Saturday, January 22, 2011


When the Northern Illinois Chapter of CSI was founded 28 years ago, the Chapter newsletter was named the CSI LINK.

Richard Ray, one of the founding members of the Chapter, said in a talk with Chapter members last May that the newsletter name was chosen to reflect the links between professional and industry members, i.e. members working as design professionals, and members working on the industry or product side of the business.

Rich and his colleagues really got the name right. Their objective of emphasizing the links between professional and industry members was laudable. (For a view of how the professional/industry dialogue is playing out now, click here to read Sheldon Wolfe’s articles about the upcoming ballot proposition dealing with CSI membership classifications.)

In addition to the links the Chapter founders had in mind 28 years ago, other links abound in the AE business.
• Drawings are inextricably linked to specifications to form construction contract documents.
• Soon it will be common for information in project spec files to be linked to project drawing files with interoperable software, and combined in the Building Information Model (BIM).
• Integrated Project Delivery contract arrangements seek to deal with the age-old adversarial relationships between Owners, Contractors and Design Professionals by linking the principals together in a cooperative agreement.
• The CSI LINK newsletter itself is now distributed primarily as a PDF document. When each issue is ready, our electronic document Chair Pete Dinschel sends out an email message with a link to the newsletter.
• Many industry magazines and newsletters keep us informed by sending out emails with headlines and brief synopses of articles which the reader can fully access by clicking a link.
• Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera, as Yul Brynner’s character the King of Siam said in The King and I.

Searching for an appropriate metaphor for these links, I first thought of a chain with links. Linear, simple, one link fastened to the next.

But the more I thought about it, I realized that the linkage we’re dealing with now is multi-dimensional, sort of like the structural members of a geodesic dome or a space frame of some kind.

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