An effective mechanism for providing support is to identify centers of expertise, which are prepared to assist others in setting up their ETD system. These centers of expertise can be regional, national or within an international geographic or linguistic region. The benefits flowing from these centers of expertise include assistance with designing processes, assistance with implementing software, especially if a common software product is used, assistance in use of metadata and continuing support as systems evolve. Another very important function of a center of expertise is provision of a focus around which a group can develop which can offer a self-support function and an environment taking into account local or regional conditions for continuing discussion and development of ETD programs as the technology continues to evolve. This latter is essential if ETD programs are to prosper.
The centre of expertise concept also has the great advantage of reducing significantly the learning curve in starting up an ETD program and consequently the timeframe and cost of new programs.
Next Section: Expanding ETD initiatives