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CHI's Technological Approach

The Center for HIV Information (CHI), a program of the University of California San Francisco, partners with government agencies, private foundations, and international organizations to identify and develop information on HIV care, prevention, and policy. This information is disseminated to care providers, researchers, and policymakers nationally and worldwide through electronic media, including Internet and CD-ROM. CHI develops strategies for reaching areas and individuals in greatest need of high-quality, practical information on HIV/AIDS.

Our sites are hosted on a new v880 Sun Fire Server that was donated by Sun Microsystems. The server is running Solaris 9, Java 1.4.2_02, and the Orion Web server 202. Our production server is a SUN 220R, which was also donated by Sun. Our primary database is the Sybase SQL Anywhere database. We also use the Matisse object-oriented database, donated by Fresher Corp.

As a program with a global reach, CHI strives to connect with the largest audience possible and, at the same time, to take advantage of cutting-edge technology that provides maximum efficiency and flexibility. Our sites are "dynamic," meaning that information can be stored in one place but also can be easily presented at multiple locations and in different ways. While this makes the inner workings of our projects fairly complex, we aim for a clean, simple, and accessible exterior. We approach this goal in several ways.

We attempt to comply with HTML 4.01 standards on our Web sites and CD-ROMs.
Our content is accessible to people using older browsers.
We manage site updates with an eye toward the latest browsers, protocols, and security alerts.
Users have access to the latest versions of our files, regardless of their personal browser versions or settings.
We mirror some content outside the United States.
We've partnered with the National Library of Medicine and the University of KwaZulu-Natal to make our content easier to access from Southern Africa.
We produce CD-ROMs with an eye toward the developing world.
Most of our CD-ROMs are packaged with a search-enabled embedded browser that works on Windows operating systems going back to Windows 98, and they contain separate access instructions for Macintosh and other non-Windows users.
We offer text-only versions of all our email newsletters.
Our email newsletters are available and legible to people with older email software.
We minimize the use of JavaScript and unnecessary images.
Our sites work well with slower connections and older computers.
We solicit feedback from users to learn what works and what doesn't.
Our surveys appear both online and offline whenever possible, and all of our projects include opportunities for users to provide feedback.