View Full Version : Wikis and Blogs, Oh My!

11-03-2006, 01:00 PM
US News and World Report - Wikis and Blogs, Oh My! (http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/061030/30wikis.htm) by David Kaplan.

... Today, the intelligence community is finally catching up. Only "a few pockets" remain of employees without Internet access, officials say-mostly confined, ironically, to the tech-savvy but security-obsessed National Security Agency (which runs the nation's electronic eavesdropping overseas).

In an age when information sharing is the name of the game, intelligence agencies have also embraced the latest off-the-shelf technology to get their work out to others. "We are using wikis, we are using blogs, we are using chat, we are using instant messaging," says Eric Haseltine, the chief scientist for the Director of National Intelligence. Given the sheer volume of information flooding into the community each day, he adds, "We have to be very creative in coming up with better stuff." Among the tools on drawing boards is a kind of supersmart search engine called Intelligence Value Estimation. Drawn up by a secret NSA office, the Knowledge Discovery Group, the IVE would anticipate research requests, using artificial intelligence to guide analysts to information similar to other documents they've worked on.

Intellipedia. Many of the hottest online tools now in use turn out to be ideal for sharing intelligence, officials say. Two years ago, the CIA launched its own wiki. (A wiki is an online site that allows users to collectively add and edit content, like Wikipedia, the online encyclopedia.) Dubbed simply the CIA Wiki, it now boasts some 10,000 classified pages. In January, the DNI followed with a communitywide wiki, dubbed the Intellipedia. The DNI's National Intelligence Council-which produces the government's weighty National Intelligence Estimates on key topics-has just launched an experiment to produce the first NIE by wiki. The subject: Nigeria. Top experts on the oil-rich African nation are working together on the Intellipedia to help chart its future. "I don't know if it's going to work," says Thomas Fingar, the chief of analysis for the DNI. "It might; might not."

Blogs have also caught on among specialists across the intelligence community. Encouraged by the CIA's Directorate of Intelligence, home to the agency's corps of analysts, CIA officials in the past year have signed up for some 200 group blogs and 1,500 individual blogs. After all the early excitement, however, the number of active blogs is now down to about 125. And as on the outside, the intelligence blogosphere is not without controversy. In July, a CIA contractor was summarily dismissed after posting her views that U.S. interrogation techniques violated the Geneva Conventions...

Rob Thornton
11-03-2006, 01:49 PM
I thought I'd see a ref. to CoPs, Classified Chat Rooms, and "white Boarding" that would not just X-fer content, but allow for context.

11-03-2006, 02:08 PM
I was wondering if SWJ would consider creating a WIKI. Think about every acronym, concept, place, historical event, etc... In some cases you could lift just one post to cover the entire context. A wiki does not replace a forum, but it does give a historical and long term tool for common understanding within the community.

11-03-2006, 02:58 PM
A WIKI would be a great asset! This would create a nice place for a quick subject synopsis to attach references and resources to an overview of a said subject.

11-03-2006, 04:16 PM
That sounds like an excellent idea. I have considered editing the Wiki article on Clausewitz but I think I would have more impetus to do something like that if it was linked to the SWJ.

11-24-2006, 10:20 PM
Saw this thread go by a while back. Agree wholeheartedly with the concept, and we have had a wiki on our radar screen for a while. There will be one here, one day.

SWJ priority now is changing a bunch of the structure behind our site, getting past brochureware so that form suits content. We're about to deploy some important features for all those good -ilities: usability, interactivity, and scalability (we've been on the brink of it for an eternity). Once we get the beachhead established with the new platform, we will see how things develop and will be in a position to rack and stack new options, vs. our limited resources and priority of work. A wiki is high on the breakout agenda.

If anyone has good gouge on getting started with a wiki, please PM me. Realistically, will be cleaning up migration of current content through the holidays. But there is a new year coming.

I particularly appreciate your indications that, if (when) we build it, you will come. I continue to be impressed by the capabilities and enthusiasm of our membership. It makes it worthwhile.

03-15-2007, 03:29 PM
I'm uploading wiki software as we speak (MediaWiki 1.9+).

By the end of the weekend should have the plumbing all hooked up. The toilets will flush, but there will still be some decorating, etc. to do before it is ready for primetime.

For anyone with some experience on the set up and management side of a wiki, AND an interest in helping out on the ground floor of this one, please contact me ASAP. Could use you in our coalition of the willing, right away. Send me an e-mail to webmaster@smallwarsjournal.com, and I'll set up a little collaboration.

For all those with content and knowledge ready to dump in, please get it ready but keep your pants on for just a little while longer. We'll open up the flood gates when we can.

- Bill