Toolkit Journal

How this project started

external image 471430577_994a39a1a9.jpg?v=1177433949 The ICT-KM group of the CGIAR had built a static web page KS Toolkit which was very valuable. But ov er time, it became clear that there needed to be a more flexible framework to which many could contribute. The KS wiki toolkit project was born from the idea that user generated contributions using a wiki could be a valuable next step. This project is a continuation of other NGO efforts and interest around knowledge sharing and recognizes it grows on the shoulders of those who have been doing this work for years. The ICT-KM group partnered with Nancy White of Full Circle Associates to create the wiki. After participation in the first KS Workshop, FAO decided to join the project.

Deciding on a Wiki platform

We are using Wikispaces as our wiki host because we are a) familiar with it, b) they have had a good track record on up time and customer service, and c) the interface is easier than some other wikis.

Identifying initial tools and methods for inclusion

We started with a list of tools that we often use and for which there were abundant resources from other toolkits. This is not intended as replication of other toolkits, but to expand their reach and customize the entries for those working in the CGIAR, FAO and in international development. Then we narrowed down the list for our first iteration. We'll be adding (and encourage you to add) additional entries over time, as well as update and edit existing entries. This is NOT a static resource.

Collaborating with other organizations

  • FAO - FAO's IMARK materials are a great sources of more in-depth self paced learning on many of these topics. We hope eventually to link to specific elements on each relevant page.
  • ODI - ODI's KS Toolkit has been a rich source of resources for this Toolkit. The development of the online meeting entries were done with Simon Hearn of ODI
  • KM4Dev - the KM4Dev community and the knowledge shared on the KM4Dev wiki has been a rich source of resources for this toolkit
  • CARE- many of the base entries come from CARE's Knowledge Cafe
  • Cross linking. In early 2010, a more deliberate effort was made to cross link tool and method pages on the KM4Dev wiki

Tool and Method Template

How to Make a New Toolkit Page

We created an initial starting point template for a new page. It was developed by looking at templates from other toolkits. There may be more fields than are needed on every page, but it is a useful starting point. You can open this link in a second window and copy the template into any new page you want to make. Feel free to alter it if it does not work for the particular method or tool you are adding to the toolkit.

Deciding on Key Tags - Working with User Generated Tags

To select the initial tags, we scanned a variety of KS method publications and used that to contruct our context or 'way in' pages. From there we developed the first set of tags. We'll need to monitor and see if the tags are useful, if people add other tags and finally, if we can use tags to find content across languages (i.e. create a tag pair with the word in both Spanish and English). There has been very little work done in this area, so we should consider the cross language work entirely experimental.

Tips for Editing and Improving Exiting Pages

Promoting the Use and Further Expansion of the Toolkit

A wiki needs two things: people who view/use it and people who make it better. With these two types of people, you can grow and sustain a wiki. This wiki has been intentionally designed to be an open resource (Global Public Good) and thus both its value and its ability to be sustained comes from inside and outside the CGIAR. The cross fertilization of ideas is both good for knowledge sharing and for the sustainable future of the wiki.

What would training look like?

  • Whenever there are F2F meetings add 15 minutes to walk through the wiki. (Example here)
  • Do a web meeting with screen sharing (where bandwidth allows ) once a month to share wiki tips. (See example here)

Promoting toolkit use

  • Market the toolkit across the CGIAR and wider development network. This includes posting news to list servs (i.e. KM4Dev, Web2forDev, the Drumbeat, BytesforAll, etc.)
  • Create a demo screen cast about how to edit the wiki and make available
  • Identify wiki gardeners and champions - find a couple of people in each CGIAR center and give them some training on how to edit the wiki and encourage them to spread the practice in their centers. Consider what incentives and rewards can be given to these people.
  • Collect use stories and plug them back into the wiki and share at reviews and meetings

Promoting changes and additions

  • Monitor who is changing pages and follow up with key contributors, thanking and encouraging them to do more.
  • Monitor page views and note where there is interest and consider those areas for strengthening and expansion.
  • Identify a set of people to scan and tag resources for consideration/inclusion by creating a share tag and then recruit another team to cull and add those resources to the wiki. This can be very distributed work.
  • Do a quarterly review to check for gaps and opportunities and assign basic upkeep work to one or more staff or volunteers.

Ongoing Maintenance and Wiki Gardening Tasks

  • Right now the tagging tools in Wikispaces are affiliated with individual's accounts, so someone has to go through and check what tags are posted on the pages and make sure they are in the actual tag fields at the bottom of the pages.
  • Monitor the site for dead links
  • Monitor the site for spam
  • Make sure new pages are all included in the appropriate tool or method index pages.
  • Ensure proper attribution for all external materials

Lessons Learned

  • The origins of the toolkit speak to the power of the network that creates it: The KM4Dev wiki as source of inspiration to CARE, who agreed to let the CGIAR use their content as the base of the CGIAR KS Toolkit, to FAO decided to add their support. This cross organizational cooperation reduces the individual organizational costs, while adding the diversity that each organization brings.
  • We were concerned about duplication, but it turns out some duplication is valuable because not all resources are maintained.
  • The KS Workshop revealed excited toolkit users, promoters, and contributors.
  • The Toolkit has not yet had a formal evaluation and we should plan one.
  • Customization of the content for a development context adds a new and unique value.

Sources and Additional Resources

Initial Core Team

Photo by mollycakes
  • Many of the images in the toolkit came from Creative Common's tagged images on Flickr