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Revamped website puts members' needs first

THE ICE'S website is changing to be more useful and relevant to members' needs.

From this week, four new activities will be channelled through the ICE's online pages to allow civil engineers to reach useful information and network with each other.

The main change to the front end of the site will be to differentiate between members and non-members - this is to ensure that members get the most out of what the ICE can offer.

Members will be able to find information through 'MyICE' which can be tailored to suit individual interests.

'Any member can register their interests and MyICE will bring forward any information which is relevant to you - this could be an event, a new training course or news item, ' said ICE marketing communications manager Andrew McMillan. 'But you'll still be able to browse around to your heart's content.' Members already signed up to ICEExtra will be transferred automatically to MyICE, but others will have to register their name and membership number to use the service.

The whole website will be driven by a more powerful search tool to make finding information easier.

The home page will also steer browsers more systematically through the ICE's online resources such as the Library, which holds almost all of the over 100,000 titles held as hard copy at Great George Street.

anges also include revamping ''Engineers Reunited' into 'ICENetwork', which will allow members to search for other civil engineers by name, professional interest or geographical area.

'This will help with developing interest groups and arranging local meetings.

It will also allow engineers working abroad to key in their location and find out who else is around, ' said McMillan.

Since members opt to be included on this database, the service also complies with the Data Protection Act. It is hoped it will go some way to replacing the List of members book, no longer published.

Investment in the website has been driven by members - especially those living and working outside London who have diffi culty getting access to the knowledge contained within the ICE's Westminster headquarters.

'This is a key way of making the ICE more accessible around the world, ' said McMillan.

'We've listened to feedback from members and found that those in the UK generally use the internet at work and have fast broadband access, whereas those in developing countries will rely on much slower dial up connections - so the site will run in two modes to suit both.' This is the second phase of upgrading the website since it was relaunched last year (ICE News 22 January 2004). According to McMillan it will continue to be upgraded 'as members require and as technology develops'.

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