduced.
it was out of date since the process could not keep pace