Intellipedia becomes more user-friendly

A new interface now makes it easier to collaborate and edit content on the intelligence community’s Intellipedia site, officials from the Office of the Director of National Intelligence said today at the FOSE trade show in Washington.

The intelligence community uses Intellipedia, which is modeled on the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, to collaborate and share information.

Intellipedia’s new graphical editor should allow users to add content without having to learn a more complex editing interface, said Alex Voultepsis, chief of ODNI’s Enterprise Services Division.

The new editor is from MediaWiki, the free software package created for Wikipedia. It furthers ODNI’s goal of letting its community of users develop their own Web 2.0 tools, such as Intellipedia, chat and Web-based e-mail, said John Hale, chief of service delivery at ODNI.

“We field the services, but we don’t run them,” Hale said. “The key thing is we build the service with no governance whatsoever.”

Intelligence community leaders called gardeners manage Intellipedia’s development, Hale said. They set the rules about how people post information and how that information is managed.

ODNI’s only role is to provide the tools and infrastructure, he added.

“As far as policing Intellipedia, the users are much better at that than we could ever be,” said Michael Kennedy, director of enterprise solutions at ODNI. “It is phenomenal the capability and usability of a system like that when you turn it over to the users and allow them to police themselves and make it better.”

One reason ODNI offers Web 2.0 tools to members of the intelligence community is to keep them from conducting official business on commercial sites such as Wikipedia, Gmail and Yahoo mail, Hale said.

About the Author

Doug Beizer is a staff writer for Federal Computer Week.

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