WaterWiki.2 - a concept for the way ahead

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edit  ·  Toolkit WaterWiki 2.0 - The project
WaterWiki in UN-Water Context | Technical development issues | Managing WaterWiki 2.0 | WaterWiki - Wanted Content
WaterWiki-presentation Nairobi web4dev-conf Nov07 (Web4Dev Nairobi 2007 | Web2forDevConference findings) | The Contribution of a Wiki to the Development of a Community of Practice: A Case Study - Anna Maron Aug07 (Findings from study on WaterWiki by Anna)
Further resources: Knowledge Management Toolkit
WaterWiki 1.0 (Careful: Archived, non-updated version)
WaterWiki 1.0 Toolkit (FAQ | KM | Substantive | Technical | Process Step-by-Step) | "Outstanding Dev Issues" on WaterWiki 1.0 | Draft concept for the way ahead | New architecture (draft) for WaterWiki
Not Final Yet!
This is a working document to solicit inputs and ideas for WaterWiki 2.0 (feel free to add or send message with your views and ideas to Juerg Staudenmann (juerg.staudenmann@undp.org)

WaterWiki was launched in Fall 2005 and since then has been the primary knowledge tool on water related topics by the UNDP Bratislava Regional Centre (BRC) for the water practitioners in Europe and CIS.

Since its launch WaterWiki has been growing constantly with new articles added, files uploaded and changes made continuously, but in an "organic" manner: Up to present (March 2007) there was no explicit - i.e. agreed upon and written down - underlying concept, but the structure (country pages, categories, templates, functionalities, overall look, etc.) has been adapted ad-hoc to changing (and perceived) needs of the (often imaginary) user or client.

With the number of articles in the thousands, daily accesses exceeding 100, and registered users (= Water-CoP-members) around 160, it is time to take stock about the 1.5 years of WaterWiki-existence, and to discuss and agree upon the basic concept for this knowledge management tool and the way ahead towards the next generation: WaterWiki.2.

Publication Title

Publication Type

Author(s)

Publication Date

ISBN-ISSN-EAN

Publication URL

Contact

Contents

Summary

Content

The overall objective

Expected outcomes

WaterWiki.2 will

  • Facilitate exchange of knowledge
  • To share knowledge
among (target groups)
  1. CoP members themselves
  2. the Water Governance team and the CoP members


The main reasons to share knowledge among these groups:

  1. CoP members can learn from the mistakes, successes, experiences, projects of other CoP members and thus LEARN from this knowledge ===> This will improve project efficiency and delivery of individual CoP projects/members and ultimately improve the efficiency of the organization (UNDP), which is what will eventually make UNDP an efficient, competitive and successful organization.
  2. By having access to the projects and experiences of the CoP members / Country Offices, the Water Governance Team is in a better position to understand the needs of these people. This enables the Water Governance Team to plan and operate in a way that fulfills these needs.


What kind of knowledge needs to be shared?

From the survey results, it is seen that reusable knowledge is the most useful to CoP members in their work.

Reusable knowledge includes project details and lessons learnt, tested methods, case-studies and analysis, experiences and empirical stories. This kind of knowledge will help CoP members to improve project development and implementation (efficiency and effectiveness).

Niche of WaterWiki
  • From the survey it is seen that there isn’t any specific knowledge source / tool used by practitioners, but instead they rely on a generic Google search to find information. There is thus a need for a water related knowledge tool (such as WaterWiki) which is specifically for the practitioners in the region.
  • Moreover, WaterWiki is well-suited to capture text-heavy knowledge such as reusable knowledge (lessons learnt, case-studies and empirical stories), as well as other knowledge such as project updates, since a collaborative, decentralized approach (wherein each CoP member uploads his/her project information along with lessons learnt) works well with a wiki.


Basic characteristics of the ideal "knowledge map and collaboration tool"

Feedback from the WaterWiki client-survey

Move the survey results and other feedback to separate page
and link (also) to WaterWiki Toolkit/Next Steps etc.


In order to develop WaterWiki.2, BRC conducted a survey with the main users and target audience of WaterWiki - the water practitioners in Europe and CIS. The main purpose of the survey was to get feedback from practitioners on WaterWiki so far, and particular to assess which tools and what kind of knowledge do practitioners actually use, need or miss, as well as concrete suggestions on how to improve WaterWiki ("How to take it to WaterWiki 2.0")

The survey used only quantitative responses. The results of the survey have been analyzed and included in the discussion below.

Image:Q10following_aspects_of_WaterWiki.jpg

The overall response to WaterWiki has been positive, with more than 75 per cent of the respondents finding the overall content of WaterWiki useful. Approximately 60 per cent of the respondents find WaterWiki easy to use and find it easy to find information on WaterWiki.


Image:Would_you_recommend_WW_to_someone.jpg

Image:Should_WW_be_continued.jpg


Recommendations

  • Regular creation of new content: Cull new articles from the UNDP consolidated replies; Use the UNESCO water portal esp the newsletter - this always yield material for uploading on WaterWiki (they also have up-to-date information on water related events in case WaterWiki wants to have an events section);The Bioenergy Wiki has an interesting events section - its event section does not have actual entries on events but only the web-links to the actual events page. Also have links with IWLearn: their search engine already scours WaterWiki.
  • Promotion of WaterWiki: CoP members have to reminded regularly abt the benefits of a KM tool and especially of WaterWiki - try newsletter, testimonials, "contributor of the month" etc (Look at comment 1,2 and 5 below; Also see the section on 'wiki as a collaborative tool' above)
  • Technical Upgrade: There are no cons to upgrading to a higher version. Better navigation pane, easier creation of footnotes and table, improved search will be available in a higher version. The only thing to keep in mind is the modifications done by Mikel during the original installation of MediaWiki for WaterWiki. (Also see Analysis of MediaWiki versions)



Other comments on WaterWiki from users

(These are from the comments section in the WaterWiki survey)

  1. BRC should send out periodic reminders to upload content
  2. the ONLY criterion that would motivate me to upload info on WaterWiki is if I find the information there useful for my project
  3. If relevant information is uploaded once could be made accessible also under different relevant heading. E.g.Water K Fair had broad info about projects, lessons learnt, etc. yet info cannot be accessed under projects, lessons learned, etc.
  4. The small number of uploads from me is due to teh fact that we have only one project that has a water related component and not because of technical and other difficulties
  5. Getting statistics on users, their countries of origins, number of hits per article/type of information/country would be a good incentive from me to prepare and upload my information
  6. Definite focus on metadata to faciliate searches and measure where content is missing, should survey users on what thematic areas they would really use water wiki to find information, perhaps more knowledge fair-like events to generate use, branding!
  7. Perhaps a forum connected to each profile...


Feedback from Anna's survey (on WaterWiki as CoP-supporting tool)

See Findings from study on WaterWiki by Anna


Other possibilities

Wikispace
See Wikispace
Blogs
See Blogs
Discussion Forum
Maybe that's the way how to solicit some knowledge from colleagues - and our task would then be to monitor it and extract/transfer "knowledge nuggets" to WaterWiki...


Basic characteristics of the ideal KM tool

Basic characteristics of the ideal KM tool Does WaterWiki currently have it? Comments
Has a clear focus

Template:Check mark-n, Template:X mark

The two main purposes of WaterWiki are to (i) provide knowledge to the Practitioners and to facilitate knowledge exchange and (ii) map the water related projects done (primarily) by UNDP in the region. WaterWiki is broad and covers a wide range of knowledge (all water-related) – events, reports, member profiles, statistics, concepts, projects, country profiles, as a KM tool should, but WaterWiki also needs to attain more depth in the subject and topics it covers

Does not require massive amount of time to use / learn

Template:Check mark-n

WaterWiki is a wiki, which are extremely easy to use and do not require any prior technical expertise.

Is easy to find information and is user-friendly

Template:Check mark-n, Template:X mark

Has a simple, text-only search engine and a basic navigation structure

Has the latest information and is updated

Template:X mark

It is not regularly updated


Suggested improvements in WaterWiki

Feature Suggested improvement / requirement Technical feasibility
Country Pages

Links to all relevant country-specific reports, organizations, contacts and projects

To do the automatic listing by the 'Dynamic lists' function

Reports

Links to the relevant country, organizations, project and contacts

To do the automatic listing by the 'Dynamic lists' function

Project pages
  • Precise, descriptive, informative titles
  • Links to relevant country, other projects, reports, organizations and contacts

To do the automatic listing by the 'Dynamic lists' function

Organizations

Links to related projects, country information, reports and contacts

To do the automatic listing by the 'Dynamic lists' function

Who's who

Links to related projects, country information, reports and contacts

To do the automatic listing by the 'Dynamic lists' function

Categories
  • Clear categories and sub-categories
  • Cross-listing of categories (i.e. listing by contact and country; or contact and country and project etc)
  • Standardization policy on categories (which ones should be categorised as 'region', 'global' etc)
  • To check if and how cross-linking can be done in WaterWiki (as a start, refer to Mikel's email)
Search and find function

A more advanced search function which allows search by multiple fields e.g. different categories etc

To check if and how this is possible (An upgrade to a higher version?)

Navigation

A more sophisticated navigation bar

Other wikis seem to have a more sophisticated navigation bar, which seems to be an in-built feature of a higher MediaWiki version.

Events section

While the Events template already exists in WaterWiki, it does not automatically expire once the event is over or link to relevant reports

To check if this is possible

Discussion forum

Currently WaterWiki does not support an interactive chat-room like discussion forum

To check if a discussion forum is possible as a plug-in

Alerts and notification

There is already a watch feature on MediaWiki

To check if a more sophisticated watch feature (with an alerts and notification system) is possible in MediaWiki, either in the higher versions or as a plug-in


Note: The above are not listed in any order of importance

While we know now that automatic listings is possible, the reports / articles/ organisations will have to properly categorized (i.e. with the right country / region / global tag) - only then will the Dynamic Lists function properly list the reports / articles / organisations (the CoP Contacts and Members have already been properly categorized and automatically listed on all the country pages)

Survey

From the survey, the main technical improvements suggested were (listed in order of importance):

  1. Should have an events section
  2. Should have an alerts/notification system when there is a new addition to a page/topic of your interest
  3. Should have a more advanced search function
  4. Should have a database like structure
  5. Should have a discussion forum


Wiki as a collaborative tool

From the Survey

Image:Q8_How_often_have_you_uploaded_the_following_on_WaterWiki.jpg

Image:Q9_Easier_to_upload_on_WaterWiki.jpg

CoP members find reusable knowledge the most useful for their work and WaterWiki is well-suited to capture text-heavy information such as reusable knowledge (lessons learnt, case-studies and empirical stories), as well as other knowledge such as project updates, since a collaborative, decentralized approach (wherein each CoP member uploads his/her project information along with lessons learnt) works well with a wiki.

However, CoP members have not been regularly uploading any information (reports, project details, articles, events) onto WaterWiki. The main reasons cited by CoP members for not uploading information are (i) lack of conviction that other colleagues are using WaterWiki and reading the information, (ii) lack of time and (iii) the need for an assistant to type up the information on WaterWiki (this ties in with the lack of time to upload information by oneself).

While BRC can not solve the lack of time cited by practitioners, it can however convince practitioners of the usefulness of WaterWiki by actively promoting and publicizing WaterWiki among CoP members, which will then convince the CoP members to share information in WaterWiki.



Elements of WaterWiki 2.0

See also WaterWiki 2.0 Architecture for a lay-out


Left-hand Navigation

Main page

Top-left LOGO (linked to the main page = main portal)
Include "WaterWiki" somehow (keeping the UNDP logo)


MAIN PAGE
Welcome to WaterWiki (what is WaterWiki? How to use it?), the tool for...
What's the issue (What is Water Governance),
interactive (google-) map



Categories

What is called "Category" on a Wiki in fact are "tags"; they are not intended (and do not work) as excluding categories, but rather as key words that can be attached to any page. On WaterWiki, we have basically two main groups of Categories (tags):

  1. Category that describes the type pf a page: Report, Organization, CoP-member, Experience, etc.
  2. Geographical categories/tags that take certain values: COUNTRY (to be replaced as suitable with Armenia, Belarus, Region, Global/International, etc.), BASIN (Danube Tisza, Caspian, etc.) or SUB-REGION (South Caucasus, W-Balkan, Central Asia, etc.)

We deliberately do not strive to also introduce thematic categories/tags (the classical keywords), as it would be a complex and long lengthy process of choosing "the right ones". Wikis typically neglect this problem by avoiding thesaurus-style categorization, precisely because of the complexity and never-just-right phenomena of such an exercise, and instead build on the full-text search and (manual) cross-linking in the text.

The full list of Categories currently applied can be found here

Changes / tasks (when changing Categories, how to ensure also the categories of the attached files are changed?)
'Concept' -> change to 'Definition'
'CAR' -> change to 'Central Asia'
'Discussion': Keep and apply to other 'articles' that would belong to 'discussions' (such as this very WaterWiki.2 concept note)
'Donor' -> should we keep this at all? If so, then consequently also introduce additional organization-type categories like NGO, UN-agency, etc.?
'Global' & 'Global or from other Regions' -> change to 'International' (How to distinguish between "global" and "international" and "non-RBEC"?...)
'Guide' -> change to 'Tool'
'Tool' -> identify other 'articles' that are in fact tools (how-to, etc.)
'Kazakhastan' (spelling mistake) -> correct the 1 file with this category into 'Kazakhstan'
'KM' -> change to 'Knowledge Management' and tag all entries that are not directly substantive (water-related) such as WaterWiki Toolkit, this concept note, survey results and CoP-meeting minutes, etc. etc.
'Organization' -> leave or change to 'Institution'?
'UNDER CONSTRUCTION' -> Change to 'wanted' or 'stub' ??? (not happy yet, maybe better 'work-in-progress' or 'for input' or so..)
'Workspace' -> change to 'plan' or add articles to 'discussion'? What happens once the on-line collaboration process / discussion is over? Change to "proper" typs like 'project'? THIS AND THE ABOVE NEED FURTHER THINKING!


"Single-Item"-pages

Project pages

Each project page consists basically of 2 main parts:

  1. Basic info organized in a box (in special font or back-color)
  2. The "knowledge/experience/content"-part (= true Wiki-part)
1. Basic info
Basically what was there on WaterWiki 1 - except for the "lessons Learned" - with changed "filed" to be in line with the new RBEC website project-CMS structure.
The idea is to be able to link this to the CMS- (or its replacement) project-database via RSS-feed
See WaterWiki_2.0_Architecture#Project_pages for details


2. Knowledge / Experience part
This would follow the above "descriptors"-part and be in straight-forward Wiki-formating (i.e. without any formating, easy to find by potential contributors.
See WaterWiki_2.0_Architecture#Project_pages for details



Publication pages (incl. Reports / Books / Papers / Periodicals / Websites / Conventions / Data / etc.)

main category (type): Template:Publications
Publications edit
Books and Periodicals | Position papers | Reports | Websites |
Mirror-publications | Scientific papers | Category:Tool
Additional categories (tag-cloud): COUNTRY | BASIN | TOPIC |

Each publication page consists basically of 2 main parts:

  1. Basic info organized in a box (in special font or back-color)
  2. The "knowledge/experience/content"-part (= true Wiki-part)
1. Basic info
Basically what was there on WaterWiki 1, except for the "decription"-part
The idea is to keep up the option be able at one point to link this to an (external) database that provides basic info via RSS-feed
See WaterWiki_2.0_Architecture# Publication pages (incl. Reports / Books / Papers / Periodicals / Websites / Conventions / Data / etc.) for details


2. Knowledge / Experience part
space for additional info and people's knowledge / opinions / comments
See WaterWiki_2.0_Architecture# Publication pages (incl. Reports / Books / Papers / Periodicals / Websites / Conventions / Data / etc.) for details


The current "" will be transformed into 'Publications' OR their content (=links to reports, networks, etc.) merged into the reports navigation page



CoP-member pages ((maybe better as sub-category to 'Contacts'?))

main category (type): CoP-member

Template:CoP-member

Additional categories (tag-cloud): COUNTRY | BASIN | TOPIC |

Analogue to project and publication-pages, CoP-member-pages consist basically of 2 main parts:

  1. Basic info organized in a box (in special font or back-color)
  2. The "knowledge/experience/content"-part (= true Wiki-part)


Contact-pages

main category (type): Template:Contacts

Template:Contacts

Additional categories (tag-cloud): COUNTRY | BASIN | TOPIC | ...


Organization | Initiatives/Partnerships | Networks | Expert/Consultant |

Events-pages (upcoming and past??)

main category (type): Template:Event
Additional categories (tag-cloud): COUNTRY | BASIN | TOPIC | ORGANIZATION | ...


2nd priority for the time being. The basic idea could follow the example on BioenergyWiki. Challenge is how (who) to update it; how to move 'past events' to another location, etc. Should definitely be tightly linked to major proceedings of the events, write-ups (BTORs) of the participants, list of materials, related pages (knowledge on WaterWiki), etc to make this valuable - rather than to try providing a simple on-line events calendar.




"Portals" / Entry- or "Find knowledge" pages

Country pages (geographic portal)

see WaterWiki_2.0_Architecture#Country-pages


River Basin pages

see WaterWiki_2.0_Architecture#River_Basin_pages

--> Original source of data from UNECE River Basin Assessment with a PROMINENT LINK TO ORIGINAL SOURCE: colored box/link with a statement like "based on the River Basin Assessment 2007, courtesy by UNECE")


(True) Wiki-Articles (Content & on-line collaboration pages)

Genuine Topic-articles (also serve as substantive portals in the 2nd part)

main category (type): Template:Articles (sub-categories: Experience | "How-to.." | Case studies | Lessons notes |

Template:Articles

Additional categories (tag-cloud): TOPIC | COUNTRY | BASIN | "work in progress" (now "UNDER CONSTRUCTION")


Each Article page consists of 2 main parts:

  1. the "true Wiki-part" (free Wikipedia-style structure)
  2. "Related content"-part


1. Main article-body
Wikipedia-style article allowing anyone to collaborate


2. "Related content"-part(s)
automatically generated lists of Single-item-pages and other content at the bottom or in boxes of this page, using tags and/or manual keywords
Links to:
Reports
key resource people (CoP-members and contacts)
key resource organizations
related articles



Case Study-pages (now tagged "Experience" and called "Experience/Write-ups"

Main category (type): Case Study
Additional categories (tag-cloud): COUNTRY | BASIN | TOPIC | ...?

This is a sub-category of template:Articles - SEE ALSO ABOVE

Basic structure

  1. Title, Short Description, Identifiers
    1. Project/Initiative
    2. Synopsis / Summary
    3. Location of Experience
    4. UNDP's / Partner's Role
    5. Timeframe & Status
    6. Contact
  2. The Problem (Need for Action)
    1. Background
    2. Goal and Objectives
  3. The Solution (Description of Action Taken)
    1. WHAT
    2. WHO
    3. WHERE
    4. WHEN
    5. HOW
  4. The Analysis (Results and Lessons Learned)
    1. Main Results
    2. Lessons Learned & Replication
    3. Testimonies, Opinions, Validation (Reality Check)
    4. Outlook (Conclusions and Next Steps)
  5. References, Sources, and Further Information
    1. Interviewees and Key Contacts
    2. Sorce Documents, References, Cross-Links, and Further Readings
  6. See also..
    1. .. Other Experiences, Projects, Reports, Resources on WaterWiki
    2. External Resources an Further Readings
  7. Attachments


Glossary-pages (definitions, glossary, brief descriptions)

main category (type): Template:Glossary
edit Glossary
Concepts | Definitions | Abbreviations
Additional categories (tag-cloud): none


Each Glossary-article consists of 2 main parts:

  1. the definition / description part
  2. additional info/knowledge/comments/links, as applicable


1. Definition / description part
One-sentence (or just very short) description or dfinition of the term/sentence/acronym in question
This content will be used to create pop-ups on dotted-line-links ion the text of other articles/pages, as well as possibly export RSS-feeds to wherever it suits..


2. Further info
- Synonyms (i.e. redirect-pages)
- Related issues /
- External references (links)


"Workspaces" / "work in progress"

-> "Workspaces" from WaterWiki 1 will be elimninated as such. Content from there to be merged with appropriate single-element- or article-pages, discussions would go into the related discussion-pages.

To preserve (or actually even better serve) the function that was intended in WaterWiki 1 by creating/providing "workspaces", items/pages/article that will be newly created or "under-construction" in WaterWiki 2.0 could be tagged "work in progress" (or "contributions sought" or anything suitable), which will indicate it's not final and/or seeking contributions.



Other elements

Help / Tutorial

Keep similar as now; maybe re-structure slightly to better serve as tutorial, but without loosing the simple and easy-to-navigate structure.

Alternatively: keep the Help page as is and create a (or multiple) separate "walk-through" page (s) -> see below!


Tutorial / "How do I.."'s / FAQ / walk-through pages

How to interact/contribute
General page explaining the basics behind who should contribute how; the templates; what can/should/must not be changed; etc.
Links to Help and Tutorial pages, sand box, etc.


Walk-through (user-related / technical "How-to's")
Where and how to upload a report or other file
Steps if I want to write a new / contribute to an existing/started article
How to creat/modify my CoP-member page (and how to sign-up for an account)
...



Additional Features

Notification / Alerts / easy-to-use and -read activity-indicators

Possibility for users to (a) opt for being notified (Email link-up!) about changes, (b) customize this alert (e.g. mark articles to be 'observed')

"Indications that my uploaded knowledge is used by others!"


User management

Some-Wiki platforms (such as Twiki - see e.g. UN-Studies Twiki allow advanced user management functions, such as forms, table-display, building/joining groups, "MyLinks", etc.). Are there similar add-ons for WikiMedia available?


Meta-data functionalities

Where content is missing (still)

WW should be the One-Stop-Shop for water practitioners (in the region)

Better cross-linking and –use of uploaded info (e.g. from WaterFair)

Challenges:

  • How to keep it updated (centrally vs. the CoP…?) -> Funds needed (e.g. a WaterWiki-“knowledge farmer”) ?


  • “my pages”-functions ?


WYSIWYG | “Add new page” | Upload File | print/send this

Tag-cloud

Look and Feel of WaterWiki 2.0

General

Look and functionalities similar to Wikipedia or BioenergyWiki.

In particular:

  • smaller font and inter-line space
  • Increase attractiveness (“sexiness”) & fun to use: bring back in random page & other “non-priority functions”
  • In-bedded video and other media functionalities ?
  • ...

Links and Source(s)

WaterWiki Toolkit/Next Steps - wild bunch of ideas

Outstanding Dev Issues - technical issues

2007 Action Plan for the Water-CoP in Europe & CIS





edit  ·  Toolkit WaterWiki 2.0 - The project
WaterWiki in UN-Water Context | Technical development issues | Managing WaterWiki 2.0 | WaterWiki - Wanted Content
WaterWiki-presentation Nairobi web4dev-conf Nov07 (Web4Dev Nairobi 2007 | Web2forDevConference findings) | The Contribution of a Wiki to the Development of a Community of Practice: A Case Study - Anna Maron Aug07 (Findings from study on WaterWiki by Anna)
Further resources: Knowledge Management Toolkit
WaterWiki 1.0 (Careful: Archived, non-updated version)
WaterWiki 1.0 Toolkit (FAQ | KM | Substantive | Technical | Process Step-by-Step) | "Outstanding Dev Issues" on WaterWiki 1.0 | Draft concept for the way ahead | New architecture (draft) for WaterWiki

References

See also

External Resources

Attachments

 Survey Results short.pdf  Anna Maron Thesis final Aug07.doc

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