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The American Physical Society has created a new service, the APS Technical Network, a web-based computer database that APS members can use to make informal connections with other members around the country. Unlike a membership directory, it holds a lot more information than address, phone, fax and email. APS members have the opportunity to input information such as their physics fields of expertise, their web page, all of their educational experience, and up to 2000 characters of additional information that can be used to explain some of the exciting work in which they're engaged. All APS members have the ability to search this database by physics fields, state, and/or keyword, and view the profiles of all the members who fit their parameters.
The idea for the Technical Database came about when several APS members in small companies petitioned the APS to help them find ways to solve technical problems given their limited resources. Arlene Modeste Knowles was enlisted to oversee the project. Knowles, who worked with Norval Johnson, the programmer who designed the database, believes that the Network can transform the sense of community among APS members: "This is a unique resource. Our members include some of the greatest intellectual minds in the world. Why shouldn't they be able to take advantage of that collective intelligence?" The Technical Network has grown from its original purpose of helping small start-ups find technical people, to allowing APS members to connect with each other more easily and find common ground upon which solid professional relationships can be built.
To become a part of this database, members can enroll at /TN and share their expertise with other APS members. Anyone who searches the database and wants to provide feedback can contact Arlene Modeste Knowles (firstname.lastname@example.org). The APS wants to make this channel of communication as successful as possible and is eager to hear suggestions for possible improvements.
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