January 1, 2016, Bad Breisig, NDT.net, the first and leading online platform in the NDT sector, celebrates its 20th anniversary. Two decades of experience have transformed NDT.net from a startup Internet publisher to the world’s leading resource center for the NDT community.
The first footsteps of NDT.net
NDT.net was launched in 1996 as e-Journal (ISSN 1435-4934). When the Internet had just begun to gain considerable relevance Rolf Diederichs, Founder of NDT.net, understood that the Internet will gain revolutionary impact on culture and commerce. R. Diederichs says: “NDT.net launched the first e-journal in the NDT sector, which, compared to print, was searchable, easy to deliver internationally and fast to publish. I was sure online publishing will be the future”. While traditional publishers entered the Internet using a subscription based business model, R. Diederichs entered with two substantial beliefs: First, that freely accessible content is the better concept, and second that the industry will recognize online marketing as an essential part of the marketing strategy in the future. Those two beliefs made him create a concept that would create mutual benefit for both, industry and users. He developed NDT.net as an online platform that provides free content and services for the NDT community around the world and generates income through advertising.
Rolf Diederichs in 1996
The German NDT Society DGZfP (Dr. Rainer Link) and BAM Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (Prof. Dr. Hermann Wüstenberg) as well authors like Edward Ginzel, actively contributed to the journal and supported laying the foundation for a resource rich online platform. Quickly also the industry showed demand to join such a platform. Wolf Kleinert, former Marketing Manager, Krautkrämer (GE today), recognized the great potential of NDT.net and supported the platform from the first year. Krautkrämer became the first sponsor for NDT.net. This was an important trigger for NDT.net to create an online exhibition and sponsor places. This laid the foundation for the fully functioning business concept. Within the first year NDT.net published 12 comprehensive issues of its e-journal and acquired 12 exhibitors to support the platform.
The biggest milestones on the journey to success
Since NDT.net’s foundation the company has been pioneering the principles of online communication in the world of NDT. An online forum, including a professional network, an open access database, online conference tools and the online exhibition were developed and advanced over the years.
NDT.net had already launched its discussion forum in 1996. The forum resulted out of two online workshops using an early discussion board technique on the website. During the last 20 years more than 40.000 messages have been posted. Today around 20,000 NDT professionals and experts from all over the world help each other to solve problems and discuss relevant topics. Members and guest users make an average of around 15 contributions per day. R. Diederichs highlights: "I am proud to know that this concept contributes to create a safer world, I am even more proud that the NDT community so actively supports each other with this tool".
In 1997 users were given the opportunity to create online profiles. The concept to give users an identity and give them the chance to connect, further developed over the time and resulted in the launch of MyNDT in 2011. The professional network provides the opportunity to create a full online profile, connect to colleagues in the NDT sector, share pictures, files and blog. To date more than 9000 people from 115 countries have joined MyNDT.
Another major development in respect to NDT.net’s approach to provide open access knowledge through its website was the launch of a comprehensive Open Access Database. In addition to its own journal articles, NDT.net started hosting and publishing conference proceedings via this Open Access Database. Former ECNDT President, Bjarne Larsen, recognized the importance of open access for the NDT community and gave permission to create an online edition from the printed ECNDT 1998 proceedings. The first conference for that NDT.net developed e-proceedings was the 15th World Conference on NDT in Rome in 2000 chaired by Prof. Giuseppe Nardoni. Since then 160 conference proceedings have been made accessible in NDT.net and make a considerable part of a total of 16.000 articles in the open access database.
To further support the organization of NDT Conferences NDT.net developed the Conference Management Cloud (CMC) in the year 2010. The platform provides a submission system with a cloud based service organizers to coordinate and operate the preparations of their conference proceedings, technical program and abstract book. In addition, NDT.net has launched a revolutionary Conference Web App in 2014. The app accumulates all contents of the conference and creates a guide for conference visitors. It incorporates the conference program, floor maps, an exhibition catalogue and all conference proceedings.
During the 20 years of development the online exhibition was also continuously improved for satisfying the needs of the NDT industry. Functions like advanced search and cross-links to news, articles and the forum were added over the years. The biggest development for exhibitors came in 2015, when NDT.net launched a redesigned exhibition that allows exhibitors to create product and video showcases on their virtual stand. 140 products and 100 videos were already added and displayed in the searchable gallery. Today about 100 exhibitors are participating in the NDT.net's online exhibition and showcase their products and services.
Today NDT.net incorporates three main pillars: The open access article database, the discussion forum, including the related MyNDT network, and the online exhibition. An additional service for NDT Events is the CMC and Web App. 20 years after the foundation of his company Rolf Diederichs says: “Our success is based on providing a freely accessible online space that brings the expertise of the NDT world together. Our services benefit the NDT community as a whole and contribute to creating a safer world. I truly believe in the power of open access as a key driver for development in the NDT community, this is the vision I started with and this is where NDT.net has placed its core value. My special thanks to all sponsors and exhibitors, NDT societies, authors and friends for their individual support on the journey making NDT.net the platform it is today”.
More history can be read in NDT.net's 10th anniversary and our progress during the last 20 years can be browsed by a list of NDT.net's articles and news in the open access database.
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