Government Wiki Implementations
So I decided it would be interesting to do a bit of a search within the Government of Canada's public pages for use or mentions of wiki's. There's been quite a lot of discussion on this front in 2008, so wanted to see where things stood at the beginning of 2009.
Unfortunately there were only 404 references to the term wiki within domains with a *.gc.ca domain. Most wiki's aren't public so that isn't too surprising, and the two big instances of wiki implementation within the Government of Canada (GCpedia & NRCan's wiki) certainly aren't visible outside of their networks. Most of these are links to external wiki's like Wikipedia. Some PDF's have been produced with topics ranging from usability challenges of Wiki's in government, Web Rule Essentials & Rule Wiki's and Translation the Wiki Way. There is at least one public use of a wiki within government as NRC has produced a public one using MediaWiki.
I thought that it would be useful to look for other instances of government use of the open source MediaWiki software within government. Ran into use by the United States intelligence community and United States Department of State, Intellipedia & Diplopedia are both using MediaWiki.
As Michael Wertheimer said in the RCMP's Gazette article "Arming intelligence with Web 2.0":
Creating Intellipedia was easy because it uses MediaWiki – the same software used by Wikipedia – which is freely available. The cost was very low and remains so. The resistance was not particularly strong because Intellipedia was a new capability and threatened no existing processes.
Two years after launch, Intellipedia holds more than 330,000 pages and boasts 42,204 registered users (who cross all demographics) and approximately 135,000 readers. The growth has been nothing short of spectacular. Intellipedia reached the million-edit mark two months earlier than it took Wikipedia to reach the same point.
But Intellipedia is more than a repository of information — it is evolving into a tool that enables intelligence officers around the world to analyze crises as they unfold. At a time when CNN fills the airwaves with fast-breaking news and citizens watch scrolling news feeds at the bottom of their computer screens, Intellipedia is emerging as a powerful tool to share information and analyze global incidents in near-real time.
I ran into Wikipedia's Portal system recently for Trade Unions, but noticed that there are starting to be governments that also have wiki portal pages here. And of course there are wiki pages available for many government departments through WikiPedia such as this one for PWGSC.
I do hope that by the end of 2009 governments are making better use of Wiki's to make their content more accessible and relevant to citizens.
About The Author
Mike Gifford is the founder of OpenConcept Consulting Inc, which he started in 1999. Since then, he has been particularly active in developing and extending open source content management systems to allow people to get closer to their content. Before starting OpenConcept, Mike had worked for a number of national NGOs including Oxfam Canada and Friends of the Earth.