Friday, November 21, 2008

CPSRENEWAL.CA Weekly: An Interview with a GCPEDIA Wiki-gnome

As we mentioned earlier, we requested some information from the good people at Treasury Board Secretariat (TBS) regarding GCPEDIA. Here are our questions [CPSR], followed by TBS's answers [Laura@TBS]

[CPSR]: How is GCPEDIA being used by people at TBS right now?

[Laura@TBS]: I cannot speak for the whole department but I can, however, give you some examples of how my group has used the wiki. I work in the Information Management Division, Chief Information Officer Branch (CIOB) at TBS so to start we have used the wiki to set up collaborative spaces for all of our committees (e.g. on Information Management Policy and Management Accountability Framework) as well as some of our discussion forums. We plan to use this tool as we collaborate on documentation and to foster discussions. This tool is enabling our committee and forum members to collaboratively comment and change documents on the most updated copy.

TBS has used its own departmental wiki as a proof of concept before moving forward with the larger scale government-wide wiki - GCPEDIA. Over the last year, we have used TBS Wiki to do some really awesome collaboration. For example, TBS is currently implementing a change initiative and we were able to use the TBS Wiki to foster an employee collaboration process. All employees were encouraged to use the TBS Wiki to post ideas and vote on potential options for how CIOB could change. The wiki also allowed everyone in CIOB to stay up-to-date on what the Change Group was doing.

But really, this is SO much more than just what TBS is doing on the wiki. We need to be talking about what everyone is doing (or could be doing) using GCPEDIA. This is a Government of Canada wiki so I think I would encourage every public servant to go and check out GCPEDIA - and see what’s happening!

[CPSR]: How frequently is information being accessed?

[Laura@TBS]: It’s hard to say exactly how frequently the information is being accessed; a little less than a week ago Ken Cochrane spoke about GCPEDIA at GTEC 2008 and since then, the traffic has been growing exponentially. Right now we have 654 registered users (by the time I finish writing this message to you we will probably be at over 700 users). We have over 1,000 pages of content and it’s growing very quickly.

It’s so much more than how many “hits” we’ve received, how many people are visiting, or what information is being accessed. It’s about how many edits have been made, how many pages of content have been created, or more importantly is how are we are working together and collaborating.

[CPSR]: How has it affected internal communications and work place culture since its inception?

[Laura@TBS]: I think it’s way too early to tell. I like to think it’s starting to open things up. I love to believe that this is moving us from a culture of need to know to one of need to share. I have very high hopes!

How should users approach content generation, specifically in cases where information is already found on departmental intranet or internet sites. (e.g. departmental mandates, Acts of Parliament, etc.)

GCPEDIA should always link to information available at another location e.g. information that can be found on a departmental internet site. However if information is behind a firewall (i.e. intranet site) and you believe it could be of use to people outside your department, we strongly encourage you to put it on the wiki. That being said we are all responsible to consider security implications before posting information. We cannot post confidential material on internal sites that is above the security level of the site.

Although one of the coolest tools I’ve seen the Government of Canada come out with recently, GCPEDIA is not a replacement for a departmental Internet or Intranet site – more like a close partner.

It does one thing really well – wiki collaboration.

[CPSR]: How will GCPEDIA impact departmental intranet sites? (and other departmental Wiki's like NRCan)

[Laura@TBS]: GCPEDIA is an evolving platform for online collaboration and has the possibility to evolve into many different things. As we see how things evolve we will be in a better position to say how it will affect departmental intranet and wiki sites.

[CPSR]: How is GCPEDIA being marketed to public servants and encourage their participation?

[Laura@TBS]: Since this is a community-driven tool, we are using word of mouth as our primary marketing tool. We also have a base of people in TBS ready and willing to give presentations for those who are interested in what the wiki is and how they can use GCPEDIA.

I think it’s an idea with so much potential it might just sell itself!

[CPSR]: Thank you so much for your time.

1 comment:

  1. Would be treat to see more acknowledgment about the use of MediaWiki for this collaboration mechanism. I posted the following earlier this week.