Note from Peter Hulm:

In the dark ages of the Web (about 15 years ago), I developed the WebDisk concept to provide a low-cost distribution method for press kits, background booklets, Weblink packaging and information tours for busy executives. They were also designed to train middle-level officials in use of the Web quickly and without communications overheads.

The system has been used by UNEP's Environmental Citizenship Initiative and Consumers International to distribute material on food security. The Swiss Ministry of Foreign Affairs used a WebDisk developed by Maximedia to promote Geneva as a focus for sustainable development organizations, international bodies and climate change studies.

Pre-digested examples of Websites as well as information on the issues being covered make it possible to save time for people seeking information from the Web. These were distributed on 1.4 Mb "stiffies" (3.5" disks).

Until the Internet came into popular use this was the cheapest way of distributing information across decentralized organizations. Users could produce as many copies as needed when they needed them..

I still think the concept was useful. CD-ROMs are cheap to produce these days but often have more information than people want (few non-commercial CDs make real use of the multi-media capabilities of 640 MG). You can create mini-CDs but who does?

Diskettes could get 200 pages of text easily onto their 1.4 MG and can be distributed through a simple DiskCopy command. People understand the concept very quickly.

But who has diskette readers these days? USB thumb drives are today a better option. You can get small-capacity USB drives very cheaply. I have worked for organizations that distributed their documentation on USBs at conferences.

But they still rarely do what I did here: create an internal website of links for people to consult on the spot. Too much work.

Safe Food for All

This WebDisk was designed to allow users to explore the Internet and World Wide Web sources available on the issue of safe food, the United Nations organizations concerned with such problems, and other sources of interest.

For the sake of simplicity and to provide more information, I eliminated graphics.

It was prepared for UNEP's Environmental Citizenship Initiative, in conjunction with Consumers' International, for the FAO's Food Security Summit. The WebDisk was part of a package including a set of mini- posters (black and white and A4 for easy reproduction) and video (not produced by us) to make up a cheap and effective information pack for advocacy groups.

These days the links mostly don't work.

Geneva: Networking for sustainable development

This 1996 WebDisk offered users more choices (2,000 links) than the guided tour of the Safe Food for All WebDisk.

Prepared for the Swiss environment office and Foreign Ministry to be distributed at a United Nations meeting on climate change, it tried to offer essential documents on global warming issues and at the same time give users an idea of the many international organizations headquartered around Geneva.

It was given out with a mousepad, notebook and poster with addresses of Geneva organizations. At a cybercafe set up during the meeting the WebDisk was used to avoid overloading the Internet connections and enable delegates to explore the themes for themselves.